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 1:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (12:44 PM)
Hey everyone, Mike was traveling this morning, so he'll be starting his chat around 2 p.m. ET today!
Mike Wilbon (2:28 PM)
Hi there! Sorry I'm starting late...flew back in from Chicago where I spent the 4th of July, where the weekend of fireworks do NOT apparently include any announcement from Carmelo Anthong! Here we go with free agency, maybe some tennis, WORLD CUP HYSTERIA too!!!
Jake S. (Ohio)
Welcome home LeBron?
Mike Wilbon (2:33 PM)
No so fast Sparky! I know there are folks out there who are fairly well plugged in who think LeBron is now 70 percent to 30 percent Cleveland-bound and out of Miami. I think this is getting a little carried away. I know there are people very, very close to LeBron, some of them among LeBron's closest friends and advisers, who hope he goes back to Cleveland and think he SHOULD go back to Cleveland...But Pat Riley has a move left, no? It's hard to turn down Riley; I really believe that. Now, Cleveland does have a young nucleus of K. Irving, A. Wiggins, Tristan Thompson plus a vet and close buddy in Varejao...PLUS, they do have Anthony Bennet, last year's No. 1 pick, who could/should bring something back in a trade, maybe a mid- to late- first round pick...I see it making basketball sense in 2 years but I still want to see LeBron stand before a bank of Microphones and say, "I'm taking my talents back to Lake Erie!" I gotta see it. I believe it when I see it.
Rob (San Antonio)
Mike, if Lebron's ultimate goal is to win championships why would he want to play in the West? If he plays in the western conference he ahs to get through San Antonio, OKC, the Clippers, Rockets, Warriors and Phoenix. If he plays in the East he has to go through Indiana and . . . Seems like a no brainer to me. What do you think?
Mike Wilbon (2:36 PM)
It's Miami or Cleveland, neither of which is in the Western Conference, last I checked...I COULD see LeBron playing for Doc Rivers but with all the Clippers have going on I think it simply because less attractive...Remember, LeBron was the guy who was most critical of Donald Sterling and early on, right out of the gate. So, it looks like a 2-horse race here between Miami and Cleveland...
Jeremy (Washington DC)
Please explain why Micky Arison doesn't want to pay the luxury tax to sign other players and keep on winning chips. He is a billionaire so paying that money is not hurting his bottom line.
Mike Wilbon (2:40 PM)
You're presuming Arison won't do it? Is your thinking that because he's won 2 and been to 4 Finals that he can ride that for awhile? I don't know that he could, considering those fans BOOED the reigning 2-time champs because they were down at the half in a game of their 4th straight trip to the Fianls! I don't think those fans will show up at all without LeBron. But anyway, I also think Arison is a really, really competitive man and he'll pay the luxury tax to keep it all together. I'm not ready you to pronounce "dead" the tag team of Arison and Riley...
What's your timeline for the Cubs competing for the Central division? Are they 1, 2, 3, or more years away from jumping all four teams?
Mike Wilbon (2:46 PM)
They might never jump the Cardinals. Hell, how many times in the last 50 years have the Cubs finished ahead of the Cardinals? They had some seasons, 2007 and 2008 or 2008 and 2009, where they might have been the best team in baseball...But to your original question, my position has been the Cubs will start showing some signficant improvement in August and September of THIS season and they'll climb into contention late NEXT season...now, by contention I mean for a wild-card spot...to get into the playoffs with all these young players coming into their own...FEELING THEIR OATS as folks used to say...We'll see. I'm a lifelong Cubs fan and that view reflects my cautious optimism and still believing in Theo, which I do...
Mike - have your sources around the league given you any insight into what LeBron's gonna do? (although, I tend to think LeBron and his agent are the only ones who really know).
Mike Wilbon (2:51 PM)
I think LeBron stays in Miami...although, the longer this flirtation with Cleveland goes on the more serious its going to get, especially if his wife and closest friends are leading the charge. Goodness, can you imagine the stories this will generate if LeBron goes back to Cleveland? The romance, the notion that you can come home again...Wow, the talk would never end.
Mike, what do you think Carmelo said to the Bulls that made them think he was moving in another direction?
Mike Wilbon (2:52 PM)
Well, I figured there was NO chance he would go to the Bulls, not ever. So I was never of the mindset that Carmelo was going to do the smartest basketball thing he could do which IS go to the Bulls...But we're hearing now he's having difficulty making up his mind between the Knicks, Lakers and Bulls...and that's why he's taking longer...
No NFL mini-camps, discussion of Melo or the Miami free agents, or hockey. It's time to get serious about baseball, admire the career of Roger Federer, handicap the British Open, and marvel at the World Cup. Speaking of the last one, I'm no huge soccer fan, and don't intend to become one because of the limited time in my life (see: NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA football and basketball), but I hope others like me can join in recognizing how amazing the game is when played at its highest level under national flags. I'm kicking myself for not biting the bullet on cost and going to Brazil.
