Wednesday, April 25, 2 p.m. ET

The Washington Wizards

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Ivan Carter and Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 25, 2007; 2:00 PM

Washington Post staff writers Michael Lee and Ivan Carter were online Wednesday, April 25, at 2 p.m. ET to field your questions and comments about the Wizards, the playoffs and all the latest NBA news.

From The Post:

Wizards Coverage

The transcript follows.

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Michael Lee: Hey, I don't want to waste your time with a lame intro. It seems like you guys have a lot to talk about, so without any delay, let's go. . .

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Lawton, Okla.: Gentlemen,

Any word about Jamison's long-term plans? Does he envision opting out at all so as to get a longer term deal? The organization has got to be concerned about this as it greatly effects the financial flexibility of the franchise.

Ivan Carter: I don't see Antawn opting out and giving up the $16 million he'd pull down in the final year of that contract. The only way he opts out is if he and the Wiz agree to a longer deal that allows him to make that money back. The most likely scenario is that he plays the final year and then hits free agency. By that time, the Wiz will know what they have in Andray Blatche and have a pretty good idea of what they have in Oleksiy Pecherov, another big man who will be playing forward.

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Oakton, Va.: Hope this gets answered even though I'm submitting early:

Now that the season is winding down, I have a request -- will either of you consider writing a piece on Susan O'Malley and her role in the organization? She definitely has Mr. Pollin's ear, the question is to what extent and in what scope? Just how much sway does she have over the organization and Mr. Pollin?

Maybe do it as a story leading into the next season? I get the feeling that there are two fixtures for the Wizards - Mr. Pollin and Susan O'Malley. It seems like everyone else is outside the Circle of Trust, including Ernie Grunfeld, which is unfortunate because he is the best thing this franchise has going for it. But what do I know, no one at The Post has ever explained it.

Yes, Mr. Pollin is a rich and powerful man, and maybe you guys want to stick with the vanilla stories and play it safe, but this is a story that is long overdue. As a long time Bullets/Wizards fans, don't we deserve to know just how the brain trust for the team works and operates?

Sports Editor, are you reading this?

Ivan Carter: I think you are way overstating Susan's involvement when it comes to basketball matters. That's Ernie's thing with one notable exception being Abe Pollin's influence in the extension of Eddie Jordan's contract last summer. Susan handles the business side and has plenty of say in some PR issues but I don't see her calling Ernie and saying: "have you thought about this trade?"

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Warrior Pride: Gentleman,

I like Avery Johnson, heck he was the starting point for the last Warrior squad that made the playoffs in the 1993-94 season. However, can you talk about how he adjusted right into Golden State's hands with no Dampier or Diop? They aren't quick enough to keep up with the Warriors speed.

Also, Dirk Nowitzki settles too much. Stephen Jackson is on you and you don't punish him?! You shoot fallaways?! I know this dude might be the MVP of the league, but maybe what DWade said about Dirk's lack of leadership skills was right. If Dallas keeps this up, Warriors advance.

Your thoughts?

Michael Lee: I know Ivan has been screaming for the past few days that Golden State is going to shock the world, but I don't know. I think Avery made a egregious error in switching his lineup to matchup with the Warriors. I always hate it when coaches have something that works in their favor, but adjust to the inferior team. Dallas won 67 games with Damp and Diop, why switch gears in the playoffs? When you haven't spent any time tinkering and experimenting in the regular season?

Granted, Damp and Diop can't keep up with Golden State's speed, but the Warriors cannot match up with the Mavs' size.

As for Dirk, he's got to remember to play like he did during the playoffs last year. I thought he really started to turn a corner when he started scoring more in the low post when his shot wasn't falling. He's a 7-footer. He would surely have an advantage if he decided to use it. Instead, he wants to be a guard. He has a pretty shot, but the Warriors can not stop him if he decides to mix it up. I don't expect him to shoot that poorly tonight. He'll adjust.

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Anonymous: No issue with the playoffs, I commend their effort and hope they can pull out one or two. They just do not have the horses to compete. There's no shame in that. Now I am looking forward to the draft. With the Williams kid from UNC and all the Florida kids going pro, I can see the Wiz getting some inside help for next year. I do not know where they pick, but who should they have their eyes on?

