Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 25, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

mike wilbon
  (1:06 PM)

Hi everybody! Hope you enjoyed a truly tremendous sports weekend...I don't know how it could have been any better, other than maybe getting some production out of the Knicks at some point. Anyway, we'll jump into the NBA and NHL. The Blackhawks victory is atop my interest list at the moment, given the historical significance and my fandom of the Blackhawks for 45 years-plus...

kyle (bristol)

Hey Mike, any panic about the Bulls?

mike wilbon
  (1:07 PM)

Panic? No. Concern? Yes. D. Rose has that injured ankle and we don't know how he's going to be tomorrow night. Luckily for him and the Bulls they got an extra day for Rose to get treatment and rest...The Bulls aren't going to shake anybody in these playoffs; they don't have the firepower for that. I will say I think it's good the Bulls didn't sweep and aren't sitting around hearing people talk about how good they are. I think it's good for them to play, to have to figure out how to deal with playoffs pressures and situations. So no panic yet...But talk to me after tomorrow night's Game 5 in Chicago...

Bryson (Hawaii)

If Lebron chould make his "Decision" again, where should he go?

mike wilbon
  (1:10 PM)

Great, great question. Would you be upset if I said "The Clippers." Seriously, suppose you put LeBron with Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, have kept Baron Davis, D. Jordan and Kamen? Are you kidding me? What, that isn't a balanced and potent lineup? You want me to say New York? Maybe. They wouldn't have made that big trade for Carmelo...Actually, I like that he's in Miami with a "super" team that is polarizing. I think that's good for basketball, good for sports and the 24/7 discussion...

Steve (Chicago)

Wilbon, which will you be paying closer attention to: Bulls/Pacers Game 5 or Hawks/Canucks Game 7?

mike wilbon
  (1:12 PM)

I thought about that this morning. Well, the answer is the Bulls-Pacers Game 5 because I'll be there courtside for ESPNChicago.com. But trust me, we'll have those TV sets at courtside tuned to Blackhawks-Canucks...Actually, if the Bulls-Pacers game tips off early enough (6:30 central perhaps; I just got off a plane and haven't seen the start time yet) then the Canucks-Blackhawks game could start as the Bulls-Pacers is ending, which is the best possible scenario...

Mike-OB (OB)

Glad you submitted to twitter!!! That Brandon Roy guy is pretty good, eh? Maybe there is hope for Chris Paul since he will succomb to the same knee issues as his career progresses.

mike wilbon
  (1:14 PM)

That's a interesting comparison. Thing is, Paul had just one knee injury and Roy has had several. Neither is likely to have 15-year careers, but each is still an impact player. Paul, if we really study his performances in Games 1 and 4 of this series, is closer to his form of three years ago than Roy is...Thing is, we've seen in recent years that guys need two years to come all the way back. Gilbert Arenas could be a worse-case scenario, where it's been a couple of years and it just doesn't look like he's going to be able to regain his All=Star form...

ALL LAKER FANS (Entire World)

How serious is Kobe's injury and how worried should we be? If he's hobbled im very worried of our chances!!!

mike wilbon
  (1:16 PM)

We're waiting for MRI results, it sounds to me...Again, I literally landed 40 minutes ago fromm new York/Bristol and I'm just now listening to SportsCenter and Chris Broussard as I type these words and haven't had chance to call anybody for an update...I don't even know what to make of Kobe saying it's his foot more than his ankle and whether that's good or bad news...kobe's had some serious stuff happen to that foot and ankle this season. I just hope he can be as close to full-strength Kobe as possible the rest of the playoffs. If he isn't, yeah, be real worried. Kobe's going to need to be his usual self to get the Lakers past Oklahoma City.

Tiago Splitter (Memphis)

Why won't coach play me? I am a seven footer who can defend better than Bonner or Blair.

mike wilbon
  (1:17 PM)

Legit question. Clearly, there's something Pop just doesn't like about this guy, at least not in this series. And the way Marc Gasol and Zack Randolph are playing it seems more size would help the Spurs. BUT, Pop is one of those guys who gives everybody a chance to help off the bench. He doesn't shorten his rotation just out of conservatism. There's something he's not seeing out of Splitter recently that has the kid affixed to the bench.

Tom (MN) [via mobile]

Do you think Steve Nash gets traded this offseason and which team/teams would benefit most from his experience?

mike wilbon
  (1:21 PM)

I wondered about this around the trade deadline, and the thing is all the really good teams who are already contenders have terrific point guards. I know the Knicks will be mentioned, but the Knicks are committed to Carmelo as much as Amare and I can't see that working, or the Knicks having pieces the Suns would be interested in. Miami? Would Wade and LeBron play that much without the ball? No, can't see that...Ok City, the Bulls, Celtics already have that. Orlando to play with Dwight Howard? You don't really expect D-howard to be in Orlando beyond next season, do you? I just don't see what contending team (Portland?) really is going to give up something worthwhile to PHX to get Nash. Yeah, Minnesota could use him. Clippers? It's difficult to envision.

