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February 21, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

Michael Wilbon
  (1:08 PM)

Hi everybody! We'll jump right into mostly NBA stuff, see if there's a Daytona question or two...warm up a little bit for March Madness...let's do it

BJ (Indiana)

I could set my watch to your slight's comforting in a way

Michael Wilbon
  (1:08 PM)

Good to make you feel better about your ability to tell time...Something in life ought to be reliable!

Andy (NY)

Melo is willing to sign with both Knicks and Nets, but prefers the Knicks. Therefore, Melo is giving Knicks time to reach agreement with Denver. If that fails...Melo to the Nets? Am I correct?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:12 PM)

I'm starting to realize what we all should: that we have no earthly idea of what the key people in this Melodrama are thinking. Melo just seems to be using the Nets to apply leverage to the Knicks. And the Knicks seem torn between dealing away several assets and calling Melo's bluff and waiting for him to become a free agent, as to keep the whole group together, including Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Galinari...There's so much foot dragging here, I've grown tired of the whole thing. I wish somebody would do something definitive...And now we've got the reports of Isiah Thomas calling the shots for the Knicks, which I have a difficult time believing...

Brodie (WIU)

Hey Michael.. big fan! Just wondering if you have heard anything about the Bulls acquiring JR Smith, Courtney Lee or Anthony Parker?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:17 PM)

There's been reporting to the effect that the Bulls and Rockets discussed Asik for Courtney Lee, a deal that would seem to me to help both teams. The Rockets need a big man with Yao out seemingly forever...And the Bulls, if they're going to do anything deep into the playoffs, will have to have some more backcourt scoring--reliable deep shooting--than they have now...And Lee can do that, and also play a little defense. And he's got some size on him (6-foot-5)...Problem is, of course, the Bulls don't want to part with a 7-footer like Asik who has been improving by leaps and bounds. I get that totally. BUT, to get something you usually have to give up something...I haven't heard much lately on the J.R. Smith front, except the Bulls worry about screwing up the team's chemistry (a huge asset this season)_ by throwing a lit match into the mix. And as talented as Smith is, the Bulls have every reason to worry about that...I don't get the Anthony Parker interest...I'd love to see Lee, who has been on a team in the Finals, in the backcourt with Rose. Asik is going to play, what, max 10 minutes in any game this post-season? He's behind Noah, Booze, Thomas, Gibson if we're talking big men...Another reliable shooter isn't a luxury to me...We'll find out shortly with the trade deadline coming up...

Bill (Charlotte)

Has melo been traded yet?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:20 PM)

Not as of this moment...I keep waiting and waiting...You think the NBA would like a first-round matchup of New York vs. Chicago, with the Knicks having Amare, Carmelo and Billups against the regular season MVP? That would be big-time...Of course, so would the new Knicks vs. Miami or vs. Boston...I don't know that the Bulls are going to finish 3rd, and the Knicks seem like they're destined for 6th, although Philly could pass them...I wonder how quickly the Knicks w Melo and Billups and Amare could get themselves together...

Hyde Park Dave (DC)

Hey Mike, I am still in LA for the events from the weekend. One thing I saw beside a lot of Purple and Gold obviously, was a SEA of Red and Black Bulls gear, and ROSE gear. He got a big ovation on Sunday inside the Staples center. I feel like with him deciding to defer to the other "stars", its showing he only cares about 1 thing: HOSTING game 1 of the NBA finals. Why do I feel people are gonna be surprised at the Eastern Conference rep being from the CHI?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:26 PM)

Great question: The answer is because it usually takes some post-season heartbreak for a team to get that far. Think about it...Magic won the whole thing as a rookie but he did join a team with one of the five greatest centers to ever play the game in Jabbar...Otherwise, West and Baylor had playoff heartbreak, Julius Erving did, Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes (former MVPs) didn't win until late in their careers after some get-close years...Shaq and Kobe got smacked down...Even more famously, Michael Jordan lost to the Celtics twice and the Pistons three times before breaking through...I guess Tim Duncan didn't have any heartbreak but he joined David Robinson and a team that had already been to the conference finals...Seems like 90 percent of the NBA's stars, even the best players, have to go through it...Suppose the Bulls do draw the Knicks with Carmelo in the first round. You certain the Bulls in that series? The playoffs are a monster, and the Bulls have nobody proven on that roster...well Boozer has been to the conference finals...That's why I'd like to see the Bulls, if they're going to make a move for a two-guard, get Rip Hamilton...Anyway, if the Bulls finish 1st in the East, and I think that'll be determined by the way they play on the upcoming 5-game road swing with Miami and Orlando back-to-back, then I wouldn't be surprised at all. But the Eastern Conference teams 1-6 (presuming the Knicks get Melo) would be a beast go through. Even Atlanta looks like a better team for the playoffs now than last year...

