Chris Mannix on Kristaps Porzingis Trade, Anthony Davis, and Kyrie Irving's Future in Boston
Tired of spending hundreds of dollars for prescription glasses. Xeni offers thousands of affordable. Eyewear styles starting at just six ninety five. No ridiculous markups. No hassles. Just quality affordable. I wear delivered right to you visits. Any today at any dot com slash p r. Forty eight Howard Beck senior NBA writer for Bleacher report. I am still recovering from a New York deep freeze and a New York blockbuster of it is the morning after the Kristaps Porzingis deal New York still coming to Crips with it and the whole NBA still trying to come to grips with it. Not one we saw coming a lot of different wrinkles and a lot of questions and a lot of speculation and some conspiracy theorising as well does this mean Kevin Durant is a lock to come to New York with all that cap room. They just created as Kyrie Irving coming kyri noncommittal this morning when asked to shoot around about Boston and July first has asked me again, July first a lot of different threads coming off of this deal. No, one better that I could discuss all that with an analyze and break it down with then my good buddy, Chris Mannix from Sports Illustrated and NBC sports Boston. We get into all of those wrinkles and many more. What were the Knicks thinking in trading their their franchise star as basically part of a cap clearing maneuver. We haven't seen too many deals like this in fact, as you'll see in a story that's posted by me on Bleacher report today cars you to go read it. This has never happened. GMC talked to believe this has never happened where somebody used basically they're young pre in his prime all star as an inducement to clear cap room. It's a it's a big bold risky move at Chris. And I get into that at length before we get to that. First of all if you've noticed this is the second episode this week. Congratulations listeners, and congratulations me we are now twice a week podcast. Thank you for all the support and your listenership to grow this thing to the point where they granted us a second episode of week. This will be the routine going forward to more next week. So appreciate all that speaking of which if you're not subscribed. Please go to apple podcasts or Spotify or any of them, any droid podcast platforms hit that subscribe button. Really appreciate the support there. And on top of that. If you are on apple podcasts, as I say every week, we really love the ratings and the feedback the comments that you can leave their I'm trolling through those comments. Every day or every week and looking for all the suggestions recommendations criticism all of that again. Thank you, all if you already subscribed. And if you're not, please do we appreciate having you. Okay. That is it we or done with the promotional portion of this intro, and I will now get to my interview with Chris Mannix now joined by the senior writer for Sports Illustrated NBA analyst for NBC sports. Boston guy covers boxing and his on TV and radio and podcasts and has board jobs and all the rest of us combined, Chris Mannix. Good morning, sir. How are you? I'm just checking this is about the middleweight division. Right. I've got my notes in front of me. You wanna talk Gennady Lofton correct today. Just get swapped along with some twenty twenty four protected first round picks. I mean, they might have I've Wesley purview hours last night, the fossil those those could have been like Nick's euro stashes for all we know. You know, I did the story that I've been trying to write for years now that I keep picking up and putting down, and it's about those those euro stashes that get thrown into trades. I mean there handful of guys I that the NBA through the research for me, they're a handful of guys that have been traded like nine times that never play in the NBA and talked to one who told me still has like all his gear from every team that's acquired. They sent him gear. How and even know that was a perk. That's a good perk. Yeah. Whatever he's got stuff in his closet that you know from seven traits ago. So it's, you know, naughty, go off and could either be a contending middleweight or a thick six wing in Barcelona. And you might be the only man in sports media who would know which was which because I wouldn't if you had told me either one I would have believed you so I know you just by the way just came straight from boxing class up in suburban Boston. So hope you're you're still intact for this interview. And your your brain's not scattered. What are we letting people behind the curtain here back a little bit? I mean, okay. I wish you had given me more than my subway is stuck in your lap. Text me. But I'll get you back. You will. I know you will. All right. Let's talk a little mix. Let's talk a little Kristaps Porzingis because we are hours later in the morning after and I think we're all still trying to get our heads around how quickly this came together. And what it means for both these franchises. What was your main? Takeaway as this started hitting the Twitter feed yesterday afternoon. Well, my first reaction was, you know, shock because it knew the Knicks were trying to get off the Tim Hart. Away contract. They were trying to move off Courtney Lee, I never really expected them to throw Kristaps Porzingis input mix because they had spent and you know, this the better part of the last year, basically telling everybody that would listen that they're done chasing big fish. They're going to grow their team organically this past off season. They didn't go out and splurge on big contracts. They were all in on a slow scaled rebuild. And now, it's like I hopped in the in the hot tub time machine went back to ten and here, we are again with the Knicks jumping to feed into free agency with double max cap space and a layer of dysfunction kind of around them. So I was really shocked. They gave up porzingas it's easy to see why. And you know, behind the scenes, our too, I wonder I wonder what they actually know. I wrote this during the week like I wonder if the Knicks have had a communicated via back channels that. That either. Kevin Durant Colli Leonard Cairo Irving Jimmy Butler. One of those top tier players is definitely coming. Because that's the only way that I would take a risk like this. Whatever you think about porzingas is he a I hear guy all NBA guy is perennial all star. He's got a huge upside. So to give up on him while these still in his rookie contract. It was really surprising to me. Yeah. All of that. And I think Chris this is the thing that I find most just kinda shocking disconcerting perhaps on behalf of all the Knicks fans that I am surrounded by in New York and have been put through hell over the last twenty years that they're finally, by the way, this is a sentence. I've probably said many times in the last five ten years that they are finally on what seems like a sensical path. And every so often they get on that that rational path. And then suddenly there's this like sharp left turn and everybody's going. Wait, what just happened when Phil Jackson got here initially? He was taking them with article approach. I'm not going to trade to future. I he never did. We're going to get cap room. They did they use that cap room with a couldn't get big pieces. They got