and welcome back to SportsCastr news MBA were on that arm break.
That's Matt Brooks on a Thursday morning.
I managed to screw that up with Keith earlier in the week and got myself all the way to Tuesday on a Monday morning.
But it's Thursday, friends.
And the reason why you get the days scrambled is because N b A news and information is flying about as fast and furiously as it possibly could ahead of the draft coming up here in just about six days now.
And maybe we knew that there'd be something interesting around this team the Houston Rockets are.
They are fully committed to being a circus over the next week.
Um, where is your mind at around Houston? Where's your mind around the N B A.
In general, cause there's even knew coming in is we're trying to start these streams.
There's new stuff coming out around teams all over the place.
Yeah, no, they are their their their mess.
There is no good way to put this.
Houston's in a tricky spot.
You kind of had the thing leak out in the morning about, you know, harden and and rust.
Being unsure about the future of the franchise, By the way, I like their new coach a lot, But everything he said seems like God forbid, God forbid somebody tries to use James Harden off ball, God forbid, you know.
But yeah, I mean, look like that article that came out last night from shame Strangio was a lot and and there were certain guys that didn't look great other guys that I actually weirdly, you know, kind of feel a little bit better about So what, we'll get into that shortly, but yeah, just a lot going on there.
And it seems like that's what happens, right.
When you try to win a championship and you're right on the edge, it kind of eventually that's gonna cascade in tow either another run or just complete and total negativity.
And it seems like like in one of the two on, it seems like we've taken the ladder.
So you've got a lot of layers to this, even from some of the other pieces on this roster.
Eric Gordon, unhappy with his role there now as the sixth Man of the Year award winner Just that, you know, the previous season you could see a new head coach, maybe revamping how they utilize him and understanding it could be more valuable.
You got a 35 year old P.
Tucker unhappy with with his contract, in spite of the fact that I I think he's on the books for North of 18 million.
So you know, I get it.
Given how, given the milers, that was honest.
I have that number of writers that flipped with him and Eric Gordon because they combined for about 25 years so that he's at under nine million on like, eight or nine.
That actually might be a good reason to add that argument, especially for 35 years old, so he has maybe a reason to be there.
But this came out somebody t to not give the credit to about Oh, who would you move on from Westbrook or Harden? And I said, Well, it's got a kind of thing.
I think being all or nothing, because either you're breaking this thing down and rebuilding things up in your own vision or you're running it back just because it's gonna be difficult to get value for just Westbrook or what are you getting back for And by the way, because I don't think it makes sense to trade harden and still have Westbrook there.
And if you trade away Westbrook, I think it's more difficult to get value back in that, do you? How do you see the construct of that? And then I'll even say Ra wind this thing back to pre getting Westbrook.
If you are in the model of stripping things, some things down with a new head coach there, Do you almost wish that you hadn't executed the Westbrook trade? Because then maybe maintaining the relationship with Harden would be a lot more feasible if you didn't feel like, Well, we got $80 million tied up in these two guys.
I mean, yeah, I think if you could take back the rest of the Westbrook trade, you sure would.
Because then you made a second trade and you and you got rid of Capella, and it's just like I don't know.
It's a lot of moves that were based on something that wasn't great in the first place.
Like you look at getting rid of Chris Paul for for Westbrook.
It's like I really would have rather have had Chris Paul.
I know it didn't look awesome last year, and I don't think they really use Chris Paul in the right way.
I mean, just, you know, I I think they made it work in that first year Really? With him and Harden.
But, uh but no, I mean, what you, by the way, because I was I would say it's hard to interject.
Was like, by the way, you just said about, like playing Harden off ball, like if you had when you had CP three there.
It feels like if ever there was a time to experiment with that, it's when you know and really commit to it fully, let's say and figure out how those pieces really work that way.
It's when you have a guy that's the quote traditional point guard.
Yeah, no, I mean, like, that's kind of the fatal flaw of I think the Rockets is that they leaned into a style.
I mean, it all kind of comes down to They leaned into a style.
It was the brain trust of Harden, you know, D'Antoni and Maury And they agreed on this style and it didn't work.
They came close.
They almost beat the warriors doing it, but they never They never pivoted.
They just continue to do this.
It built that habits for harden.
It made the role players feel replaceable with, By the way, Maury quite literally used them as if they were replaceable.
You know, when you're Aries is there and then they let go of them and you never You know, there's they don't have any regrets about it.
They just plug in Daniel house.
I mean, I get what they did, but it's not that surprising that certain guys felt extremely like just not prioritized whatsoever.
And the toxicity kind of continue to build up, build up, build up.
It just wasn't a sustainable method ever. Really.
And it showed that I mean it.
This is what's going to inevitably happen.
I don't I don't know what you do from here.
Um, you know, two guys really look bad right now.
I would say more.
He doesn't look great more coming out of all this.
It's like there's a lot of communication that he clearly never did.
And, you know, I get it like you have an ****ytics method and you have a way of of building a team.
But I mean, look like there's a part of this.
There's a human relationships part of this that I just don't think he prioritized.
And And you saw that with With Sam Hinkie as well, you know those air.
That's the guy that you know, that's That's the guy that was his, you know, Understudy almost, um, clearly that got passed down because there was a lot of agents that had issues with hinky hardened looks terrible, too.
I mean, some of the quotes him being able to unable to take any, you know, form of, you know, constructive criticism from Westbrook after a tough loss.
That was a shams article.
Um, I don't know.
Now, I know I know that you're not necessarily a fan of Westbrook as a piece on a team, but like, to your point around that that hardened quote like, listen, you bring in Westbrook, like, at the very least, you know that Westbrook wants toe win, and I'm not saying hardened doesn't.