Trisity (Georgia)

when it all comes down to it do you think Carmelo Anthony is for the championships or for the money?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:27 PM)

you'd better be for both. Don't ever believe somebody when he says "I'd play for nothing." It sounds nice, but he wouldn't. Nobody would. Would you work for free? No, you wouldn't. Neither would I. Neither, by the way, would Michael Jordan or Jerry West or Bill Russell or any of the iconic players you think put winning ahead of money. They go hand-in-hand, winning and the spoils of victory. But yes, if you win the money usually comes in bushels if you're the star, and Carmelo is...

Matt (St. Paul, MN)

Regarding the poisoning of Toomer's Corner, radio show host Paul Finebaum had this to say...?I think we would be less than honest to say that we don?t play a role,? Finebaum told The Birmingham News yesterday. ?This is not a milquetoast, politically correct radio show. A lot of things are said, and a lot of things are said with a lot of anger. And I let it go. So if someone wants to blame me for what happened, they are welcome to do that. But I don?t think just because people engage on a radio show equates to what this guy is accused of doing.? I'm torn whether to applaud his honesty and being up-front about what it is or to be disgusted at the lack of social responsibility he is showing...your thoughts?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:35 PM)

Great question and issue...We talked to Paul on PTI Friday...I always worry about fanning the flames, and I think this happens on talk radio and not just sports talk radio...MOST talk radio. People too often and increasingly think they need to be participants instead of observers and they want to "join in" when they need to do just the opposite...But to your point, do I think media, specifically electronic media and even more specifically talk radio, plays a role in creating an atmosphere where folks feel more comfortable or justified in acting out? Yes, I do. I worry about it, particularly as it pertains to rivalry situations or some kind of historic play contributing to an emotional defeat. I think Paul, by the way, is a damn responsible journalist. I've respected his work for years and years, and I applaud his ability to be introspective and honest...More people should do it...but won't.

Marcus (Houston)

Do you think Carmelo will be traded before Thursday's deadline, or could the Knicks or Nets get a deal done sooner?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:36 PM)

Well, Carmelo says he'll be in Nuggets uniform Tuesday, so I don't see it getting done before Wednesday. History says these things get done only when they positively have looks like Thursday to me...

matt k (manalapan nj)

if the knicks trade mozgov chandler galllo and felton for melo chauncy etc do you think the knicks other rookie andy rautins would get more playing time

Michael Wilbon
  (1:39 PM)

One would think Rautins would get a shot, right? If Galinari and Chandler go...somebody besides Landry Fields has to put up some shots. Thing is, Knicks say they're not dealing Mozgov...they'd have a lineup of Billups and Fields, Mozgov, Stoudemire and Carmelo...That's a pretty darn good starting 5...Now, the problem is Mike D'Antonio doesn't like to play his reserves. He's a 7-man rotation coach. Can Rautins crack that? I have no idea. D'Antonio doesn't like playing a deep bench WHEN HE HAS the personnel...So, after a trade would he play them? Hmmmmmmm.

Michael Wilbon
  (1:42 PM)

No doubt, LeBron is having an MVP-level season. Kobe is not...Not this year. But All-Star numbers mean nothing to me, zero...My MVP ballot at this point (and yes, I do have one) is D-Rose, Dwight Howard, LeBron. LeBron is playing with another Hall of Famer in Wade and a third All-Star in Chris Bosh. Are Rose and Howard playing with another Hall of Famer? You take LeBron off the Heat and they're still in fourth or fifth place in the East, maybe third. You take Rose or Howard off of the Bulls, Magic respectively and those are lottery teams.

Jon (Des Moines)

Wilbon, maybe this could be a debate between you and Kornheiser soon, but where would you rank Kobe Bryant in terms of the NBA's greatest players to play the game? I can't really find anything in his basketball resume to suggest he's not a candidate for one of the three to five greatest players of all time. Your thoughts?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:44 PM)

Great question...Not 3-5 for me. But top 10, yes. What, you want me to put Kobe above Russell, Jordan, Magic? No. I'm hesitant to put him above Oscar and Abdul-Jabbar as well...I have him in the second 5, and yes, ahead of Jerry West...But top 10, yeah, I think so...I'm trying to figure out whether I have Bird ahead of Kobe, still...Don't know. Would have to think about that for awhile...What if Kobe wins a 6th championship this year? Wow.