they signed Robin Lopez to a reasonable contract and a flow to reason. And then all of a sudden the next year there splurging on Joe Kim no-one trading for Derrick rose. So it's like it never lasts more than a year. This methodical. Patient agenda, and this one is worse than many of the others in the past because as you point out Kristaps Porzingis, this this guy was was held up rightfully as the future. He was their hope, and this is where I feel bad for Knicks fans. Most Jeremy Lin much different. Version of this. But fans loved Jeremy Lin, it was one of the few bursts of joy that they had was Lin sanity back in twenty eleven. And suddenly the next say, you know, what we don't like your contract demands. We're letting you leave Knicks fans were heartbroken a bunch declared that they were leaving the Knicks forever. They were going to become nets fans. This is like that at a much higher level because Kristaps Porzingis is an all star already know star. He's twenty-three. Yes. Coming off of ACL. Yes has some flaws in his game. Still too young to decide that those flaws can't be rectified, and I like the cap room plays is sometimes a good idea. But is a much better idea. If you already have youth to add to a guy who could help attract those stars, like what are what we all can spend it on Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving, whoever. Why are they coming here? Now, Chris what is the attraction of a roster that is now about Dennis Smith junior many flaws of his own Kevin Knox unproven? I don't I don't know where the where the allure here is aside from the garden. Yeah. I don't know either unless they, and they all basic fully believe this that it's a package deal for let's say, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving, we'll get into in a minute. But you know, they have to believe that they're going to get two of those players. Now the narrative, here's where where your listeners just can't buy the narrative coming out of New York narrative is that Porzingis. You know, he did walk into the Scott Perry's office and request a trade. I mean, Perry said is much both in a statement and on a conference call later on that night. But who cares like this is not an Anthony Davis situation near is not been a player in the history of these rookie scale contracts that has been offered the max and his turned down. The max you're not gonna convince me I'm sorry. Either. With the Knicks are now with Dallas that Kristaps Porzingis coming off a CEO care. Is gonna turn down a max level contract extension. And I know we spending that yarn out there. But he's gonna take the qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer twenty twenty. I don't believe it. And I don't believe the Knicks really believe it either. That's just their way of justifying making this move, and and they're really still justification now. If looked these guys could all look like geniuses if Durant and Kyrie or Durant and Jimmy Butler or Durant and co I signed up all of a sudden, maybe they have Zion Williamson to stars and multiple first round picks to potentially down the line that came over in the Dow's trae, but right now, they're putting the immediate and in some ways long term future of the franchise on the line with this deal. Yeah. And quick pet peeve by the way on Zion part of this. Even if everybody agrees that he's going to be a future star and not everybody does by the way. There's plenty of skepticism which something we covered my episode earlier this week with Jonathan Wasserman. There are plenty of doubts about him. But my gosh, whether it's Knicks fans. Or people speculating on trades. Whether it was involving a D or anything. This is the one year not the one year. This is a year where even more than in the past. You can't just assume just because you're the worst record. You're getting the top pick. The the odds have been rejigged. It's fourteen percent at best for the the worst three records, and you have a bigger chance of ending up at fifth. Then I even if you have the worst record. I mean, the Knicks this idea that it's all this cap room, plus the draft rights designed no, no, no, no the lottery happens in may. And the Knicks might end up with the seventh overall pick or six v wherever and this is considered even even zion's what he's been hyped to be it might be a one man draft. That's the other thing that keeps coming from scouts is that there's there's a pretty big drop off. So that's not some panacea and that and there's and it's far from guaranteed. So that's ridiculous. But yeah, listen, this is to me, Chris the ultimate swing for the fences. And the Knicks have done this before and this one on this is on a different scale, even when they tore down. On the roster and clear the payroll to try get LeBron twenty ten you had LeBron and Wade and Bausch and all these other guys in that in that market. But would they gave up to to clear that cap room? It was like Jamal Crawford. Nice player Zach Randolph at that time. Nice player. Not at all star. They churned through Harrington. And all these other guys they didn't give up a guy like Kristaps Porzingis. They didn't give up a young budding star who had already become beloved an face of the franchise potentially the hope for the next decade. They never gave up anything like that. What strikes me most about this one is that instead of this piece of this being just the usual cap clearing, exercise and banking on the idea that we're New York. So we'll get guys which has failed repeatedly. You had to sacrifice you make Kristaps Porzingis. The inducement for cap relief. You made him you made him the asset that you gave away to get people to take your bad contracts, which by the way that was the bad contract. Tim Hardaway junior that Steve mills gave out. Within five minutes of becoming team president. So you're you're you're just like when Donnie Walsh to this in two thousand ten he was wiping away. Zia Thomas's, bad contracts. This is Steve mills having to atone for his own poor decisions. Now, Courtney Lee was Phil Jackson's contract, but Steve mills was the number two in that front office. He can't escape Crispin civility there either. That's I mean, that's that's embarrassing. And there I don't think I've ever seen anything like this extreme either they get one or two stars this summer, and this all looks brilliant, or they miss entirely and everybody should be fired, basically. Yeah. That's exactly what I what I wrote this week that you're either executives of the year or you're in the unemployment line. It's it's as simple as that. And you know, one thing that could work against the Knicks. This summer is that you know, when they struck out in twenty one twenty ten Dwayne Wade said after the fact that the market was still very appealing playing at Madison Square Garden, very appealing. But in his meeting with the Knicks. He didn't get the sense that they were really ready to compete that they were functional as they needed to be, and he countered that against Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra a team that's already won a championship during his time there, and I it just really was no comparison and that team in twenty ten had Donnie Walsh and accomplished executive that was running it. What do we think this team's gonna do in this