But, boy, if you're not willing, like if you're not willing to have those conversations on the back end of losses, like if you're not willing to find a way to get better because that that goes in direct conflict of you heard over the last couple of seasons, where hard would say like, Well, my volume shooting, you know what I am on the court is a product of what the game dictates.
It's not me demanding that I be on the ball, that I'm the shooter and I get all these volume looks and now you go, Well, OK, but it may not be that you're demanding it, but you also like it, and you're also comfortable in that role.
And you also don't necessarily think that it's a bad thing.
So you know, all those elements together end up leading, and that also makes me realize why, even if you're not a fan of a player individually per se and not just you around the league, But when you make that train you bring in Westbrook, I also get why it falls apart.
You know, relatively early in a playoff run for the talent you have on that roster because you go well.
You guys want the same page and you're not willing to make adjustments.
One of the biggest things you talk about playoff basketball is.
What's the adjustments that get made over the seven games? Siri's.
You have a player.
If your best player is in the mindset of I don't make adjustments.
Well, yeah, that's kind of recipe to fail.
And, by the way, go over the history of James Harden in Houston.
It's kind of the recipe to have early exits, regardless off what GM we're doing well or ****ytics or not, that's a recipe to not have success.
If you have a guy that's just saying, like, What do you want to do differently? Anything you want to dio outside of what I dio.
It also doesn't help that he hasn't been like awesome in the playoffs and, like, has had many minutes, many moments where he's just outright quit.
I mean, you have the Siri's where, where they came back down, 3 to 1.
Um, that Game five.
He wasn't on the court like you could go all the way back to their and it's just like you have other moments.
You know, he lost to the Spurs and that really embarrassing way without co.
I, um, there's just a lot of moments in his history that it's like, Yeah, like you're a great player, But you have moments where you shrink in the limelight and teammates remember that stuff.
And they also remember when they're being treated in a way that they don't feel like they're on the same playing field.
I mean, I don't know.
I just He's a great player, but there are a lot of aspects to his game, and I clearly the way he works in a team archetype that need to be adjusted, you need to be able to start using him off ball.
I mean, it's it's super telling that he if he's not involved in the play, he stands at half court and it's like, Well, we don't want to bring in a defender.
It's like, Why? Why would you what Or 1/5 defender? It's like that.
Doesn't that doesn't make any sense.
Like I get that you have the other team's best defender on him, but he's also the best player.
He's the best player on, probably usually on the court, so, like, why would you not have him involved in the play and just standing? It's just it's weird.
I've never understood that.
I've never enjoyed it Do you think that underneath the new head coach, let's let's assume there's just two aspects to it.
One, uh, the bigger hall in return.
Obviously, if you're trading someone away, Harden is gonna get the most for you on the market.
Um, there's a lot of speculation.
Are Brooklyn that's got thrown into the mix and kind of taken out of it on all in a very tight window.
Um, but if you're gonna move off of him, that's one element of it.
The other side of it is, Do you think now you've you've named the new head coach? You said he has a lot of good ideas, Or at least he's saying a lot of the right things.
Is it possibly is it possible to keep Harden there? Is it possible to reform this thing with him as the center key? Still, or in some ways, what Houston like is their best bet to say, That's it.
Let's clean house like let's live with the results.
We may end up being a team that misses the playoffs this upcoming year and maybe even the following year, but our best bet is to stockpile assets, maybe get some young talent in return and try to reform this thing.
Because even if you keep Harden and even if you make move, what is this team? Five seed, you know, and with some young guy, you could even be a six seed with the way they're currently constructed.
I mean, I feel bad for the new head coach and the new GM.
I mean, honestly, like you're coming in and like, e first, he's a head coach.
He's a new head coach.
So, like, it's gonna be hard toe thio.
I mean, clearly, they don't have the respect of these guys thus far, considering they're being, you know, there.
I mean, Westbrook just put in a trade request like he's like, I want to go.
It's like All right, well, that's pretty.
That's pretty sudden on.
Both of them are expressing some doubt about where the franchise is going.
Kind of seems like there's it sure seems like that Houston is going to go into a rebuild, and that's just what it seems like with no pics like it's It's not great, I think so.
I I think the best thing for them to do is, if you have a superstar that's unhappy, you have no draft picks.
Go get some draft picks for James Harden.
Just like you got to figure that out.
And you know what? You know what you dio is You like, let's say and I'm gonna make a case right here.
I'm not just saying this because I covered the nets, and this will be fun.
Trade him to Brooklyn, trade into Brooklyn because you already have two superstars there that have semi difficult personalities to work with.
You're then hedging your bets on Hey, this could be they could be amazing.
For a year or two.
They might blow up, you know, just fantastically like it might be a complete catastrophe.
And ah, year or two all of a sudden, all those picks that you've that you've now acquired from them, those actually could be really semi high draft picks.
I I would look at it and you can strip away all of their talent.
All of their you know, bridge talent, if you will.
You know, you take away Caris Levert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jared Allen, bunch of picks.
And for Brooklyn.
I would make that because you could go back to back very easily with James Harden and Durant and Kyrie Irving.
That's what I would do if I were them.
It seems like the writing's on the wall.
If is the relationship with D'Antoni and and, uh, and hardened good, you know, because, I mean, obviously it's not.
It's not D'Antoni running the team in Brooklyn, but it's going to be a similar style.
Or you think that at least understand.
Actually, do you think that creates actually a nice little bridge to want to make that feed? Or is the more of and by the way, and in Brooklyn side now? Hueter had Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving on the roster so that that's different, too.
