Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the sports world.
Wilbon, a longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the popular weekday sports debate and discussion program, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC, in addition to writing for ESPNChicago.com. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.
Send your questions now and join Wilbon Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Where will Dwight Howard end up? All of New Jersey's trade assets keep getting hurt and the Lakers/Clippers look more and more likely that they won't happen. Chicago doesn't have the trade pieces. Who does that leave?
mike wilbon (1:12 PM)
Hello Everybody! Happy Monday, if there is such a thing...I'm just returning from Los Angeles and studio duty this weekend on the ABC and ESPN NBA telecasts, and with the NFK on hiatus we'll jump right into basketball and I'm sure get to some Tiger Woods...The Dwight Howard thing needs to be resolved, sooner rather than later, at least for the sake of the Magic, which has crashed to the floor and cannot get up...Just like the Nuggets last year, this thing has taken a huge toll on team which hasn't been competitive in four of its last five games, maybe five of six...Lost by 20 AT HOME yesterday to Indy...Otis Smith, the Orlando GM, needs to either declare Dwight will stay or make a deal...It hasn't determined where he'll end up. I do NOT think it'll be Chicago. It's not the Bulls' kind of move. Where in the history of that club has that kind of trade happened? ...
mike wilbon (1:16 PM)
more Dwight...I really wouldn't want to trade Gasol and Bynum to ORL if I'm the Lakers, but might have to as much for the future of the franchise as the present. L.A. has to have a big talent around which to build, and that could be Howard...Also, perhaps Kobe and Howard play well together, though I'm not over-the-top confident about that...The Clippers don't have the pieces. I'm NOT trading Blake Griffin for Howard, no chance. They're similar in a lot of respects, though Howard is a much better defender, obviously, than Blake...The Knicks talk of Tyson Chandler and Amare is interesting, though Amare's knees are the talk of the front office people around the league...If ORL can get the Lakers to part with Gasol and Bynum, it seems to be the way this thing is going...I just don't see the Bulls, especially not after playing even with the Heat in Miami without Luol Deng and CJ Watson and Rip Hamilton on one leg, trading for Howard...Can't see it. But D12 needs to go somewhere, or be taken off the market completely if Orlando has any chance of doing anything meaningful this season.
If the bulls had Deng, would they have won?
mike wilbon (1:18 PM)
Who knows. The Bulls have to think they could have. I'd suggest if they'd had C.J. Watson yesterday the outcome might have been different, simply because D. Rose wouldn't have had to play 44 minutes, which this season simply won't fly. You can make the case, obviously, that Rose and LeBron choked on those FTs at the end of the game--last 2 MVPs bricking 2 in a pressure situation like that--but you could also make the case Rose, at least, was dead tired. 44 minutes with this compressed sked! Watson missed the game, as well as Deng. But Magic and Jon Barry both made the case that they think the Bulls should feel pretty darn good about nearly stealing a game from the Heat in Miami without Deng, the team's second-best player and best all-court defender.
What do you think of the Bears new hire for GM
mike wilbon (1:22 PM)
He certainly comes with qualifications, with a packed resume, and with working knowledge of the club he'll be running. Don't know if that means he's going to be the next Jim Finks or Jerry Vanisi, but it's hard to argue against him. I'm not one for hiring famous people because they're famous...I don't care to see clubs employ Fantasy Football in real life. The Washington Redskins have been playing that game for a dozen years and look where it's gotten them. People pop up all the time, at various places around various leagues that you've never heard of and wind up being great at their jobs. Theo Epstein in the early 2000s comes to mind. Who had heard of him when the Red Sox hired him? nobody. Now, of course, the Cubs hiring Epstein at this point of his career has led a whole lot of folks to think the Bears should have hired some celebrity equivalent of Theo...I'm just not of that school of thought. Just because we can't judge the hire definitively today, his first week on the job, doesn't mean it isn't a good one. It certainly could very well be a great one.
I understand the jury is still out on the Sixers.. but if they are still in the Atlantic Division lead after February, we can call them an upper echelon team, right?
mike wilbon (1:25 PM)
The 76ers are that now, right now. I think they're going to win the Atlantic Division. Every time the Celtics take two steps forward they then take one back, like yesterday losing at home to the Cavaliers (though improved)...Boston had won 4 straight and presumably were going to make it five but couldn't handle Kyrie Irving, who is staging some duel with Ricky Rubio for rookie of the year...Anyway, we had Doug Collins on PTI Friday and he was great talking about his star-less team. Philly might not have an All-Star (Jrue Holiday qualifies for me but probably won't actually make it). It's a team he loves coaching, which is never out of games, which plays terrific defense...Philly ought to enter the playoffs as a 3rd seed...That's upper echelon by any definition.
tony (Boynton beach, fl)
Are all the people on the rubio bandwagon going to finally jump off and realize who the best rookie by far has been, Mr. Kyrie Irving
mike wilbon (1:27 PM)
Slow your roll, Doggie. Nothing in the NBA is happening "by far" these days...Irving has been terrific. So has Rubio...Their teams have about the same record. Both are likely to miss the playoffs. Both kids have BIG impacts on the game and have improved their teams greatly. Rubio is more entertaining than Irving, but Irving is a bigger threat to win games himself (like yesterday in Boston)...This is the age of overstatement. Nothing is "by far." It's a horse race to me (Magic and JB, who played about 27 years worth of NBA basketball, and both in the backcourt) say Irving, but it's close.
