ESPN's Zach Lowe
Everyone welcome in to another edition of the JR pod. My guest today, Zach Lowe, we hit on a ton all around the league with the very best of the best. Here's my conversation with Zach. Welcome into Zach Lowe, Zach, how are you hanging in how you doing? I'm great. So opening week in LA Zach, right? It's almost like I feel like we're staying at the LA law down in LA live. Our offices are here and the hotels here, and of course Staples across the street. And when you have like both the clippers and the Lakers are going to be home, they're in and out this week and you have visiting teams, you walk down in the hotel lobby and the nuggets are there, and the rockets are coming in like it always feels like it's, I don't want to say some travel tournament, but there's just so many teams when you're when both teams are home this rolling in and out of LA live and it kinda, especially with LeBron here, it really does feel like this is sort of the epicenter of the league now. Yeah, and the nuggets who are here are one of the few teams that actually stayed downtown anymore more and more team style. So I went to the gym yesterday at the hotel, and there's Beasley me Beasley, like one right to the gym. And I know when the nuggets arrives like me Beasley, the first thing you did was like he went down to the gym, like, all right, Molly Beasley, that's pretty good. Didn't say anything to him, I think. And this goes to how teams travel, like their certain players in the league who dictate where the team stays, they don't wanna stay down. Most guys don't wanna stay. I think coaches executives would just as soon stay downtown in one of the you walk. You can walk to shoot around right, boom, right here. But there are players who wanna see every team has won. Some are the one, the absolute, very top of the league summer guys who probably don't really deserve this, but the best thing their team has and they have to live with those demands. But yeah, there's a lot of guys who wanna stay out Beverly Hills. The other one too is how long a team stays in town. Let's say you have an extra day off. A coach might want to get his team out of New York, or maybe even out of New Orleans and their star players who will say where we're staying an extra day and they gotta do it. The. Thunder believe are here now or maybe they stayed in the bay last night, but they don't play till. Friday, so they're gonna have a couple of days there. And I was wondering, I wonder how long they're gonna stay here, you know, but they're going to stay here. Yeah, I think teams for whatever reason. I think LA everyone can agree on a lake because of the weather, and we don't really whether it's a team having to go back early to where they are or onto maybe a more mid level market. We don't need to be in their a day early, but I always think there's a has. I think teams would rather not stay. You can do. You can do whatever you want, but but I think whether does keep some of these guys here. So opening night Zach, we've talked about this the whole off season, not drawing conclusions, but I think we all fell Boston's the best team in the east. But there were a lot of people who thought Philly would have to compete to be the second best team and not only is Toronto in that mix. But Milwaukee is, I think you feel to that Phillies benches a problem. It's going to be a problem. You saw it was a little more dramatic opening night and they're going to miss Ilyasova. They're going to miss belly. I mean, those players helped them both came in on buyouts last year, and I think would be an interesting one for them to is what they do at TJ McConnell because they discussed an extension just had some conversations about one, but also he's in demand on the trade market. I mean, there are teams who would love, you know he's a terrific backup for anybody in the league. And if are Philly, do just feel like full-time has this. We don't need to keep TJ around his insurance policy or Browns always, really, really liked him. And he's from the very beginning. He's one of the players who survived the early rebuild. I think he'll be it'll be to see what they do with him to as we get closer to February deadline. I should included him in my predictions calm because he is sneaky. Eligible for an extension. One of those, you know could go up to one hundred twenty percent of the average salary. I don't think he'll get one because I just think they're going to be so protective of their cap space, but they have, as you said, discuss it. He's honestly, he's pretty good. He looked pretty good. He changed that playoff series against Boston last year when they put him in the starting lineup for Covington, he shot forty three percent from three point range. Now he takes longer than Meyers Leonard to actually shoot a three. So he doesn't shoot many of them. But like if he can actually shoot decently on wide open threes like and I just look is one game. I was a little lower on the Sixers, I think than consensus, not even lower. I just it. They're just rarely do you see a team, this good that has such a huge fundamental question. Hang over it as big as like, can Marco full shoot like, do we know that he can shoot and last night was one game, but it was not an encouraging start. Yeah, I think it'll be interesting because their position ago out into free agency next summer. And they were this summer and and try to sign an elite free agent. There's more guys out there next year. I think for them the challenge will be and you hear people