This is The Rich Eisen Show. So far, so good. With guest host Dan Helle. I like it.
Live from The Rich Eisen Show studio in Los Angeles. Did you get a jersey yet? I don't wear jerseys. Yeah, I've been for the kids. I don't get rich kids. They don't.
You're kids. They're not putting on a jet jersey. Earlier on the show, founder and CEO of On3Sports, Shannon Terry. Coming up, host of the Business of Sports podcast, Andrew Brant.
Washington Post NBA writer, Ben Golliver. And now, sitting in for Rich, it's Dan Helle. Welcome back to The Rich Eisen Show. Dan Helle in the house.
Very excited about our next guest. I do listen to his podcast. He is Andrew Brant. You probably recognize him from his days in the front office with the Green Bay Packers. Also a former NFL agent. Now a writer, podcast host, the executive director of the Morad Center for the Study of Sports Law at Villanova University. I've never felt more inferior as a human being than right now talking to you, Andrew Brant.
I mean, do you have a free moment in your life? Andrew, are you there? Uh-oh. Uh-oh, I think we lost him. He's up. No, he's up. Let's see. You hear me, Dan? I got you. There you are.
He's up. No, great to be with you. And I always say that I have a lot of jobs, so I don't have to have a real one.
That's always the plan, right? So, I was with the Packers, you mentioned 10 years, and those were long days. But I feel like I get to do more now and have a little more autonomy and see my kids and do my fitness and have all these things.
But it's really the same thing. I'm trying to get on complex issues in legal and business areas of sports, whether it's through podcasts, through writing, through TV, radio, podcasting, and of course, teaching my students. So, I think it's something, you know, my third chapter, my career, I was an agent for many years, then I was a team executive. And now just trying to give back, I can't cure cancer or anything, but I can give back knowledge and perspective that few people have. Well, and you have so much of it. Undergrad at Stanford, grad school at Georgetown, and upon doing some research, I realized that you worked with a friend of mine, David Falk, in the early days. That must have been a wild ride, huh?
Pro server there? Yeah, I worked with David in the beginning of my career, and you know, what's interesting is that I tell a lot of young people, you got to find your path, because I was an agent, an apprentice thing for David Falk, who was at the time, maybe even still, one of the great basketball agents, and had Michael Jordan and had all these great NBA players, but I saw that we had a few football players that weren't getting a lot of attention because he had Michael and all these other guys. So, I became, at that moment, a football agent, and I started finding my path representing NFL players, and that led to switching sides a couple times into management, but I tell young people all the time, you know, you may get into a job, but then you see in the corner of your eye the real path for you.
I was not going to be making my mark in basketball, because we had so many people there, but I saw football, and that's sort of how I transitioned. Well, let's talk about this agent thing for a minute, because Lamar Jackson almost taken kind of a victory lap, got a great deal with the Ravens once it was all said and done, five years, 260 million, 185 guaranteed, but it's not the fully guaranteed contract that he was searching for, and there's been a lot of debate around the fact that he didn't have an agent negotiating on his behalf. There were, according to various reports, different people who were helping him, including the Players Association. What was your take, now that it's all, or what is your take, now that it's all said and done, of Lamar's situation and how it ended up playing out? Yeah, first of all, one of those reports was that I was helping him and I was not. I wasn't one of those people.
If he had called, sure, I would have helped, but I did not. So I think this is one where it was a two-year saga that was complicated by the Deshaun Watson deal. I probably think that Deshaun, Lamar Jackson went into this before March a year ago, saying, I'm just going to try to get the most money I can, and basically come out with the best average and the best deal I can get. March 2021 brought the Deshaun Watson deal, the first fully secured deal in the history of the sport, more like an NBA and Major League Baseball deal, and Lamar, to his credit, pushed on that.
He really pressed the envelope on that. Now, Russell Wilson got a deal in the interim, Tyler Murray got a deal in the interim, Jalen Hurts got a deal in the interim, and they were all traditional structures. You know, two years, maybe third year, with some security, and then it's all on the come. No one is able to follow the Watson precedent, and neither was Lamar. At the end of the day, he took the best deal out there, and it was really a trade-off. He got the win, as you suggested, on the average, an average of 52 a year, the best average ever, and a better deal than Hurts, because it's a five-year deal. Hurts is five-year plus the existing six-year deal. But at the end of the day, it's not the Watson guarantee, and I think, Dan, we're kind of left where we're going to look back in ten years and say, hey, remember that Watson deal?