those free agent? Meaning I know David fizzed ill is a popular figure across the NBA. But is he going to be enough? Are they going to be able to sell? L top tier free agents that they can show them a path to winning a championship. I do believe Howard that guy like Kevin Durant living in New York. Appeals to him that you know, the off the court stuff. Katie's already starting to dabble more in that off the court stuff. We all know his agent, which climbing is based in New York and his even said he wants to be the Knicks GM someday. But I think there's a peel off the court the Knicks have to be able to show free agents that they have they can show you how they're going to win. And they weren't able to do in two thousand ten am not convinced Bill to do it in two thousand nineteen. And here's here's where we have to bring in the all these other options, right? Like, this is a summer that a lot of teams have been planning for. And I look at two other were three other big market teams. Both the LA teams. The Lakers will have room for one max slot assuming that they don't get Anthony Davis. In the meantime, I don't think they're going to the clippers could create up to two max slots, the nets here in New York can create the two max slots, the nets have a bunch of really good. Good solid intriguing. Young players. A really sharp front office. A coach who has shown that everybody who comes here improves under him the clippers have a really sharp front office. They've got doc. Rivers wanna championship? They got a bunch of really good solid players. Who if you're Kevin Durant? You could look at that lineup. If you're Leonard you look at that lineup. You say, well, I know some of them are going to have to go to create the cap room, but I could see winning with these guys. I could look at the nets. I could see winning with these guys I can look at the Lakers and see winning with LeBron. What is the allure of the garden for Kevin Durant? What if he's going to leave the warriors team that by the time? He does leave. He may have won three straight championships with if he's going to do that. The Knicks are not not only are they not a contender. They're not a contender even with Kevin Durant unless there's a second star coming and even then who's the supporting cast. I mean, we know this is a given folks youth does not win the NBA. And even if you've got a Durant and Kyrie Irving as your centerpieces. Kevin Knox is not ready. Mitchell Robinson is not ready. Dennis Smith junior. I mean, there's a reason the Mavericks were really eager to get rid of him after only the season plus with him since drafting him where where's the supporting infrastructure? Where's the organizational infrastructure that tells Kevin Durant? This is where you should plant your flag. And nobody in that front office has won anything. I mean Bill had been connected to James Dolan for his entire basketball career Scott areas. One something at an executive, but you've got to go back to the dark days in Detroit when he was an executive there. To define evidence of that. There's not there's not evidence of of of success within that front office. So I I'm with you. I mean, I agree completely. I this has the potential to turn into one of the worst traits in league history. I mean right now, we look at the nets deal as by far and away with the Celtics. You know, the worst deal if porzingas blossoms into the kind of player he's shown clashes becoming and becomes Dirk fifty two point. Oh, and Dallas and the Knicks. Get nothing out of this trade, you know, to go down in the history books. Tired of spending hundreds of dollars for prescription glasses. Our friends at Zanny optical offer, a huge variety of high quality stylish frames and state of the art optics starting at just six ninety five. You can get multiple frames with this great pricing for less than one pair. 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That's bollandbranch dot com promo code Bleacher. Good day sweep J skeets here. From the starters and fastball is back. Join me tasks Lee and Trey at six eastern, every weeknight on. NBA TV as we break down, everything that matters to NBA fans from trade. Rumors to Twitter beefs and don't forget to our podcast the drop now drop in twice a week every Tuesday and Friday on apple podcasts. Spotify an NBA dot com slash the starters until then the race today. People. Look at the optimistic view of this. Although I will say it was interesting on Twitter yesterday, generally, speaking expand split into the very criminally cynical New Yorker nothing ever goes right for us, Nick spans. And then there's pollyanna Knicks and pollyanna next Twitter is like a dim Dylan's not that bad. And he hasn't done anything stupid and a couple of years. So we like Kevin Knox. So things are going to be fine. Pollyanna? Knicks Twitter was was just stunned yesterday going what the hell just happened is a very rare day would pollyanna Knicks Twitter and cynical Knicks Twitter or as I like to call them realist. Knicks Twitter actually Cree in the reaction on something. But I wanna give the Knicks the benefit of not the benefit of the doubt. I just wanted to give the the optimist view here. Which is let's start with this porzingas is coming off an ACL. And I've said many times I will stick with this. I don't care whether he's a New Yorker Dallas. We don't know of Kristaps Porzingis will be the same guy as a seven three guy who. Moves the way. He does who plays the way. He does. He was already unprecedented in NBA history at that size playing the way he does it that at that height. And now he's coming back for Macy's. So there's no precedent for that either. So we don't really know now Dallas. I'm sure this a smart franchise. They're doing their due diligence. I'm sure they got the medicals. I'm sure that they are confident that he's going to be fine. Maybe they even have seen workout videos who knows and we should assume he will be fine. But there is a question Mark there before he went down last season. I think it was Chris herring at the five thirty eight who had done a really great analysis of how porzingas was looking a little eerily kind of Carmelo like in that the didn't move much once it got to him. He was gonna take a lot of shots high volume guy ni- plays more defense and he blocked shots. But in terms of just not being a passer a guy who's going to elevate his teammates as a guy who might be dicey to build around. They're worse than red flags there on the other hand playing with Luca Danni who is a phenomenal playmaker. Does get everybody involved. And now posing is the number two instead of the number one or number one. Whatever you he'll be Coon workout really well there. But there were doubts about him. And I understand he was upset with the Knicks. But to your point earlier, Chris you can patch that up you don't have to give up immediately restricted free agency that you don't just give up. You've got the rights to match any any offer. He wasn't gonna take the five million dollar qualifying offer coming off of an ACL. And then leaving. That's that's asinine. But even even if you thought that was threat you play this out, you you do what you have to do to patch things up the good franchises makeup with their franchise star. If there are a little bit out of sorts, you find a