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March 4, 1:45 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

Buzzmaster
  (1:05 PM)

Hey everyone, Mike will be here at 1:45 p.m. ET to take your questions!

mike wilbon
  (1:54 PM)

March Madness Baby! We're here, perhaps my favorite month of the year...So we'll do mostly basketball-related stuff, I'm sure...here we go!

Robert (DC)

Are you buying Duke as the favorite to win it all now if Ryan Kelly can maintain his condtioning after being out so long and continues to provide his steady performance for the Devils the remainder of the season?

mike wilbon
  (1:57 PM)

I'm not buying anybody as the favorite, nobody. About 10 days ago TK said on PTI that Indiana, if they beat Michigan State in East Lansing, would be the favorite going into the tournament and I told him that was insane because there are 10 evenly matched teams, it seems to me, and another 10 that could beat the top 10...Kelly certainly helps Duke's chances. He's 6-9 or so, I'm told today (not the listed 6-11) but I had no idea he was that big. But the presence of a single player this season could really swing things. Duke, to me, is as good as anybody, and by anybody I mean Indiana, Kansas, Gonzaga, Michigan, Michigan State, Floridam, etc...

MVP (Miami)

What do you think about the LeBron James Performance this year??

mike wilbon
  (2:02 PM)

He's having an all-time great season! Is there any other opinion to have? He's led his team to 14 straight victories and they're defending their championship in the manner and style you'd hope to see. The Heat isn't a historically great team, but perhaps that's the next step for them if they win a second title this year. And LeBron is at the core of that. He's playing as high a level of basketball as anybody could reasonably expect...It's not going to be one of the great statistical seasons, because Oscar averaged a triple-double in 1962 and Wilt averaged 50 points a game the same season. But in terms of impact, there's no other opinion to have other than that LeBron James is having a great, great, great season...

Billy (Big Apple)

Looking back, do you think OKC should have kept Harden this year so they could have tried one last time with their big 3 and then looked to trade him in the offseason or did they do the right thing?

mike wilbon
  (2:08 PM)

Yes, OKC should have kept Harden. Good question...and there's only one correct answer. I totally understand it was a financial move because a small-market franchise like OKC simply cannot afford to have three max-salaried players. Get it. They were going to have to trade Harden...but they didn't have to trade him this season. They could have tried to win the championship this season and traded him in the summer. They gambled, made a really good deal for Kevin Martin...and it's turning out to be risky. They're going to have a harder time beating the Spurs without Harden than they would have had with him...BUT, if OKC wins the West again, they can say to everybody second-guessing them, "Shut up already!" If they win the West it will have worked to a great degree...But it's hard to not think of what might have happened had they kept Harden. Would Miami really be the favorite at this point?

Joe (NYC)

Bigger black eye for LeBron: The Decision or not accepting Magic's offer and donating the money to charity?

mike wilbon
  (2:10 PM)

LeBron has plenty of time to accept Magic's offer--of $1 million to charity--but if he doesn't, fine. LeBron can decide whatever he wants, and he gives plenty of $$$ to charity...And if YOUR concern is charity than it sounds like you better figure into your critique of "The Decision" all the money LeBron raised for Boys and Girls Clubs of America...It was at the very least hundreds of thousands...and very possibly millions. So how bad from a charitable standpoint could it have been?

Andrew (DC)

Have the Heat and OKC clearly seperated themselves after yesterday? Are we wtill holding out for the Spurs after Parker gets back? Can Kobe really sustain this turn back the clock campaign?

mike wilbon
  (2:13 PM)

Clearly Miami has separated itself from the pack in the Eastern Conference...OKC? I'm not sure yet. I gotta see San Antonio in the middle of April. If Tony Parker comes back strong--and he was in the best groove of anybody not named LeBron the last month--then I think the Spurs are right there with OKC...The Pacers are the only team in the East that has even a remote chance, and I'm talking 5 percent, of beating Miami...I give the Spurs a much greater chance than that of beating the Thunder if everybody is healthy...

Matt Hardman (Riverside, CA)

Wilbon, what a streak your Blackhawks have been on. Do you think they can keep the streak up and who do you see as their toughest competition coming out of the West will be? I am a huge Ducks fan and would love to see a Hawks-Ducks matchup for the Western Conference Championship.

mike wilbon
  (2:24 PM)

It's a phenomenal streak...I wonder if it's going to be a below average team, like Columbus, that winds up ending the Blackhawks streak. The Blackhawks now play a bunch of sub-standard teams and could really run up the streak. Look, as Barry Melrose said on PTI the other day, the NHL is really fortunate to have a big-market, original 6 team with stars (Hossa, Kane, Sharp, Toews) doing something historic at the start of a lock-out shortened season. Big deal for the NHL. When does it become a national sports story instead of a nice hockey story? I don't know...at 28 or 29, maybe, if the Blackhawks can get it that far...BUT, remember No. 1 seeds in the NHL--and the Blackhawks have been that a few times, at least No. 1 in the Western Conference--often lose early in the playoffs. I'd like to see Hawks-Red Wings because I'm a Chicago boy who believes the Red Wings are the gold standard...and I'd like to see the Blackhawks go through them. To a Chicagoan its like the fantasy of the Cubs beating the Cardinals or the Bears beating the Packers or Bulls beating the Pistons inthe 1990s...That win in Detroit yesterday, 2-1 in a shootout, has to be the most satisfying of all the results this season...