Because I don't think we have any precedential value of it anymore, and that's a little bit sad for the players, but the owners have fought this very hard, whether collusion or not collusion. So Lamar ends up with a great deal if, if he continues to play where he is, they have the leverage in years four and five if they want to move on, if they want to lower it, if they want to use their power of a non-guaranteed year. Well, it is interesting, because I hearken back to a conversation I had with Kirk Cousins. Right after he left Washington, signed with Minnesota, got the fully guaranteed, I believe it was a three-year deal. It was the first fully guaranteed multi-year deal for a quarterback in NFL history. And I knew him a little bit from our Washington days, and I said, dude, you just changed the game.
This is unbelievable. He goes, but I didn't. He goes, I didn't. Aaron Rodgers signed a contract. Matt Ryan have signed a contract.
Neither one is fully guaranteed. To me, that was the window, especially when you had guys like Rodgers and Ryan in their prime who had all the leverage in the world. And obviously the Deshaun Watson contracts an outlier, but if we didn't get to it after the Kirk Cousins deal, Cousins is getting a three-year fully guaranteed, good NFL quarterback, not great NFL quarterback. Do you think we'll ever be to that point? Here is the lesson, and here's the difference between Cousins and all those other guys, and sadly between Deshaun Watson and these other guys.
I'll explain that in a minute. Free agency. Free agency is the best determinator of value for athletes in any sport.
It's not even close. If you can get to free agency, you've got the cards. Aaron Rodgers did a deal two years before free agency. Matt Ryan, two years before free agency. Lamar Jackson got close, but they got the tag.
The tag is the determinator there. Jalen Hurts, a year from free agency plus a tag. Russell Wilson, two years from free agency. Kyler Murray, two years from free agency. Kirk Cousins had it, and by his own bad behavior, which just hurts me to even say it, through his own bad behavior, Deshaun Watson created free agency. The Texans didn't want him, and they had an auction.
So I think this is the problem here. NFL players, unlike NBA and Major League Baseball, maybe it's the teams. They just don't get there. Part of it is the franchise tag, but part of it is NFL players taking deals early, like Jalen Hurts just did. He could have rolled the dice. Is Joe Burrow going to take a deal, or is he going to roll the dice? Justin Herbert, are they going to roll the dice? But NFL teams are smart.
I was there. You throw a bunch of money at a young player, especially on a rookie contract, they're not going to wait for free agency. And it is because that you want the injury guarantee. You want that guaranteed bag, even if it's going to be a little smaller, just in case you tear an ACL, or you have a Bo Jackson-type hip injury.
So that's what makes it different. Yeah, I would push back there, especially on quarterback, though, because to me the Dak Press got a deal, but disproved all that. That's a good point. In a contract here, he broke his foot and got what I think is one of the best quarterback deals ever, especially at a four-year deal worth 40 a year. So teams will do that.
I did that. You better sign, you can get injured, but players need to be a little stronger. Quarterbacks are different, although we pay a lot more attention now to the head injuries, right? Yeah. We see that Tua was actually contemplating retirement before he signs a second deal.
He's obviously not going to now. Again, I alluded to the fact that I'm a Washington, D.C. guy. I was raised there in the Maryland suburbs. Me too. Oh, you were.
I did not know that. Washington, D.C., born and raised, Washington, D.C., Chevy Chase, Maryland. God bless you. I was in Bethesda, grew up as an adult, grew up in Gaithersburg, and grew up going to RFK Stadium with my grandfather, and I'm lucky enough to come back and work at the NBC affiliate there, and cover the then Washington Redskins, and did the Coaches Show and a few other things, and got to know inside a little bit, and as I'm sure a lot of people in the area are, very anxious for the sale to finally go through.
Can you shed any light on when this Josh Harris deal, assuming that is the one that actually ends up closing, is going to happen there in the DMV? Yeah. I mean, you and I share a lot with that. I grew up going to those RFK games with my dad.
It was one of the great childhood memories and a team that always had success. And yes, as everyone knows, the ownership has turned a lot of people off, I hear from family and friends, but it is happening, which I said a year ago, I'll believe it when I see it, and now I'm believing it. It is happening.
And yes, it looks like Josh Harris, the owner of the Sixers, the Devils, and soon to be the Commanders. I think the timeline is soon. The main meeting is the big deal for NFL in terms of financial issues. Everyone focuses on the March meeting because everyone's there.
The coaches are there. But the May meeting, which I think is the 23rd or 4th, is the one where these issues really come out financially and ownership and approvals of minority owners and things like that. So I would target that date. And there's a finance meeting, which is the group of NFL owners that really dig into the numbers in early May, like I think in next week. So I would say end of May, now I hear reports that the Canadian investor's still in it or someone else is coming in it. I'm pretty sure it's going to be this group, Josh Harris, Mitchell Rails, another DC guy, and of course, of course, Magic Johnson. So I can't believe I'm saying it. It's going to happen in late May, I believe.
It seemed like an impossibility for a good portion of the last decade that the Dan Snyder reign will finally come to an end in the DMV, the District of Maryland, and Virginia, all those Washington football team, Washington Commanders, formerly Washington Redskins fans. Mr. Brandt, thank you very much. It was fun to catch up.