way, you don't just say, oh, well, if you're unhappy, screw you. That's not good policy. That's not smart decision making. And again to take a guy who was an all-star at his stage this early in his career and use him just to get off bad money again. It's just bad policy. And so again when it when it comes to superstars who are concerned the Knicks. I would look at all that and say, well, what have they shown me that makes? Me think that they make the right moves to build something sustainable, especially when they just tore what they had been building down again. Sorry. I did start this with the optimist view for the Knicks. The optimism the next is is that is that you start with porzingas from being a little bit of uncertainty and unhappy you did get a couple of first round picks back which normally I would praise but there are a little in the distance and Dallas probably is going to be pretty good. So those pictures won't be great, and you did get off bad money. So you've got cap room you've got flexibility, but you don't I would rather have capital flexibility. When I have something to add to all ready. And and I don't think they have much because we just this is not to dismiss Kevin Knox. I just don't know what he's going to be. Yeah. There's you know, the Colonel optimism for Kevin Knox. I think is a little bit hyperbolic at this point. I mean, he could turn out to be a good player in this league. But I don't think anything is is for sure yet the fear that New York has to have is that they just traded porzingus to maybe the best possible situation for him. They're trading him to the team that maximized in the best. Possible way everything out of Dirk Nowitzki who is a seven foot big man who revolutionized the power for position. Now, you have a seven foot three big man who has the potential to revolutionize the five position. And you're putting him with the same coach that did it you're going to give him an opportunity. I assume to work with Dirks tweet trainer, Mike prop ago. My say Mike name. I I know that for we Chuck in the NBA. Yeah. Sorry. I keep screwing that up is working working with him. Who did a great job over the your head? Did a great job working with Dirk in Dallas, everything kind of fit for Kris Porzingis to play at a high level with the Dallas Mavericks. So I think mixed fans look, maybe get the pieces that you want in free agency. But I don't think that's gonna stop Kristaps Porzingis from blossoming in Dallas in really the perfect situation for him. Yeah. And then there's you know, if I'm Chris Porzingis. I'm pretty happy with the. Of scenery, you know, he'd been through already. He was on his fourth head coach in four years and his second front office. If you consider that Steve mills was was sort of a break with the Phil Jackson era. And you know, there are all kinds of things he was unhappy about an, and let's let's be clear here to porzingus in his camp have been a little diva ish in all this. But that's also not unusual in the NBA with young stars. And again is something that you kind of you navigate, and you you just deal with you. Don't just say, well, we think you got a bad attitude where you're Atta here there were by the way, interesting way to look at this now through the prism of hindsight. Phil Jackson was killed for having dangled porzingas. But at the time what I had heard was that he was concerned with the way he moves at his size. And that maybe there might health concerns down the road. Now doesn't mean that Phil Jackson knew he was going to tears ACL. But there have been an I don't think he was the only one either within the organization the Knicks did have some concerns about the long term on on the health. But boy. The conceptual trade for the draft rights to Larry Markkanen or to move up to get Larry marketed looks better in retrospect now, but are you are you really what do you think? They I understand the the injury is significant, but AT L injures, no. That's not what it used to be. No, you come back from that. Like if he was dealing with those kind of y'all Ming foot problems or Gauss to split problem. Right. I might have more of a longterm concern. Anyway, he moves Brad's a seven foot three big men in ways that we've really never seen before. So there's a little bit of unknowns. But I fill this this becomes chronic. I'm not gonna worry too much porzingus his injury. And when we both know that if this was like a playoff team, we'd be hearing. We'd be seeing porzingas back on the floor ready. Like, there's there's been no rush to bring him back because the no zero interest in winning games this year. So I'm I'm not all that concerned. And I know that Dallas at this point is not at all concerned about forcing himself looted to this month or so ago, and so, you know, gotten picked up a little bit. But just the idea that I'd I'd heard rumblings the G league showcase from people saying that forcing wasn't going to play the season at the Knicks are going to hold them out the whole time because they wanted to tank they wanted to increase their lottery odds and that he was not. Happy about that plan. Among the many things he was unhappy about and so lo and behold here he was unhappy enough that they that they dealt him. You know, what surprise I think the Knicks about all this is that the last couple of years one thing I've heard is that, you know, for all his grumbling porzingas understand the value of being a Nick the global value of being the center piece player in New York in terms of building his brand and global popularity. So I think internally they thought a lot of the crumbling was kind of much do about nothing. I do think it surprised some people when he took it to the extent of asking to be traded. Yet. And I heard a different version of that yesterday and included this in the column that that posted this morning, which is that it was maybe not so direct of a get me out of here wasn't a trade demand and not even trade request. It was more of if this is where things are going. I'm not sure I wanna be here. Now, there's plenty of room for interpretation and different versions of how this is framed. And clearly the Knicks have put it in the most stark terms. Well, he didn't want to be here. So we shipped him out. I think there's a some gray area there about like, this may not have been strictly a get rid of me. What did you hear Chris in terms of whether or not they did much shopping because the Knicks on their conference called told some beat writers, we talked eight or nine teams I talked to people you late yesterday afternoon into the evening who said there'd been no indications that the Knicks were ready to move porzingas and had had really shopped them around that. And that that the Prussian they got was that they did not do their due diligence in terms of what they could have gotten for him. Because the point I would make would be. Could you have cleared Capela room in other ways used other inducements other than getting rid of your all star? Could you have achieved that goal without trading porzingus? And if you're gonna trade porzingus could you have gotten a better return? I I heard something Kyle and talked about three or four teams after the deal just texting with different executives. And and I had heard the same thing that they didn't know that Porzingis