Rockets and Thunder Swap Westbrook and CP3
They you are now listening to the free agents the new summertime podcast from those basketball guys you'd like Oh Jeez Pioneers podcast the kings of the memes we did six seasons and zoo and now you're listening to the free agents. Thank you for listening right now if you want to follow us on twitter or instagram. That's the free agents nineteen if you WANNA email us for any details. That's the free agents twenty nine thousand nine at gmail.com. We're getting that out of the way I because it's another emergency podcast joining me across the table. I haven't seen him since June fourteenth. The international man of mystery has been to every single country in Europe as far as I'm concerned looking tanned and well rested Leila's. Hey Trey Guide to C. J. D. Two thanks having here in your basement. Last time I spoke to was <hes> from every avocado in spine. It's great to be here in person. You were hiding in a stranger's closets. I was so you've got to take that picture. We'll get get to that later but also spoiler alert also joining us in the basement. It's his basement. The man that makes the Magic Happen J._d.. Yellow areas and here we are. It's me it's Li it's J._D.. We're in the basement also joined by Lee's son Oscar on his lap and his other son Sebastian building with some legos. You might hear him a little bit. Maybe they got some hot takes on this big time. Trade routes going to check in with skeets and task seats down in Florida tasks up in Ontario. Vacations are safe. It's all emergency podcast from here on out. That's the only the way to do. It sounded air horns well. I was just like I was trying to set up the same. This has been a really exciting summer but you can tell we've been apart from each other. The chemistry is not there. It makes you wonder is it going to work for Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul. We've taken a month off from seeing these guys haven't played together in seven years. How in the world could this work nonetheless? I want to know your first impressions. When you heard the news of the trade last night Russell Westbrook going to the rockets they'd get they're getting him and his contract wreck four years one hundred and seventy million dollars thunder get Chris Paul his contract of one hundred twenty million dollars for three years thunder also get first round picks from the rockets in two thousand twenty four and twenty six plus pick swaps in two thousand twenty one and twenty twenty-five? It's a big hall for the thunder but the rockets get Russell Westbrook what you think yeah my first thought was sort of shock. I know that since Westbrook has spoken to San Preston the ownership there and I climbed city since the Paul George tried went down that he was going to move on happened. Probably it'll be a little bit quicker than I thought. I thought it might have taken a few more weeks but my initial reaction was this is pretty interesting because the rockets denied there was any tension between Chris Paul and James Harden but clearly there was and I think the Daryl Morey had really didn't have a lot of options to move on from Chris because of that mammoth contract and clearly he's been in decline last season. He's not the same player he was so it was going to be hard for him to move on instead he gets Russell. Westbrook who is a former teammate of James Haden's back in the day in Oklahoma City when things work well together with those guys that team was successful as far as to the funds when they're a young team and back then I think a lot of us thought well. This is going to be competing for years to come then James Harden got traded to the rockets and everything changed but now it's going to be very interesting interesting to see how Westbrook and James Harden fit with each other those two guys birth love the ball in their hands and they both like to be the one who can take over and dominate a game when it calls for it we saw last season Russell Westbrook kind of did give up some of that authority authority. I feel like to Paul George and the Oklahoma City thunder but ultimately didn't make much difference come playoff time though it just like that had been the last two seasons with that Kevin Durant not very successful so now westbrook goes to a situation where he is the second fiddle to James. I'm James Harden has not conceding the number one spot there in Houston to him so Russell Westbrook is going to have to adjust his game. Can he do that. He he's not a shooter. He's not sort of guy who can play off the ball and be a spot up shooter. James Harden probably could but that would mean Russell Westbrook gets a ball in his hand there so there's a lot of issues there I guess Mark Dantonio has to figure out if they can work together though then there's no reason why the rockets can't be in that hunt in that top four in the western conference and then perhaps things could be different in the playoffs else but we're us today in jetties basement. I'm not sure they significantly better with Russell Westbrook than they were with crystal simply because again Westbrook we've seen sometimes in the playoff getting his own way a little too much as opposed to Chris Paul the notorious S. playoff never messes up come playoff time. That was nothing to me. It's going to first of all be weird to see a thunder team at all. That doesn't have Russell Westbrook that has never happened he was I don't know if you WANNA say the last lottery pick of the sonics or the first of the thunder. It's in that summer. Where are they were changing? They were moving locations. They haven't had a team that has not had Russell Westbrook. That was crazy to me. I felt the same way sort of when the clippers traded Blake Griffin a couple years ago as we saw that paid off in the long term that's clearly what the thunder are going to be hoping for and then right the rockets. The question so much is about the fit. I think Russell Westbrook no doubt is an upgrade Chris Paul. He's a little bit younger. They both have these massive contracts. It's kind of a wash because you're getting the younger guy I know. WESTBROOK has had a ton of surgeries. I know that he's going to be coming off a surgery and I know that the fit isn't great because you you put Westbrook onto the rockets and all you're thinking is this mean. He's taken more threes. Does this mean James. Harden is going to have to play off the ball in order to have westbrook thrive. All those things are probably true. I do think though that the talent upgrade from Chris Paul to Westbrook in this stage of their career I think it's going to be worth it for the rockets. The problem is going to be guys figuring out how to work together because <hes> James Harden in Westbrook and even in my Dan Tony these are guys who sort of can be stuck in their ways. I think <hes> it's not dissimilar to me that to <hes> when Allen Iverson was traded to the nuggets and he had to figure out how to play with Carmelo Anthony and also under George Karl. These are all guys who like to do things their way. Are they going to be willing to change their change. Their stripes tigers changing their stripes. I believe the say. Are they going to be able to do that