I really appreciate the time. I'm a big fan of all the work that you do. Anybody who's listening to the show today can tell I'm a big fan of the business side of sports.
You've been talking NIL and all things business in the NFL with you. So it's been a lot of fun. Thanks for joining us. Thanks, Dan. And I know people are asking, I have a newsletter, so you can go to andrew-brandt.com and sign up for that. And then I do the reels on Instagram at Andrew Brandt too.
So just adding to the group of things I got going. And of course, the Business of Sports podcast with Andrew Brandt as well on all podcast platforms. Andrew, thank you.
Thanks, Dan. Love talking to Business of Sports and Contracts and Lamar. And the one thing I didn't get into with him was the fact that a lot of people, when you talk about this Lamar Jackson contract, it's a great contract.
It's a great deal. I mean, on an annual basis, he's the highest paid player in the NFL. But other guys from that draft class that already signed their second deals. And he didn't, I don't know that you can ever really get that money back.
So it's kind of the rub, right? Like you signed sooner rather than later. Of course, he wouldn't have been the highest paid guy now if he had signed it then. You know, Patrick Mahomes is a perfect example. He signs that massive deal, which looked great because it was over, what, $500 million over 10, 12 years. It was like 10 for 450 or something like that. Yeah, it was an outrageous amount of money. But now Patrick Mahomes.
Yeah. I mean, and I believe Clark Hunt came out and said it. Listen, he's always going to be underpaid. When you're the best guy, you're never going to probably make exactly what you're worth. What are they going to renegotiate this contract every single year?
But I'm trying to look this up right now. Patrick Mahomes. I think people knew, Dan, when he signed that. We knew going ahead, like, he's going to be underpaid. Great deal for the Chiefs. He could have taken five for 250 and then re-upped again and then re-upped again. That's why Andrew said it about Dak's deal. Great deal. He wanted the shorter years because he knew that he was going to be able to reload once the new TV contracts go in and once these guys from that 2020 draft class start getting paid, like Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are going to get paid soon.
And they're going to get more than the Lamar deal. And that's, as Rich said- That's how it goes. That's just the way it goes. I don't love it. I don't agree with him. You hate it.
What do you hate about it? Oh, he hates it, Dan. I would like to see some guys win some games first before we start paying them. Because Dan, Rich's thing is, like Chris said, the next man up, especially when it comes to quarterbacks. That's just how it works. The next guy up. Always. It's like houses.
And I agree. Like Daniel- Why should Daniel Jones get $40 million a year for one good playoff game? Just because he was the next guy up? That doesn't really make a lot of sense. I mean, it's just like real estate, right? If your house, it's the exact same house, sells six months after your house in a good market, it's going to go for more. But these houses aren't exactly the same. The one house doesn't have a pool. This house has a pool, has all the amenities, has a third floor, has a view.
This house is a ranch level with no pool, no gate. This house can't beat the Eagles. So why are we giving them $40 million? Okay. I get the Daniel Jones thing. I also get that maybe with Kyler Murray, sometimes, but it's your best option, right?
It's like if you fire a coach, that's cool. Who are you going to get this better? If you don't re-up Daniel Jones, who are you going to get this better?
Where are you going? Somebody else. Right? Like Kyler Murray. By the way, somebody else can win me eight games and underwhelm- Throw 14 touchdown passes? Yeah, in big moments.
You made progress, right? Yeah, but that's a lot of money to make for just making progress. Like Justin Herbert is going to sign a huge deal, right? And I like Justin Herbert too, but what's his career record? Should he be getting paid as much as Lamar Jackson? I will say that Joe Burrow deserves to be paid the most, really. He's actually been within an Aaron Donald play blow up of winning the Super Bowl.
Of winning the Super Bowl. Sure. Sure. But are you saying that Justin Herbert, because of injuries and all the circumstances surrounding the Chargers, doesn't deserve a top two contract? Is he not a top two, top three, top four talent in the NFL? No. You don't think so?
Interesting. I think that one of the most overrated and bloated statistics in sports is attaching wins and losses to quarterbacks. I know that's how we define greatness at the position. But I think early in careers, a guy like Justin Herbert, like Patrick Mahomes, for instance, is great and would have been great wherever he had gone.
But if Patrick Mahomes ended up in Houston, would he have two Super Bowl wins under his belt right now? No. No.
That's why situations, scheme, all that stuff matters. Right. No, totally. That's why I think- Do you think if Deshaun Watson had gone to the Chiefs, that they'd have two Super Bowls?
For sure. Yeah. I think take away all the stuff that goes on with Deshaun Watson, that man was a great football player. And then we're talking about Patrick Mahomes being on a second team, right?