Daniel (Chicago)

Who is your #1 team in college basketball?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:47 PM)

Duke. For today. Will Duke lose another game before the NCAA Tournament? Yes. Two weeks ago on PTI I had Ohio State losing 3 of five, and if they lose to Illinois this week I will have nailed that. Yet, it means NOTHING. I think Ohio State is the best team in the country, but I'd vote Duke No. 1 for right now. It's fluid, baby. And it will be for the next two weeks because nobody's so good they can't lose a conference game. Look at Texas the other day, or Ohio State losing to Wisconsin and Purdue. Hell, Wisconsin and Purdue, playing at home, SHOULD beat Ohio State, and they did. Duke for now, but by next Monday we'll likely be saying somebody else.

Dan (Chicago)

Can we take a hoops break and ask a hockey question, what's going on with your Blackhawks? Will they be able to turn the momentum back around?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:48 PM)

I keep looking for a signature victory to give the Blackhawks a bounce...So I've grabbed ahold of yesterday's shootout victory...but if I look back at all the "big wins" over the last six weeks they've each been followed by some crushing defeat. I've got my head buried in the standings with fingers crossed. Gutting the team for salary cap purposes really has turned out to be a killer...

sonny (miami)

will billups stay in NY if he is traded there or will he still seek a buyout?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

ahhhh, very nice question. Suppose, just to pick a team, the Miami Heat wants him this year? Why would Billups stay in NY when he could go and help the Heat past the Celtics. I think the deadline is one important date, but I think March 1st is another because a guy (or guys) could accept buyouts...Problem for the Knicks is if they give up Raymond Felton they'd better keep Billups, who is a better shooter, better defender, better leader, proven winner. The Knicks would be CRAZY to let Billups go anywhere. I know there is concern about how he'd fit in D'Antoni's system. Seems to me Billups and Stoudemire would run the hell out of pick-and-roll...Who plays the point if Billups is elsewhere?

Oleg (Albany)

Are the Nuggets asking for so much from the Knicks because they are trying to spite Carmelo because they feel like a jilted lover?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:52 PM)

The Nuggets are asking for EVERYTHING THEY CAN GET because this is a business and you try to maximize what you're getting in return for giving up your greatest asset. Period. If you don't make the Knicks wince when they make the deal (if) then you haven't done your job.

Tony (Chicago)

Derrick Rose is a lot of peoples' choice for MVP so far, but as a Bulls fan, do you think it would be better for Derrick to lose the award this year? We can all see how he likes to prove people wrong, and if he feels like he was robbed of the award, he might just take his game to a level no one thought was possible next year.

Michael Wilbon
  (1:55 PM)

One of the great characteristics D-Rose is his humility. I don't think winning the MVP would change him a bit. Steve Smith, the former NBA player-turned-NBA TV analyst, and I were talking about that this weekend in Atlanta, that Rose seems to be intent on proving you don't have to be a diva to be a great NBA player. Maybe he'll change, maybe not. But at some point the only way to truly prove to others you're a great player is to win everything, the awards and the championships. And if you're truly great, you spend the rest of your career creating slights and insults to motivate yourself if necessary...Hmmm, ever hear of anybody in a Bulls uniform doing that?

Phletchuer (northern CA)

Regarding March Madness, shouldn't the winner get to play the Cavs? The BCS nat'l champ should play the worst NFL team the week before the Super Bowl. Am I the only one who'd want to see this stuff?

Michael Wilbon
  (1:55 PM)

Um, yes.

Andrew (Denver)

Mike big fan!!! Lost in all of this Melodrama no one has seemed to ask the question of if the Knicks would even be a good team or a good fit for Melo? Are we supposed to believe that Amare Melo and Raymond Felton and spare parts can contend? I have a hard time believe that a trade for Melo would still leave them as the 6th best team in the east!

Michael Wilbon
  (1:59 PM)

if the Knicks have Melo/Amare/Billups I can't see them NOT finishing 6th in the East. I know the 76ers are getting better, which should come as zero surprise to people who've followed Doug Collins' career, which I have since he was a senior in college. Doug can coach, and he has enough parts in Philly to get the 76ers to the playoffs after that difficult start, and push somebody in the first round...Having said that, I think the Knicks with Melo would hold off Philly for 6th and play Chicago, Miami or Boston in the first round, which would be a HUGE TV hit for the NBA...Miami-Knicks in the first round would set records. That series could get more viewers than a conference finals...And it could happen, more likely in a 2 vs. 7 scenario...Anyway, the Knicks wouldn't have any kind of a bench but since Mike D'Antoni doesn't really go to the pen anyway, I'm not sure that matters...The starting five, if the Knicks keep Mozgov and Fields to go with Amare, Billups and Carmelo, would be pretty darn formidable.

Michael Wilbon
  (2:01 PM)

Okay, I gotta run and prepare for PTI...and wait on Carmelo news. I'm just like you guys, except I get to pick up the phone and call agents or executives in and around the league and ask, "Anything yet." And I get to hear "I have no idea" just like we're saying this afternoon...So much fun. Have a great week everybody, and thanks for chatting...MW