in the players who would consider Philly. They're going to want to know this. Our Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are they attached? Is that relationship where it needs to be his partnership where needs to be? Because if you're going to be the third guy coming in, you don't wanna walk in the something where you're in the middle of something. And I'm not saying this, I think they would all agree. They're not close. You don't have to be close, but it's got to be a really good working partnership. And I think that's the messaging. I think those too much as anything they're like as an organization. And I think it was a big part of their interviews in the GM process. They asked that question to candidates about free agency, and I think one of the things that kept coming back to them from candidates was more important than who the GM is, and maybe even the coaches where are Simmons and Embiid are they attack. Attached or they connected because that's what's gonna impact getting third star yet. And you know, people are going to hear that Philly fans are gonna. Hear that thing here goes in media, you know, trying to do the Westbrook Durant thing again. I'm like it. I mean, the Sixers have talked about it openly like JJ was on. My podcast said, you know, it's, it's, I don't remember what he said, but he didn't poop who the entire idea that it's something everyone is just kind of watching. I don't think they're close and they're just sort of watching it and seeing how it goes. And I think part of it again in terms of like they're being such a huge. Fundamental question about Fulton game Simmons is also a very unusual player. It's unusual to have elite ball handler who is hesitant to take elbow jumpers even. And it's it means that he wants to live in the post a little bit, which is where Joel wants to live. It means that a Simmons Embiid pick and roll is just a strange animal that has never become a steady steady part of their diet. And that's. Simplest way for a ball handler, big man to complement each other and they can do it, but it's not like they run twenty game. It's it's just there's a very strange for such a talented team that won fifty whatever last year they're just it's a strange team, Mike Schmitz our draft analyst who and both he and John think of only they were big believers in Brandon Ingram in that draft, and they still felt Brandon Ingram had the upside to be the best player the most complete player over Ben Simmons, and I'm gonna talk to Jonathan about it. But I know Mike still feels it that he still thinks Ingram over time because of his ability to shoot the ball and some other things is that crazy. They're dare scouts who think it's still. I mean, there are scouts. I really respect. Who were on the Ingram over Simmons, train at the draft and remain on it now, and you have to be very, very high on Ingram's still be on that train. I'm high on him. I'm not sure I'm that high. And the belief is that look, you get into the playoffs and you face an elite defense, the lack of shooting just become so much harder to navigate than than it is in the regular season, and I would Simmons more important than can he ever shoot and elbow jumper or never mind the three pointer he's going to have to make his free throws to me. You said he so unique and with players. I always try to keep this like don't spend so much time on what guys can't do because there are some guys who are so unique and he's one of them we've got to look at what he does do and the way he the way he can dominate a game. But if he can't become a much better, throw shooter, I think that more than anything will limit that team in the postseason. I'm starting to use the word unusual instead of unique because we always miss miss. I'm going. I'm going to go on a crusade against unique because people say unique unique means like there's only one but and they're not. They're just unusual. They're strange, like there's just strange players. Marquel folds is everything about Markelle Foltz strange. And I think look Brown said he was going to do this already. So he prepped everybody, primed, everybody, like we're going to start JJ in some second half over Marquel. If that's the way the game's going. You did it last night. I was pessimistic about this lineup, experiment working in the short term. I get why they're doing it. I think it's interesting and smart long-term play. It's it's just strange lineup, Zach, you look at some of the new coaches in the league and the way the impact teams. And I think everyone's focused on Mike boot and holder in Milwaukee and how they're going to look and how he's going to impact Jaanus in the rest of that court. I think Mike is there's a lot of guys in a league when you, if you say always liked to play this game, if he did a coach's draft and he said every coaches available and where would you select them? And I always say, sort of do it for the next five, six years. So like maybe take pop out of it. He's probably going gonna coach that long to me. There's a few names that always come up and no particular order. This is who they are, Brad Stevens air exposure, Quin Snyder, Boone Holzer, and that's a specially among what would we consider the younger guys in the league where Carlisle fits into the if the next five seasons kind thing. He's, he's certainly accomplished coach, but I think. If you are starting over or starting somewhere or just, Mike is in that top five six group on anybody's list. And I think his impact Milwaukee. The other one too, I