for the betterment of the team you would hope so maybe you're right. Maybe westbrook going to a new franchise where he is not the end all be all of the franchise means he will be able to settle into a little more of a complementary role. That definitely happened with Chris Paul when he came from L._A.. To Houston I was a big believer in that move as well. I think that the two ball dominant guys can work as long as they want to make it work as long as they had that relationship relationship we know that Westbrook and James Harden are close. They played together on an Olympic team even with Mike de Antoni as their coach. Certainly they wanted to get together. That's me gives me a little bit of optimism for the rockets. They'll be able to work things out. The fit isn't going good as with Chris Paul no doubt about it but the talent is better. The I mean Chris Paul sort of an angry guy but Russell Westbrook isn't even angrier. Perhaps that's a perfect match for James Harden well. I think if you look at Westbrook situation to the thunder won't it close to contending if they were then. I don't think San Preston even makes that Paul George Trade but I think he looked and he goes you know what we're not where we need to be George once at great I'll caching now and then he cashes in again on Russell Westbrook so clearly the thunder are looking for the future in the next three or four years but Russell Westbrook probably looks at what the lake is in the clippers. Don and the Brooklyn Nets and he's like all right well. I've got to get in on that as well and again. There wasn't a lot of options for him. Maybe Miami the Knicks were talked about but clearly if you into the Knicks weren't going to be ready to compete so so this was really. He's on the option. He may you know James Harden when he went from okay see to Houston and Mike the Barrymore game that huge contract it was like is this guy really a number one option on the team. We didn't know any went there and he became m._v._p.. Runner out three times so he clearly was that guy but if you're now getting a guy like Russell Westbrook elevensies as Koreans. I we need you to change the way that you'll play during my career. That's so much harder for a guy to be able to do and that's what he's going to be asked to do really because again K._C.. James Harden was clearly behind Russell Westbrook in the food chain. <hes> that's not the case right now and James Harden. We've seen now things didn't work with Dwight Howard. He didn't like playing with him. Who's a center things didn't really? Lookout with Chris Paul he didn't like playing with him. He's a point gun so does James Harden really not want that other superstar rounding or is he someone who's just hasn't found the right complementary piece to him next. I mean that that might be the answer. We find out with with Westbrook there that perhaps there is only one type of guy that James Harden likes to play with and maybe it's a guy who's similar to himself who knows because if you Dan Tony those to oversee going to be on the starting five but maybe then that second third and fourth quarters when you try to stagger going to be like all right you go and get yours and then the other guy goes and gets his because that might be the only way it works and listen if you're mark Dantonio. He's in a bit of a weird situation himself. He tried to get an extension from the rockets that fell through so he's kind of in lame duck status himself also. I wouldn't be surprised if there's another coach in Houston at some point this season particularly things get off to arrest up. No doubt the Houston Rockets in general could look completely different three years from now. Dan Tony you're saying was a little bit on the hot seat this summer the extension talk we saw the press conferences with Tillman thiede and Daryl morey where nobody was looking like they really wanted to be there. Maury obviously is making an all and move here to try and win now. All you need it seems like in the Western Conference is due. Oh you don't need the third guy there's not a team. That has has three superstars so this definitely I think keeps the rockets in contention because they still have to m._v._p.. Level players the question you're rightly. The good question is who's going to be the one to change because to me the perfect setup for this this would be the harden would go off ball. He's better off ball shooter. He you know he will draw more is from the perimeter which will open things up for. Westbrook Westbrook will have more space inside that he's had since Kevin Durant was in town and even then the <hes> thunder teams that durant and Westbrook had they were always looking for more shooting. It was always guys like Derek Fisher when he was a thousand years old Koran Butler after he'd given up chewing on straws they would take a shot at anybody hoping to get the space that the rockets are we going to have built in to me the spread pick and roll L. Cappella Westbrook. You got three shooters outside that makes sense but James Harden has had the ball for forty seven out of forty eight minutes every single game for the rockets. Is he going to be okay with relaxing on the outside. Yes he will relax when it gets a chance yeah <hes> but also will he be integrated into the offense. Will he be cutting well. He tried to get open or will be your turn. My turn your turn monitor. That doesn't sound great but you're like you're saying Westbrook against second units is exciting. I'm sure Dantonio will stagger minutes the way he did with Chris Paul when he was there and Chris. Paul did all right against second units he was good he clearly he took a step back this past season but the advantages are still there and the advantages for Westbrook now going against second unit guys. It's going to be crazy. He's GonNa give the rockets a lot more transition points. I would think you know he's not necessarily the most efficient transition player but that gives the rockets at different look than what they're used to a guy who can just take off the glasses zoom up the court and get a lap. I think that's beneficial and like you're saying planning second unit is going to be huge. Do you think the rockets are going to be better this season with Russell Westbrook as compared to they were with with Chris Paul because to me I think they will be better just because of the talent bump I don't. I don't necessarily know that they'll be better in the playoffs but during the regular season I can see it succeeding. Well you know one thing. Can you guarantee with Russell Westbrook as he's going to come in motivated. He's going to give you one hundred fifty percent every single night. He doesn't take possessions. If you love his work ethic you love his his will to win and his desire but he has to realize that he has to know had to change gears and that's not just go one hundred miles an hour every time he has to figure out why because against the blazes in that first round Portland basically said shoot it whenever you want shoot we'll give you all the shots and Westbrook got sucked into that took him and that was a bad series again for the thunder so he has to figure out a way to use his strength strengths are going inside