Mike Wilbon (2:57 PM)
Very well said. I like soccer marginally, but it's below the NBA/NFL, MLB, NHL and college hoops and football for me...goodness, behind golf and tennis, men and women, for me...BUT, I'm enjoying the hell out of this. I'm fairly tired of jerky soccer fans, and there are way too many of them, who act like they're superior beings because they love soccer and I want to just go on a Lee Elia-like rant directed at a great many of them, but I digress. The game is so brilliantly played at the level we're watching. There's such drama and we know we're watching the greatest players in the world...it's tremendous. I haven't watched every game, but I've watched a lot of 'em and no matter who's playing I've been somewhere between interested and compelled...Does it mean I'm going to stop what I'm doing to watch EPL this fall and make it regular appointment viewing? No...but I might peek in more than I used to...I find myself encouraging people who say they have NOT been watching to watch. Even if you haven't watched much soccer at all in your life you can appreciate the spectacle that is World Cup, and if you love sports and competition at the highest level then I don't know how you can't love this...
Have you hopped on the Genie Bouchard bandwagon yet either cause of her game, her intensity, her looks or her status in Canadian Womens tennis history OR a combination of those and more?
Mike Wilbon (2:58 PM)
Yes.Um, yes. Yes Sir...
Will Stephenson be on the Bulls radar if they miss out on Melo and Love?
Mike Wilbon (3:00 PM)
Wow, great question. I wouldn't think so. Stephenson is a big-time talent and can be a big-time irritant to his teammates and coaches. It's a high-risk move to sign him. Maybe the Bulls will be at the point of needing to make a high-risk move...I think this seemed like a real possibility four months ago. But Stephenson behaved so strangely in April and May, and his teammates are so sick of him...it's just risky...
Hi Mike,If Bosh signs in Houston (allegedly Houston has offered Bosh the max.), wouldn't Riley have pretty close to max money that he could offer LeBron AND Carmelo???
Mike Wilbon (3:01 PM)
Yes. And that has come up. One of the many scenarios.
Chicago Bulls still a real contender next season if they don't pick up any of the big names?
Mike Wilbon (3:03 PM)
Hard to imagine they would be...Depends on whether LeBron goes to Cleveland, but then the Cavaliers, in a weak Eastern Conference, might be the favorites, depending on what the Pacers do with Hibbert and Stephenson. And there would be at least 5 teams in the Western Conference (Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, maybe Warriors) who would be ahead of the Bulls if that roster isn't improved offensively...
Chris (North Ridgeville, OH)
Full disclosure, I'm a Cavs fan and I'm not saying whether LeBron should or will come back. But from LeBron's perspective, can Miami offer him a quality 4-to-5 year window as long as Wade is a primary part of the core? I believe Miami can offer him the best opportunity to win next season but minus fundamental changes I just can't see LeBron committing 4-to-5 years to Pat Riley hitting reset every year with a mix of aging veterans chasing rings and a deteriorating Wade.
Mike Wilbon (3:08 PM)
I have zero problem with your position, none. Irving and Wiggins would give LeBron a pair of running mates who are 22 and 19 years old, respectively. And I'm not even counting Bennett, who is what, 20? You'd have to hit--oh, wait--the lottery a couple of times...AND, the Cavs own their Bird rights to Luol Deng, who LeBron really, really likes...All of a sudden, Deng doesn't have to go anywhere...
Not a Cubs fan but really loved the return on the trade. Great farm right now, Cubs will be DANGEROUS in 16/17. I've been critical of the praise Theo gets for the Red Sox Ships, not to mention the 10+ AWFUL contracts he gave out the final 3 years or so in Boston, but I've never doubted him in the scouting department.
Mike Wilbon (3:10 PM)
Good point, thanks for making it. AND its the scouting that has to be assessed (valued) in Theo's attempt to build the Cubs the way he's trying to do it.
If Rockets get Bosh or Carmelo, would it make sense to trade Harden for Rondo?
Mike Wilbon (3:11 PM)
No. Houston has hitched its wagon to Harden. He's going nowhere.
First off Welcome back from your trip.And 2nd of All Do you think Germany can Beat Brazil tomorrowin the world cup?
Mike Wilbon (3:15 PM)
Brazil will play without Neymar and their captain, Silva, tomorrow. BUT, Brazil still hasn't lost an international match at home since 1975. Goodness, Pele was still playing then, right? It's so difficult to beat Brazil anywhere in the country, but Germany is Brazil's equal.
What happens to Wade? Doesn't the entire league know he's a shell of his former greatness?
Mike Wilbon (3:19 PM)
I shuddered when Wade opted out of that $42 million over 2 years...He's a Chicago kid, a South Sider, and one of my favorite players in the NBA the last 10-12 years. He's left it all out there, like an NFL running back who reaches 30 and his body just betrays him. Now, Arison has a history of taking care of his former players and there's every reason, given how beloved Wade is in Miami, to think the Heat owner will wind up paying Wade no matter if LeBron/Bosh leave and Wade is a shadow of the player who led Miami to a title in '06 long before LeBron/Bosh showed up. But its a lot of $$$ to talk away from, guaranteed moolah...I hope Wade can come back next season the way Ginobili did this season, speaking of honorable old war horses who've stood the test of time.
Mike Wilbon (3:20 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...thanks much everybody for joining me...Enjoy your summer! MW