Chat with Michael Wallace
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, NBA reporter Michael Wallace stops by to chat about the latest news from around the league.
In addition to writing about the NBA, Wallace is also a frequent contributor to the "Heat Index" and the TrueHoop Network. Prior to working for ESPN, Wallace spent more than a decade covering the ACC, SEC, NFL and the NBA for other publications.
Send your questions now and join Wallace Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Michael Wallace (3:02 PM)
Thanks for joining me for this post All-Star, pre trade-deadline NBA chat. I'm live from Gate 14 at DFW airport, on assignment for tonight's Heat-Mavericks game. Thanks as always for joining me. I'll tell you up front - it's difficult to say for certain where your team's star or scrub will end up by Thursday's deadline, but I'll give it my best shot on that topic and all others. So let's get right to the questions.
Most current over rated player?
Michael Wallace (3:04 PM)
Let's just say as thrilled and impressed as I've been with Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge this season, I still need to see plenty of them in big playoff moments before I completely buy into their cream-of-the-elite-level status.
Randy (Frustrated Spurs Fan)
I know he's been hurt but why hasn't Leonard made the step up we all thought he would. He looked liked an all-star against the heat in the finals.
Michael Wallace (3:06 PM)
You said it yourself. He's been hurt. And not it appears that Spurs team is breaking down across the board, with coach Gregg Popovich suggesting today that Tony Parker could be out awhile to address a number of nagging issues. But I trust the Spurs. They've proven they can overcome these sort of points in the season when they seem down and out. Leonard will be fine once he gets back into a rhythm.
Michael, Please tell me what are you hearing the Detroit Pistons might make a trade before deadline? also, Can you see Drummond being the BEST Center in the league in two years?
Michael Wallace (3:08 PM)
The Pistons will be active, from what I understand, but it might not be with the player many expect in Greg Monroe. He's in a tricky spot as a restricted free agent. But they have to do something to address the situation on the wing. As far as Drummond, he has the potential to be one of the best centers in the league within two years. But he needs a coach, system and supporting cast that can maximize that potential. And that's proved to be no given in Detroit.
The rumor is JKidd played Deron Williams one on one in practice. My question is why?
Michael Wallace (3:10 PM)
Probably to shake Deron out of that three-year slump and slumber he's been in since shortly after he arrived with the Nets. There was a time when he was clearly in the discussion for being one of the top three point guards in the league. But he'll struggle to crack the top 10 at that positoin right now with the way he's played, partly due to the persistent injuries.
Lebron's Mt. Rushmore comment > First half of NBA Season.
Michael Wallace (3:11 PM)
In terms of the interest drawn? Certainly. Not that I agree with the four he selected, though.
Why is Lebron turning 30 next year NOT being talked about? Isn't his window of greatness only another 3 or 4 years at best?
Michael Wallace (3:12 PM)
LeBron generates a lot of debate for legitimate reasons and those not so legitimate. But the "age catching up with him" discussion is still a few years off, barring a sudden rash of injuries.
So my Owner like many others owners think making a fruitless playoff appearance actually means something. Does this show how little Owners really know about winning a championship?
Michael Wallace (3:14 PM)
Oh, so is there some new way of winning a title that directly results from winning the lottery? You play to get to the playoffs, and give yourself a shot from there. This is a Detroit team that hasn't tasted the playoffs since they took themselves out of the running several years ago. They're a team that has to show something for the money they spent in free agency and the multiple trips to the lottery in recent years. Eventually, that has to get you somewhere other than back in the lottery again and again.
So looks like the deadline is going to involve a bunch of role players why are so many teams scared to take a chance?
Michael Wallace (3:16 PM)
Don't count out any potential big moves just yet. There have been many years where not many saw that blockbuster coming before it right in our faces.
are the lakers gonna end up #15 in the West this season? Can they trade away Gasol? Thanks
Michael Wallace (3:17 PM)
I know there seems to have been a cooling off period regarding the Gasol trade rumors. But after hearing Kobe talk during the All-Star break about how slowly his recovery is coming, I get the feeling that it means he might just take it easy this season, which means there's really no reason why the Lakers shouldn't end the Gasol era this week and get whatever asset can for him.
How far will Dwade's knees take the Heat this year?
Michael Wallace (3:20 PM)
That's the $20 million question. Wade's knees and health have been a bigger issue this season than they've been since LeBron and Bosh arrived in Miami to join him in 2010. It's hard to trust and rely on Wade's health based on what we've seen so far this season. Maybe it's all about preservation. Maybe there's more to it than that. But either way, there's some level of concern.
What are the Pelicans going to do? With their full compliment of players, they were solid, but with the injuries, are they going to blow things up some?
Michael Wallace (3:25 PM)
Coach Monty Williams insists he's not been made aware of any plans to deal either Gordon or Evans. But what else is he really supposed to say at this point? I think the Pelicans need one more season of, well, seasoning before they become a true playoff team. But they are also at least one veteran piece away from that. Perhaps the path to getting that done would be to part with Gordon's contract as soon as possible. If that's the case, a Gordon-for-Danny Granger swap would make a lot of sense for New Orleans, although that money would eat away at what Indiana will need to keep Lance Stephenson around.
Alex (Key Biscayne)
Big Mike: You and Ira Winderman are my two all time favorite Heat writers. Personal question: if the heat win and 3 peat will you do the unthinkable and begin to wear ties??????