getting around the rim scoring around there used to be able to get to the free throw line a lot. He doesn't do that as much anymore and his free throw. Shooting was awful last season so I think there are ways for him to be effective and to score points to be efficient but he has to play to his strengths and not get caught up in this little battle within the game that he like he does get involved. Sometimes he likes to he likes to win a meaningless battle against an opponent rather than look at the big picture. I think it can work with Clint Cappella Cappella Cappella Ramona he can go in there and throw him his little lob so I think that could be effective but ultimately it's down to Westbrook and hod and both looking each other in the end saying neither of US really had playoff success as it as the main guy on their team. If this is GonNa work then we have to both give a little here and that that does mean James Harden's at times is just going to be a spot up shooter but also means it Westbrook can't get himself to upset if Haden's going into his ISOS and doing his one on ones and all that step back because that's what happened and I just can't see hot and going yeah. I'm fine not doing this. Whenever I want the question for me because remember there's that clip at the All Star game where Steph curry was chatting up? I think Mike buttonholes are how hard and wishes he didn't. He could play a little bit more beautiful game he didn't have to do everything and that's Kinda. You can understand that from James Harden at that he wouldn't want to have to be the guy that creates every single shot for both himself and for everybody else on the court but handing that over as a different completely completely different beasts I I do think that maybe maybe the friendship really matters. Maybe the the fact that these guys according to Michael Lee these guys started playing together at a boys and girls club in l. a. a million years ago. I guess not a million years ago. These guys are actually very compared to us. Everyone's young years ago at least but the fact that they actually respect each other that they that like you're saying Westbrook is hopefully going to understand that he's not the lead dog here. I do think that maybe hardened will will turn turn turn over a new leaf and Kinda and let Westbrook take the reins but I the guy loved winning the M._v._p.. The Guy Love getting close to winning the M._v._p.. And controlling every single possession it started out. We were like Oh man you're going to live James Harden a point guard. How's you're GonNa do this and then he was like a Super Steve Nash? He's an incredible player. Do you want to give that up maybe you maybe you have enough playoff failures that you're like. Something's gotTa Change. Clearly something changed with Westbrook. Hopefully he can change his mindset as well. This could blow up in their faces as well. They could easily go south very quickly that it just doesn't work at all and Ruckus just find themselves in a bit of a messy because if they if those two guys aren't able to adjust and figure things out then the rockets they could be struggling to make the playoffs. I mean things could go that battle. I don't think it will you know you mentioned early. It's clearly a talent upgrade at this stage of the career of Westbrook and Chris Paul but we just know things don't always work out and and as I mentioned Elliott James Harden to me me has shown that he's very he talks a good game about sharing the spotlight of morning another superstar but Dwight and Chris Paul both of them hall of famous and hasn't worked really giant. He's kind of not gotten along with either of them. So westbrook is a fairly safe bet in that in that respect for Dr Maury but until they play together the big question is how much is James Harden prepared to actually concede the bull use because I think I may be one hundred percent road on this but last year both of those guys had the highest and second highest usage N._B._A.. Record setting us guys so clearly that's going to be weird and it's going to be strange to figure it out. It's definitely GonNa feel at times like Wade and Lebron that first year Miami your turn my mind me by the end of the season. Maybe they're able to to work something out where both involved in every possession the defensive end of the court. I don't even really understand how that's GONNA work. Neither of those guys are super super interested in gardening anybody unless they're in a heated one on one battle so I don't know maybe they will do a good job of convincing the other teams to just be in one on one battles the entire time I will say this though I think the rockets are more likeable. Now I know that Chris Paul's Polarizing Guy Westbrook is a polarizing guy hardens a polarizing guy but I think <hes> putting harden and Westbrook together those two like wild personalities like harden is going to play his own game a game that a lot of people hate. He's just going to beat you one on one and then he's either going to try and shoot or just throws arms and do a lot of people hate it but people will think westbrook joining him and P._J.. Tucker for the arrivals you got three of the craziest guys in the League three of the most fashionable dudes and they're all and between westbrook and hardened the reuniting adding of them from their days now. They're in Houston plan together trying to win a championship. It seems like they're at least going to be in the mix. I think there are more likeable team now than with Chris Paul Chris poll is not a likable guy to watch which is which is sad to say. Because he's a great player and hall of Fame Lock but he does bring with him that look on his face and that attitude that he's always flopping embellishing doing something wrong with it's it is hard to like Kim and James did the same thing in the last a couple of years with Houston. They weren't team to watch like that so I hope they are. I heard they sort of prove US wrong and it's like this magical chemistry that just works clicks and they're almost unstoppable they could I can see scores and their games being one hundred fifty to one hundred and forty five yeah because as you mentioned defensively you'll be able to get pretty much whatever you want against the rockets so when defensive player of the year he's got a guard the most shops yeah yeah but look Darryl Maury the rockets it's weren't they weren't getting closer to the championship. The Chris Paul fit clearly wasn't there he wasn't either locked in the Locker Room Mohegan James and didn't get along so forevermore. It was like well I might as well try this. Why not you know we not getting anywhere with Chris Poland and if you're saying prestige and the thunder I think and it sounds as Chris? Paul weren't ever actually played for the thunder. They're going to move on from him. I think Sam prestigious was things worked out pretty well for him because I believe after last season he didn't say it in the press conference. He was very very classy but I think he probably looked at Westbrook and thought. I don't think this is GonNa work but he also didn't want to come on Roy. Seeing the thunder viewed this season nineteen twenty as their last