Ivan Carter: They have the 16th pick and right now, it's anyone's guess who they'll be focused on. Maybe they go international again. I'll be doing my draft research once this season ends and I get to go to Orlando for the pre-draft camp, etc.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Are the playoffs the proper place to discipline a player? Should Haywood continue to be punished for whatever it is he's being punished for if it costs the 'Zards a chance at winning playoff games?

Michael Lee: I realize I might be in the minority here, but what's the big deal? Didn't Haywood get the entire regular season to prove that he was unreliable? I mean, he was great for a few months, then he caught "a head cold" on that last West Coast trip when he decided not to give any effort any more. He earned a seat in the doghouse, but I think people are really overestimating what kind of impact he's really going to have here. It's not like stopping Ilgauskas is the only problem Washington had on Sunday. I think the main issue was that these guys didn't hit shots. And, the way Big Z was rolling on Sunday, I really don't think Brendan would've shut him down. Either way, the Wizards did NOT lose that game because Brendan didn't play more. That's how I see it.

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Fairfax, Va.: Can we officially crown Kwame Brown as the worst No. 1 overall pick ever? At least LaRue Martin and Michael Olowokandi can catch. Meow!

Ivan Carter: It reminds me of a question I heard an LA reporter ask Phil Jackson this year when the Wiz were in town. "Wouldn't you say that the Kwame Brown for Caron Butler trade was one that worked out for both teams?" The look on Jackson's face was priceless.

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Seattle: Hey guys, Having watched Kwame last night something struck me I'd never noticed before...he has really small hands for a man his size. Is that accurate? Beyond his other issues, how much do you think that plays in to his general ineffectiveness? The ball just flies through his hands like they were greased, he can't even catch and dunk with remote regularity, hold on to passes, grip the ball, etc.

On a Wizards note, how the heck can you not play Haywood against Ilgauskas? Haywood's always effective against him and seems darn close to having no motivational issues against Ilgauskas ever. I even like Jordan but cannot understand this by any measure.

Michael Lee: This is a two-parter. I'll answer this with another similar question.

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N.C.: Can the Wizards take any positives at all from the 2006-7 season or is it a just a throwaway season?

Ivan Carter: They learned that Caron Butler can be an All-Star caliber player. They learned that Brendan and Etan still can't get along and both pretty much will always be what they are right now. They learned that Andray Blatche has some nice talent but remains a work in progress. They learned that Darius Songaila, when healthy, can really play the game and is a great fit for Eddie's system. They learned that they simply can't win without one of the big three. Period. They learned that Jarvis Hayes, if given longer minutes, can be at least a competent shooter (his percentage went up with the added minutes).

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Fairfax, Va.: For those complaining about Larry Hughes knowing the Wizards offense: I would gladly have Larry Hughes call out every Wizards play for his Cavs than to pay him $70 million to keep him in D.C.

Ivan Carter: Larry is a nice player and he had a great Game 1 but that contract is going to be a heavy load to carry for this franchise in the next two to three seasons. My guess is that Larry, who is not in love with the Cleveland experience, will play out the remainder of that deal elsewhere.

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Michael Lee: Okay, Ivan just stole my other question on the worst No. 1 pick. But let me answer the other one. Yes, Kwame has extremely small hands for a man his size, which has contributed mightily to him being ineffective for much of his career. He hasn't been able to develop a consistent jumper and you're right, his hands are like clay whenever that ball comes his way.

But if I had to pick the worst No. 1 pick ever, I'd have to go with the Olowokandi. Not just because he has proven himself to be pretty worthless and hasn't shown any sort of promise on either end of the floor - at least Kwame has been a valuable post defender in LA. I'd say Olowokandi was the worst based on the guys who immediately followed him: Mike Bibby, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce.

The lottery picks in the 2001 draft, outside of Pau Gasol, have been really slow to be impact players in this league.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you have any idea what Ernie Grunfeld's view of Eddie Jordan's coaching is? Said another way, does Grunfeld feel that he put together a .500 ball club this year? Or will all parties just blame injuries and not give much thought to what happened this year?

Ivan Carter: The Ernie/Eddie thing is always going to be an interesting situation. I think Ernie had to be thrilled when the team was 31-21 and atop the Eastern Conference, especially considering that his top offseason acquisition (Songaila) hadn't played yet and his first round pick (Pecherov) wasn't even in the country. In other words, outside of replacing Jeffries with Stevenson, Eddie didn't get too much extra ammo following last season. I really don't know what has gone through Ernie's mind since the injuries kicked in and this team went in the tank. I do know that he hasn't publicly complimented or criticized Jordan so that leaves it up in the air. Also, he made a point of backing Gilbert not Eddie when Gilbert made those ridiculous comments about Eddie stressing defense too much after that ugly home loss to Portland. Then again, that may have just been Ernie's way of staying on Gil's happy side because he knows he has to sign him again. Don't think Eddie didn't notice though.