Yeah. That's a great point because there's so many ifs, ands, or buts, I think at times, at times, not all the time, at times with young quarterbacks, five years or less in the league, not necessarily fair to attach the win loss total to them as we tend to do so often. But if he went to the Jets, he might be out of the league. Or maybe with this defense that they had this past year, he would have- But he wouldn't have got the chance because Josh Allen's in year four, right? And he would have been flamed out. Yeah, that's true.
That's true. I mean, there are the ifs- It's just all circumstance. What do they say? Ifs, ands, and buts, candies, and nuts?
Candies and nuts. We'd all have a Merry Christmas. There we go. Merry Christmas to you here in May from Los Angeles. Going to take a quick break.
We're back after this. The Rich Eisen Show Radio Network. Dan Helle here, sitting at the Rich Eisen Show desk furnished by Grainger with supplies and solutions for every industry. Grainger has the right product for you.
Call clickgrainger.com or just stop by. Just perusing my favorite newspaper website, The Washington Post, the greatest newspaper in America. And lucky enough to have one of the columnists, one of the writers, lead NBA writer for The Washington Post, Ben Golliver joining us now. Ben, how you doing, man? I'm doing great here in San Francisco. Get ready for Warriors Lakers tonight. Steph first is LeBron. Doesn't get much better than that in the NBA.
Oh, it is so good. So you're in San Francisco. You live in LA. You write for The Washington Post.
Do I got that right? You got it right on the LA Bureau, and I appreciate everything you said about the paper. Oh, well, it's great. I grew up reading it back in the day with Wilbon and Kornheiser before they were famous TV guys, and they actually wrote great columns. And obviously Jason Reed and Mike Wise and all these guys that have been there, and you're certainly following in their footsteps. And this is fun. I was just looking at your most recently penned column little excerpt from your NBA post up weekly newsletter, and it reminded me from 15 to 18, LeBron's Cavaliers faced off with the Warriors every single year, and it was a must watch can't miss TV.
I don't know if it's going to be as wild and hairy as it was back in the day, but I'm sure hoping so, man. Do you think we can have a series here that goes seven games or the Warriors just obviously going in as the favorites that much stronger than the Lakers here? Well, I think this is going to be a really interesting series.
It's a tricky one to handicap. I do think there's a chance it goes the distance. I think everybody on both sides, though, is a little bit older and wiser. You know, you didn't see a lot of bulletin board material coming out either way after these teams clinched.
I think there's a lot of healthy mutual respect between them. And like you said, this is LeBron versus Steph Park five, and we haven't seen it in five years. And you think about all the things that things that have happened in those five years. I mean, the Lakers missed the playoffs and they won the title.
The Warriors missed the playoffs, then they won the title. And yet these teams keep having missed connections. So it kind of feels like, well, maybe this will be the last time we get to see it, right? I mean, LeBron 38, Steph is 35, still playing at a very, very high level.
But, you know, the breaks just haven't fallen the right way until this year. And I think it's going to be a fantastic series. The fact that it's in the second round, maybe that takes a little bit of the luster off. It's not a finals matchup, but you go back to the 2016 and 2017 finals. Those series averaged more than 20 million people watching throughout the series. That's the highest number the NBA had since the post-Jordan era. So I expect there to be a lot of eyeballs on this series that the NBA's two biggest stars go head to head. Little bit different, I guess, all the games being on the West Coast.
This game's going to tip off, I believe, at 10 Eastern time tonight. So he's good for it. You know, it's going to be worth it. I agree. I mean, you have Steph coming off that that epic 50 point game in game seven against Sacramento. LeBron was fantastic.
And we had the debate here in studio. Some of us believe that LeBron has to go for for 30 a night. I'm of the belief that you need a triple double type performance like classic LeBron performances to to lead this team. But they need Anthony Davis to get big. I mean, they need those 30 point games from Anthony Davis or they're not going to have a shot in this series.
Would you agree? Well, I think what you saw in the first round from the Lakers was LeBron pacing himself, you know, both within games, but across the series. Like, look at that game five in Memphis. You know, he played a good number of minutes, but it didn't feel like he was going all out, right?
He's 38. He understands his limitations. His outside shots been a little bit shaky. Sometimes that's a sign of fatigue throughout the playoffs.
And so what he's trying to do is pick and choose his spots for maximum impact. And I think you saw that in game four, the overtime victory when he's going to the basket hard a couple of times and bringing that victory home and then also in the closeout game to the Lakers really stepped up against the Grizzlies. And so I think if you're the Lakers, what you want to try to do here is slow the the warriors down. You know, the warriors were playing this breakneck style against the Sacramento Kings in the first round. And I think you're trying to conserve LeBron's energy, maximize his impact by just, you know, bringing this pace down just a little bit.