best a chance to win a championship if they stayed put if it was just Paul George Russell Westbrook with all functioning joints you know Georgia's head is double shoulder surgery. West burqas had his knee surgery. Hopefully those guys are healthy. This is the duo's league right now. They have to a guy who won an M._v._p.. A couple of seasons ago Paul George was top five this year. Those are both quality players. They would have a little bit of continuity on on their opponents. They would have been in the mix they would have been in the mix for at least the conference finals who knows what happens then as we saw this year guys get hurt at inopportune times. Maybe you see the thunder back in the finals if they were able to stay put Paul George however easily convinced by yeah yeah but I just made that like Westbrook would be a frustrating guy to have because he wasn't able to really get out of his own way these last couple of years in the playoffs I mean against the blazes Nick Dipaolo is the only guy who picked him at night. Even though the place at home court advantage we all thought we're going to be Portland because they swept in during the regular season last season against the jazz they had home court lost in six games rose lucky to not lose in five games so I just feel that like this gave Prestia chance to move on from westbrook without him having to force him out or to to say you know what I'm going to try this and try do something else here. Because after Kevin Durant left the thunder couldn't trade westbrook unless circumstances like these whereas all right we're gonna hit the reset button and we're going to try to move you to a team where you might have a better chance of winning so that's that's. That's what I think about it but Paul George trae definitely gives press d cover move westbrook because like you're saying he's not going to go through the post durant season again where he just takes every single shot and you know he's already averaged a triple double for the past three seasons. What can you do more more than that? I understand that but to me you know I'm an avowed Paul George Hader so I'm GonNa Make Paul George the victim here he was in Indiana. He kept sending these signals. I WANNA sign with the Lakers. I WANNA fan well Lakers. They trade him to the thunder. He's has man if they wouldn't traded meet the thunder. I would've signed with the Lakers. He gets the chance he signs with the thunder. They lose unfinished business. I'm coming back. They lose again and then he's ready to come back until quite Leonard calls them and says hey you can play with me. Paul Georgia's all right my unfinished business was I need to come back and when one less playoff game so now he has thrown the thunder a team that was going to be gunning for a championship team that they're that Royce young sources say thought they could win the championship this year now they are incomplete rebuild mode for the first time since they've had a franchise franchise in Oklahoma City all because Paul George couldn't have just signed with the Lakers two summers ago I mean that's a good point and and the fact that that happened so quickly that according to that rosia article it was basically the Thursday night Paul George Winter Sam Prestige and said I want to go to the clippers and San Presi realize at that point like you know what I'm going to see what I can get out of this and he got a great hole in return for him but this is a lot of pressure now while he he sort of got a great hall according to read it he got the ability to draft six high schoolers to middle of course the last had a bunch of draft picks in the top five. They did a great job at built their team for a decade and we're seeing it come to an end out but you gotta nail him. No you're right and they also got shergill Alexandra in that Dylan Gallinari galleries at the end of his career gilders Alexander a good young prospect. I think he's good but I mean Sam Prestige. The pressure is on him obviously to deliver. He's in that sort of situation denny angels being in where you've got all these picks and okay turn them into something now. He's done done a good job. The question for San Presi is he obviously doesn't have to use them all as draft picks he can. Maybe use these and other deals to try to get whatever he wants to do Paul but yeah exactly I mean he he's he could get another first round. Pick in return for him. I mean possibly it depends on who's prepared to give up whatever they have to get him but I mean the rockets just gave up four first round picks so maybe you say two first round picks on another hassle slob so maybe that's counts as three but they just had to attach a bunch of pics six to move Chris Paul for a Guy Russell Westbrook who was already on the trading wanted to go to one of two places so I do think that maybe those picks will be used to move crispell you. You think he's got you think again on the thunder uniform I made. I don't see why he would want to stay there when they're in rebuild. Mode crispell stage career wants to be contending Miami's the place then that's well spas. That's getting the most buzz because I don't really see which other team has the ability to try. Hey for him given how big he's contractors. I mean you gotTa Give Up. I think it's a rare forty plus million at least for next season to make that deal happen and the knicks excuse me the nets the Lakers and the clippers already kind of made their moves. They don't have assets to be out of trade trade for him. So if my I don't really know what Miami has asset why Hassan whiteside so they've lost their big bargaining chip there but Chris Pole yeah he wants to be in a situation on any team that will well at least put him in position to be competing for championship but his career is is kind of funny because all of a sudden Chris Paul anyone can have with I want him yeah and he's he's a great player but he does now have a reputation and he has some baggage and and that's going to be hard for him to shake at this stage of your career so I think I think prestige. We'll try to move him to a situation that is favorable but again. Where's that I mean? Let's look at the contending Milwaukee. No He's not going there the raptors no I don't see him. I don't Kyle lowry yeah. I mean you know for a seizure or at least maybe it doesn't seem like the kind of guy that Messiah takes thirty four years old. He's got another three years. That's huge money left on his contract. That's the thing you'll taking on one hundred twenty million of Chris Paul which is which is not really what you what you want to take you know when you when you were representing Messiah Jerry reportedly turned down the opportunity to get Westbrook and Paul George from the thunder though we're not sure how serious serious that was maybe it was just something that the thunder using as leverage against the clippers but yeah crispell. It's funny I mean you know he's he's been a great great player on the court but he's kind of now found himself in a situation where it's like yeah but not sure not sure what he can really add team. At this stage we create now east thirty four. He's got injuries got a huge contract and he's just a Playa who tends to