Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 12, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wallace

EJ (Seattle, WA)

Any potential buyout guys or cheap trade targets the Lakers could possibly add to improve their bench at least even a little bit?

Michael Wallace
  (2:08 PM)

Thanks for joining me for the start of another season of NBA weekly chats. Let's get right to the questions. There are still a couple of productive guys available who are awaiting calls from NBA teams. Kenyon Martin and Derek Fisher are names that quickly come to mind among proven veterans looking for NBA work.

JJ (Florida)

Next Top tier player in the move? (Deng?) & will Pat go for a big soon??

Michael Wallace
  (2:11 PM)

Chicago's moves will depend on how much they believe Derrick Rose will be able to come back this season. If they start selling off key parts, then you know a complete rebound and overhaul are looming. Something has always told me the Knicks and Bulls would someday swap their biggest and otherwise most immovable parts in Carlos Boozer and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

How has Jonas Valanciunas performed compared to your preseason expectations? Alot of fellow raptor fans have been predicting ROY's for JV but I think they're sipping too much Lithuanian Kool-aid at the moment.

Michael Wallace
  (2:16 PM)

As expected, he's having an up-and-down start to the season. It's difficult for bigs to adjust to the speed of the NBA game in their first year, so we're seeing that play out in Toronto. But what also concerns me is his 44-percent shooting from the field for a center, even an non-traditional one. I can think of about a dozen other guys who will get rookie of the year consideration ahead of JV right now. But the season's still young.

Omarvls (North Hollywood, CA)

Michael, Why o Why won't Miami play J.HerrellsonHe's basically a younger/bigger/ U.D who can spread the floor with 3point shooting and plays good defence?

Michael Wallace
  (2:19 PM)

Harrellson plays hard in his limited minutes in Miami. But he's behind not only Haslem but also Rashard Lewis in the rotation among reserves. Right now, Harrellson is a "break-glass-in-case-of-emergency" option for Miami. But that could change if guys ahead of him have prolonged struggles. His versatility makes him a fit for the roster, but there's just not enough minutes to go around.

Josh Morgan Elkhart,IN [via mobile]

I wonder if the Lakers will do better without Phil Jackson?

Michael Wallace
  (2:22 PM)

Perhaps they thought that when they hired Mike Brown. See how that worked out? If at least part of the published reports were true regarding the failed negotiations, I think Jackson truly overplayed his hand with the Lakers, banking on the fact that they would be desperate and that Kobe would pressure the brass to re-hire him. I also think the Lakers front-office, at least a member or two, were thrilled to flirt, then slam the door in Phil's face at bit.

Ron (OH)

Michael, what are your thoughts on the Cavs' young backcourt so far? I know it's still early, but do you see the potential for Kyrie and Dion to perhaps be considered the best backcourt in the NBA within the next few years?

Michael Wallace
  (2:39 PM)

I absolutely love that Irving-Waiters backcourt. There's so much potential there. I know Memphis was hoping they'd get a similar look from the Conley-Mayo duo a couple of years ago. But going that young at the guard spot didn't work out quite as well there. This Cavaliers team has tremendous upside, and all they need is to get some of those young guys some confidence and experience.

Robbie (Memphis)

What are yours thoughts on the Memphis Grizzlies and do you think they can keep this team together all season long or is the luxury tax going to bring changes?

Michael Wallace
  (2:41 PM)

I answered a similar question earlier. But the truth is we really don't know what this new ownership group is committed to at this point. The Grizzlies are a team on the rise and in position to take advantage of a retooling OKC team, an aging Spurs team and a couple of L.A. teams that always seem to be battling injuries or chemistry issues. If you're Memphis, there's really no reason to go cheap now. It costs money - luxury tax money - to seriously win and contend in this league.

Vinnie (ATL)

The Lakers biggest need is an athletic wing. How about a Pau Gasol for Josh Smith trade? Who says no?

Michael Wallace
  (2:44 PM)

I got this same kind of question last year. I think the Hawks would love to make this move, because I don't see Danny Ferry offering up max or near-max money to Smith after this season. But I can see the Lakers being hesitant, although it might appease Dwight Howard to have one of his childhood rivals and friends on board as his own extension possibility looms.

Montise (Chicago)

Besides James and Durant who is the best player in the NBA?

Michael Wallace
  (2:45 PM)

I grow more and more impressed with Chris Paul by the day. I think he makes a very strong case for being the third-best player in the league. I've got him as my MVP frontrunner.

Adam (manhattan, NY)

Will someone, anyone, come out and openly admit that "positionless basketball" is only good if you have LeBron James on your team??

Michael Wallace
  (2:48 PM)

The "positionless basketball" tag is a classic Spo-ism. But you can call it whatever you want when LeBron James is capable of playing every position on the court in that system. The question is how long Miami will be able to get away with being so small at power forward and center on the defensive end of the court? It worked late in the postseason a year ago as a key adjustment. But can it endure an entire regular season?

JR (Atlanta)

I love the D'Antoni hire for the Lakers, just like I loved the Harden trade to Houston. As a Heat fan, I just saw the two biggest threats to our repeat title weakened with these respective moves. Now if we could just get Duncan and Garnett to remember they are 90 years old, we will be in great shape!

Michael Wallace
  (2:51 PM)

I wouldn't overstate the Harden trade or D'Antoni's hiring having too great an impact on the Heat. There are so many things that can happen between now and June. By then, OKC will adjust and still have an elite scorer coming off the bench in Kevin Martin. And the D'Antoni hiring might have the opposite affect on the Lakers and make the players truly hold themselves accountable, because now there's no one else to blame if this blows up in L.A.

Christian (Texas)

With the way the Clippers been playing as of late, is this a team to look out for as potential NBA Finals contenders come the playoffs?

Michael Wallace
  (3:00 PM)

They have the superstar playmaker and leader in Chris Paul. They have the deepest and most explosive bench in the league, arguably. They also have a frontcourt that can stand up to any in the NBA. But all that said, I'm still not sure I can trust Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to stay out of foul trouble and/or hit big free throws with the game on the line. The Clippers are a legit contender, though, as long as the ball is in CP3's hands and he's healthy.

Brian (NC)

If Amare shows he's recovered from his injury could you see the Lakers swapping Gasol for him later on this season.

Michael Wallace
  (3:02 PM)

Absolutely not. The Lakers would have to be completely out of their minds to take on that much salary in Stoudemire's remaining deal at a time when they're trying to also lock up Dwight Howard for the long haul. I'm positive that's one player-coach reunion that won't happen.

Terrell (South Carolina)

What's up with my pacers, they are struggling! Think we'll be a top 4 eastern conference team?

Michael Wallace
  (3:05 PM)

I loved the way the Pacers finished the season and played in the playoffs for the most part. I even liked the offseason moves they made to sure up their roster at the point guard spot. But it hurt to lose Danny Granger to the knee injury so early in the season. And it appears they're taking a step back defensively as well. Indy is underachieving quite a bit right now, but it's early. Give them 20 or 25 games to get on track and healthy.

Michael Wallace
  (3:06 PM)

Thanks again for joining me for this week's chat, my first of the season. I look forward to being back next week at this same time and in this same place. Until then, peace.MW