But you go if you're Brooklyn or you like, Yeah, I get it.
And also, if we can convince like I'll make this case for the Brooklyn side of it, I like how things are constructed, and I like James Harden has a talent.
I also don't know if I want to introduce his mentality around how he wants to play and some of these things you're hearing into a room with Kyrie Irving, who also has his mentality in.
He wants to play like that might be just one too many voices that have a very clear vision of themselves, and that's gonna get hard to manage.
And I wanted at some point Do you go Look at this.
This this game just got away from us because we can't We can't convince James Harden to stop taking the ball up the court like yeah, and by the way, arguably, you'd say Kyrie Irving bringing the ball up the court. Harden.
Wouldn't you want to defer James? Wouldn't you want to defer to Cairo to bring the ball up the court and create some space for you? So I know there's a lot.
There's a lot of aspects to that side of it.
The other piece.
When you say about treating him away, do you think that it makes more sense pre draft and and assets in this particular draft class, where everyone agrees it's relatively weak? Or would Houston maybe be better off holding James Harden? Maybe try to jettison Westbrook if you can right now, hold harden at least until the deadline and start to see how certain teams would be very anxious to get him in for a title type of run.
And maybe you at least to your point about, say, with Brooklyn or any team E don't want.
I don't want your draft capital now.
I want it two and three and four years down the road when we can continue to feather and young talent.
Yeah, I think I had 30 32.
Maybe even come in this year, too.
Yeah, you're on the edge.
What is what? What's going to improve? Is this game going to improve? Is this like, No, I I If anything, it's it's gonna go the other direction if you know you're gonna eventually do it, really feel out the market, like really do and see how Maney like what I would do is I would look at just getting future picks.
Don't worry about this year.
Maybe you don't even worry about next year, but really try to get some of those future picks.
Do what the You know what the thunder basically done, too.
The Clippers like, do little things like that.
You I That's what I would do.
It just seems like the writing's on the wall.
How is this gonna improve? Like what? Okay, you trade a recorded.
By the way. Eric Gordon.
After reading the Sands article, I'm not his low on him.
I don't know what would make sense for because he's still the contracts. Terrible.
It goes out like, four years, so that part isn't great.
But, hey, I mean, like some of these guys, if you're going to trade him away and your other teams, you're like, you know, he could have just been unhappy.
Like he could have just been whatever and like, maybe he fits great and he focuses on defense and he's our backup. Whatever.
A backup sort of slashing guard and shooter to a degree.
I mean, if you're Houston like, what's the what's the harm and just doing it now? Because I don't think it improves.
So Brooklyn, Milwaukee, The 70 Sixers, I think, even got thrown out there, Uh, maybe even Miami in some in some landscapes they've talked about, the Clippers have been thrown out there as well.
Let's say obviously, assets all across the board, You gonna take whatever you can get now That would make, say, the Clippers a really hard landings, but because you flat out don't have the assets to send back.
Maybe them off the table.
What is the other version of this for Houston, where they're trading these players, but they're also looking to be competitive.
So to your point, if it's Brooklyn, you're still gonna get assets.
But also, if you're getting back Laverne and Alan and Dim Woody, it's at least gonna take some of those future picks off the board.
What's the most appealing roster that you could get? Quality talent back in the door that maybe you say.
Alright, Eric Gordon, you are in a really big contract.
It's gonna be hard for us. Maybe to move you.
You're gonna You're gonna become that Vette guy for us.
You're gonna become a veteran contributor on this team you like exactly like so maybe you try to go, you know, old guard talent, veteran presence to help teach up the young players.
What would be the most appealing way for them to go to acquire some young guys that you could bring in and kind of have a young aske raises this pivot would be all of a sudden they be into the Phoenix Suns.
Young, exciting kind of TV Western Conference It's gotta be Ben Simmons, right? It has to be.
It has to be Ben Simmons, and I don't know.
I think I mean, honestly, like, if I'm if I'm in the driver's seat for Houston, I make that trade like the second moratorium is lifted.
You know, Daryl Morey loves hard, and he'll do anything to bring James Harden on his team.
I don't like I like that team.
They're obviously a threat in the East.
Um, but yeah, it's a weird.
It's still a weird roster, and it's not necessary.
It's not like he's surrounded by shooters like it's a It's a weird roster for him, for hard.
And I mean and then you have Embiid, which has been, you know, we could go back to the Dwight James Harden Rockets.
I mean, that was difficult, you know? And I think that James Harden, having like he had to understand that he has to give up the ball and and and let Dwight Howard post up, which was not, you know, it's It wasn't to the same degree that Joel Embiid composed up, but still I mean, that's a That's a big ask for James Harden.
I would do that trade tomorrow.
You get Simmons back.
They have tons and tons of draft assets.
Then all of a sudden you have Simmons look at the team that he's going thio.
I mean, he's going to a team where he's surrounded by house Covington P.
Eric Gordon, who's now all of a sudden you're secondary scorer and somebody that Simmons is going to say, Hey, can you please do some of the scoring for me? Please do something.
And Eric, Eric Gordon, like what? Like this is amazing like I can I can triple.
This is so cool, you know? I mean, like he says, Gordon, take the ball court.
Yeah, it's it's great.
So it's like all of a sudden like and then, like, what are you really doing from there? Then all of a sudden, those rumors of like, you know, they're rumor to try to go after Serge Ibaka.
You have a five out offense with Ben Simmons in the mix, Their fun.
That's a fun, fun, fun, fun basketball team.
He's gonna just elevate everybody's game there.
I almost like them more than I like the 70 Sixers with James Harden.