fight with his team my lawn so maybe the Knicks maybe the Knicks will say you know what sure uh-huh why not we name people know exactly exactly he's an all star they can they can bill him as the All star player in his room or to go there a million years to back when Carmelo Anthony was making his way to the next <hes> last last question before we call these other guys. Do you think now that the rockets are one of the top contenders and do you think they're a championship contender. Well I would say the clippers and the Lakers they I put him in the brackets that blazes the clippers the Lakers yes yes I would just just because what we see in these last couple of years come playoff time as James Harden eighteen they haven't they've had two great opportunities to beat the worries and they couldn't. Do Things Change. The warriors won't be as good next season. They'll they'll be. They'll probably still expect them still to be a playoff team. But of course it largely depends on when Klay Thompson comes back but you still got staff and Draymond so expect comes to be good but I would say in that category with the blazes where it's like. Maybe if everything goes away if things break day they could. They could do it but if they have to play teams these other teams and everyone's healthy and that I I don't see them coming out of the West note yeah to me. I think the clippers and the Lakers are probably still the top tier. I don't know that the standings at the end of the regular season are going to be indicative of all of where the best teams are because there's a lot of guys who are load load managing kind of guys. There are a lot of guys who get banged up and we'll Miss Fifteen or twenty games during the regular season be okay come playoff time to me though clippers and Lakers probably still top of the POPs clippers. I would say number one their depth past their our big two guys that being said we haven't seen them play together at all. At least we've seen all of the rockets play together and we have also seen James Harden and Russell Westbrook play together. I know it's not the same thing but at least they have familiarity in both aspects the Lakers who knows the Lakers. I just am really trusting Lebron Anthony Davis to be really really good and then you look at once it comes down to match ups like WHO's going to guard Anthony Davis teams in the rockets and the clippers. It's going to be interesting to see it's GonNa be exciting. Season things are changing like crazy. We're going to have another emergency podcast and not too long Chris. Paul is traded to me. That's not emergency podcast. I don't Think Twenty Nine Thousand Chris Paul Getting traded is the reason we're here. I agree the trade. Here is obviously westbrook moving from the Fonda Chris Paul Wherever you got I mean I think he probably wants to stay in the east and go to the Eastern Conference. I laser yeah I think so I think I've got the bucks as the favorite in the eighth and then probably the sixes and then after that it's kind of maybe the prices sure etame who knows and then the raptors so if Chris Paul can somehow find his way to like we can see going. You know it's very tough. It's very very tough right now. You wouldn't have guessed Paul. George getting traded the Clippers Russell Westbrook to the rockets. You know I mean you mentioned. The lake is there. I'm really interested to see how that comes together. Because the bronze thirty four is going to be thirty five in December coming off his worst year as tons of injury and when he came back the Lakers were still very much in the playoff hunt and Lebron just didn't really look all that interested now things are going to have to change for him a little bit and Damascus cousins another one who we didn't get to see his best because he was kind of out of shape all season long wasn't and I would get into full game shape than injuries thaw in the playoffs and then by the time it came back in the finals he just he's just not physically ready but if he can maybe shed a few pounds and get himself into really good shape then then demarcus cousins could be that almost the signing of the summer in terms of this guy was available you on a one year and and he's a dominant player but if he's not able to sort of find that form that he had in Sacramento New Elaine's then he doesn't really add all that much that the Lakers so but I think the clippers as well when you got those guys like Lou Williams Patrick Beverley and Mantras Haroldo goes hungry they're ready. They believe in themselves and now they've got two great two way players they're going to be they're going to be tough to score against I think the clippers and then offensively they I mean there are very very good on paper but again it's gotTa will go to work and they've got to sacrifice and the rafters showed that it can work but now that's on the clippers the do it. That's exactly right a lot still to be decided things are changing every minute of the day and they'll change again. Come December fifteenth when all these guys are eligible to be traded. Maybe de Ngelo Russell being traded as an x factor of the puts the warriors up a little bit but I'm tired of talking to just you and J D do like hearing from your son's but we're going to get skeets Keats and task on the phone here interrupt their vacations and see what they're getting. Welcome back to the free agents me trae right bleed and J. D. here in the basement but on the free agents know vacations are safe so joining us via the power of technology from Saint Augustine Florida J. Skates skates thumb in what's up guys living that beach lifestyle and in a weird weird resort where everything on the wall is either a seashell or a seagull. You gotTa love it sees up. Maybe Babe also is tasked melodies up in the home of the N._B._A.. Champion Toronto Raptors Mississauga Ontario Oriole Canada task what's up man. Don't forget those G. League nine zero five champions. I guess the raptors are running back to back because then they win the championship as well. He's a dynasty up here. It's a province of champions sounds like a the G.. skeets would be wearing guys fell skates yeah. We're a little Russi skeets never heard of him. I know you're packing last night. When you heard the news of Chris Paul Russell Westbrook trade so tasks? It's been a while since we've talked to you. What was your first impression when you heard everything was going down the Russell Westbrook is leaving the o'casey Thunder? I just never thought that Russell Westbrook would do the same thing that everybody else is doing would be heat that he would be okay was trying to make a super team somewhere besides okay. He just thought he would zig when everybody else would zag. I thought he would basically say F that I can do this by myself. Kevin Durant you WANNA leave. I got this Paul George WanNa leave. I got this and maybe we're in a into a new era of Russell Westbrook where he understands that I can do this by myself. I mean he was sort of humble. I in his exit interview after the okay so he's under lost in round one and he kind of said you know I gotTa work on my shot and he was okay with Paul. George Lebron getting on instagram saying love you brody. I mean it