Michael Wallace (3:26 PM)
First, thanks for the commment. But secondly, how can I be one of your favorites and you not know that my suit and tie game is pretty strong on most days?
When healthy how close is Westbrook to KD and Lebron?
Michael Wallace (3:28 PM)
Put it this way, there's nothing Westbrook can't do when he's healthy. But what makes LeBron - and now Durant - the all-time greats they are is that they figured out early how important it is to use their games to bring out the best in the talent around them. Westbrook still has time to get there.
Is there any truth to the Heat being interested in Evan Turner, seems unlikely to me?
Michael Wallace (3:31 PM)
I won't rule anything out with the Heat. I can see why there would be interest in Turner, especially if Philly isn't looking for much in return. All the Heat have in terms of realistic trade options at this point are Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem. If I'm Miami, I'd make that deal to get another big guard who is young and can shoot. But I'm sure Philly believes there will be better suitors and deals out there.
Do you see Kyrie Irving signing an extension this offseason?
Michael Wallace (3:32 PM)
Irving has danced around this topic the way he dances around defenders in the lane. But the truth is there isn't much control he has over his immediate future until he's outside of the restricted free agency window.
Adam (Chicago) [via mobile]
Do you sense a bit overconfidence coming from INdy? After all, they did get smoked in games 3, 5, and 7 last year, never lead in series...
Michael Wallace (3:34 PM)
I don't blame them for having confidence. They believe they match up with Miami and anyone else in the league better than they ever have before. They have everything they need from a roster standpoint. They're young, brash and hungry. Now, they just have to execute. Talk and belief only takes you so far.
Durant is hot right now, but honestly, he's only been playing at this level for two months max. I seriously get the feeling the media (and fans in general) are so tired of LeBron dominating the league over the last few years, they're desperately looking for someone (KD) to dethrone him. However two excellent regular season months are simply not enough to override the body of work that LeBron has put together over the last 4-5 years....is it?
Michael Wallace (3:38 PM)
For MVP of a single regular-season? Yes it is - if he keeps it up. These awards are handed out annually. LeBron doesn't have escrow built up from previous years that will necessarily help him hold off Durant in the voting this season.
was it me or did Dwade look very average on Sunday. He didn't seem to belong on the same floor with the rest of the all stars.
Michael Wallace (3:40 PM)
He did, although he packed a decent amount of production in those 11 minutes. But that was the plan all along. Wade intended to avoid pushing it in New Orleans. That fact that he played at all was a nod to the fans who voted him a starter and the endorsement companies that pay him to push their products.
Adam (Chicago) [via mobile]
Okc better or worse with RW? Thanks
Michael Wallace (3:41 PM)
Considering they lost double the amount of games without him that they lost with him, I'd say the answer should be pretty clear. But that won't stop the debate. OKC needs Westbrook to get to the Finals and be the team it is capable of being. Plain and simple.
Chris (Cleveland) [via mobile]
What's the cavs best strategy right now for the trade deadline and beyond? Thanks!
Michael Wallace (3:42 PM)
Man, there's not enough time left in this chat, this week, or maybe even this season to properly answer that question.
Rajon Rondo will be with what team after the trade deadline?
Michael Wallace (3:44 PM)
Boston. I think some teams that are interested need to see a bit more from him post-surgery than he's shown so far to risk taking on that kind of investment. So if he's going to be moved, my guess is it would come over the summer and before the draft, which is when Danny Ainge likes to pull off his biggest deals.
Matthew (Virginia )
Dirk said that his dislike for the heat is as close to hate as it gets. Do you think the Dirk/Wade rivalry has been underplayed over the years? They both have beaten each other in the finals and there's no love lost between them.
Michael Wallace (3:46 PM)
Nor should there be. But at this stage in their respective careers, it's closer to a Stallone-De Niro Grudge Match than anything meaningful at this point. But they were two very intriguing Finals series.
Aside from Pau & Lowry, who is the biggest name most likely to be moved before Thursday?
Michael Wallace (3:49 PM)
I'm more inclined to suggest teams. And I can see the Bucks, Bobcats, Pelicans, Sixers, Pistons, Knicks and Nets among those most likely angling to make deals.
To all the fans that would rather have their teams have a lottery pick than make the playoffs - I can say I was ecstatic when the Clippers made the playoffs in 05-06 and were a Raja Bell 3 away from making the WCF --- you always got a shot once you're in the playoffs
Michael Wallace (3:52 PM)
That, plus you're showing your fanbase that the team is building toward something. It's really hard to generate trust when you essentially say, "let's get as bad as possible so we can prove that we can be good again." If you fall out of the top 3 in the lottery, that's a dangerous game to play. Heck, even if you are in the top 3, it's dangerous. Go back and look at all of the No. 2 overall picks who were busts or close to that in the past 15 years.
Adam (Chicago) [via mobile]
Where would you like to see Jarret Jack? He seems to be on the move ...
Michael Wallace (3:54 PM)
I loved seeing him in Golden State last year. But that departure wasn't productive for either party. It's difficult to tell where guys like that will fit. But you also can't fault him for looking to get the best deal he can. Gary Neal is in the same sort of situation after leaving San Antonio for Milwaukee.
Mike, Is it true that the East locker room had an icey feel to it, being that it housed several rivals - MIA / INDY / CHI. Reports were that Roy Hibbert was given cold shoulder to the Heatles. Any insight?