I mean, that team is super fun, so I mean, I kind of want that deal that happen for a variety of reasons.
But I also think if you're if you're Houston like, I mean, what assets are you getting back? You could get Jalen Brown.
You could get hardened.
You could get not hard, and you could get Simmons back.
I guess you could get Tyler hero.
But boy, I I mean Ben Simmons, man.
That's the best player I think you could get.
Well, that was a funny 12 in a funny one.
But it's interesting.
We talked about Miami, where they were like, Well, you get back Tyler hero And they just they said, Like And by the way, though, depending on the team.
I think it's a great swap because it does change and improve that team and what they look like, even though it would obviously improve. Miami.
You also go OK, but what what is the what is the balancing of the scales of of where hero is and where we think he's going and where Harden is and where he's going and saying, Yes, we're bringing something in, but we're also then we're making a choice about like, this is our window tightening, Not maybe thinking about how it expands so that there's interesting layers to it in that regard.
Um, you could touch on that if you want, but also on the Houston side of it say you make the move with Philadelphia, you bring in Simmons.
Is there a world so, like, right now, it's hard and saying, I want to be a part of this and Westbrook is saying, I don't want any part of it.
If you all of a sudden, though moved, hardened and brought in Simmons, would that change how Westbrook looks at this team? And would you think, Hey, in a landscape where Simmons is not a scoring first guy? Is Westbrook actually a nice player to still have on a roster with Simmons and say, Still, still, all these guys, P.
Tucker and the like? I know that you're not a big fan of him A as an onset, but to non shooters.
That's where I have the issue.
And then it's like what? Like what being as bad as as it's been even more so of late.
It just like Like what I if you split their minutes, Fine.
But God, like the rust Simmons minutes together.
Boy, Boy, those are going to be tough to stomach.
So and how do you bad? And you're like, you want You want to split them up? But how do you balance? You know? Okay, so Gordon's on the floor with Simmons.
But that means Simmons is like, ah, bench, you know, second unit guy, because Westbrook's gonna wanna be for, you know, whatever.
That's all perception stuff.
But how do you That's probably That's a bit of a bad dynamic for a first year head coach.
I was a potentially what about? What about on the Miami side of that, though with the with hero and what Maybe you're giving up to bring him in? Is James Harden the piece that takes Miami from where they were this past year and pushes them over the top and make them? Hey, we're going to the finals Watch out, or is it a slight uptick? And also it's not going to get you to the ultimate goal and Maybe you've lost one of your valuable young players.
It makes I mean, they're funny because they play this butte.
They have this beautiful motion offense.
And I think for Harden, the best destination for him would probably be Miami.
Um, they don't deal with They don't deal with crap like they don't like they don't know.
How does that go, though? Like so Remember Jimmy Butler with with Philly, where it was like, Oh, him and be really got along well and he was able to push and be great.
But is James Harden and at his age at this point of his career, he coming and going like And you know, what I love to Dio is take criticism from some of my team for sure, you know? I mean, it's funny, like Westbrook probably fits that culture a little bit better, Like I actually I don't know if hardens really much of a Miami like I really would have.
You know, a couple of months ago, I would have said, Wow, he's gonna be great for them, you know, if if you put him in there like they need a score.
James Harden is the perfect guy you know, he's a nice passer.
All this stuff now it's kind of like, Do you really want to take a guy with that level of ego and bring him in to what Miami is doing? And I don't know.
I actually don't know if I would want to do that like the safer option might be to be like, Hey, let's not Let's not do this.
Let's keep hero and say, When is Bradley Beal come available? Let's bring him in.
That's the guy that's never won before.
He doesn't really have the ego and built up, I guess.
Yeah, just the built up ego that comes with being an M V P and all this stuff like he wants to win.
He's hungry for, you know, for some validation and a lot of ways.
So let's bring him in.
We're gonna We're gonna build on the things that he's good at.
We know he's actually more than willing to playoff ball.
That feels crazy, but I really would look at that because I just I don't know, like what? Where's the scale with Harden And we saw this with rest Westbrook like, and I have to say, like this article just reading it.
I felt a little better about Westbrook.
I think he understands what a winning.
Now it's hard to p**** through the full thing and be like, OK, I think he understands that things weren't right there.
And that's why he wants out after a season was part of that, that the entire system wasn't built around him because he cited the okay, See Thunder from 2000 and 8 to 2019, where, by the way, he was one of the marquee guys and everything was built around him.
Um, I don't know, but I do feel like he understood that just things weren't right there.
By the way, I'll shout out to our 23 They're listening in on the live feed and talking about why, Why would Harden want to stay in Houston? They're not a contender.
And that Miami will be a perfect fit for him, potentially right.
And to your point, also around Westbrook like And maybe this was I've never I've always been interested around your opinion on Westbrook.
And to be fair as you when you brought one, you made your case against Westbrook.
I'm gonna call it against him, but it made me watch those areas of his game or more intently and go, Oh, yeah, okay, like I can kind of see it, but not like a guy in Miami and Jimmy Butler like I I think maybe that's where my mind is on Westbrook of being like Boy, I think he really is a dog of a player that wants to win basketball games.
That's all that he's really hyper focused on and situational e.
He's been in the wrong spots, being the last standing player of the trio in O K.
C, and saying, no.
Obviously, he's not the only guy you wanna build around not unlike Jimmy Butler like he's not the sole guy that you build your rocks around, but he's a great bet piece toe, have on a roster to help guide young players.
And then when you get the right personalities around him, it all really starts to gel and mess. So I don't know.