think will impact his team greatly this year, Steve Clifford in Orlando, and you think his first year in Charlotte, twenty game improvement. Jefferson really helped the team that year. He was great and Kemba was starting to come into his own. But what cliff does is he really tightened up the festively organizes your team, and that's what they've been Desa foreigner, Orlando that so much turnover so much change. And I think Jeff Weltman and John Hammond were desperate to like, we've got to have a coach for the foreseeable future. We this organization as much as any player personnel, all that they've had. But I think those two guys to me are difference makers this year. I'm a little worried about how high on the books. I just think there are team. That makes sense. Like all the things we said about Philly, like the bucks is just put a lot of shooting around on us and go like, that's easy. I understand that that's easy to do that works. They have some depth questions. Maybe not as severe as Phillies until Wilson, Chandler and moose gala or health people forgotten, Wisconsin and play last night. Like when they were talking about this issue's important part of their. Orlando, I thought or Landau could compete for the eighth seed last year, and then they got off to that eight and four right star star, whatever it was when they shot the lights on us, it's okay. That's that's intriguing and then they completely fell apart. And I just don't, you know they're going to do this thing where they play Gordon on the wing again, and they're hopeful that Isaac vich are good enough shooters ball movers to make that work TB. They just have the the point guard plays, what is is just what worries you and you just can't. It's hard to go chase a playoff spot with DJ. Augustine Jerry grant is your point guards, so I don't know how they're going overcome the elder than being in the east. And these still stinks from from, you know six to the end. Support for the pod comes from rocket mortgage by Quicken Loans America's premier home purchase lender. Let's talk about buying a home. 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Additional conditions or exclusions may apply based on Quicken Loans, data in comparison to public data records equal housing lender licensed in all fifty states and LS consumer access dot org. Number three, zero three zero. What Boston's done in the east and the way they've separated themselves from the group. And I, it's funny a western GM said to me last year, we're talking about this that there's no team in the west, even remotely close, built close to even put Philly in that group that that Boston Philly have these two young nucleus is great young nucleus. A we could talk about some of the flaws would Philly, but we're, we're nitpicking. They're set up to be really good for very longtime. We're talking about sending that last step. I mean, nobody would deny. They're built. They're gonna win, fifty games in their sleep by the way tribute to them. And how did they aren't Hello coach that were or you talking about sending the last step that that far along? Yeah, and and Toronto and their future depends on Koa like their if they lose after the season, then you can see them certainly headed toward a rebuild, but they had that young nucleus a slide in, you would imagine that team very different of quite stay going forward with. Lowry Baca going into the last years of their deal and excetera so, but it will be interesting to see the balance of power in the league, especially hypothetically, if k d did not stay in Golden State, even Katie leaving there still wars. He'll be a contender, obviously be dramatically different team, but but they kept everybody else still really, really good team. But I think the way we've looked at the conferences, it may not be long before, you know, as we know Boston is built for barring catastrophe is built to dominate the league over the next however, many years and the great filly group. And then Janas Milwaukee has a transcendent under twenty five year old star to continue to build around will keep them himself will keep them around. Fifty wins almost no matter who they put around him. He's that good. And so the balance of power for the first time like you can sort of see down the tracks. What we have seen in the west for so long, I think, is starting to. We've always said it's cyclical accept it isn't. It's been this way for very long time, but can't you see the starting to change like really changing and may not be long? Yeah. I mean, the top of the east is, I mean, you could you people have argued. I think people are a little bit low on the rockets, but that the second and third and maybe the fourth best teams only girl in the east. This I, I don't. I wouldn't go that far. Milwaukee has some fascinating decisions to navigate with blood. So in Middleton, hitting free agency and just, you know, I would. I would bet that they keep Middleton to half the pay middle and not Bledsoe. You set it in your prediction, thirty million dollars. He's going to be if he can't leave, they can't let him if he has a good year, he's gonna get paid, but their challenge is going to be okay, who's who's the guy who's the next guy who's the third guy? Because I don't. I don't know of Christmas quite good enough to be the second best player on a championship team, and that's why you know missing on Jabari and a couple of other things. Just it just kills you. And Boston. I find Boston fascinating for this reason this this this debate has