And then of course you want to win the battle inside, like you're describing. Anthony Davis was a defensive monster against the Memphis Grizzlies the whole way through. I mean, you know, 20 plus blocks in that series. And that's going to be a huge adjustment for Golden State because they were playing a Sacramento team that really didn't have any interior defense. You saw how easy it was for Golden State to just cut up that Sacramento team in game seven. They're getting all these layups go to the basket.
Steph Curry's, you know, doing the Ringling Brothers dribbling acts through all their defense, right? They're getting stuff really easy against Sacramento. It's not going to be so easy inside against the length and athleticism of Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Jared Vanderbilt.
It's a long athletic front line. And I think Golden State's offense is really going to have to adjust by taking more threes and making more threes. I think both Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson have to kind of step up to offset what L.A. has got going on inside. What's another X factor for Golden State? I look at these rebounding numbers for Kavon Looney.
I mean, it's insane. He's averaging 15 rebounds per game in the postseason. He had three games with 20 or more rebounds against the Kings. Obviously, we know what Jordan Poole has the potential to be, but he's so wildly and it's maddening to watch him play how inconsistent he can be at times. But you have Steph, you have Klay, you have Draymond.
Who's that fourth wheel? Who's that X factor for Golden State? Well, you mentioned Kavon Looney. I usually call him the fifth Beatle because he's doing all the dirty work, the rebounding, the defense, and he's not going to get the attention of Golden State's kind of premier star level guys, right? You look at the other players when it's Draymond, Steph, Klay, all future Hall of Famers, Andrew Wiggins, a former number one pick, and then you've got Looney. But if you go back to that Sacramento series, he was their second best player across that series.
Crazy at that sounds. Obviously, Steph with the MVP, right? But Looney was so consistent and dominant inside, and his size and force is going to be really important to help neutralize Anthony Davis. If you're the Warriors, your game plan is let's kind of dare LeBron to shoot from outside because he hasn't been shooting the ball that well.
Let's kind of make him prove it. You know, the San Antonio Spurs used to do that, you know, 10 years ago. Say, hey, LeBron, see if you can make jumpers against us. I think Golden State's going to take a similar tactic there. But you also want to push Anthony Davis as far away from the hoop as possible. You want to turn him into a jump shooter. You want to get him, you know, doing fadeaways and staying off of the glass himself. And I think that, you know, Looney and Draymond Green, that's going to be, uh, you know, the match that they're trying to use against Anthony Davis to, uh, own the paint inside.
But, uh, you know, it's, it's easier said than done. Anthony Davis at his best moment during this postseason was the alpha dog for the Lakers. And we've been waiting years and years to be able to say that, right? I mean, it's always been LeBron's team the whole way. And against the Grizzlies, we saw LeBron take a step back and Anthony Davis really assert himself. And, uh, it was actually more of a collective effort for the Lakers with Austin Reed and DeAngelo Russell, these other guys stepping up. Uh, but I do think if the Lakers are going to win this series, Anthony Davis is going to have to be the best player on the court four times. I couldn't agree more with that.
And you, you know, it's funny, you talk about, uh, the fifth Beatle. We're just looking for a third score for the Lakers, right? Whether it's Russell or Reeves or Rui, it's living here in Los Angeles and seeing what the Lakers have done. I don't care what happens in this series, where they were two, three months ago to where they are now is a modern day miracle. Was it just, was it just health or was it one of these, these late season moves that, that put them, got them to the, where they are right now? Well, I always joke watching this team that sometimes it's hard to really give them their credit and their due because in the back of my mind, I'm still kind of traumatized by the last two years of basketball they played, you know, the Russell Westbrook experience was just awful in Los Angeles for the Lakers. That is, he had more success with the Clippers and you can parse out the blame however you want, whether it was the Lakers trading for Westbrook, whether it's Westbrook's play himself, whether it was sort of a poor fit between Westbrook and LeBron, but ultimately it didn't matter. It was really ugly, ineffective basketball and making that trade at the deadline. It improved their depth, it improved their bench, it improved their defense and it just made for a more natural pecking order on offense because now you have room for a guy like Austin Reeves to really step up and be an impact here. He's been sensational, really all season long. He's going to get a gigantic bag this summer, by the way. He's getting paid, there's no doubt about it, but he's been great and reliable in the postseason, especially for a young guy without a ton of experience.
You watch him play, you would never know that he, this is sort of his first real, his first real taste of it. So the Lakers are just much more balanced than they were previously. The personalities are on track.
They seem a lot happier and looser, don't they? And then they responded to the moment against the Grizzlies brilliantly. When they needed to crank up to sixth gear and do it, they did it. And that was a big problem for the Lakers over these last two years. It seemed like every time they got into a crunch time situation, some sort of a disaster would happen. So they've really remade their team and I think for Golden State, it's a good challenge for them to kind of have to wrap their minds around, right?