Let's just touch on that briefly like, where's the landing spot for Russell Westbrook in all of this, like what would be a good spot for him to end up in a team by the way that has to be able to afford the $40 million cap hit to be able to bring him in.
But is there a team out there that that would make sense for him to end up on to bring that mentality? The difference between Butler and Arc, who is mentioning this? But the difference between Jimmy Butler and Russell Westbrook Is that Jimmy Butler? Yes, he wants to win.
Wilson knows how to win.
I don't know if Russell Westbrook knows how to win.
I I think there's too many moments where you see him.
He's not even like, remotely close to the same class of defender.
And he should be because he has moments where it's like, Wow, Westbrook, really like turned it on.
But he's he's lazy, he reaches in.
He's spacey off ball and then on the other side of the floor.
As clutch as Jimmy Butler is and, yes, collection, it's It's kind of hard to measure, but he really he understands the gravity of the moment, and he accepts it, and he thrives in it.
Westbrook is like the polar opposite of that, and that's the issue.
I've always had with him because I like I like watching Westbrook and the, you know, the second in the third quarter, where it's like he's, you know, flipping skip passes to the corners and and finding is.
And by the way in Houston, he didn't even have a guy to throw lob passes to which is an issue in itself.
But, you know, like that's that's the place where he thrive.
Unfortunately, take it.
Yeah, yeah, it's like p J. Tucker going nowhere.
It's not here anymore.
I pop, which was a thing they gambled on.
I mean, but anyways, like, you know, when it comes down to crunch time like we saw it in the playoffs this year, it's like this.
It's he takes on the mantle of like, Okay, this is my time to shine.
Unfortunately, that means long jumpers and step back threes and shots that just it's never it never has felt like a great moment for him, so honestly, like trying to find the right spot for him.
I mean, the good part about this is that he clearly is a cult like he understands that there needs to be a culture, and maybe that makes sense a little bit more for a younger team than I expected.
So like the Knicks, I'm not gonna lie like if they really wanted to, they could bring him in.
Okay, so that's getting thrown out there.
And maybe that is good.
Because, by the way, maybe it instills that mentality like that's his parting gift as he winds on his career.
Or just in a in a stint with New York would be like, Hey, this is what it is like.
You show up to be a dog every every night of the week.
But then, um, I am I totally is a total insane thing to say.
Well, guess what, Maybe Houston, we don't have to give you hero to get Russell Westbrook down to Miami, where you don't have to be the player in the clutch moments.
You maybe get to be a little more focused on the defensive stuff that you should you can and should be able to do more effectively.
And you'll also get to take over in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of games for stretches and alleviate the pressure on Jimmy Butler or on some of these younger players.
And you bring that mentality like bring that same mentality to this group Here were again, not a like for like, but the way Jimmy Butler came into that, everyone wondered like, Oh, is he gonna be able to understand and and defer to young players and let them? Yeah, we can if we think that what Russell Westbrook gets the need for for a culture and a team, couldn't he then fit in with Miami somewhat, nicely and not come at the cost of assets that Harden would.
And you're talking about same same money on the cap and you could still move on from because that contract isn't forever? I don't think so.
You know, is that may be a more of a lower level risk for Miami to take in the short term, not unlike what they did this past year.
Bringing in bringing in Jimmy Butler.
My issue is I don't I don't think he's I don't think at this point of his career, e I don't think he's going to change.
I don't like like we keep doing this where we're like Okay, well, this is gonna be the year where he does this or he you know he doesn't just stand in the corner when he doesn't have the ball like him and hard and kind of do the same thing where they don't they don't move off ball.
They don't do anything like hard it.
I mean, Westbrook, I don't know.
It's just Is there any is there any? Is there any selling point, Thio, rust or anything? It's just a hardened by the way to like wherever you're gonna go, it's gonna be You have to change, Which is, by the way, the reason why I don't I don't necessarily like the idea of hardened Thio Brooklyn, cause I'm just I I just think you're you're introducing a personality that doesn't necessarily know how to adapt or change.
And maybe Russ can't do that either.
But you don't it for either one of these players, are they? Aren't they both at the point in their careers where if if if either one of them internally is like I want to be on championship caliber teams, don't they have to make the adjustment off? What? Okay, what does it look like? And then whether it's Miami or, you know, and this is maybe why I look at it and and hardened to Philly makes a lot of sense because all the connections there, when you talk about in Miami or even a Brooklyn, certainly you're trying build that culture.
But Miami has been such a well run organization for so long for either one of these players to go there.
You say this is the buying body like we've been doing it.
We know what it is.
Is your choice to be a part of this or not, And guess what we'll move on from.
We will also move on from you, like we'll take the risk.
And we'll also be totally cool if it doesn't pan out for us in this short term window that we get into.
So isn't it on both of these guys, no matter who comes knocking to like, wherever I go, I can't bring the same mentality that I have when I've been dominant by myself in Russell Westbrook getting triple doubles in O, K C or James Harden getting all the way into almost conference finals and almost finals appearances and always coming up short.
Don't they have to adjust? I think you know in New York and be the face of a bad team for a few years and then never really get anywhere.
You know, Westbrook is in E s.
I'll go kind of one of the time. Westbrook is.
It's just tough because it's, um it's just it's, I don't know.
It's It's a kind of There's just your ass.
You have to ask for a lot from him.
It's like, Okay, hey, can you suddenly become like a defensive player? That's funny, coming out of college like you kinda.
He was more of a defensive guard.
Now he's just sort of transformed into what he is.
That's just a huge transition.
It's really hard for me to see that.
I think that's very unusual for a M V P level player to just completely or guy.