now started to get into the media, right? Does Boston have a superstar, like a real true blue no-brainer top eight player best player in a championship team and. I'm not sure they do. I I've, I've referred to kyri Horford and Hayward as a minus superstars and snow. There just aren't that may straight a.'s. Now Tatum is coming. Tatum will see if he becomes a top player in the NBA, but he's coming. I think that's actually an interesting argument. And I know it's one that front office talks about a lot is, and that's why you're gonna hear Anthony Davis associated with them until Anthony Davis is signs of supermax or somewhere else. I happen to think that those three, let's leave Tatum out of it that those three veteran guys are so complementary and, and that they all kind of lift each other up and don't overlap so much. And then you add in the Jay's jail in Jason. I think that I'm less worried about Boston, lacking a quote, unquote, true superstar that most people are, but you do hear people say, well, if they meet Phil in the playoffs or if they Toronto in the playoffs, all that matters is the best players on the other team. Yeah. And I think think Gordon Hayward to the uniqueness when he signed with them and free agency. Like he's going to be their guy when they signed Gordon Hayward, it was well, this is a star for us in Tatum just been drafted. They thought he was going to be great. But Danny, I really believe in them, but nobody expected that rookie year and by the way walks right out game one last night, like maybe the best player on the floor for the Celtics. Yeah, but Hayward has a game and I think Persson. That if he has to take, he's not an alpha he doesn't have. I think he can be at when he needs to be. You saw his final year in Utah where he saw him start to take over late. He can do that, and he also can defer let someone else do it in and he fits in to that blend well, and I think about great young nucleus is in the league, and I left out Utah that they are the one team in the west who's Bill agewise with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert and that infrastructure. And I think they're going to be they were once Rudy came back last year that second half of the year into the playoffs. I mean, they were the best defensive team in the league. They have an early coach in Quin Snyder and Donovan Mitchell. Listen, you never think about Utah's a free agent destination. That's not how they've ever been built. They've always built through the draft and felt like, you know, they've had to, but I do wonder, I think Mitchell listen. They're not going to get that a list free agent, but. They can sell winning their and they can sell a basketball crazy market, an organization that has everything in place. And I think there will be a year. They'll be somebody who they'll get at some point in this rebuild who is not going to be Kevin Durant or a Leonard level, but just a complement to Donovan Mitchell who I think we all agree is going to be a star. I think they're position to do that unlike any other, maybe small mid market. This is why I think Middleton is going to get. I mean, if you told me middle gets the max, I wouldn't even be blown away by that. I don't think he will. But all of these teams that have cap spaces summer that are good, but are not going to get Kevin Durant and quiet Leonard because they're not LA New York, whatever it is they're all gonna look to Middleton is like, okay, that that's a guy maybe as the personality likes. Small markets has complimentary player like we can get him. And I don't know that you necessarily need him because they're loaded on the wing, but he's really good speaking of you. Utah, by the way, kind of slipped under the radar amid all the summer frenzy. Three years, like twenty nine for Dante. Exum is going to be a really interesting contract to watch how it looks a year or two or three from now, because with we still don't know what he is and he's the highest draft pick. They have that they drafted on the team and they traded for favors who was number two or three or whatever. He was. You know that what he is the fruit of their rebuilt. He's the fruit of their tanking more than anyone else, and we still don't really know what he is is an MBA player. I mean, you've seen flashes like it's all health with him. I think they think he if he's healthy, he he way out plays that contract and it was a good contract for him. Brandon Rosenthal. I thought I thought it was for guy who's been injured a lot, and you know, you look at Justice winslow's extension at thirteen million. That number may be surprised some people. Now, I think maybe having the team option, the third year allowed that number to be higher than maybe Miami would have done, but those are players who teams drafted, they believe in the talent and they say, okay, like we're going to financially like there's some risk here, but like you have to hit on. If you're Utah, you've gotta hit on those guys. You just can't go on free agency and that players like the other one for for Utah's. Unbelievable. Unbeliev Dennis Lindsay is. Like the Sixers should've tried to get Dennis Lindsay when they were big game hunting, and maybe they did, and you know it was like, no, no, you don't get to know. You don't get to get him the Sixers made more than one phone call to Utah for candidates. That's fact thing I forgot forgot about just the whole Justin zanuck Comey how many interviews to Justin zanuck have? How many dinners did they take him to Trey Burke? The