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December 4, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wallace

Michael Wallace
  (2:00 PM)

Thanks for joining me for another week of NBA chatting. Coming to you live from Washington, D.C. in advance of tonight's showdown between the Beast (Heat) and Least (Wizards) of the East. Let's get right to your takes.

mike (queens)

Any trade or free agent scenarios you could see the heat involved in in order to help with their defense and rebounding?

Michael Wallace
  (2:03 PM)

Nothing brewing on the Heat trade front, as far as I know. With Pat Riley at the helm, that could always change in an instant. But the bottom line is that this team doesn't feel that there's a lack of personnel when it comes to some of the defensive and rebounding issues. It's about effort and execution and more consistency. When you step back and realize that Miami has the best record in the East and is relatively healthy, there's really not much reason to nit-pick to any length in December.

Mark (Ottawa (Canada))

Any takers for Bargnani? Hearing lots of Calderon + Bargs for Pau D.Miller. Is there ANY chance of this happening? Maybe even a third team (most likely a contender) to take Pau, with a prospect/1st round pick going back to Toronto?

Michael Wallace
  (2:19 PM)

Sorry for the delay with the answers. Having a few technical glitches. But as I tried to say before, Gasol has survived - and endured - so many attempted trades and trade rumors that I won't believe he's outta L.A. until I see him suit up on another team's uniform. Of all the rumored deals that have been out there, the one I like best for all sides involved was the potential Gasol for Josh Smith deal with Atlanta. But I'm not sure how far those talks got, if they even got off the ground at all.

Cait (Indy)

What do you make of the Pacers' early season troubles? Is it due to Danny Granger's injury, newly constructed second unit, Collison/Ian trade, etc?

Michael Wallace
  (2:31 PM)

Honestly, I'm surprised that Danny Granger's injury has had this much of an impact on the Pacers. It's not that I didn't think Danny was vital to this team. It's just that I figured Paul George and Roy Hibbert were finally ready to deliver their breakthrough seasons, collectively. This season is more about those two taking the next step than it is about Granger or David West being the go-to guys. At the end of the day, I still think the Pacers will get it together and be a top-four team in the East.

Amro (Qatar)

Hey Michael! Who do you think might be the most improved player this year?

Michael Wallace
  (2:33 PM)

Each week, a new guy creeps up to the top of my list in this department. I'm certainly impressed with the way Anderson Varejao is playing right now. I also think Jrue Holiday is deeply in the mix. And don't count out Larry Sanders for the Milwuakee Bucks - provided he keeps his temper in check.

jim trevethan (solon ohio)

At work and had larry nance playing golf here and we were discussing how bad pau gasol is being used. Larry said he would take Pau in a heartbeat. What's your take.

Michael Wallace
  (2:34 PM)

I still see plenty of value in Gasol. I still think the best place he belongs is on the Lakers roster when - or, possibly if - Steve Nash gets healthy and provides some air traffic control to that offense.

TJ (WA)

Do you think the Heat will make the finals the season? This will be their first year together where the East will actually be a gauntlet to get through, with the Knicks, and Nets being difficult match ups.

Michael Wallace
  (2:36 PM)

The East is improved at the top. And if Derrick Rose gets healthy this season, I'm sure no top-3 seed would want to see a Bulls team in the first round of the playoffs. But the Heat are clearly the cream of this crop when healthy. The gap between first and second is the one that has opened significantly. The rest of the East is bunched up between the No. 2 and No. 6 seeds.

Dave (Orlando, FL)

What's the latest on Battier?

Michael Wallace
  (2:44 PM)

Battier didn't practice today, but he has increased the intensity of his rehab from the sprained right MCL. He worked out on the side with Heat assistant Keith Askins after today's shootaround in Washington. He still seems like he's about a week away from playing, but it could be sooner.

Suns Fan (from the land of the setting Sun)

Isnt it time for Alvin Gentry to get fired??? Even dating back to last year he is clueless on how to use a rotation properly as well as how to give his starters steady starters minutes. Wouldnt u say his minute distribution is way to inconsistent?Also why send Kendall Marshall to the D-League just to throw Diante Garret on the active roster? A step up to help the team............ I THINK NOT!

Michael Wallace
  (2:45 PM)

I wouldn't put this all on Gentry. He also hasn't been given the same roster to work with over consecutive seasons in quite a few years there. Perhaps the Suns need a new voice and direction. But there have been too many moving parts for anyone to get much accomplished there.

Jacob vt [via mobile]

If lakers dont do as well as projected early will howard stick around

Michael Wallace
  (2:46 PM)

If the Lakers don't do well as expected, Howard will be a big part of the reason why. He no longer has the luxury of looking around and pointing the figure at a lack of personnel the way he sometimes could do in Orlando.

Will (South Beach)

hi Michael, Is it fair to say Bosh is the Heat 2nd best player?

Michael Wallace
  (2:47 PM)

No. That's still Dwyane Wade. That may not be the case two years from now - or even a year from now. But Wade is the Heat's second-best player.

CEDRICH Benton Harbor MI [via mobile]

what people arent realizing why popovich is wrong is that everybody knows that the NBA has an 82 game schedule if youre to old to compete for 82 games then its time to retire. you cant change the rules Greg Popovich or anybody else for that matter either play or get out of the league and start your own league with your own rules with 20 games. but the NBA was playing 82 games before popovich and they'll be playing 82 games when he's gone. popovich or anybody else is bigger than the league players used to play hurt getting paid chump change now millionaires need rest. and im relevant because ive played professionally in europe and the middle east. Peace

Michael Wallace
  (2:49 PM)

No one plays 82 games these days anymore. The issue with Popovich was that he chose to sit all three of his main guys out on a night when the Spurs and the Heat were the league's showcase game. This was akin to a parent getting tough on their kids when they act out in the grocery store out of sheer embarrassment but allowing them to run over them every day of the week at home behind closed doors.

Buffy Tuffy (St Louis)

Given how Beasley has struggled this season despite all the talent he has, do you believe he can turn his career around and become a useful player on a contender? It would be such a shame if he doesnt live up to his clearly visible talent.

Michael Wallace
  (3:02 PM)

I really like Beasley and believe he's got unlimited offensive potential. But he better get his game going quickly. At this rate, he's got Marvin Williams written all over him.

Michael Wallace
  (3:03 PM)

Hey folks, that's my time for today. I've got to get ready to get down to the Verizon Center for tonight's game. I apologize for the glitches today, but thanks for hanging in there with me. We'll get a lot more questions answered next Monday at our regular time. Take care, and, until then, peace. MW