That's one M V p to just completely changed how he plays it just it seems unlikely.
Um, Harden is tricky, So the reason I'm by the way, if the heat have a chance to get hard and they're going to do it and it just just the way it is, he's that good.
If I'm looking for the ideal situation, I actually almost wonder If it's better for him to go into a culture that already gravitates to superstars, it just already done.
So the Nets like, Look, let's be honest.
Let's be 100% honest.
The Nets have nothing but gravitate the superstars.
That's all they've done by the way they have done.
Let's and like all this culture stuff, that was, like, made the Nets and attractive destination.
I said this on Probably said this since, like, months, two of the Kyrie Katie air like it's done like they're not doing that anymore.
They think that was a marketing ploy and it Woz and it worked well, yeah, because by the way, the culture piece of because we were Doug and I were talking about this this morning where you go listen like doing all those things on the front end of wanting to attract players because the Nets just brought in.
Ivey added to the staff, has ties again with the same college as Kevin Durant was on.
The same was on on the team with with Okay, see? So the ties air there.
When you see that happen, you go.
Oh boy, this is a bad sign coaching staff around.
All the guys know it's a great sign when it happens in Brooklyn, when the New York Knicks are reaching and bringing head coaches ahead of an offseason clearing cap space because they're like and then we'll throw money at you.
There's a difference of that perception off.
You know, the A Z.
I think Doug put it the chicken or the egg, right? Do you want it to be that you set it all up and then bringing a superstar and say And now you win the championship for us? Which is a great ego boost for certain players, Or you say, Look at everything that we've incrementally built up to the point.
Look at all the stability and all the structure, And now we've gotten you and we start to sit around these pieces coaching staff, players or otherwise that that bring it all together.
Um, I yes, I think ultimately now the culture peace maybe goes out the window for Brooklyn.
But I will say it's funny how being a scrappy team, Brooklyn or otherwise, and you're building your building, your built, the fact that the fan base has pivoted into this mentality off.
You had no superstars.
Now you have two superstars and this good.
It was always the last offseason off being like.
And now you know, what we need to do now is get a third superstar like it's just such a weird pivot where you like for me personally, Where I go, you're making the playoffs.
Maybe over cheating a little bit.
Look at what you have.
Look at all these complimentary pieces.
And now what you wanna do is jettison every last available.
Ask that you have to bring in another star and depending on who it is, I can make the case for the Drew holiday scenario.
I'm fully on board for it because it makes all the sense in the world to complement the roster in that way.
I don't know if the James Harden Pete like I get it.
I'm here for it if it happens.
And also I don't know if that's like, if that's the next big leap that you need to make because, you know, it's like, what do you need to do to push yourself over the edge when it comes to play like again? Are you gonna be sitting there for for Brooklyn.
For any team that brings in Harden late in the game and watching him kind of check out and that maybe it's okay because you got other guys that can do it or is the ball in his hand and he's heaving up deep threes and their clanking off hard off back inside rim because he's just totally shot out.
After four quarters going crazy and you're sitting there going right, it's on Lee.
Great to have this much talent if everyone's willing to use it.
I mean, I think that the big thing like with the Nets, is I do kind of feel like I don't know if it's even the fan base.
I do feel like the pivots already started.
Like it just to gravitating to the superstars.
I mean, look like these scrappy role players. They carried the team.
There's a good chance two of them are gone like there isn't like Jared Allen was huge in November.
He gets replaced by DeAndre Jordan very shortly.
Let me let me ask this question.
Are you on board with bringing in Harden? And I know this.
I'm not trying to bait you here.
But what if, like it comes at the cost of having Joe Harris back on the roster? What if you can't make what if you can't make all that work because you keep Joe Harris because Joe Harris is gonna be worth 16 to 20 million.
You gotta count for 40 million, even if you get rid of Caris Levert for 16 on the books like, How are you managing all that money? And what if it comes at the cost of the Joe Harris and I'm not? You know, this isn't a like for, like, apples for apples, but in terms of the peace that you do like on this roster, what if it comes at the cost of essentially everybody? Let's just put it that way. It comes repulsive.
Everybody except for DeAndre, Jordan, Kyrie, Irving and Kevin Durant.
And then it's minimum, you know, level exemption for Serge Ibaka.
And it's James Harden.
And that's the team.
Are you? Are you comfortable with that? Are you happy with it? Does it does that feel good when you're talking about what this team goes, you know, goes in for championship aspirations with I I don't know, it's It's weird because I don't I like the idea of building a balanced team, but I just don't feel like we've seen any indication that they're going to do that in a lot of ways.
Like it just already seems like they're trying to cobble their deaths for a third star, third star third star.
They've been hammering at home, over and over and over.
So in a sense, why not get the best player available? Who could potentially be a third star? I mean, it just That's just based on everything that we have seen in the behavior of the team.
Even talk about how they went into the bubble instead of trying to find the next three and D guy or support a player, they signed a bunch of dudes that air cool with Kevin Durant and stuff like that. It's fine.
I understand that.
But it just if they're going to go that direction, go it, do it.
Bringing James Harden.
You know, a Jamal Crawford, the Tyler Johnson of the world.
I never agreed with that. I never did.
I was like, Why are they signing? Michael Beasley is just a waste.
It just seems like a waste.
But I mean, look, like if you're gonna do it, do it like, really go for it.
I mean, these indicators, in fact, they have DeAndre Jordan, right? I mean, that's the easiest one because of these other names that were talking or James Harden like, Hey, I can wrap my head around that the guy is talent.
You know, We're talking about DeAndre Jordan, and you talk about a $40 million contract.