other one like Trey Burke was number eight, eight pick. I think something like that and use rebuilding his career, New York, but those those for small market team. Now you make you more than make up for it when you get Mitchell at thirteen or whatever, and go bare at twenty. Seven. That's just ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous. And you, you find Joe Ingles for nothing. And like, I think we can turn him into an NBA player. Joe Ingles is a, I mean, above average as a slight to join join. Those is really good. Yeah. And I think Ricky Rubio those a rebirth for him there Quin Snyder was the perfect coach for Ricky Rubio. He's a player who wants. He has a tremendous humanity to Ricky and tremendous value to having a relationship and connection with him. He is a very family oriented guy. Remember one of my favorite days ever in this business was I was in Spain with team USA was playing before the Olympic before London. They're planning the next mission game in Spain, and I went there with them, and then I went spent the day with Ricky in his hometown, which is overlooking the ocean outside Barcelona, and we drove around and his car's grandmother live next door to him and and he just feels things strongly and he did not. You don't get that from time typical. And I think. Like you, you don't get that from him. And I really thought, I think Utah believed when they traded for Rubio that Quin Snyder would be tremendous for him. I think that's exactly what happened. That's another player coming up in free agency that I'm sure I would be surprised at both sides aren't gonna work really hard to find a way to stay together there too. Yeah, I wrote a little thing on Rubio a couple of weeks ago that doesn't make the story, but talking about his family and his community with his girlfriend. I think it's his girlfriend. I think he's married owns a restaurant in in his hometown and like the jazz sent an army of people to go visit Ricky over the summer like three or four different people went and saw him and like Ricky just just goes in like washes, dishes at the restaurant, just goes and like, how can I help out and you need to wash dishes in the back of they put them to work. She puts him to work at the restaurant. That's what he does in the summer. That's awesome. Yeah, he's a remarkable and Rubio. I've kinda gotten to know him at every stage. I remember spending time with him before he came over and. He was. I mean, he's really an original childhood prodigy. And I mean, he was a YouTube star. Fourteen fifteen years old. Turn pro stone. Fourteenth birthday was playing Spanish ACB fifteen with thirty five year old. And and there was like this sort of feeling while he's sort of plateaued, you know, he hen come over yet to Minnesota and the way they worked to buy out and you know his had that tremendous Rick year and then the injury. And he's just one of those players who so much of it is about circumstance and situation. And where do you end up in and boy, he found the right place. He really find the right place for the jazz. I hope it says I weigh because I'm a big fan of his is a person in a player in and I do think he does something. He's always been a fascinating play right? Because his teams have have played better with him on the floor. And yet he's had this glaring liability as jump shot where people have said, well, if against in the playoffs, you know, it's teaming scheme him. It's just not gonna work, but there's something he does. That helps you win and the jazz bet. On those number, you talked to the jazz. We know those numbers. We bet that there's something there were not sure what it is, but we think we can find it and we think we can bring it out. We think those numbers are real. And you know, last year last year I it was. It was almost like a heat level when the heat were eleven thirty and thirty and eleven or whatever the whatever it was. It was almost like that and it just, but boy, did they get low last year into come out of it at the way they did is like, you got to have a strong. That's why voted Snyder coach at the like you just have to have such a strong culture to be able to do that and what they did with Quinn to think about this. They got him hit. I, you know, two losing seasons and give them an extension after two losing seasons. I gave a five year extension at a pretty good number nine, an elite contract number, like if he was available, like if he was up for his deal now that pay more, but it was a good bet they knew what they had in him and they didn't care about the record the first two years. They knew it. They had, and he took the certainly took the security of it and end up being a great bet for both of them. But I think when you look at and you set it like Dennis Lindsay Quin Snyder, you know that front office, you mentioned Justin zanuck David way that's a and it gets back to ownership that that's an ownership group. They don't mandate things. They don't short circuit, they hire good people. They let them do their jobs and then they say, what do you need and more and more you look around this league Zach and you can see certain pockets of short term success with ownership, but you can't be good over longtime without really good ownership. We're seeing it in Phoenix or seeing it and Sacramento. We're seeing plenty of other places that wouldn't whenever GM's talk about this job or that job or coaches to me, it just gets forget, market sized, forget whether free agents wanna go there. Who is your owner? Who is your owner. Yeah, it's an interesting dynamic mentioned Sacramento and Phoenix, and it's just it's just a mess in those places. Today's episode of the woke pod is also brought to you by Sonos, meet Sonos, being the smart compact sound bar for your TV and newest addition to the easy to use home sound system play everything. You love and joy, music, radio, movies, TV, podcasts, and more Sono supports over one hundred streaming services. You can use airplay to enjoy sound from your iphone ipad on beam. It has brilliantly clear sound and beam fills the room with rich sound and joy, debase and detailed stereo separation for music plus crystal, clear dialogue for TV and movies, easy to set up beam connects to your TV with just one chord and syncs with your existing remote. 