Because you play them earlier in the season, but this is not the same group and you're really going to have to adjust and do your film study and get ready during a quick turnaround from that game seven on Sunday to kind of wrap your mind around what the Lakers look like right now. You talk about the Austin Reeves contract getting a big bag. You know, it probably won't be the size of Jordan Poole's bag that he got, but the rise from, I don't want to say from nothing, but kind of the sudden rise was very similar. What are we looking at? We looking at 60, 70, $80 million here for Austin Reeves, most likely?
Yeah, I think that higher number sounds about right. I mean, look, if you're the Lakers, you want to make him a huge priority. If I told you, you've got to choose one, DeAngelo Russell or Austin Reeves, I think probably at the time of the trade, people would have said, well, maybe you need Russell at that point guard.
I would take Reeves, you know, even if it gets really expensive. I just think he's a great fit with LeBron, incredible character kid, you know, just every single night he brings great efforts, super, super high IQ, um, you know, two way player, you know, very effective defensively. So good at drawing fouls. Um, and to me he needs to be the Lakers number one, the off season priority.
But you mentioned Jordan Poole and uh, I mean you could put him in that x factor category. I think it's an open question for golden state. How many minutes can he handle at this point?
Right? Because it's been so many wild layups, missed jumpers, obviously some turnover issues. He was falling out of bounds during game six and uh, you know, he's struggling on defense.
I mean, that's sort of, you know, his reputation is not, not being the world's greatest defender either. He's going to have to kind of turn things around and pick his game up in this series because they are going to need some bench scoring. The Lakers have some depth now, you know, they, they've rebalanced their roster and golden state is going to need to get a little bit more bench production than it did in round one. Denver looking pretty good up to, oh, um, you know, it was funny. We were talking about Jokic and how good and how unstoppable he is despite the fact he looks like, you know, a rec league player at the, at the Y or at bay club out there at times. But, uh, either one of these teams is going to have to most likely be playing Denver, uh, in the Western conference finals.
Do you still handicap this force here? Are we still thinking Denver is, is the best team? Well, you know, Denver didn't come into the playoffs with a lot of buzz. I think there was more attention around other teams, but everyone's really coming around to how good they are when they watch those first two games against Phoenix.
Right? Because what was so impressive, they won the two games in two totally different passions, right? Game one, all the three pointers are going, they're playing super fast. They just blitz Phoenix off the court. Game two is super ugly, low scoring. Nobody can hit a shot, but then Jokic just takes over.
And like you're saying, the greatest rec league player of all time, just absolutely a pounding Deandre eight inside with all these shots that are just basically unstoppable and so unconventional that it's really hard for defenses to adjust. That's the mark of a title contender. If you can win fast, you can win slow. You can win on good days and bad days.
Um, you know, that means you're somebody that has to be taken seriously. They are setting up for a couple of huge advantages. First of all, if they can take care of Phoenix quickly, let's say they win that series in five games, right? Um, if Golden State and the Lakers go to seven, that's going to be a massive rest advantage for Denver going into that Western conference finals.
Right? And second, they're going to be at home at altitude where they've been excellent all year. I mean, they're a much more, uh, imposing team at home. They're in Denver with the mile high, uh, atmosphere in the crowd, uh, than they are on the road. And so I think you add those two things together and they might very well be favored even if you know, the, the bigger star like Steph or LeBron would be coming from the other side of the bracket.
So we're looking ahead a little bit here, but I do think that the key point is Denver has put themselves on the map here over the last week and they deserve to be there. Yeah. What a, what a roster put together by a former president and general manager, Tim Conley, who's moved on to the Minnesota Timberwolves. All right.
Getaway question here for Ben Golliver. Should we be worried about the Boston Celtics? They didn't look great in that first round series against the Hawks. They obviously did win the series and then they lose, uh, to James Harden and the Joel and B the less, uh, Sixers last night. What's your worry level for the Boston Celtics right now?
Well, I think they should be moderately worried, but it's so funny. I know you said you're in LA. I mean, there's a lot of people who hate the Celtics in LA, right? It feels like Celtics fans hate the Celtics more than anybody from the outside ever could because they've just been driven crazy by this team. As good as they are, they squander these leads late in games. They really rely too much on the three point shot. That wasn't their problem in game one, but it's been an issue over the course of the season.
And I think there's a lot of skepticism around first year coach Joe Missoula in terms of is he really ready for the moment? You know, last night he just lets James Harden isolate against Al Horford one on one and knock home a game winning three pointer decides not to double. Even though PJ Tucker's on the court, he didn't take a shot all night. Like what are you doing?
This is pretty basic stuff. And the Celtics overlooked it in that crucial moment. It really cost them the game. So I think that there's, um, there's reasons for nerves here, but look, Philly's still short handed.