was really available, and if they had a least to say two of those teams said they would get they would have gotten into running to try to go and get him. Now, would they have had gotten a better deal? I don't know. I do know the Knicks have been canvassing the league tried to find someone to take that Hardaway contract. I mean, they talking to teams that had opened cap space. But I mean, you know, any report, and this is the Knicks are willing to trade, Tim Hardaway's like, I don't know like I want ice cream. Like, that's great. Like, I want a pony. Of course, they're willing to to trade, Tim Hardaway. But you know, that this it came. Together, pretty quickly. They knew Dallas had the cap space to absorb those contracts with the Mavericks didn't want to do a deal that didn't get them back something significant in return porzingas is that significant piece, and I do believe and this is conjecture. But I do believe that if they had continued to canvas the league they might have been able to get a better deal or at least play a couple of teams off each other. If they're willing to trade porzingas. Yeah. I see what the rush was either. Like, they did this on January thirty first the trade deadline's, February seventh they had time to to really make sure that this was the best return, you could get for zinc and to make sure that you didn't have other means to offload Hardaway juniors contract. Let's spin this forward just a little bit. Do you think this means that they are either certain they're getting Kadian kyri? Some combination of stars. Are they certain are they fairly confident? Are they willing to to to make this tremendous gamble because? A lot of what I heard yesterday from people the first reaction of every GM's mouth or text was they believe they're getting Katie or even they are getting Katie. And they've already been told that I mean, can you know, this is a very conspiratorial league. But it's also a tampering league. And it's all together possible. I'm not accusing anybody of anything, but it's all to get into possible that things have been conveyed to the Knicks that make them so confident of the outcome that they thought you know, what fine. We'll sacrifice porzingas. We'll sacrifice anything. We know. What we're getting it. Do you think that that's possible? Or is this just them being very confident for whatever reason, I think in I'm just guessing. But I think it probable that. They were told something, you know, be it. Kevin Durant, which is the most likely player in this situation or somebody else. But capturing is just and you know, this it's rampant. I mean, it is encamping it's become so sophisticated over the years. And the NBA's rules against tempering are so arcane. I mean, I don't really nor NBA. Yeah. They're nord. But like the NBA they're investigative if you wanna call whatever that is they're investigative abilities like make the NCW look like the FBI like they don't investigate that. All this kind of stuff and they rely on evidence being presented to them. Whether it's from teams, or you know through the media, I think it's happened. I think there's been tampering going on with whether it's Kevin Durant or somebody else that have given the Knicks. A really strong impression if not outright absurd confidence that he is going to sign their this off season. Now, I think it's a massive risk to take, you know, given that a lot can change in a few months and we've seen Howard, you know, whether it's Paul George or maybe even Leonard a lot can change in a short period of time. But I think the Knicks and doing this deal believe that somebody be a Kevin Durant or somebody else is firmly committed to them. Yeah. I. To believe that whether it's a certainty, whether they've already been told or whether they just been strongly hinted to I have to believe that they believe very strongly that that that's the outcome kills they're asking. Yeah. The only explanation because you know, because they look they could have cleared the space to sign Durant without doing all this. They had they had been creating flexibility over the last year or so they want that double max space. So they can say to Durant. We'll take you. And if you can convince somebody else, we've got the space for him to so all orchestra to get, you know, those two stars are the the Kevin Durant whoever. Kevin Durant wants to play right? Yeah. Worth noting. They only needed to offload like six or seven million to get the max room to sign Durant. The to go get double max space into sacrifice poisoning is in the process means that either they know that Durant coming without another star. Or they think that having that extra room somehow will will will convince both targets. Whoever they are to come together. But again, that's still feels like a big gamble. It's five months until July first or locking change Durant. Could feel a lot better about his future in Golden State. Who knows I mean, you you just you can't know even if even if it's even if this was tampering to the highest degree, even if they were told he's coming. It's February I is record this. You can't know what's going to happen on July. First we've seen too many things happen in the NBA to assume anything differently. While we've been recording Kyrie Irving at shoot around in New York where the net Centaur the Knicks and Celtics are playing tonight. Kyrie Irving was asked about his future with the Celtics and he said, quote asked me, July first, and and then there's an ellipses here. And he says, I don't know anybody ship. I don't know if that means, I don't know anybody. Meaning you the media who are pestering me about this or I don't oh, the Celtics. What do you make of that Chris Mannix who is based in Boston? And does a lot of Celtics coverage on TV well to some degree. You know, kyri has to be thinking, I've addressed this like shirl on Twitter. Find the video of me dressing south expands in a season ticket holder event that he knew was being taped. And prior to that that meeting or that that event he had gone to the Celtics front up and ownership and told them the exact same thing. He's of got a feel on some level. Like, what more do you want me to? Say at this point. I've I've said and he's doubled down on during the season prior to this. And he knew what was what was coming when it comes to New York. And and this is like it makes the NBA the perfect soap opera because that's kinda reach first game after all this kind of blows up. But from what I've been told Howard. And look the Celtics have talked about this. I know Danny aines has talked a little bit about this. But they stay pretty constant communication with Kyrie Irving about his future. They talked to him all the time. And as recently as Thursday, I was told that that this week they've talked to Cairo, and it's still if they still feel very comfortable that he wants to be in Boston. And that this is where he's going to be long term. Now, all that being said the Knicks have always been the team that scared Boston the most to go back to last summer. I I did a podcast where I kind of brought this up that that the Celtics were scared of the Knicks, and it's started mushroom a little bit from there. They've always been fearful of the Nick. Wchs because the magnetic pole of playing in New York for Kyrie Irving was raised