Jim (Memphis)

lots of chatter about Tony Parker's confusing disappearing act so far. Will he turn it around tonight? If not, can the Spurs regroup to win 3 straight?

mike wilbon
  (1:23 PM)

Lots of chatter for good reason. Not often Tony Parker has no-showed like that in a playoff game in his career. If it happens tonight? I can't see the Spurs winning this series without the usual contributions from Tim Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili. Memphis is young and talented with good role playing veterans (Tony Allen and Shane Battier)...Tonight really could be a significant game for the future of the Spurs and their Big 3. If they go out in the first round, what then?

Mike (Chicago)

I know most of your questions will be about basketball today but I hope you can say a quick word about the Blackhawks. The game last night was incredible and I can't believe this run they've been on. I may be jumping the gun, but man would it be exciting to have both the Bulls and Blackhawks making deep playoff runs for the first time since I was 10 years old.

mike wilbon
  (1:29 PM)

I think it would be thrilling just to have the defending Stanley Cup champs in the second round after they had to get help just to get into the playoffs. The NHL playoffs have been a blast, and the highlight no matter who you root for has to be a team (the champs, no less) coming back fromm 0-3 to force a Game 7. That Raffi Torres hit Brent Seabrook in Game 3 turned this series around. It clearly triggered a response fromm the Blackhawks; they just went for it after that and started initiating hits and really going after Roberto Luongo. Wow, Luongo is a great player but his last three games are unthinkably bad. He's been pulled from two. This is why seeding in the NHL is so much less important than in the NBA. No. 1 seeds struggle in the NHL playoffs all the time. With very good reason, Barry Melrose told us on PTI that "I like the Capitals, I love the Canucks" yet the Capitals have cruised while the Canucks are now forced to win Game 7.

Mike (Portland)

Who ya got in game 5? Blazers or Mavs?

mike wilbon
  (1:29 PM)

Blazers. I picked Portland to win this series and I don't see them going to Dallas and winning Game 7, so they'll need to ride the momentum they've built and win Game 5...

Tim (Portland)

Is Reinsdorf too loyal to the knucklehead team of Ozzie and Kenny? These chumps got lucky in 2005 and have been the keystone cops since. White Sox can never win with these numnuts. Are White Sox doomed?

mike wilbon
  (1:32 PM)

Great question. Reinsdorf is understandably loyal to Kenny and Ozzie. It's not like baseball championships grow on trees in Chicago. The White Sox, so far, have to be on the short list of most disappointing teams in baseball, but it's early. I do think this kind of season could cost somebody, but there's no question the responsibility for this kind of performance goes to the manager first. None of the baseball analysts I listened to in spring training disliked what Kenny Williams put together. Ozzie has been a wonderful manager and he might turn this around...but it's also fair to wonder if the players need to hear a new voice, which happens all the time in professional sports, even with coaches/managers wearing a championship ring.

tom (chicago)

What free agent is the missing piece for the Pacers? They are young, big and deep.

mike wilbon
  (1:34 PM)

Yep...but they need a star, a player who can take control of the team in playoff games and carry everybody...I don't know who is out there that fits that bill who will also be a free agent in the next year or two. It's not like kevin Durant or Derrick Rose is going to Indy. Sometimes (usually?) teams draft that player with the first or second pick in the draft. Sometimes, you do it by ensemble which is what the Pacers did around Reggie Miller/The Davis Boys/Jalen Rose etc when they went to the Finals. It's harder that way, but it's often necessary to do it that way in smaller markets where free agents are less likely to, um, take their talents.

Jason (Florida)

Unfortunately I am not too familiar with the CBA and the main sticking points of it. I have heard a rumor though that there are discussions of adding a "franchise" tag similar to that of the NFL. Do you think that would be the only hope for Orlando to keep Dwight?

mike wilbon
  (1:37 PM)

Yes. I know Dwight's not talking about this issue and he shouldn't. It's the playoffs and he's employed and handsomely compensated by the Orlando Magic. BUT, trust me, folks in the basketball industry are talking about it lots and lots. And they don't expect Dwight to stay in Orlando. A franchise tag is something I would think the players' union would fight like hell. It's not always JUST money that leads a guy to play someplace. Grant Hill took less money to leave Detroit than he could have gotten to stay with the Pistons. He wanted to live in another community. It seems to work in football, but these are different sports with different cultures. The small-market teams are certainly hoping for a "franchise" tag to hold onto the players they acquire initially through the draft.