No Joe LMB. James Harden's not going to score 45 points every single game in this series. In fact, that was his best performance from a scoring standpoint since he even got traded to Philly.
And then you have no clue what and beat is going to look like if he does try to return, like if you're going to be moving well or not. And I think it just everything really favors Boston, but they've got to get their shooters going. They have to continue to tap the paint against Philly's defense without Joel Embiid.
And if they do that, they're going to be in good shape here, but they have a real knack for making life more difficult than it needs to be. We saw that in the first round against Atlanta. We saw that in last year's finals, right? Where they're just kicking away the games that late in those games against Golden State.
And, uh, you know, it's a characteristic that scares you if you're a fan, you know, it makes you nervous, but I think ultimately they've got enough talent to win this series. All right. He has been Golliver from the Washington Post going to be there with the Lakers and the Warriors tonight. Ben, thanks for joining us.
Oh, it's my pleasure, man. Take care. I'm a little jealous that I can't be there for that game. We should do a group, uh, we should do a group outing, uh, make rich pay and take us all to a Warriors Lakers game here in town. I think that's a good idea. Let's get a suite.
You know what I mean? I think we should get a suite. Hold on. You think Roku will sponsor it?
Let me call Roku, Charlie and Roku, Joe Manson. Maybe they could hook us up. They're busy right now. They are busy right now. They're busy. Is there not better advertising than, than throwing, uh, eyes in and his angels in a suite for the Lakers game and having a big Roku sign up in the back. I want to shoot the t-shirt cannon.
That's all I want. Why is everybody so fascinated with the t-shirt? It's amazing. Yeah. The shirt, the condor, the worst t-shirts in the world. General.
It doesn't matter. Dan, there's 18,000 people and there's only like 20 t-shirts. It's like the rare card, which they apparently they didn't produce any when I was a child.
No rare cards tops. What's wrong with you? Anyway, I'm not going to get into this conversation again because we have to take a commercial break. Dan Helle filling in for Rich Eisen. We're back after this. Welcome back to the Rich Eisen show. Dan Helle here with the gang filling in. Had a great group of guests on the show today.
I mean, there are a number of things that I learned. Um, Austin Reeves, according to Ben Goliver, national NBA writer for the Washington post could be, uh, or should be getting a deal upwards of $80 million for Austin Reeves. Andrew Brant, uh, in studio talking a little sports business and contracts with us today, basically telling us that, uh, the reason that, uh, NFL players don't have fully guaranteed contracts is because for the most part, the quarterbacks never actually reach free agency because they get locked up ahead of time, which we've seen and we've known. But you know, dating back to that Kirk Cousins guaranteed deal a few years ago, we thought that might change. Shannon Terry founder of On3Sports, a great college recruiting website, uh, with an NIL top 100 list that sticks a valuation onto current college players and recruits coming out of high school now values, Bronny James at $5.9 million annually.
That would be his, uh, name image likeness value. Still waiting to hear where Bronny James is going to college, by the way, Ohio state and SC according to On3.com USC now an 85% chance that he ends up there. So they're the favorite over Ohio state, which of course LeBron, a huge fan from Akron, huge fan of Ohio state.
And I thought he was going to end up there and we were having this discussion off air a few moments ago. If you're Bronny James, if you're LeBron and your son has the opportunity to stay in LA, build his brand, play for a good basketball program at USC, to keep them home. Do you have them do that where you can make commercials and do all kinds of stuff?
Or do you have them go live at least for one year, maybe two. Bronny's a very good player, but he's not a lock to be a lottery pick, uh, in the next year, maybe even two years. So maybe spends two years at college to have them go to Columbus and play for the Buckeyes and enjoy that real college experience because you don't get that in Los Angeles. It's different. Whether you're at UCLA and Westwood or downtown LA going to SC, it's a very different college experience than it is at a place like Columbus or a Knoxville or a Starkville or a Gainesville or any Ville, right?
LA is not a Ville. It's just different. I remember having this conversation with Willie McGinnis a number of years ago. I said, do you ever wish, you know, you would have gone to, you know, a Florida or a Georgia or an Ohio state, you know, a real kind of college town.
He's like, are you crazy? We were there were at that time there was no NFL. So they were the NFL team and you know, he had the Magic Johnson type treatment, you know, it was almost like a pro athlete back in the day. Yeah. Like Matt Winer, you know, they were rockstars in town, him and Reggie Bush.
It's like, you know, stoop dog shows up at practice. You know, that doesn't happen at Columbus, Ohio. Yeah. A little different, a little different, different. I think if I'm Bronny, I stay here. I stay in town. Really?