in west, orange, New Jersey, that's real. That's that's real for him. He is a part of him that always gonna long to be a Nick because of his child. Now, some guys like Kevin Durant hate the idea of playing at home. That's not the same thing for Kyrie Irving. He'd love the idea of playing at home. And the Celtics have always wondered if the Knicks ever got it together, if they ever, you know, looked functional and added that first star and gave Cairo real reason to go there that would scare them in this process. And now, maybe that's out there, if Kevin Durant committes that might be something that will that will convince Kyrie Irving the positive, the is can take out of this is that if they get past bit Maury seven I mean, they will throw the Bill Russell statue in a deal to get a deal done for Anthony Davis like they will throw everything they have into that deal because they believe wholeheartedly that. It's a package deal. If Anthony Davis comes Kyrie Irving resigns, Anthony Davidson a year we'll resign because those two are extremely extremely close. So this only makes the Celtics ratchet up their their desire. If it could even get any higher get Anthony Davis on board. And this has been an interesting week on the Kyrie Irving front because we heard the rumblings and rumors, including from my colleague, RIC Bucher that kyri was open to reunion reuniting with LeBron in Los Angeles. We're now hearing rumblings of Kyrie in New York. There's a game as there usually is. Because it's the NBA great cynicism about even all of this. I've heard from folks yesterday, basically said listen, this is Kyrie Irving and his camp making sure to keep the pressure on Boston. Because Kyrie irvings got one is gonna wanna max he's gonna wanna match with no conditions about his knee health because he's had multiple knee issues. And if you're I mean, this is what you do if you're player if you're a player's rep. You get the most you can with no conditions attached. And so if you know, we know the Celtics have young guys coming up on on extensions pretty soon. They've got a lot of money already on the books. There certainly is every reason to believe that the Celtics if they could would try to sign kyri for less than the max or with some conditions about health the one way of viewing. All this is Kyrie's not going anywhere. He's just making sure that he doesn't. That he's using every bit of leverage possible to keep the pressure on Boston to give him what he wants sure you're in kyri in in what he did in the preseason. It was brilliant strategic move because he put all the pressure on Boston. Because if Boston every came in with a low ball kind of protected offer for those these he can turn around and say, well, I wanted to be here with they didn't want to offer me a contract commensurate with my my abilities. Now, let me tell you my reporting on all this and and being around this team a lot. I have this conversation often I have never once heard that they'll offer anything, but the full max unconditionally, I've never once heard that. And look that could change if the knee becomes a problem again. But his injury the season of Ben like the flu. And currently I think it's a a hip flexor of some kind. He has not been dealing as far as I know with anything real to do with the knee. So I don't think the. Celtics will blink at giving him that five-year max deal they understand there is an element of risk there. Because the guys had three knee surgeries. I think in the last three plus years, you know, some more significant than others, but they're not as long as he gets to the season healthy. I mean, he's having Howard maybe his best regular season of his career. Like, he's his playmaking. It's been better. His scoring has been kind of the usual. Kyrie Irving stuff. He's rebounding spent better like he's across the board. He's been better in almost every category. This year it if that holds up for the rest of the season matter what happened to the playoffs. They're gonna offer them five hundred full max. And I don't believe that he'll turn that down. And to your point which I've heard the same. He and AD are really tight they text each other. They've they've certainly compared notes about wanting to play together, and that's alternately up to the pelicans in the short term to decide to hold off until July first and then to trade him to Boston on July first, but if that's going to happen. And if the Celtics have any chance of keeping at all it has to be with kyri presumably still in the. Mix and net. That's that. That might be leveraged enough to get everything. He wants from the Celtics. Know, we can get into this. But the pelicans, and I tweeted this out on Thursday night. Like, this Knicks trade if you're in the pelicans front office, you gotta be throwing a party because you just made the Celtics even more desperate to get their hands on Anthony Davis. He it. Honestly, it's it's executive malpractice for them to deal Anthony Davis before July first because read Boston will go all in with everything they've got their players their draft picks. And I know you've talked about this. I was listening to you Zack earlier. Like Jason Tatum is by far and away better than anybody. Lakers apt off I I'm sorry. Brandon Ingram fans and coups fans. And you know, whatever you've got over their fans Jason Tatum the better player. So if you get Tatum the best player in a deal and a bunch of draft picks you've got a chance to rebuild a lot fast than dealing it before the deadline. Yeah. It would. It would stunned me. Nothing was dummy. It's the NBA. We were stunned yesterday all day. It would be really really really really bad decision making or malpractice in your terms to trade him before July. You have to have the team with the best assets in the mix. And by the way, not all draft picks are created equal. And the Celtics have the benefit of having draft picks that granted not as good as they look like they might be at one time. But when you have picks coming from Memphis, and Sacramento, those are better than you know, if it's, you know, whether it was going to be the Knicks or whoever when you're trading picks, and you expect to be good. You know, those are low picks in the Celtics. They are good. But they have other teams picks. That's really really a piece of this teams that are not going to be, you know, the kings training in the right direction that the grizzlies are about to fall off a cliff. So I want if I'm New Orleans I want all those I don't I don't want. I don't want Nick draft picks unless I think that they're going to you know, swing and miss on all the superstars. And by the way, the next took themselves out of the the running for the moment that they traded porzingas to clear cap room because they now have no they really have nothing to offer for. So that that was another piece of this again overlooked and don't you? I mean, you made this point like don't you badly want that Memphis bec-? I mean, does anybody think the grizzlies are going to be anything, but a whole over the next couple of years now that they'll probably keep their pick this year. But then it's top six protected and unprotected in twenty twenty one. I mean that knew that is about golden ticket. But you could have yes been much more valuable than say again with the Knicks