Mike (Redondo Beach, CA)

Love my Lakers but this is what I have always hated about Kobe, and for the past few years you can no longer say he brings it every minute he's on the floor. apparently #24 can only go for that many minutes.

mike wilbon
  (1:40 PM)

What? Are you nuts? Are you even paying attention? how do you think the Lakers have won two straight championships, if Kobe wasn't "bringing it" every night. Okay, the Lakers were sleepwalking through most of this regular season and they're not as sharp as they have been. But they're also not robots. They're playing 100-plus games a year for (now) the fourth straight years. There's a wear-and-tear there most players never know. Kobe told me in December that he knew part of his job was to keep everybody (himself included) up for games leading to the playoffs. Now that they're in, it's possible that other teams have closed the gap and the Lakers aren't capable of pulling away fromm them. But if you're saying kobe Bryant isn't on it during the playoffs...that's just insane to me. Did you see him stay on the court last night after turning that ankle/foot? What do you call that?

Thunder (OKC)

I hope you are ready for a great series... Cause its looking more and more, like THUNDER vs Bulls.....

mike wilbon
  (1:41 PM)

Don't get be all hot and bothered? You sure the Thunder can beat the Lakers 'cause I'm not. You sure the Bulls can beat the Celtics or Heat, 'cause I'm not. Maybe you're a year ahead of yourself with that prediction. Maybe.

Justin (Portland)

you picked the blazers in 6 games correct? do you still see things going portlands way after an incredible comback?

mike wilbon
  (1:42 PM)

Portland would have to win Game 5. That, of course, is the only scenario. I can see it happening, but give it about a 25 percent chance.

Mike (Vancouver)

Where were you during OT last night? I agree Chicago has played much better but the Canucks owned the 3rd period.

mike wilbon
  (1:43 PM)

The Canucks owned the 3rd period and OT, but the Blackhawks won. I was in my hotel room in NYC watching the game on my iPad. I have slingbox, thankfully, and watched the hockey game on that while watching the Lakers-Hornets on the flatscreen in my hotel room...Glorious night.

The Ghost of Team Ball (Scrooge's Place )

Isn't the logic of "needing a star" a myth? Can't teams simply execute better plays at the end of a game? Miami has 3 stars and they're 1 for 17 on shots that can win or tie. I'd rather have a balanced team and coach that can design plays that set up multiple options to score rather than relying on Kobe putting up a desperation heave.

mike wilbon
  (1:48 PM)

Look at the history of the NBA and what do you see? how many teams won the championship without a true star? The 2004 Pistons. Who else. Bulls, Jordan. Lakers, Wilt/West, Magic/Kareem, Shaq/Kobe/ Kobe. Celtics, too many to name in the 60s, then Cowens, then Bird, now KG and Pierce and Allen and Rondo...Seriously. just look it up. Rockets (Hakeem), Spurs (Duncan, Robinson), Warrios (Rick Barry), Bullets (Unseld, Hayes). I mean first-team, Hall of Fame stars. The Knicks of 1970 and 1973 and the '04 Pistons are all I can come up with...

Joey (SC)

Can I get a shout out on the PTI today???

mike wilbon
  (1:49 PM)

Only if you give me lots of money...No, of course not. But nice try! Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Wait one more...

Shane (Montreal)

What's the difference between Hawks/Magic this year vs last. I can't figure out how the Hawks turned it around.

mike wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

The difference isn't the Hawks, really, although Larry Drew has done a really nice job strategically, I think...The difference is Orlando is a shell of the team it was two years ago. Turkoglu dropped off the face of the earth. The Magic made a trade, necessarily, and it didn't yield any championship-caliber players. It's D-Howard and a bunch of guys, and the best of those guys, J.J. Reddick, has been injured.

Nick (New York)

Talk me off the ledge. Sincerely, every Mavs fan who has seen this movie before

mike wilbon
  (1:52 PM)

i know, I know...three first-round losses in four years and the list could grow. Do they need a nasty guy? Are they too nice? Something's missing, seriously. I like Dirk, love him actually. He's a great, great player...but the Mavs HAVE to win Game 5. Have to...or you'll be stuck in re-run hell...Okay, bye everybody...Have fun watching the playoffs this week. I will. See you next week...MW

Paul (London)

Isn't the 'franchise tag' a restriction regarding freedom of labour? How is that legal?

mike wilbon
  (1:53 PM)

Anything's legal (almost) if collectively bargained. You take the courts out of play if both management and labor agree to terms. This is how the NFL keeps kids out of its league until they've done three years of college...It was collectively bargained.

Miss Naggins (Omaha)

What is your typing speed?

mike wilbon
  (1:54 PM)

Used to be 66 words per minute when I was younger, but not now...Too many mistakes...Maybe 40 words a minute...maybe more. I should take the typing test again that I took in high school...seriously, got to 66 words per minute then. I had a future as a secretary!