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Washington, D.C.: Isn't it interesting that when Jordan puts Kwame in the dog house he is a genius, yet when he does the same to Haywood, he is the goat?

Is Tuff Juice(C Butler) going to play in Game 3?

Michael Lee: No, Tuff Juice is out for probably this whole series and the Wizards would be wise to not risk him coming back. This season is a wrap. They aren't going to win anything with a 75 percent Caron and no Gilbert.

And I'm glad somebody here has some sense when it comes to this Brendan debate.

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Washington, D.C.: First, let me say that I am not in the "Let's Trade Jamison" bandwagon. BUT, might there be an opportunity to trade him this summer for either Marion or Kirilenko? Both have big ticket contracts, and both teams, for different reasons, might be willing to move those guys.

Ivan Carter: I would think long and hard at any deal involving Marion and think very long and hard about any deal bringing in Kirilenko, who seems to be lost in lala land somehow. Maybe he just needs a change of scenery or maybe he's lost it. Who knows? When he was on his game, he was one of the most unique talents in the league. The only issue with Marion is that I see his game and Caron's game overlapping way too much.

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NYC, N.Y.: Michael,

What has Michael Ruffin done during the regular season to earn the minutes he got? What did Calvin Booth do to get no time? Come on man. You know as well as we do that Eddie has his favorites and it has nothing to do with what's going on on the court because if it did Jarvis would never get off the bench based on his reg. season and neither would Ruffin.

Michael Lee: Eddie can always be sure that Ruffin will always give him everything he has when he is on the floor. He has no idea which Brendan he is going to get. Is it the 8 point, 9 rebound Brendan? Or the 2 points, 3 rebound Brendan? As a coach, all you want is consistency in some regard, even if you lack the talent, just be consistent.

I just think people are overreacting here, thinking that Brendan Haywood is the difference in this series. He's not. I'm not saying he won't have a big game or won't be a contributor if and when the Wizards win a game this series. I'm just saying people have to stop acting like Brendan is Shaquille O'Neal (circa 2000).

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Washington, D.C.: It's pretty bad when the opposing team's players are so shocked by your coaching moves that they publicly question them and almost lobby for you to make changes. Has the Haywood thing caused any Wizards' players to question or lose confidence in Jordan? I've got to think that at least a few have wondered what the heck Jordan is doing.

Michael Lee: Why are people siding so solidly with Brendan here? I really don't get it. You're acting like Brendan didn't stop playing at an important time in the season and lost his starting job. It works both ways. Eddie and Brendan both need to get past this, but it really isn't all on Eddie. He gave Brendan a chance to start this season and what did Brendan do with it? He earned a demotion!

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Washington, D.C.: A follow-up to the first question -- if Jamison continues to have a great series, on the heels of the series and his good finish to the regular season (a 48 point game), will Jamison consider opting out? If his agents asks around and thinks he can get a 5-year, $40 million deal, for example, why risk performing poorly next season and not having many offers?

Michael Lee: Antawn has told me repeatedly that he does not have an option this summer, that he is a free agent NEXT summer. People within the Wizards organization have told me the same: He can become a free agent in 2008. I hope that clears up any confusion.

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Rexburg, Idaho: Ivan and Mike, you both do a great job. Keep it up.

I'm a loyal fan and watch most of the games. However, when Eddie Jordan switches the to the small ball line-up I cringe so bad it makes me get up and leave. Please prove me wrong if this theory has ever worked, but from what I see they become frantic on offense and matadors on defense.

Do you know if Ernie has ever discussed this strategy with EJ? What are your impressions of how Ernie feels about this philosophy?