You're like, well, obviously made a choice here, And that's fine.
You can you can You can go that route, but regardless, it will be interesting.
I don't wanna go.
And by the way, I don't I have No, I don't.
I have not loved the way that the Nets from a team building perspective, not even in terms of like the guys they're grabbing, but just me.
Personally, I get that the superstars have input in a lot of things.
That's the way the MBA works.
I'm just personally, that's not how I would build a team.
Then again, I'm not dealing with superstars day in and out, but I do understand that that's the situation here, and I just like if you're going to do that, then that's fine.
Jared Allen or Spencer Dinwiddie? Why not take David Allen, Spencer, Dinwiddie, Caris, Levert and some draft assets and just push it all the way in? So you're all in on the superstar thing? That's my thought, because I think you're eventually gonna go that route anyway.
Well, and by the way and again, eh? So we don't hate to derail it into into that conversation around the Net, specifically, obviously.
But then you also.
If you're Sean Marks in this organization, you can look at it and say We're pot committed.
And on the back end of this, when it all, when it all slowly breaks apart, we also feel pretty confident that we can.
We can run this system again.
We can develop players and over, achieve a little bit and make ourselves marketable to the next wave of superstars and try to and try to do the exact same process again and remain competitive.
I guess maybe that's the thing for me as a fan for any of these teams.
It's always about like, how do you strike that balance of wanting to surge and go for championships and then also, like, keep your baseline, you that base level if your clinic and this is something I will say when they criticized around the idea of the of the New York Knicks, and they've been so bad for so long.
And yet they're the New York Knicks, and the fans always show up for it.
I don't know if Brooklyn has established that yet, where you can afford to ever kind of bottom out for half a decade and be totally irrelevant and then come surging back.
Or then maybe bringing attract stars potentially, like the Knicks are hoping to do along the way here.
So, you know, always keeping yourself as a we talked about before we started the Pacers, right? Always keeping yourself is like a six seed, and that's your that's your floor and you rise and fall in and around.
That number like that has to be the baseline for Brooklyn, and then you still have the cachet to be able to bring in a superstar here and there and listen, that gets into the piece about after these contracts.
Are these guys coming back or not? And all that kind of stuff but, well, I'm an all in guy.
I think that's my like.
I might be different in that sense, because I think if you have a chance to win a championship, I mean, this is why I guess Let me and Daryl Morey would a long basketball conversation, I'm like, because if you have a chance, go for it.
Like if they all they have to dio all they have to do is make it work for one year, and, by the way, that first year, it's usually pretty happy.
Go Lucky Chris, Paul and and James Harden.
Almost almost one in NBA Finals, and those are two guys that clearly did not get along.
You just have to make it work for one single year, and if if you can figure out a way, but that level of talent on the floor, it just it doesn't even need toe work.
Incredibly, it just has to work from 75 75% Success rate is like going to the finals and having a chance to win a title, and this is a guy that doesn't get hurt, which is by the way, very important.
That's, uh, that's the first thing triggered in my mind was like, If you're gonna make a move like that you're talking about Hey, guess what? At least we have a body that we can put out there every single night and can carry the offensive load for stretches of the season because coming back into this, you know, a T least even Kevin Durant 72 game season.
Guy ain't going out there for 72 games.
As fresh as he's going to be, he's not going out for 72.
Neither is Kyrie Irving.
So listen, there's ways to get there and by the way, on the other side of it, too, like I love Caris, Levert and I also look at him and say, like at some point, you gotta You gotta grab the value on this player because he's 26 27 he's never in my mind anyway.
Like he concert, she's.
There's still probably some room in his ceiling, but it's not Kyrie Harden K D level ceiling.
So, you know, make the move while you can.
Let me leave you with this.
I think I think if they bring in hard and it blows up spectacularly, they But I think they really could win a championship with one of these next two years.
And then it blows up spectacular by the way.
By the way, if you don't win a championship with Kyrie and K d and these Air two guys that are incredibly competitive do not like losing, I mean, go back to the January when when the Nets, I think they were on like however many game losing streak and Kyrie had those statements that, you know, say what you want about him.
I'm sure remember the list statements, the listing, the players.
Here's a guy Great.
Here's all the guys that I don't know.
Yeah, and like like I, I understand what he was trying to do.
I don't think he's great at explaining himself, especially when he's flustered.
And, um, you know, just telling the media that Hey, we need to make roster moves in in the light of the losses, not out looking down, he said, By the way, please, Exactly.
And he didn't play well in that game like he he had a terrible basketball.
Okay, so by the way, if you have those two guys and you fall short in two straight seasons.
I think no matter what you are headed for, maybe not a messy divorce, but a divorce.
You are going to be in a situation where you're gonna be at the bottom.
So if this blows up spectacularly, you then have three superstars that you could try to grab assets for.
That's where I'm at.
I do think the eventual ending for the Nets is not Kyrie and Katie, you know, retiring in Nets jerseys.
I've never thought that was gonna happen.
Well, that's interesting.
That's what I talked about with Doug.
Where because he and he was just surprised when I said I like I was like for on Dipper.
I think it is to be approached the one and done contracts for Korean K D.
And he was like, Oh, really? Why? Like, Why would you say that? Like, I don't know.
I just you know, if you win, if you went back to back once he's upcoming seasons, they could easily just say, Yeah, we're gonna move on and go back two spaces that we really like or where we're from, you know, our hometowns.
And now maybe that means Kyrie would possibly return then his career.
But Katie Katie moves on, but that's been my perception.
Um, it's it's interesting because I would, Boy, I I be of the mindset of saying like Even if it's gonna come to an end at some point, if the premise is, it's going to blow up spectacularly or it's just going to end.