got from Dallas because we expect Dallas to be good. And you have to qualify picks based on the expectations of the team that those picks are originating with before we leave the Nixon tireless, Chris I gotta go into to one quick tangent. One quick rent here came to my attention this morning that when the Knicks held their conference call yesterday afternoon, Steve mills talking to to the beat writers the guys who cover the team day in day out travel, all eighty two games all that. They did not extend that Email that courtesy that invitation to Stephan Bondi of the new York Daily News. This is the second time. The Knicks have done this. And I want to bring this up be. Well, media relations are not the sole indication of how a franchise operates and the sole indication of a franchises culture in the case of the Knicks and the way that they have dealt with these kinds of issues over the years. This is very much reflective of the fact that they have not changed, and I bring this up because the Knicks have been trying to make a very big deal both privately and publicly that they've turned a corner. It's different. It's a new era. We have different administration different coach, and we're doing things differently on all fronts. This is the same old crap that the Knicks have been pulling forever and that they are targeting the daily news targeting Steph bunny for reasons, by the way that they have not enumerated at all. They didn't do it when they snubbed Steph Bondi from a press conference with Steve mills in December. They did not explain it yesterday afternoon for my understanding this is not the way to do business. This is not a the way a classy professional organization deals with things your in the. I the sports teams are essentially a public trust the criticism goes with that weather from fans or media, if the Knicks don't like if James Dolan, the Knicks owner does not like the way the daily news covers him tough. That's the business. You're in deal with it to snub the beat writer who goes to every home and road game whose whose employer spending thousands of dollars to cover your team. If you can't handle the idea of him being in a press conference or any conference call with your team president that is about you. There is something wrong with you. And to me, again, this is indication along with the things we covered earlier on the basketball side that the Knicks haven't changed at all. I don't wanna hear about any new Knicks era, if you are still operating this way, and I just say this Steve mills, I've known a very long time of great regard for I think, he's an upstanding guy. I think he's smart. I have certainly been very critical Steve mills and cast some doubts about whether I thought he was the right person for this job. But. Steve meals does not hold that against me because Steve is a professional understands. My job is to objectively evaluate the league. And the teams that I cover and we still have a very constructive. Good relationship despite anything that I've written or said, so I don't for a minute believe that Steve mills the one who decided to ban Steph Bondi from this conference call yesterday afternoon that came from above that came from the owner the same owner who has been lashing out in petty and petulant ways at anybody in the media who he saw as an enemy for many years. And it's it's just disappointing and disturbing to me that they are still operating this way, I wished they would grow up and act like a professional organization random, I completely agree. And I would add that I think we both know that as long as James Dolan is owning that team, and he is so sensitive to legitimate criticism. If your team has not been. The gang that can't streak for the better part of the last two decades wouldn't be taking the type of criticism that you're you're taking. I I don't think and I think we can spoke safely agreed Stephan Bondi, Frank Zola. I don't think they wake up in the morning saying, you know, boy, let's let's just trash the Knicks for no reason. No, operate your business better. If you're doing good things you're going to get positive coverage. If you're doing dumb things you're going to get bad coverage either way, it's your job to take it. And and just deal with it, not get petty. Look, the excluding guy like like Stephan Bondi makes the story even bigger you ignore. I mean sent him to Email put him on the conference call. We're not talking about this. He's still going to write the same stuff. Yes. Looting and make no sense. It did not it accomplishes. Nothing. You know, the quotes are going to get out there either on Twitter or the other beat writers are going to look out for for Stephens, and send him the quotes. By the way. A case can be made that maybe those beat writers should. Talk about this and decide collectively that this is not the way that they should not not a situation, they should accept either. I've been in that beat writer mixed. I was an expert writer for nine years. We never had anything this extreme come up. I'd like to think that if it did we would have stood unified and said, if one of us can't be there, the none of us are, and I don't want to be too heavy handed about this. But I also don't want to be dishonest about it. That's what I'm feeling right now, it it'd be it really. If Ritt frustrates me disappoints me on all fronts, and I hope the league is taking notice up. The league is not allowing this. This is a really media-friendly league. Chris, you know, this we both covered this legal longtime. The vast majority of teams and league office itself are phenomenal with us who cover the league and the and the teams on on a daily basis, and no matter how critical we are people are generally fair and an understand the job. And so this to me, this is the. Very much an outlier. This is not the way that the league normally operates or any of its teams normally operate, and I think the league while there's limits to what they can do to tell franchise to operate. I I hope they are paying close attention. And not letting this slide are let's let's move on hit a couple of quick things before I let you go Anthony Davis, where do you think things stand? I mean, we we address this briefly. But there are still, you know, better part of a week to go here. Do you think all of our other thoughts aside on whether or not they should do you think they're going to possibly trade him still before the trade deadline or the holding on until July? First I point from what I'm being told. I'd be very very surprised if they trade in before the deadline. I think there are a number of reasons for that the fact that I think there is a lot of disdain inside the pelicans organization for the Lakers right now. And for how this whole thing was handled by Rich Paul and an ideal think that there are people. There are people within the pelicans that believe that the Lakers whether directly or indirectly. You know, had had a hand in all this like that the the pressure being exerted on them. It all kind of blows back to the LA Lakers. I I don't I think that is a factor in this ad. Also think what we talked about the obvious belief and understanding that come July. First you very best offer could be available to them. I think that's gonna keep Anthony Davis on the pelicans roster. Now, I guess as guessing