Chat with Michael Wallace
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Michael Wallace (2:05 PM)
Thanks for joining me again, this time for a Finals edition of the NBA chat. Let's get right to your questions.
Michael, Do you think the Lakers should move the #7 pick? What could they expect to get in return?
Michael Wallace (2:07 PM)
I think the Lakers will try to take the same approach Boston did several years ago, when they moved the No. 5 pick to get Ray Allen, then acquired Kevin Garnett from Minnesota. I don't know if a deal to that extent is out there to be made right now for the Lakers, but they have bigger plans that simply to allow these last 2 years on Kobe's contract to turn into an expensive farewell tour.
Last night I heard one of the ESPN crew asking if Leonard has regressed? Why do we expect players to become MVP players so fast. Two years ago nobody knew who Kwahi was, let the man develop right?
Michael Wallace (2:09 PM)
I heard that as well. The man didn't regress. He's defending the best player in the game. There are going to be good nights and bad nights when that's your primary job. The thought I had last night was that LeBron could average 35 easily in this series if he wanted. If the Spurs can still stay in the game and give themselves a shot to win it at the end, then that gameplan works. Kawhi is going to have a tough series. That doesn't mean he's taken a step back. Not at all.
Sam Myers (Detroit, MI)
It seems like D-Wade is going to be ineffective, but Bosh looked great last game. Is there any chance that the Heat start going to him as the second option? Also, getting Tony Parker in on a pick-and-roll with Lebron seems deadly. Is that the go-to for the Heat now?
Michael Wallace (2:11 PM)
Wade hasn't had a typical Wade-type performance yet in the Finals, but it's still early. At the end of the day, it's 1-1 and the Heat are home for the next two games. We can break down the different aspects of the games all we want. But the Heat went to San Antonio to get what they wanted - a split. But the Spurs are also the best road team in the NBA for a reason. This series is far from over.
Duncan could EASILY be playing for this 6th Ring right now. Just think about that for a moment...
Michael Wallace (2:12 PM)
I don't know if easily would quite describe it. But yes, he's put together quite a remarkable run of success only a handful of players would comprehend.
Jeff Nicholas (TN)
What would you do to slow LeBron down not that he has the jump shot falling? Pray? I can imagine a scenario where the Spurs see if they can get his usage rate up around 40 and just wear himself out in one or two games.
Michael Wallace (2:14 PM)
I've said it many times before. I would have to live with LeBron going for 50 on me. As long as he's not getting his other teammates involved. LeBron has the complete package. But he's at the peak of his powers when he's making the plays like he did to get Bosh that wide-open 3-pointer. When Bosh is confident and Ray Allen is in rhythm and Rashard Lewis is knocking down treys, Miami is impossible to bottle up. I'd stay home and force LeBron to beat me with 50, which is something he's capapble of doing, but not necessarily comfortable doing.
Who will be guarding LeBron the majority of game 3?
Michael Wallace (2:15 PM)
The same folks as always, Kawhi and then Diaw - with a lot of help from their friends.
Who's better in 3 years? Lance or Kwahi?
Michael Wallace (2:18 PM)
Great question. Every time I get set to write my answer, I change my mind. Let's just say I look forward to both of these players developing at a rapid rate. I lean toward Kawhi because of his even-keeled nature and ability to defend elite players every night.
As much as the media and fans love to hate on Stephenson... wouldn't the spurs rather have him than Leonard?
Michael Wallace (2:20 PM)
Did I miss something here? This was never really a Lance-vs-Kawhi scenario. It was George Hill vs Kawhi, in terms of the Spurs-Pacers trade.
Mark (New York)
Forget all of the talk of the NBA finals, what does Lebron think about California Chrome?
Michael Wallace (2:21 PM)
Probably that C.C. is the second-most criticized athlete on the planet over the weekend.
Did Doug Collins finally put to bed the dumb argument that Lebron made the wrong decision when he passed the ball to Bosh in Game 5 of the Indy series? Why do fans think stars HAVE to take every shot in crunch time?
Michael Wallace (2:22 PM)
Each scenario is different. I was in favor of LeBron making that pass to Bosh in the Pacers series. He got a great shooter in his sweet spot, where he's 60-percent from 3-point range. Bosh just missed the shot. There have been other instances where I've questioned why LeBron didn't take the final shot, but that's not one of them.
Hello Michael, love the chat. As a Heat fan from day one please tell me how much more of Mario Chalmers we have to endure. I personally can't wait for him to leave this summer and am tired of the constant flopping and being out of position. Can we just bench him to purgatory.