I would go forward with with the Caris Levert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris complimentary roster for the length of Kyrie and Katie's contract as opposed Thio shedding everybody to bring in James Harden because I think it's relatively even in terms of how close you get.
You can make the case that you get to the finals and hard would be the thing that pushes you over the top to win the championship.
But I think that has constituted the Brooklyn Nets.
If you bring everybody back, I there in the conference finals this year, Health considered they're going to the conference finals with a chance to be in the NBA Finals.
Like name a team that you go a little boy, that's a really you know, like it could be a toss up.
It could go to Game seven Shore, but like talent alone on those guys if they're healthy.
The Nets were talking conference finals this season so they could be in an NBA Finals without James Harden.
So I don't know why you would.
You know why you just get rid of all these pieces? That to your point, if this is one and done contracts for these guys, then wouldn't it be nice if you still had ah, Caris Levert to feather the line over to the next chapter or even a Joe Harris? Like, I like Joe Harris being on this roster, you know, in perpetuity for his career.
So that you always have that.
You know, you always have the JJ Red**** of your roster to be there and just be a valuable asset to whoever you bring in, I don't know.
And that and that and that that speaks to the draft And who they what they look to do here and who they bring in because I think that there are also as un***y as this is talk about.
You wanna bring a bring a stream to official bringing in if it ends up being developmental players.
That's also something that I think the Nets have to be if they're smart organization.
We all agree they are.
They have to be thinking about How are we developing young talent? So that however this ends, whether it's just bringing in nice young guys to complement K, D and Kyrie other second contracts or they move on, how do we bring in and still have developed talent that can keep us competitive? So you know, it's striking that balance.
I know they need to go all in, but I just man e I know you're right like the trend is going in that direction.
That's what they've committed Thio.
And I just I'm so fearful because there's so many examples to point Thio we're doing this thing doesn't work and it ends up being like you said.
It's a real disaster on the back end of it.
I think they've done everything right to set up to be a successful as possible right now, and I'm of the mind of like hold pat, don't bring in James Harden, wait for the trade deadline, and it's and to see how you tweak this thing because by the way they see what it is.
First, you don't even know Katie and Kyrie and all these guys look like together.
They've never done it.
You have a 20 game sample size with Kyrie like Joe Harris could look even better when you have any carry on the floor.
Caris Levert could look better.
I actually think that it's not the greatest fit on this roster and what skill set is.
But maybe he showcases himself and you trade him, but yes, so that that za swimming pool in terms of where my mind goes about what the best strategy is for Brooklyn heading into this draft and this season.
But needless to say, I think James Harden is going somewhere.
I think Houston probably is in the boat of like, let's jettison this thing.
Let's say you should.
They really should it.
I don't wanna I don't drag this thing on, but there's there's a Milwaukee thing like I know that that team got thrown out there like, does that make sense for you? Or that you honest play together? That's a thief, E.
No, like, in fact, I got through that.
I was like, I don't even I don't even know if they like each other.
Yeah, I I mean, they they'd be interested.
They'd actually be really interesting together.
But I don't know if they'll get over that A little bit of a stretch there.
Listen, Ah, lot of things they're gonna happen.
I'm sure in the time that we've been doing this, there's been other comments of storylines that have come out around trades, probably the 12th.
Right now the moratorium lifts on the 16th.
The draft is on the 18th.
The trades can start on the 20th.
It's all in the mix there.
I probably misdirected some of those dates and times there, but all this stuff is gonna happen over the next week.
And from what we are gleaming, there are a lot of teams having a lot of legitimate conversations around shifting and moving pieces.
And then, at the very least, that gets me very excited to go into a season a month from now, where, like, teams just look different.
Where things that were CP three is on the Phoenix Suns.
And when you know when some of these other piece of move around, what are the Clippers looking to do? Are they gonna add stuff and rotate some of their supplemental stars.
What are the Lakers looking to do because they're still in the talks of bringing in a player as well? I just thought article about Drew holiday going to the Lakers potentially if the pelicans and then we're willing to work together.
And I couldn't even wrap my brain around that concept.
But it's all out there in the sea. Go ahead.
Let your mind wander.
We'll be back talking everything you had said prior.
Maybe it's a little bit of slight pause button in terms of additional content until everything settles here.
But anything that people should know about, that you'll be asleep trying toe work on over these crazy next seven days.
Yeah, No, I'm doing Ah, Draft stream today with a guy named, uh, hardwood Harold, who does a lot of really sweet YouTube stuff.
So, um, yeah, researching for that today just kind of finishing up draft research and then having a stream tonight should be fun.
We'll be going over his big board talking a little bit.
I mean, inevitably, it's gonna dive into what the next? The Nets.
They're gonna dio a little bit, but I want to kind of just hit the entirety of the lottery, so that will be happening.
7 30 Eastern standard time over on my channel.
The name is right.
All right, There we go. Nice.
Uh, be sure to check that out, because the extra content that that that you're doing has been amazing.
Thio looking on.
So go check that out.
Big shout out to our cu three again, man.
Very active in the conversation will send James Harden down there to Miami for you.
You're at those egos Because as you as you mentioned the egos of Kyrie Irving and James Harden E maybe Maybe I'm a chaos agent E think Matt Brooks just likes insanity is like a lot of fun.
I gotta stick. I got a bag of dynamite.
I got I got a handful of it Matches.
Could be a lot of fun.
Maybe we'll see what happens.
Check out what that's up to.
Hashtag s CNN ba for all your content.
A lot of great guys doing great work.
We took this thing long and