Bobby (Washington, DC)
What do you take from the Bulls loss without Deng and CJ Watson
mike wilbon (1:29 PM)
That the Bulls are right there with Miami and OKC in a three-team race for being the best team in the regular season. But what will you want to conclude if without those same players (and maybe without Rip Hamilton) the Bulls lose to the Wizards tonight here in Washington...which I think could happen. There are "Ls" that are almost scheduled in the NBA. This could be one of them, and if the Bulls were to lose to the Wizards you know what it would mean? Not a damn thing.
Brent (Bakersfield, CA)
Do you think Tiger will be in the final group on Sunday at least once in a major this year? It seems if he can get his putting on track, he has a shot to be competitive. You just don't want to see him missing the cut in a bunch of tournaments.
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
The question, to me, about Tiger is bigger picture than that: What's his upside now? How good can he be? 2000 good, which is to say beyond great? Doubt it. Six-wins-in-a-year-good? Doubt that, too. Three or four wins? Maybe. But he's gotta win one, first. Very, very few competitors in any sport ever get BACK to the top of the mountain. I hope he makes it...But we can't presume it; it has to actually HAPPEN...and we don't know from the results we've seen yet whether he can put it all together. This is better than anything we've seen from Tiger in the last 3-plus years, but is it "back." No, to me "back" means winning.
Mike-if the Bulls get Dwight Howard would they win the title easily? Can his presence in the middle hurt Derrick Rose's effectiveness?
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
No. Nobody wins championships "easily." No. I'm not even sure I would make the deal. The Bulls have been carefully constructed and it seems to me--and yesterday's game in Miami would confirm, I think--that the Bulls are right there with Miami and OKC, as I said a couple of questions ago...Trade Dwight Howard and pair him with Rose this year, without any camp or run-up, and you expect the two of them to have any kind of on-court relationship, or understand how to play with one another. That seems insane, to me. Look, it could work in the long run if Howard came to the Bulls...But in the short run? It would almost guarantee, to me, the Bulls would not win this year...The playoffs start in, like, 80 days...in no time at all.
Matt (St. Paul)
I apologize for the length of this question...but in regards to the Kevin Love contract, I believe the T'wolves did a decent job. Love is not a prototypical "max" guy...but he is someone they NEEDED to sign. Considering Kahn has not one, not two, but three potential "max" guys in Love, Rubio, and Williams coming down the pike in three years, he really needed to hold onto that designation. Not only that, but if Love feels at all "jilted" by not getting the 5th year in the contract, that leaves him hungry and wanting to continue to perform at a high level to earn that max contract in 3 or 4 years when he will be in the prime of his career. All in all, I think Kahn did a good job (not often I say that) in providing Minny fans a very entertaining product in the next few years. Thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
You make the case, very persuasively I might add, that David Kahn would have made had he been writing that position. I get it, totally. Kahn, as GM, has to protect assets and an interest in the team that the coach may not agree with. GMs are charged with looking toward the future and overall health of the franchise...In that regard, Kahn took the safe course. Thing is, I think Love IS a max player. Rubio could be, but we don't know that yet...Yes, it's a projection and maybe Kahn feels Rubio--and point guards are more important than power forwards the way the game is played today--is the greater asset. It's a gamble, though. You think Love won't have suitors in three years, in the prime of his career? Teams like the Celtics and Suns, who pluck guys away--oh, and the Lakers--could line it up to have cap room just as Love coms to his option year. Then what? I know, there are no easy or sure answers here...I'd have gone the other way and locked him up...
Dwight always seems like such a good guy but does he not see that all of the trade talk and calling his team out is having such a negative impact on the Magic?
mike wilbon (1:39 PM)
He SHOULD call his team out...The stink and gave less than max effort and it's his JOB to call his teammates out. Now, if he doesn't think the trade stuff has something to do with all this he'd be naive...I like Dwight a lot, but I also think he is naive about this. All he has to do is talk with Carmelo Anthony's teammates about how difficult this sort of thing is.
Do you and Tony get along off the set?
mike wilbon (1:40 PM)
You must be just tuning in...We'b been friends 30 years, Dude. And you're from D.C. Did you just get here?
I heard you and Magic walking about the top 5 in the East and Magic said the Pacers were #3. I would like to know what you think about them and their chances of messing up a Bulls Heat ECF
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
Great question! The issue, to me, is whether it is Philly or Indy that is more likely to upset the Bulls or Heat in the playoffs, and I think it's Indy...They've got size all over the court from Hibbert to George. They've got depth. They've got a crazy man coming off the bench who can do that one valuable thing (score) in Tyler H. I like the coach. They've got the experience of playing Chicago tough in the playoffs last year. They can defend...They don't have a star player to navigate them, that's the one thing that club is missing. Boy, would Eric Gordon be a great fit there if Hornets GM David Stern doesn't mandate what he should do with the next five years of his life...