Ivan Carter: The "small ball" questions are numerous and have been all year and it is an interesting issue. Here's the deal: what have Etan or Brendan consistently provided to ever make you think that going small was that horrible of an idea? Consistent scoring? No. Consistent rebounding? Not really. Consistently physical play? Nada. As for the rotation issue, who, other than Songaila and maybe Daniels, has played with any level of consistency this season thus demanding a set amount of minutes and/or a defined role? Blatche? Flashes but not quite there yet. Mason? No. Etan/Brendan? No. Booth? No. Taylor? No. Ruffin? He's limited. That's all I'm saying. Eddie's mixed and matched because he's had no choice. It's no secret as to why this team was flying so high in December and January: he played 7 to 8 guys, everyone was healthy and they rolled. Once Jamison went down, followed by Butler followed by Arenas, this team was screwed, pure and simple. Had those guys stayed healthy with Songaila coming along as he has, this was a 45-49 win team.

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Silver Spring, Md.: If Rick Carlisle is available, what do you think of firing EJ and bringing him in to teach defense and playing less small ball?

Michael Lee: Are you kidding? You want to match Rick Carlisle and his slow, methodical offense with Gilbert Arenas? Are you trying to drop kick Gilbert out of town?

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Bowie, Md.: What is Eddie Jordan thinking? Michael Ruffin is not an NBA player. He's barely 6 feet 7, can't shoot, rebound, play defense, pass or provide any functional qualities required of an NBA big-man. His petty feud with Haywood is costing the team. I think Grunfeld should seriously consider a replacement as head coach if Jordan thinks Michael Ruffin is an NBA player. Calvin Booth has played well every opportunity this year. Yet, Michael Ruffin continues to get playing time. NBA coaches do not play Ruffin in the playoffs.

Ivan Carter: More votes against Eddie along with a Ruffin take.

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Arlington, Va.: What are the odds Gilbert signs a three-year extension?

Ivan Carter: Trying to guess what Gilbert is thinking and/or what he's going to do is a very, very difficult thing. My gut reaction is to say that he waits until the last possible minute and signs an extension. He'll want to see what direction this team takes this summer and next season. My questions for Gilbert center around how he responds from the first serious injury of his basketball life and whether he raises his level of play as a defender. That will determine a lot about where this franchise is headed as well.

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McLean, Va: Hi,

What is the latest word coming out of LA after that beating by Phx? For all the praise that Kobe gets for his individual performances, he still can't seem to make the players around him better.

He'll put up monster stats but ignore his teammates in the process. However, when he defers to them, they stink up the joint.

Michael Lee: I hate hearing about making your teammates better. I think you can only make the talent around you better if there really is a lot of talent to tap into. To my knowledge, I only know of a few guys in this league who have turned marginal talents into stars: Shaq, Jason Kidd and Tim Duncan. That's it.

Nash is surrounded by studs in Phoenix. Shawn Marion was an all-star before Nash arrived. Stoudemire was rookie of the year. Barbosa would've been great anywhere he went. The Suns have the best seven-man rotation in the league.

Kobe is playing with Kwame, Luke and Smush. And, Lamar Odom hasn't been the same since that one great season in Miami.

The Lakers will really need to upgrade the talent around Kobe, because he really can't win. Whatever he does, he's going to be wrong.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Ivan, Jarvis Hayes a "competent shooter"? Are you kidding. Competent compared to who? Adam Morrison?

Don't tell me this organization is going to be fooled enough to bring him back when we've got four years of demonstrated suckiness to refer to.

Also I think folks are under-estimating the difference between having a legit 7-0 with long arms in there like Haywood versus a bunch of 6-9 and under short-armed guys in Etan, Darius and Michael.

Ivan Carter: In April, when he averaged 31.4 minutes in 11 games with 10 starts, Jarvis shot 45.9 percent overall and 45.5 percent from three-point range while averaging 12.9 points and he played pretty solid defense. In this league, that's extremely competent. What that earns him from the Wizards or some other team this summer remains to be seen.

As a scout from another team said to me early in the month: "The thing you fear is passing on him and he recovers from that injury all the way and figures it out. The talent is there, you'd just like to see him make more shots."

As for Brendan thing, that's why I asked Eddie in the press conference after Game 1 whether he considered going to Brendan in the fourth when Ilgauskas was killing the shorter guys with his length. Obviously, Brendan matches up best and that's why you'll see him tonight. I guarantee it.

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Washington, D.C.: I couldn't agree more, Michael. It's better to put Ruffin in and KNOW you're going to get 0 points, 2 rebounds than put in Haywood when there is only a chance he'll get 0 points, 2 rebounds.