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If you qualify wasn't I use the airplane mode on my iphone, my ipad. It's perfect. So don't forget if you. Live in any major metro area up and running. We'll have a Sonos expert deliver and set up your system. Absolutely free just order from Sonos dot com and select up and running at checkout. If you qualify. I think. I mean, obviously we're all gonna be watching the Lakers this year. They're that they're the biggest story in the league. I don't remember where I said this, but you talk about Quincy Neider and how they thought we're getting give you this contract extension, even though I records terrible because we think you're good coach everyone at the minute. The Lakers are five and seven. The Luke Walton speculation is gonna start, and I said this on a podcast might have been mine. Our remember where it was. I was like the lesson that they should take from the heat is that the heat stood by Spoelstra because if you think you have a good young coach, if you think he's good, genie thinks he's good. She said that publicly, I don't know what magic things that Pelinka things. I assume they all think he's good if you think looks good. You think he's a worker. He smart. He's going to be a good coach. You have to withstand that pressure, whatever that pressure is, because it's like if you if you fire a good young coach like that, and you don't have a plan, then you just become the magic where you're on your fifth coach and five years, or you become, you know, pick a team where it's just like it's just endless like, oh, we've. Gotta rebuild our culture. Again, we've got to rebuild our culture. I'm fascinated to see how disciplined the Lakers are and maybe LeBron doesn't care. Maybe there won't be any pressure at all, but if they are five and seven or if as win horses written, if it's January and they'll Brown starts to get get cheat that they're not as good as hopes in everything he says now doesn't turn out to mean anything about being patient all that when they're two games under five hundred in January few, Luke Walton is good. You gotta be very, very careful. We know where the blame will go. It's like LeBron's aren't gonna, get the blame and he's not going to want to take the blame on. It's going to be. It'll be the coach. It'll be teammates. There'll be a succession of scapegoats or maybe there won't be any. Maybe maybe maybe the I I'm optimistic about almost every young player on the Lakers including Lonzo the veterans that they signed will see. So and everything LeBron has done starting with signing three plus one suggested he's going to be patient. So maybe there will be nothing. No. And you said it though with with Luke like Magic Johnson, rap Lincoln in higher. Fallen g bus hired, Luke Walton image Cup, check that regime, but genie and Jeannie has been a starch advocate for him, a defender of him. She allowed magic Plunkett a come in and really do what they wanted, which strategy and free agent strategy and roster. I really believe Luke Walton better non-negotiable for her. Now it's different when LeBron's there, like if LeBron feel strongly in one way. And I'm not saying he will. He has in the past, but you mentioned Miami and Erik Spoelstra was able to have the credibility with the players to coach that team because Pat Riley demanded it. And when they went to Pat Riley and said, complain about this and that he said, Eric's to coach, go down there and play its Indian Thompson's book, which like is Riley remembers. It LeBron Wadim bash when into his office around when they were nine and eight and LeBron just said, get the coach again. And Pat said it didn't go any further than that. He did not ask me to fire Eric. He did not suggest that I coach the team, but I think I knew what he meant. No, we didn't talk about it again and that was it. And like. And then you look at Blat and you know, Mike Brown. It's like, you know, I, it's, it's just he comes with instant expectations and that's because he is the best player in the world. And he's not the only star. He's not the only star who will wield that power saying it's. Saying it's it's even a bad thing. I'm saying like strategy that's a win that was the league. When Matt listen, you know, magic wielded power when he played for the Lakers he wanted change and there was changed like that's the route, but you're right. How does that organization? Because you can talk about culture is such a cliche and everybody uses it. And I wonder sometimes if the people who throw the word out even know what it means, but it starts with this like you talk about what he culture is. It's what Riley did when they walked into his office. He didn't even open up the conversation. He didn't allow the conversation