Hey Mike, any chance of you battling Skip Bayless on First Take?
mike wilbon (1:44 PM)
I don't think about it. Why would I? I have a show every day at 5:30 eastern...You think this is like Roller Derby in the 70s where somebody shouts "MATCH!" and I run up to Bristol to sit with Skip Bayless and a steel cage? What?
Man is Otis Smith a terrible GM.
mike wilbon (1:45 PM)
Ah, yes, it's pretty easy to make that case, isn't it? Let Turkoglu go when he was the (sorry for this) glue for that team...Traded for Arenas...I won't go through the list. it's long...and not good either.
While I do agree that the Bulls trading for Howard may very well hurt their chances to win a title this season, I think you still do it anyway. Not only would they remain competitive this year and could very well pull off a championship run, the move sets them up to be a top tier team for 4-5 years. As a business, which the Bulls are, that's a risk worth taking.
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
The Bulls are in their second year of being a top-tier team now. What are you talking about? Like they're not going to be a top team the next two years, which would make four! I'm not going to say trading FOR Howard would be a bad thing, long term. I'm just not sure it's automatically the best thing, as seems to be the presumption.
The fact is, Tiger isn't at the top of the golf game anymore, and he probably won't ever be. People need to realize this. The chances that Tiger is never a the #1 golfer in the world are much higher than the chances he will be the #1 golfer in the world. Remember David Duvall? Guy was crazy good, then fell off the cliff. Tiger has fallen off the cliff.
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
I think you might have overstated it juuuuuuust a little...but I hear you loud and clear. I'm closer to your position than the "HE's BAAACK' sort of cheerleading I hear out there. Wishing ain't gonna make it so...I think you make a very, very valid point. If he does make it all the way back, it's one of the great comeback stories...it begins to take on Ali-like tones, the athletic stuff, not the cultural elements.
What are your thoughts on the Pro-Bowl? It seems like this is becoming a joke and the NFL needs to do something about it.
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
I hear something like 8 million people watched the Pro Bowl last night. That makes it just the opposite of a joke. You know how many things get a 7.9 on cable television? Almost nothing. NFL games, that's it, and some conference finals games. I mean, that's a HUGE audience. Having said that, I wouldn't watch a Pro Bowl game if somebody dumped a pile of cash at my door. It's worthless as a competition, worthless. But people in America will watch ANYTHING football, as the ratings for the Pro Bowl prove annually.
Mike what do you think of the Lakers going for Agent 0? Also what other moves do you see comming for the Lakers and Celtics before the deadline?
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
Doesn't it smack of desperation? I know the Lakers need help, but Arenas doesn't seem to be able to play anymore. None of the explosion he used to have, which fueled his game...I don't see how he helps them, other than log minutes. He's fallen off the table like nobody else in the NBA the last four years.
After reading Howard once again talk about wanting to play for another team in Chicago, i feel like fans are getting annoyed with him even though 12 months ago he was loved by everyone, do you feel like hes venturing into Lebron/Melo territory?
mike wilbon (1:53 PM)
Damon (Santa Cruz)
Enough with the Bulls questions! Are the Utah Jazz contenders or pretenders? If the latter, what do they need to be a legit threat?
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
It's too early to tell about the Jazz. EVERYBODY and anybody can be a contender out west. Look at how bunched the teams are in the standings. If you mean a contender to WIN the West, I'd say no. Make the playoffs? Yeah, sure. But let's see what happens when they play the contenders, East and West, over the course of the next month...
i thought Chi would have signed crawford before the season now if Portland looks like there out of playoffs any chance Chi tries to get him think he would be exactly what they need off the bench create his own shot, dribble and shoot and yes def is a question but with booz, korver it is also and we seem to do ok
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)
I know Jamal was interested in Chicago, but I don't know that the Bulls were interested in him...But why would Portland, which has its own aspirations, give Crawford to the Bulls? How does that help Portland?
Robbie Thomas (Minnesota)
Now that the Timberwolves have signed love and have rubio for four more years, do you think its a realistic possibility we could sign a top flight free agent like a dwight howard?
mike wilbon (1:57 PM)
Ah...no. What have you heard from D-Howard that would suggest he'd want to go to Minnesota, when he's already hinted chicago is too cold and not not glam enough? And for all the people who think the Nets have to be his destination, tell me this: what are the Nets going to trade to get him? Who? What assets? I guess they could get a third team involved, but what, an injured Brook Lopez?
mike wilbon (1:58 PM)
I guess Howard could simply wait and go there as a free agent and take LESS money, but how likely is that? The Nets are in a real precarious situation, it seems to me...Without Howard, how likely is Deron Williams to stay?
mike wilbon (1:58 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Hope you all have a great Super Bowl week...see you next Monday, the Day After! Thanks...MW