Michael Wallace (2:24 PM)
And just when you say something like that, the door opens for Chalmers to have a breakout game. You're seeing now just why his teammates yell at him so much. But he always tends to come back with a game when he tends to make everything OK for a while. I'm not sure of the Heat's plans for Mario after this season, but I do know that right now, there's not much of a difference in terms of production value that they're getting from Chalmers vs. Norris Cole, who is $2 million cheaper for a team that's into the luxury tax.
Ed (Queens Village)
Can Heat win a title with poor PG play from Chalmers and Cole? Does Spo switch it up give Douglas playing time over Cole?
Michael Wallace (2:26 PM)
Spoelstra uncorked James Jones and Udonis Haslem in Game 2 after they didn't have a role in Game 1, so it's safe to say that he's willing to do just about anything if he feels it gives Miami a shot to improve their play in certain areas. The concern with Douglas is that his offense isn't as reliable as even the threat of Chalmers or Cole on that end of the floor, from a shooting standpoint.
How about Mark Jackson defending Kobe as a great teammate last night? Am I the only one that see's that as a pitch for the Lakers coaching job?
Michael Wallace (2:28 PM)
I generally find Van Gundy and Jackson more entertainment than truly insightful when it comes to breaking down games at this stage. I love listening to both men. But I find myself laughing or shaking my head at their zingers and comments than anything else. I'm still trying to get past Jackson's comment that sometimes an athlete has to tell his body no, not now - when going through an injury or serious ailment.
Mitch (Dade County)
Do you buy the whole the Heat Fans aren't "real fans" argument? Why should fans have to show up to a game 1 hr early or still pay high ticket prices when the team is bad to be considered a "real fan"?
Michael Wallace (2:31 PM)
I don't get too involved with anyone in the media calling out any fanbase. Here's why: How many media members would pay for tickets to attend these games when they can be just as comfortable - if not more so - at home watching the game? It's sort of insane for folks who get into games for free to do a job to then go out and criticize a fan base. Only 20,000 people can fit into an NBA arena. Is that number truly representative of a team's complete fan base?
Can the Heat 3peat without big games from Dwyane Wade?
Michael Wallace (2:32 PM)
Probably so, if Tim Duncan and Tony Parker continue to miss key free throws and the Spurs don't get much production from Kawhi Leonard.
Lance got a $5k foul for flopping. Why haven't we seen the same treatment for D-wade?
Michael Wallace (2:33 PM)
Better actor, maybe?
Any reaction to Rashad McCant's UNC Scandal?
Michael Wallace (2:36 PM)
Disappointing. Very much so. Rashad had a chance to take his education far more seriously than he did. If the story is true, then shame on both the player and the environment that allowed academic dishonesty to happen to that extent. There is a bogus element to coming out a decade after the fact and trying to take a torch to the situation.
Will Boston be able to move that 6th pick and Jeff Green before the draft?
Michael Wallace (2:38 PM)
It might take more than that to get Love, but I wouldn't be surprised if Boston tries to make something along those lines happen.
I heard on Sunday that Lebron's NINE year old son is like the number 6 player in the nation? Is this what the sports world has come to? Ranking elementary kids?
Michael Wallace (2:39 PM)
And a local TV station has already secured the rights to carry his "decision" as to which middle school to attend.
Big L (Atlanta)
Not taking into account rings, or teammates. Who's the better player Duncan or Olajuwon?
Michael Wallace (2:40 PM)
They exemplify different versions of greatness. I'm fine with leaving them as they are and just enjoying both resumes without having to put one over the other.
I know it's old news but don't you wish we could of seen at least ONE Kobe vs Lebron Finals?
Michael Wallace (2:42 PM)
Would have been nice. Sort of like seeing Michael finally get a shot against Magic at the end of his career. But that head-to-head between LeBron and Kobe isn't really necessary to define either of their legacies, which which are still growing.
Rajon Rondo has a weak jump shot but finds ways to score and pose a threat offensively. What can Ricky Rubio, who also can't shoot do to be more of a productive offensive player? Will Rubio ever become that special player he was hyped up to be?
Michael Wallace (2:44 PM)
Don't base a player's projected productivity on the so-called hype. There are a ton of people who are unqualified "hype" men out there. Rubio has a special gift to run in transition and pass the ball. He needs to, at the very least, become a better 3-point shooting threat. Kidd was the same way earlier in his career, but worked himself into becoming a strong shooter from distance.
You say that San Antonio is the best road team in the league and then overlook the fact that the Heat have won at least one playoff game on the road in every series in the last three years. Go figure.