didn't feel like they all Russell. Westbrook me against the world type thing so I think that maybe he's going to be fine with another guy. You know being it being the primary guy because I think this is different going from yes Paul George in Casey Kevin Durant and okay see it was quote unquote a and one B by going to Houston James Harden is obviously the guy at Russell Westbrook work is going to be the number two who can take a huge load off his shoulders and it might be a might be crazy enough to work. I'm with you. It's ass. I thought that Russ was a thunder lifer but apparently that's just not a thing. That's going to happen anymore. If westbrook after he stayed when he had a chance to leave after Kevin Durant left if he stayed and he still being traded a couple of seasons later that maybe the the lifer is gone skis. I'm curious to hear what you you thought as well when you first started the trade. Now I mean it is crazy. It's wild to try and wrap your head around Russell Westbrook being in another Jersey next season and not rapid okay see but here's what I think about this trait. I I am baffled. I'm a little shocked from the rocket side of things it makes sense. It makes sense from the other side of things. After Paul George comes and says hey trade me. I'd like to go play with Leonard and they're like what Oh okay and then we'll get a bunch of picks all right well then. It didn't look like you were just GonNa be rebuilding around around Russell Westbrook despite him at times looked like he was a lifer I mean it just made sense to move on from him as well and he was flying with that and they moved them but from the rockets side of things I mean this was all I keep thinking about is those rumors those reports the James Harden and Chris Paul butted heads and didn't like each other they must have been true and I know Daryl Morey came out a month ago and said No. That's all fake news not true. These guys are fine what he's asking for trade well. I think he was lying to us because this is obviously what what happened. Yes they get a younger Guy Westbrook but a guy who has a ton of mileage on those knees a ton of surgeries on those knees and who looks to that could age a lot worse than even a guy like Chris Paul. I understand Chris Paul Mrs Games but I still keep thinking Chris. Paul is a better player sniping a little older a better player when he's paired with James Harden then a guy like Russell Westbrook who can't hit threes is horrible even when he gets to the free throw line doesn't play defense. I just think Chris Paul. It was a better fit now and the weird part is if the rockets could have just stayed cool and got along then. It looked like that championship window was there was there is to walk through step through that window out on the balcony like I am in Saint Augustine here looking at the beautiful each other in the distance and the palm trees in a car pulled up so don't mind that car it. Could you turn your car off Sir trying to talk here but yeah it's like the championship window might be it might be open a little bit longer but I don't think it's any bigger with Westbrook from the rockets side of things so so look I think he just came down to harden and crystal not getting along and Maury being sort of forced to throw those picks in and the pick swaps to get to go to the Chris Paul because I think we got way too caught up in this Chris Paul contract. I really do especially when we start comparing. It's Russell Westbrook contract. Heck was the justice insanely big so yeah. I'm shocked. I am really truly shocked. Laurie went in this direction. Yeah I'm with the escapes. There must have been something going on behind the scenes. We know that James Harden blew up Chris. Paul's kitchen never admitted to it. We know that he brought clutch. The Baron. Let shooters t shirt cannon all over the place didn't offer to pay for anything destroyed his TV and that that's just what we've seen who knows what's going on behind the scenes. You guys know it skeets tasks. You guys have been together for thirteen years. It's hard to stay liking each other for such such a long time but as we're seeing things change all the time and you guys you guys nailed that everybody's concerned with the fit and mostly can Russell Westbrook change can he either be a more efficient on ballplayer which allows James Harden to play off the ball or is he gonNA figure aww playoff ball for the first time in his career skeets. I'll start with you since you're in a new role. You're usually the guy setting people up today. You're getting set up so show me. Show me how Russell Westbrook can change the way you were changing this very podcast. Well yeah look. I'll be completely lately <hes> honest with you. It's not easy you get into that role you think you're solid at your role and and you just embrace it and run with it and then maybe a little bit later to do something else and it's and it's foreign to you and some people are very good at changing and doing multiple things as well other struggle with it and I think Westbrook is a guy history shows us that you know for the most part he struggles with it. He needs the ball especially when you were a point guard and you play professional basketball and your point guard that just dominates the ball like he has for his entire career preve- pre-college. I'm sure he's just always been the most athletic guy so you give them the ball and you let him dictate. What happens offensively yeah I think he you know it is interesting? What is Dan Tony Do? Do you and you set set it up there. So you're doing a fine job my man do you go. Do you go with Westbrook. Hey you're off the ball or do you go. Hey Heart and maybe you're off the ball a little bit more because these guys have some of the crazy highest usage percentages. We've seen an M._B._a.. History if they have to we've ever seen so I think I think if I'm Dan Tony it makes more sense to me to try the heart and a little bit more off off of the ball and let westbrook still sort of dictate the offense because he did and I will give him credit. He showed there for a couple of months that he could be. You can take a step back. The a little bit more of a facilitator went Paul George and he had another star player there and he didn't times of course with Kevin Durant as well so that was a little bit. You know I'll go you go. I'll go you go type of. I don't want that in an offense so I think it's look if anybody can figure it out you would hope would be the offensive so genius Dan Tony Barrymore's betting on that obviously right now and here we go but I think it'll be westbrook sort of still being westbrook so to speak and harden. Maybe for his own good. Maybe for the teams better that he will sort of like be be a little bit to do so much offensively bad news for you to ski warriors just tweeted at the European traded for Nate Duncan so wow sorry man. We just thought I love the IT sounds like they're just launch. trae trail say two things. I don't even need a set up the ball <hes>. I'll say this about this vote Chris Paul. It wasn't working in Houston. He had all the opportunities he was thirty. Three years old this past year Golden State was not one hundred percent Kevin Durant