Michael Lee: You're missing the point. You guys are acting like Michael Ruffin is getting 35, 40 minutes a night. Dude is lucky to get 10. Haywood has been given every opportunity to succeed. Ruffin might finish with 0 points and 2 rebounds, but he might make that key pass to set up a score, or force a turnover. Yes, Ruffin made the most boneheaded play of the year against Toronto, but this isn't a Brendan vs. Ruffin issue. It's a Brendan vs. Brendan issue. Either he is going to compete or coast. Let's talk about other topics. A reserve for a seventh-seeded team in the playoffs should not be this big of a deal.

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20010: Brendan Haywood's inconsistent play hurts the team a lot more than EJ playing Ruffin 5 minutes a game. Seriously, I don't even understand how this is an issue.

Michael Lee: Thank you 20010.

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WDC: There is no way this many people think Haywood makes that great of an impact. I think I have it figured out. Brendan, please leave the chat and go practice making layups.

Michael Lee: Ditto, WDC.

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Silver Spring, Md.: So you concede Rick Carlisle is the better coach, and the only reason not to bring him in is Arenas might not like it?

Michael Lee: No. I'm completely dismissing that as a possibility on the most obvious grounds.

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Takoma: Ivan,

I'd hesitate to credit the extended minutes for Jarvis's resurrection, but instead credit Antonio Daniels. Jarvis needs someone to create for him, period, and feed him with good timing. Thing is Daniels didn't come on 'til late, as usual. I think Jarvis will do alright on another team. Just not here, with Gil. We need an off guard who can handle.

Ivan Carter: That's a good point and I also believe that a spot-up guy like Jarvis is better off with a pure point guard type but I also think that he may be one of those shooters who clearly is more comfortable when he gets 10-15 shots as opposed to 7-10, know what I mean? A guy who gets the extra looks knows that even if he starts 1 of 5, it's all good because he'll get more. It's like a running back who knows he's going to get 15-20 carries rather than 9-12. One key thing about his future: he's going to have to take the ball to the cup more next season, regardless of where he is. He's simply too big and long to be a Kapono spot-up type his whole career. Will he trust that knee? That's the other big question.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Michael, we are siding with Brendan because he is one of the best players on the team. The 'Zards are much, much better defensively when he is on the floor. When Brendan plays the Wizards are about average on defense. When Brendan is not on the floor they are DEAD LAST! Brendan's contribution on defense is the ONLY reasons the Wizards do not have the WORST DEFENSE IN THE HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE!

Michael Lee: Since Brendan is so good, let's try to trade him for Tim Duncan, Yao Ming or Marcus Camby this summer, right?

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Washington, D.C.: Ivan:

You've defended small ball all season. Have you looked at the +/- stats for the Wizards when they go small vs. when they don't go small? If so, how do you explain away the disparity? Or are you "not a stats guy" like EJ?

Ivan Carter: I haven't "defended" small ball, I have merely pointed out that the inconsistency of the centers has contributed to Eddie's use of smaller lineups. If Etan played every night or even two out of three nights like he did against Dwight Howard earlier this season and/or if Brendan played like he did at Miami a few weeks back every night or two out of three nights while acting in a professional manner in the huddle, on the bench and in practice, going small wouldn't be an option.

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Arlington, Va. : A lot of analysts doubted the Heat last year and they ended up winning the title. Can they pull it together and win the next two games in Miami and eventually pull off a series win over the Bulls?

Michael Lee: The Heat is the last team that I want to count out. I was ready to start shoveling last summer when Dallas went up 2-0 in the NBA Finals. I was ready to start looking at caskets when Dwyane Wade dislocated his shoulder. And, every time they rise up and make me look silly for doubting them. I picked Heat in seven, though, and I'm not backing off yet.

That being said, Miami is in real trouble against Chicago. The Bulls have owned them all season, dating back to that 42-point blowout in the season opener. And, Wade always struggles against the Bulls - good shoulder or not. I think Miami can win two at home, but I'm not real confident. Deng looks like he's on a mission. The Bulls added Ben Wallace to beat Shaq and he is delivering.

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Glenn Dale: Any truth to the rumor that the Bullets, I mean Wizards, are planning to suit up Wes Unseld, Tom Kozelko and Joe Pace to patch up a glaring hole in the middle of their defense?

Ivan Carter: Now that's a solution.

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Washington, D.C.: After the game, Odom mentioned something about not feeling the team is close or has the camaraderie necessary to win. Is there some real serious issues going on behind the scenes with the Lakers?