now I think Davis probably played his last game for the pelicans. I don't think there's motivation on either side. I mean Davis has told you know, Alvin gentry that he wants to play the rest of the year. But I don't know that there's there's motivation on the pelicans side to bring him back. If for no other reason than they just went through this with DeMarcus cousins last year, a major injury kind of scuttling their best laid plans. So I would be I'd be surprised to be placed again. But I'd also be surprised if we see him dealt for the deadline. I think they're gonna hold out and other reasons do at Howard is you know, what happens. Have another team gets in the mix. Like what if the bulls get the number one pick? What if the bulls are willing to make like a a market in and Zach LeVine thrown out there, but that type of offer plus number one for Anthony Davis? I think you've got to wait until you see you get that number one pick for you make this type of deal. Yeah. And that's exactly it for me. Chris I if I'm the pelicans, the two things I want in a negotiation or the two things that I wanna make sure on the table as possibilities are whatever it is the Celtics are willing to throw in because they've got the best possible packages to create and I want to know who has the number one pick because if I believe in Zion. If I think this guy is a potential franchise star. I wanna know whose team has his rights. So I can talk to that team to I want all the best possibilities before. I trade a guy who's a top five player in the NBA. So they absolutely have to wait. I believe they probably will. Wait. Are we missing anything, by the way, like aside from team x that gets the draft rights desire on and aside from the Celtics and Lakers? So we've all fixate. On is there a sleeper in this? Are we are we missing somebody? Is there some other sweetheart deal out there that could that whether it pops up in the next week or July? I don't know. I mean, there are teams that can obviously offer a lot in a deal like this. But the power Anthony Davis can flex with his pending free agency a year from now is is considerable. I mean could the clippers get in maybe, but you know, this they have spent all year fixated on Kawhi Leonard. And I don't know. I I don't know if they would if they would just change course. Go after Anthony Davis. Maybe they would. But they've also looked at Kevin Durant pretty hard as well. Maybe they're appealing because they're also in Los Angeles. But right now, I don't see it. I just think Boston's got an in there because of Kyrie Irving the Lakers are the Lakers at this point. I don't think there is a sleeper team. That's out there that that could make a move less than before that you go we every year my running. Joke about the trade deadline is that we're always fixated on the, you know, the Anthony Davis and all the big names that are floating around. And then the biggest trade a lot of years not every year is the one that no one saw coming the names that we even realize we're out there. Somebody sneaks these things through credit to any GM in this day and age who can pull that off. Any any thoughts on what we may see in the next week any any surprises possible. Do you know? Is a is the biggest deal going to end up being the biggest blockbuster of the of the the the final ramp to the trade deadline? Yeah. I mean, it got if we knew what was going to happen. We'd be we'd be geniuses. We could Pri wait at least. We least pre right it and Bev ready to go and hit send when you know. Exactly. Look the when I talked to teams about the the trade deadline. Everyone's kind of looking at the teams trying to sell pieces off Orlando with Terrence Ross, you know, pretty much everybody. I think in Orlando is available outside of Jonathan Isaac. And no not extra boost big is available mobile like those two players are keepers. But I think everybody else can be had off that roster and Memphis. We know is been open to dealing Marcus and Mike Conley. I could see Conley moved. I think there's interest in him even with all that money goad the way he's played this season. I think he could be a pretty significant name move before the deadline but other than that. I mean, you know, what really interests me not to pivot this at all. But I don't see the Knicks keeping the Andre Jordan, Wes Matthews. Go those. Those two guys could be considerable assets at the bio deadline. I mean, if the Knicks can't swap them for something of value. I don't think they can imagine the Andre Jordan as a three-month rental. I mean, whether it's Houston or or somebody else. I mean, he's going to significantly upgrade at team if he's available before March. I that's me was the most interesting thing going into the trade deadline and got a whole lot more inch gap is porzingas. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, they have to at least look into trying to flip deandre Jordan or Wes Matthews them. You can't package them again. But you could do a one for one deal. It'd be tricky because they are. They are your Capri. Yeah. But you gotta at least look like deandre Jordan would be phenomenal with the Lakers right now. Like is there a possible trade where you flip him for one of their expiring? But get them to throw in like a second round pick or something. I don't I don't know. I just you got at least be exploring that stuff. And. Yeah, I got to think that you're going to if you don't retrain them that you're probably I mean, you wanna buy them out because those guys might they are actually a better roster right now than they were yesterday. Like, it's the they might help them win games. They're up there lottery. Odds that's a real possibility. So if for no other reason than that, you might as well set them loose. Let them go. Join contenders somewhere, and you mentioned, and you mentioned Lakers Katina's call pope want out without their like he wants a bigger role with the different team. He makes a pretty good amount of money amount of sure it'd be exact numbers on the salaries that could be a one for one type of swap that could make sensible side, if the Lakers decided to sweeten it with, you know, with the draft because I don't think the Knicks want to keep Paul wealth hope either they would probably by him out as well. What you're doing? What you're doing is looking if their teams that really want either Jordan Wes Matthews, and then you're flipping them for other expiring where it's like it's a net neutral deal. But yeah, the incentive has to be on the part of the other team. That's going to give you picks. Otherwise, why why even bother with the exercise cool? Well, Chris you've got things to get to. I've got things I gotta run to appreciate all the time and insight as always, my friend. I somehow got through an entire podcast with you without making a single hair joke about that lobbying at the end, you know, you were just sort of saying like, I've got things I've gotta get you. Speaking about yourself. And I think you you pause for secondary think you were wondering what it is. You have to get to. Some some kale shopping. Possibly thought possibly all of these things. You can happen kale napping and killer both things that are very important to me Christmas. You know? My friend. 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