Michael Wallace (2:45 PM)
And, they're undefeated at home in these playoffs. So there's that, which only means somethings gotta give in this series.
Josh (Phx, AZ)
Do you think the Suns could keep their two PGs and still move into the top 10?
Michael Wallace (2:47 PM)
It would be extremely tough to expect that to happen, especially when you look at the teams slated from 5th to 10th. Not many of them are thrilled about being in the draft, and want the quick fix that a veteran, proven playmaker can help to provide.
Felipe (Berkeley, CA)
Hi Michael. Do you have any idea how many Heat players might retire by the end of the season? The list includes Battier, Jones, Lewis and Ray Allen. Do you think the Heat are going to try to get younger from now on? How will they do that in a salary-cap world?
Michael Wallace (2:49 PM)
I think Battier and James Jones are headed in that direction. I think the Finals have shown that Rashard still has something left to offer and will be back. Ray, obviously, can still play. It's up to him. I do know he's said he wants to see what LeBron does first before he makes his decision about whether to continue in Miami, retire, or move on elsewhere.
Was the 4th quarter in Game 2 bad offense by the Spurs or great defense by the Heat?
Michael Wallace (2:49 PM)
Missed free throws by the Spurs.
Weston Holt (Sacramento)
These days the greats are all compared to MJ, but who was MJ compared to when he was in the league?
Michael Wallace (2:52 PM)
Early on, it was David Thompson. Then it was Dr. J. By the time Jordan reached the mid-point of his prime, there were no comparisons left.
Kristopher [via mobile]
Think the Quinn Snyder hire will be a good one for the Jazz?
Michael Wallace (2:54 PM)
I think the Jazz better have a lot of patience. It's going to take time to become a factor again in the West.
Hey Mike! Do you see the Heat finally making the move to have Dwade become a 6th man? After this series is over, it seems he would be able to dominate other 2nd units, whole also extending his career, and that way they can focus on Bosh and James with shooters as the main unit. Of course this is assuming the team comes back together next year. Wouldn't Wade be a great 6th man?
Michael Wallace (2:55 PM)
That won't happen for some time in Miami.
why does Miami's Big 3 get criticized for "teaming up", but Boston's Big 3 is applauded for "putting egos aside to win"? oh the hypocrisy. i never remember bird, jordan or barkley make "teaming up" comments about that Celtics team.
Michael Wallace (2:56 PM)
Two different cases, but I do understand why they're compared so much. The teams were far more involved in what happened with the Boston Big 3 transaction. Players completely dictated how it played out via free agency in Miami.
Michael,, Now PLEASE be honest with me here... If Lebron op out and goes to Detroit on a sign and trade with Mornoe and Bynum... Detroit then take 8 millions to give to Stevenson.. a lineup of Jennings/Stevenson/Lebron/Josh Smith/Drummond.. tell me that cant WIN it all... that is a lot of defense there in the front court and enough fire power..
Michael Wallace (2:57 PM)
Dude, SMH ....
Jeff Nicholas (TN)
Will Sefolosha will be available in the Heat's price range this off season? His previous 2 years were over 40% from three, and he is still an elite defender on the wing (something the Heat need). Seems like he would be a low risk, high reward acquisition at this point.
Michael Wallace (2:59 PM)
He's exactly the type of player the Heat would love to get on the cheap in the offseason. But I'm not sure if Thabo has reached the point where he's a vets minimum guy yet.
Q (Charleston, SC)
Where do you think Carmelo will be playing next season?
Michael Wallace (3:01 PM)
New York. He wanted to be there so badly. He played a role in how that team was constructed after he arrived. He could have waited and allowed New York to keep some valuable players they had to trade to bring him in. If I'm Carmelo, the Lakers are the only other situation I'd consider, for reasons both on and off the court at this point. When you consider what Chicago would have to give up to make a deal happen, I'm not sure the Bulls would be much better than they are right now in the long run.
What is the chances that the spurs core is back next year? I will be really sad when Duncan calls it quits
Michael Wallace (3:03 PM)
They're all under contract through at least next season, so I think it's a good chance the Spurs give it one more good run regardless of what happens in this series. At some point, it has to end, and I think more people will truly appreciate what that franchise has accomplished over the span of three different decades (late 1990s, 2000s, 2010s).
Michael Wallace (3:03 PM)
Well, that's my time for the week. Thanks so much for all of your questions and takes. Looking forward to getting back to Miami and digging back into the Finals, starting with Game 3 on Tuesday. Will catch up with you guys next week. Until then, be safe. Peace - MW