Brian (New Orleans)

Reports are that Bynum may have season-ending surgery. If he does, plays 0 games for the Sixers this season, and leaves via free agency in the summer would you say this is one of the worst trades in NBA history?

mike wilbon
  (2:33 PM)

GREAT question...and yes it would probably be the among the top 10 worst trades EVER. The 76ers gave up Iguodala, a first-round pick, Vucevic who is a GREAT young rebounder (7th in the NBA right now)...Goodness, and how do you justify paying this guy tens of millions of dollars per year! If Bynum doesn't play in the all-important season leading up to his own free agency, how you gonna trust him to pay once you've given him the big money? Wow, what a waste...It's not going to end well for my friend Doug Collins, and a Sixers team that made the playoffs last year and was looking to build on that success...

dylan smetzer (ohio )

how many years till the caves are championship contenders

mike wilbon
  (2:34 PM)

How many years 'til they put LeBron James on the floor with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters?

Matt (Mpls, MN)

Hi Michael,Who is your sleeper in the West? I would not want to play Denver in a 2nd round series if I'm San Antonio or OKC.

mike wilbon
  (2:39 PM)

You nailed it. It's Denver. They are big, fast, strong, deep and force the pace of the game...and they're so well coached...I WANT to see how the Nuggets fare against the Spurs or OKC in a 7-game series. I don't expect them to win such a series, but I expect it to be entertaining as hell...

Deven (New York, NY)

I think Earvin should offer Lebron 1 billion dollars and then he'll most definitely be in the dunk contest. You agree?

mike wilbon
  (2:41 PM)

LeBron doesn't need a billion dollars. But let me say this: There's almost nothing legal I wouldn't do for a billion dollars...almost nothing...

Tom (Chicago)

Why do so many people make a big deal out of LeBron in the dunk contest? It's a meaningless exhibition that's lost its luster. The pre-game thing is fun for him, so let him enjoy it.

mike wilbon
  (2:44 PM)

But the entire reason it's become meaningless is that the greatest stars are no longer in it...BUT they used to be. You think it was meaningless when jordan and Dominique were in it? When Julius Erving was in it? That's the point. It has meaning when the greatest stars are part of the All-Star weekend...

Bob (IN)

I think they can give LeBron the MVP trophy now.

mike wilbon
  (2:45 PM)

Me too...Who doesn't.

David (NY)

What do you foresee happening on 2013-2014 when JLin and Omer Asik both hit their poison pill years? Will we see them restructure to stay on a contender, or are the Rockets going to have to part with one?

mike wilbon
  (2:50 PM)

Well, somebody a lot smarter than I am (D. Morey, Northwestern's own, Rockets GM) will figure that out. And in the meantime, look what he's done to make the Rockets, probably, a playoff team...Morey, as opposed to OKC, went for the now and will figure the rest out later. OKC didn't. Of course, the Rockets aren't OKC in any shape or form, but they're going for it now, and I'm sure have a plan for what to do with the luxury tax.

Brett (Missouri)

Do you have any smaller programs you're going to be watching this month? Seems like this is the year where multiple teams out of the MWC, OVC, A10, etc. could make some noise.

mike wilbon
  (2:51 PM)

Virginia Commonwealth...Yes, again. But can you be Cinderella twice? Shaka Smart is one helluva coach. I'll ride with VCU for awhile.

drake (toronto)

Am I the only person who thinks Josh Smith is over rated and does not deserve a max contract@

mike wilbon
  (2:52 PM)

There's at least two of us!

ZR (Long Island)

Any thoughts on this bizarre Rodman/North Korea story?

mike wilbon
  (2:57 PM)

not really. Using sports as a diplomatic effort isn't new, but its certainly crazy when Rodman is part of it...I don't know why it seems like the news community, ABC News included, seemed to think Rodman was worth putting on television and answering questions about North Korea and Kim Jung Un in some coherent way...because he ISN'T and everybody in sports already knows that...The notion that Rodman could speak for anybody else or comprehend what North Korea and Kim Jung Un are involved in or potentially involved in...I mean, seriously, Dennis Rodman?

MICHAEL (NYC)

Can you see the Knicks as 1 and done in the playoffs? Who would be a candidate to replace Woody?

mike wilbon
  (3:01 PM)

Well, the Knicks could finish 4th and get ATL in the playoffs and lose such a matchup...Or the Bulls in the playoffs and lose a series to them. Yeah, I don't think much of the way the Knicks play in the context of playoff style basketball...They got off to that great start but it was largely predicated on three-point shooting, which is always risky...They also played better defense the first third of the season...I think the Knicks could also be the team that has the old guy stars to beat Indy in the second round because something just seems to be missing with the Pacers, who appear to have the talent to beat everybody in the East EXCEPT Miami...

Eric (Chicago) [via mobile]

Kyrie Irving back in the lineup tonight. Do the Cavs beat up a Knicks team that is reeling after a tough loss yesterday?

mike wilbon
  (3:02 PM)

Wow, good question to start a ballnight! Where is that game, NYC or Cleveland? If it's in Cleveland, I think it could be a Cavs night with Kyrie back in the lineup...

mike wilbon
  (3:02 PM)

okay, gotta run to prepare for PTI...thanks for chatting everybody! And see you next week...MW