Michael Lee: When you get blown out by 28 in the playoffs, there are obviously some issues. Smush Parker and Brian Cook have both publicly disrespected Phil Jackson at different times this season. Kobe doesn't trust his teammates and they are probably resentful of some of the comments he has made of late. The thing is, Kobe has one gear and if you can't keep up, you get left behind.

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D.C.: Off-topic question: how do you guys feel about the Sonics leaving Seattle, and with the gm and coach getting the boot, what is the future of that franchise?

Michael Lee: I am really worried about Seattle. Personally, I would hate it if the NBA was no longer in that city. If you've never been there, it is one of the best, most beautiful cities in America. I always love to stop by Dick's hamburgers. It's already a crime that the NBA is no longer in Vancouver. I'm serious, the trade from Vancouver to Memphis will go down as the worst in history. No offense to Elvis fans and folks from Memphis, but it doesn't compare to the Pacific Northwest.

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Dr. Rao: It's simple physics. Tall guys have a better chance to guard other tall guys. You two still have not admitted that it was inexcusable not playing Haywood in Game 1. I don't care if people think he's Tim Duncan or plays more like my sister Brenda. The readers are trying to make a point about Eddie's coaching here.

Ivan Carter: As I keep pointing out: I asked Eddie after game one whether he considered playing Brendan to better match up. I wrote about it in my game story that day and again for the story that followed the next day. An excerpt from my game story:

Jordan defended his decision to defend Ilgauskas with smaller players rather than 7-foot center Brendan Haywood, whose five minutes of action came in the first half. Haywood gave Ilgauskas trouble during last season's first round series.

(Jordan quote in response to my question) "I just thought that the guys that were playing were playing hard and playing smart, so I'm playing those guys. I don't care if they're 5-2."

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DC:"Also I think folks are under-estimating the difference b/w having a legit 7-0 with long arms in there like Haywood versus a bunch of 6-9 and under short-armed guys in Etan, Darius and Michael."

But half of the time, Haywood plays like he is a 6-7 swingman. There is a lot of Haywood worship going on in this chat, and it stinks. He SHOULD play more tonight, mainly because of the matchup problems he creates for Z. Buts lets not fool ourselves - he's a lot more Montross, a lot less Mourning.

Ivan Carter: More on the Brendan issue.

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Michael Lee: Dr. Rao. I see what everybody is getting at, but it doesn't float. Brendan Haywood is not the difference maker this series. Will anyone here even consider that? Will anyone here acknowledge that Brendan played himself out of the rotation?

Coaches play who they want to play. Last I checked, that's why there are in that position - to make decisions about who plays and who sits. Trust me, whether Brendan plays or not Cleveland wins this series in five games or less.

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Fairfax, Va.: It seems like Houston is flying under the radar, but I think they have a chance to really make some noise in the West. T-Mac is playing great and Yao seems to be at full strength. Any chance of them reaching the conference finals, or at least making it an interesting series against Dallas in round 2?

Michael Lee: I don't see them getting to the conference finals, but if they can get past Utah - I'm not ready to call the Jazz dead yet - I definitely think they can push Dallas to the brink. Two years ago, they won the first two games in Dallas before losing the series in seven. Yao and Tracy are pretty tough to beat when those two are healthy and on the floor together.

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DC: re: Memphis vs. Vancouver

Michael, I guess you and Stevie Franchise wouldn't have much to agree upon. He was probably the cause for them to move.

Michael Lee: Yeah. I can't say me and Stevie agree on much.

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Fairfax, Va.: These games would be a lot more interesting if the first round was still a best out of 5 series. These playoff series are too long. Any chance the league changes it back? It would certainly makes tonight's games more exciting.

Michael Lee: I agree seven games is two too many. That's why you rarely see any upsets in the playoffs. All the suspense is wiped out. The superior team usually always wins in a best of seven. If Seattle had two more games in 1994, we would not have seen Dikembe Mutombo on his back hugging the ball when Denver had that great upset.

But to answer your question, the NBA is not going back. It was a tradeoff in the last collective bargaining agreement. The players get a high salary cap - the NBA gets more first round games.

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Michael Lee: Alright, people. I was expecting to have a relaxing afternoon before the Brendan Haywood Fan Club decided to bombard the chat this afternoon. That's cool. This time next week, this might not be an issue anymore and we can talk about some other topics. I'm out. Peace.

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