go down the tracks. He shut it down. And if he thought air exposure was just a mediocre coach like like a Xs and os wise, I don't know if you can hang maybe would fired him, but he thought that you have to think the guy is good. You have to. He thought he was good thought he had already proven himself. Good. And if you think the guy is good, you just changing coaches. Is it just then you just become the Suns. You just like how we have. I don't think people appreciate this on air exposure. If you made her exposure free agent tomorrow, he'd be a ten million dollar your coat. I said this on my podcast last year I had a team reach out to me in the middle of last season saying, do you think the heat would trade us, Eric, spoil show for our first round pick? And I said, no, I don't think it wouldn't be worth. He wouldn't. I wouldn't. I mean, I know they wouldn't. I know they and he to know how he is viewed in the league is I think people that was not an easy team, the coach in Miami, what people think. And he got things out of LeBron LeBron had not been willing to do as a player. He made a LeBron more complete player in Miami. There's no question about it. He's the best coach LeBron James as our plate for his fizz has got a lot of credit for that too, in terms of his post work, and I'm excited to see what phys does New York now. They're gonna stink this year on purpose, but I'm excited to see what is good. I'm sorry. I've gotten a sidetracked on a coaching conversation, not. You know, it's funny. I saw Jeff, said Utah, coaching, New York, and Jeff loves to do Jeffy and Gundy, which is Jeff, always gonna, find the guy who just got fired. What Jeff's son of a coach. He's going to defend coaches and I admire him for it. But he was asked, I think one of those conference calls about fizz in New York, physical coach, but you know what, like they'll be good if they have good players. They have mediocre players. Love, mediocre record, and he's right. Like in the league, like you need players to win. And I think New York will be interesting this year because I don't know the standards so low there for. Sometimes I feel what the Knicks the standard is while it's better than it used to be here except the standards. It's the Celtics in the warriors, and that's what the standard should be not. Well, it was so screwed up here in the past. It's a little better now, and that's what I think you're always finding against in New York, and I think would is the shirts. Well, a team compete. You know, the dot have those twenty five point losses at home and where the teams just giving up seventy five points in the first half. And you know, I think fizz is you guys could be pluses, minuses, or neutral and free agency. I really don't think players take coaching into consideration which I really don't think they do because the coach is always disposable and LeBron was unique. He didn't care. David Blatt was the coach. David Blatt was disposable, can always get a new coach. And while I think phys helps in the, I don't think there's any question phys helps in the room. Fiz has the respect of star players in a league. You mentioned. LeBron Wade and Bosch, and there's a credibility that he has that they give him because of how well they positive experiences they've had with them and lots of recite physicist, horrific. But I just don't know that the head coach any head coach at a league makes almost any difference and sitting in a free meeting, the standards for the Knicks are just don't trade the ninth pick in a draft Andrea Giani. That's all the fans don't do that. That's held to standards are just like beat that and l. of this is like everyone is, oh, you've heard this fifty years all the, no, you can't rebuild a New York. The Knicks can't rebuild. I think the opposite is true. I think being in a big city in a big market like that makes it easier to rebuild because they're like they're gonna make a fortune no matter what does it matter if these stink or not. They saw it every game. They're gonna make a fortune and the fans are smart. The fans what's going on, they they don't want to trade the number nine picking draft, Jabber new. They want Knox to be good. They want nil Akina to be good. I think it's really interesting that they're starting him as a two. I think that's actually kind of smart. I'm interested that works out. They want porzingas to get healthy. They want another high draft pick and like if they'd miss Kay, if they miss Katie, that's like, let's see where the team goes. Let's see what happens in. That's fans are smart. Like they understood they just wanna plan and they don't want to be told every like just show us a plan and follow it and and hire people who've done it before hire people who've had success at the highest level. And we're New York. We should be able to get anybody. We want to run our team and so listen, I think Scott Perry, I think he's gone about it. Exactly, right. We'll see how it plays out, but I think like they just find a plan. I think the cl- the clippers are doing right now is very below the radar what they've done. The put themselves in position. They didn't gut themselves in. They're not tanking. Put a competitive team on the floor and listen they have, I think right now with coil Leonard, they have a better than not chance. Of getting him now, we know things will change. He could love Toronto. He could fall in love with the fan base and not care about the weather in and maybe they get to the finals. Maybe they upset Boston or who knows? We all