goes down and they lost the series Chris. Paul had all the opportunities in the world to make it happen it. It didn't bank on him in his mid thirties trying to make it happen now. It didn't work moving onto somebody. Younger is a good move whether they sacrificed a lot of the future I mean that's that's a totally different argument. That's fair but they had to do this to get better now and we're really what it comes down to. We know Russell. Westbrook can't carry team to a championship it comes down to James Harden and I think the good thing about Russell Westbrook is at even risky said maybe the fit isn't as Kirkwood James Hardie. A Russell can carry a team because he is that guy. That question is work ethic. You can't question how much he can do on a court how much he can carry a team with that usage cricket Chris Paul you know I mean you can't do that anymore. So James Harden Fresher and that's the question that we always ask him the postseason James Heart fresh enough and I think we might see finally James Harden dig a little bit step back into regular season Alachua Leonard to some degree so he's fresher for the postseason because Rusk and do that Chris Paul and that's what we're going to see in the postseason. All seasons not going to be a great regular season team but I think the good thing and in the western conference a lot of these teams I think you look at the clippers who are probably gonNA have Qui- taken <hes> a lot of load management lakers. He's gotTa Manage Lebron's Load I. I think there's going to be a lot of a lot of teams that look at the play offs like their end goal and maybe the rockets won't fall too far down the standings but I think that's a great thing for them is that Russell Westbrook can just be a their motor during the regular season that Chris Paul couldn't and maybe James Harden take over 'cause. That's the guy who's going to have to win them a playoff series. Are they going to stop anyone. Who are these guys going to be able to stop starting back for this not solid touch on that at all? We're already starting up the clink Capella for Defensive Player of the Year Bandwagon here. The guy's going to have to block every single shot. No doubt about it but I already. I'm loving this podcast pass. I explained to Lee how Paul George is the villain in this entire saga how his choice how his fickle demeanor is the reason the thunder had that blow things up for the first time and now you're coming and telling me that Chris Paul had his chance but the man is washed so the rockets had to move on. I am loving it. This is an all Paul slander podcast but it does sound to me like you're a little bit more optimistic mistake four Houston then skeet says do you see the rockets now as contenders in the western conference as contenders for the championship are they in the mix are they one of the elite teams out there they are there. They literally have a guy who's on the short list for M._V._p.. Every single season and James Harden so you definitely have a chance and if he can save the postseason <hes> they're twenty twenty four and twenty twenty-five chances. I got a heck of a lot worse by trading every single draft pick that they have <hes> but I think they're skeet said you know their window may have not been thrust open that much more but it's at least kept open. I think they actually have a shot by by putting a younger younger player and Russell Westbrook Scott some miles on there but the guy's not done at thirty years of age walkers Paul <hes>. I'm scared to call him wash but there's no way he can even be a number two. He had that ability and he had at that not the ability you had the opportunity to do that just now and he couldn't do it and so <hes> I think Russia's probably realising okay <hes>. I can't do this on my own and him him saying don't come join me. Okay see I'll join anew in another situation makes it seem like he understands that <hes> he'll do whatever it takes to win and yeah it's going to be reared seeing him off the ball a little bit more but Chris Paul was a point guard who had the ball in his hands all the time and Russell Westbrook definitely defer to Paul George Defer to Kevin Durant at times and he's listening to old buddy an old trump so they can make it work. I mean it's the two of them and three guys standing around again and when you've got an M._v._p.. I think there's a shot yeah. Friendship is rare and ah I I do think that the relationship between the two of them is going to be a factor in hopefully both of them taking a little bit of a step back and figuring out how to play together skeets though I know you're concerned with the fit you probably you probably have the rockets behind the clippers and the Lakers. I'm guessing one hundred percent I absolutely do. I just don't still get why the rockets and I look. I really truly think it's just that hardened crystalline like I think that's all this came down to because it was there. It was there. It was up for grabs. Let's put it that way if you have the same team coming back if everybody's on the same page look we don't know some of these new super squats. It's all your well. We always think they're going to be dominant dominant teams but actually history tells us it takes a year or two to sort of find your footing and to get some other role players with those superstars to really be those title contenders and the rockets like we're making. It sound like the rockets were a bad team yeah. They started last season poorly before a couple months. They were the best team in the League and the before that you know Chris Paul maybe he doesn't get injured too probably winning the title like this was already one of the greatest teams in the league currently constructed specially with the way they played through heart and everything through hardened but Chris Paul still a fine fine complimentary player and actually with great numbers when harden was off the floor so I think at times still showing he can carry sort of a second unit when the other star player was out. It's sort of like I get it. I mean it's classic Maury in a weird way heya superstars available available. Hey I'll take a chance on. Let's go get them. It might cost the future. I don't really care. I probably won't be here anyway. This feels like sort of his little last ditch effort at again sort of just keeping the little championship window open but I don't think it made it made it any like truly longer or better at that than just sacrificing your future for for the role of the dice with a with a player in Westbrook that you're praying is gonNA slick either changes game or suddenly not throw up six twenty twenty four clunkers in the playoffs. That's a hell of a bet but Maury Maury would be fun to play you know sit down at the table in Vegas with I guess seems seems like wild yeah. We thought they were all in with Chris Paul Trade but they are even more so all in now. That's why you're seeing them. PICKING UP Tyson Chandler there've been linked to Andre would allow all those guys who are going to want to try and get that late career ring. The rockets are now a place that they're going to be looking at. It and I don't necessarily think that was the case before the Russell Westbrook trade so you guys are split on whether or not the rockets are going to be any better this year. Do you like them more. Is this a more likeable fun team to watch now that you got to to quite opposite personalities in hardened westbrook together. I think Westbrook is even more extreme than Chris Paul is. I think the match of those two guys alongside P._J.. Tucker walk into the hallways. The Games is going to be perhaps the best content we see from the N._B._A.. Arrival seen skeets. Do you like this team more now with Westbrook than crystal yeah I mean sure I mean I like any sort of change like this. I think we all do like it feels at times like this sort of trade first off the two players involved the main sort of like borderline all star because Chris Paul's a little older. I get that but all M._B._A.. Type talent at the point guard position. It's like these guys the most polarizing zing guys in the League both Westbrook and Chris Paul because you know Westbrook people either love them or they hate him. It's one or the other there's no in between and then Chris Paul and like tasks are sort of debating here. I think a lot of people have been. It's this idea of like is he truly washed like is it over vert is he done is he not the the nine time all-star Chris Paul that we've seen before some disagree like myself. I don't think we've seen I don't think it's over. I don't think he's done. I get it if you want to make that argument especially with what will be paid in thirty seven years all so that's one part of it also feels like the type of trade of like that like one of those weird trades you used to do when you played fantasy basketball just because you were sort of bored and you're like I don't know I'll trade you. Loy Vaught for Vin Baker and you're like okay I mean I don't know what's going to change but sure let's just do it for the sake of doing it. That's what this sort of feels like oddly to me and it's like why not let you see what happens you know so I love it one hundred percent on board because I love the N._B._A.. Chaos I signed me up for it. Talk about your task. Is this a Lloyd for Vin Baker. This actually GonNa be a fun team to watch now because people people did not like watching the rockets the past five seasons if we throw in Lemond Murray. I'm down for this trade. <hes> I think we're ready for a Russell Westbrook Renaissance <hes> you know easy has been extremely polarizing for the first <hes> no eleven years of his career here but I think the fact that he's saying <hes> <hes> I I gotta go somewhere else to make things work. I think we'll lend himself some <hes> some likes from people <hes> you know he he's proven to be one of us used to be a robot. It used to be machine. I can do everything by myself <hes> but but I think now he becomes is a little bit more likable and <hes> there's <hes> yeah I understand. The rockets weren't the most <hes> exciting team to watch <hes> but you know there's that rekindled friendship. I like you said Trae. I think that's a it's a nice little storyline. These dudes <hes> obviously like each other. <hes> you know I think I think Russell Westbrook showed that even with that Kevin durant split you know they went into the All Star Games they through the alleyoop to each other pat each other on the but they wanted to be friends again and I think this is sort of as an extension of that users trying to <hes> you know maybe he's he's trying to make up that make up for that split with Kevin Durant by making it up with James Harden. I think he's just trying to reconcile the his old mistakes and <hes> Yeah I. It's it's great for the N._B._A.. Whether whether or not <hes> it works but you know I will say because the West is so wide open and in skeets mentioning maybe they could've opened walked through that open door even if they had Chris Paul there that's fairly true but maybe this team capitalizes on that with Russell Westbrook in there you know because they don't have that Kryptonite in the Golden State Warriors anymore that team. That's brought them down three of the last four seasons. I think they feel like they can walk into any barn in the western conference playoffs like they did against Golden State and beat anybody and so I think there's a there's a legit shot that hardens fresher in the postseason and <hes> they do it and at these next couple of years is their window for sure and <hes> if it doesn't work cout then that thing explodes. I mean that that thing is done in a couple of years if if they don't go to an N._B._A.. Finals or or something like that because <hes> it's it's just it just feels like it's a a ticking time bomb there in Houston but I think <hes> there are more. He gave it another ten ten seconds on the <hes> before it implodes there so why not let's. Let's see this happen. This is <hes> this is an exciting duo argument. We're going to have a lot of debates about the best duo in the western conference next year Yeah Yeah and then the best part is also Chris Paul. He's not going to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder. I don't think he is. I don't think anybody does he's going to get moved and who does he. This and can we talk ourselves into that. Being a second here like sort of dual or is he suddenly part of a trio like it just gets better and better like it's incredible so would you rather bet on Earth Paul and James Sorry Jimmy James Harden Jimmy James Butler or James Harden James Harden and Jimmy Jimmy James Harden and Russell Westbrook Westbrook. That was very confusing but I think what I'm getting at is I still think Chris Paul with James Harden and the other talent around them in that type of system still makes more sense to me than putting Westbrook. They're which aims hearted in that system I think is what is my problem with it. Especially when you then do have to consider you've really sort of mortgage your future with the picks and stuff like that so yeah. That's that's my opinion on. It could definitely get ugly fast for Houston. It got <hes> ugly fast for Oklahoma City but as far as I'm concerned the greatest deal in the N._B._A.. Right now it's always going to be skeets and tasks guys. Thank you so much for joining us for interrupting your vacations skeets. I guess go do some balls in the beach task. Oh do some balls in a lake or something. We'll do sounds great. Call thank you so much. I really enjoyed this. I really enjoyed talking to you guys and talking to Lee C. and his face for the first time in a month J._d.. I saw you last week but you still affects most importantly though thank you to everybody who's listening to the free agents. Please leave us a review on itunes or wherever you listen to your podcast we're available everywhere. I've even heard spotify stitcher. I don't know exactly how those work but were there. Follow us on twitter and instagram the free agents nineteen email us the free agents two zero one nine at gmail.com. We'll be sending updates through our various social media platforms <hes> we're still not sure what's going on but we're working on it. We will have updates and probably emergency podcast for being honest. There's still a lot to happen. We still got a lot of summer. Ahead of us. Talk to you next time.