know lots can happen, but the clippers are in great position with him. They have to max lots they will be heard from again. I think these Jimmy Butler and trade talks. Interesting, right. I think they're out you think they'll come back and look. I think a lot of teams are gonna come back and look. I think Minnesota will get more real. There's going to come appoint Minnesota's gonna have to get realistic about it, but they start like twelve, no. What if it all just works? I I've just never seen anything like this before. There's open contempt hatred going in like seven different directions and they're like, you know what? We're just gonna play, but here's the things that they were three seat in the west last year before Jimmy. Got hurt. No, I agree. The relationships weren't any were like, they didn't like playing with each other. Then and of Jimmy Butler doesn't get hurt all needed a couple more wins in their three or four seed based on how. Tied it was you're right and listen, 'cause minutes does Minnesota still say in the end, you know what? We don't think you'll turn we can still offer the most money, and we're going to roll the dice because if we don't give you what you want, which is trading your bird rights to a team you want to go to and then they can pay the five years or pay the seven percent raises seven percent raises. We're going to keep you all the way and we're going to dear you to leave for now. I don't know that they'll do that. That's such a risk. But with that, be the craziest idea of taking deal. You really don't want. I believe Glenn Taylor came on the record yesterday in the Star Tribune and said, yeah, we don't think he's gonna resign with us. He's made that pretty clear. Trade him. So. Publicly express no confidence in that. But does he have to say that is Jimmy going to play the way they want him to play if they're saying anything about that? This whole thing is just it's, it's absolutely look. People are gonna say, we've had situations where you know whatever the Yankees was at the Yankees were like twenty six players twenty-six cabs or whatever, Red Sox, whatever, whatever, it's not like new. But like I, it's never been like the guy publicly will the guy privately. Now it has been made public requested a trade. There's like social media drama. There's a practice where he comes in and tells everyone they stink without him and trash talks to general manager and the coach and others can go play like, it's, here's a thing. Jimmy Butler can say that to Scotland one hundred times a day in the locker room in the office in the hallway Tump to doesn't care. He cares if Jimmy Butler plays and the day that Butler walked back in that gym, the practice, Tom. Title. One opening week is here and he's going to play. That's all Tom to wanted. He doesn't care what Jimmy says everybody around the building. He doesn't care when you're the president of basketball should have to carry, should have to care, doesn't he doesn't? He cares if he plays and he'll live with all the rest of it. Unbelievable what a league? Yeah. But back to the clippers though, here's the thing with them to me, star players wanna play. You have the market. Okay. In LA and they have like, you know, you look at the group. They have of Shaquille Zander and Patrick Beverley. And you know, some of the role players that are there to me. Star players wanna play with hard playing guys who do dirty work because that's not there to be stars. And when you have guys who play hard, who do the dirty work and you have those guys around to me that makes your situation more appealing. And I think they've done a good job with the clippers of collecting some guys like that that make them a little more appealing in free agency will be interesting to see how that impacts quite Leonard's thinking. And and Jimmy Butler has made it clear that the clippers are loved to be there. The Lakers are not really consideration, and you know the Lakers are going to hold. You know, they've got that one spot. I think they think they can ultimately do better in that spot than Jimmy Butler. And but I do think as the Butler talks do get going in and I agree with you, I think in the end, they trade him. I think it's too great of a risk when a guy's telling you absolutely not. Not because then you gotta face your fan base when he walks away and he told you, you guys, listen, we got nothing for him. Look at trade it for him, but I do think all these teams that we've talked about and reported about having talked with Minnesota. I think they all circle back and I think the asking price will have to go down and then they'll be some real serious talks because I don't think there were any really serious talks with anyone, but Miami again, Miami Houston or teams who can't get Jimmy Butler and free and they don't have kept space. The other teams don't have to their infrastructure for a player that they could sign in July. I'm rooting for the wolves to start twelve. No, no. Now that I've now that said it to speak into existence. I want the wolves to start twelve. I want the wolves to be like undefeated for a month and just I just wanted to continue to get more bizarre. I agree. I hope this goes all the way to the trade deadline. Our podcast can't go that far. We gotta get outta here, Zach. Thank you as always for jumping in and what we'll do it again soon. My pleasure. Thanks for listening to this episode of the wo- dot big. Thank you to my guest today. ESPN Zach Lowe. 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