Yeah, man. He's going to be a one and done anyway. You know, he could go, I don't know that he's a lock to be one and done. Yeah, but he can go to one of the ignite teams after or played Australia or something, you know, and then come back to the NBA. So I don't think, uh, I know, but if you're, if you're, I wouldn't go away from home if it's, you know, if LeBron's still playing on the Lakers, what do you want to go out of town for?
I don't know. Just to kind of do your own thing, have your own experience, you know, have a year or two at Ohio state. I don't see him going to play. If I'm, if I'm Bronny, I'm playing in college as long as I need to, to be a lottery pick, I'm not going to play in, you know, the D league or G league or go play in Australia.
Why would you do it? Cause he doesn't need the money. You can make more money playing in college on his NHL deal. True. Yeah, but Brian is a lottery pick no matter what, because if you get Bronny, you get LeBron. So you're really getting two guys for one. So you think it's a hundred percent one and done?
Well, cause that's been their plan all along. I think a hundred percent. I don't even know if you're him, why go to college at all? Just go to a, go to ignite, play in one of the... Do you remember college? I do. It was a long time ago.
I wasn't a superstar athlete. Yeah. So that's why you should want to go to college. That's what I mean. You should want to go to college. You go to college to make money.
You go to college for having that experience. He already got the money. Like you just said. He's one of the most famous high school player anyway.
Right. You don't think he's experiencing some things? No, I think he's having fun, but he's still living at home.
I would just want to go recreate what you have in high school and do that in college and just kind of just, I mean, it's, it's the best four years of your life. You also got to think about this, like, like you said, Chris, if you get Bron, you get LeBron, but does Bronny think that like, and I don't know this because I haven't watched enough of the kid play, but is he good enough to have a long NBA career if his dad's not there? Like people are all under the assumption, as was I, that LeBron will hang out long enough to be able to play with his son. So someone will draft this son with the hopes that he get his dad. But like say you get one, two years out of his dad, is Bronny Vince good enough because you can't really get better at that point.
You're not going to get the coaching. Coaches already want a player who's already complete. So is he going to be good enough to hold on for a decade in the NBA?
That's a great question. And that we don't know, but what I think we do know is he could be a really good college player and establish his own legacy and his own identity and do it on his own. If I'm him, I'm going to do it on my own. I'm going to go be Bronny James in Columbus, Ohio State basketball player. I don't know if you can ever be Bronny James, not LeBron's son.
He's obviously going to be LeBron's son. Right. But it's, to me, it's easier to be your own dude. If, if you just, you leave the nest for a minute. And for me, that's what I would want to do.
Maybe not. Why would you want to leave this great life and great weather here in Los Angeles and play at SC, which is a good basketball program. Surprised we haven't seen UCLA on that. Also like that's the other thing you said, UCLA is not your typical campus, but I get SC because you're really in downtown. You don't have a campus, but UCLA Westwood has everything you'd want.
You're right by the beach. You want to go scan your, you know, that campus is it's beautiful. It's big. So, you know, that's just something to think about. I don't know that I would necessarily leave, but again, we don't know this kid.
I don't know what he's built like or what he thinks. Like maybe he does want to get away from home. Maybe that, because that shadow is looming, right? That's it. You can't get out from under that shadow no matter what, but maybe you're right.
Maybe he does want to kind of establish his own self a little bit. Well, it is interesting. It's taken this long. I mean, how many prospects of that ilk are not committed to a school right now? I mean, basketball season's over. It's been over for a while. Signing day's coming past. Well, he's going in, isn't he going into his senior season? No, he's senior. He's done. Right? He played the McDonald's All-American game. Like he's done all that stuff. Like to not have committed anywhere.
So maybe, maybe Brockman, you're right. Maybe he doesn't do the college thing at all. And he just does the pro thing and he stays here.
Go play for a year, Australia overseas somewhere, come back, get drafted, and then... Take the ball. Rock and roll. I don't know. Let's get the phones real quick. Let's go to Sully. Why don't you, Mike?
Oh yeah, phones. I keep forgetting about the whole Sully. Sully, what's up, brother? Sully, you keep forgetting about me, but Brockman and TJ for sure never forget about me.
So I'll give you a pass on this one. Wow. How we doing, boys? Hey! Sully! What's up, man? Well, Tupo, J. Felly.
Buddy, what an honor to turn on the screen, Ellie, and see one of my favorite people sitting in the chair running the show today. Sully's a good man. You know, it's Sully from L.A., but it's really Sully from Vegas in L.A., you know what I mean?
Multiple houses. Hey, where are you right now? What are you doing right now?
Where in the world? Sully. I'm in Las Vegas, me and my close dear friend Mako are going to go have some lunch with some fellas.
You'll have chicken palm? Figure out where we're going, and then we're going to Montreal later on tonight, so that's my itinerary in case you were wondering. There it is. Little hockey trip. No, there's no hockey going on in Montreal.
Yeah, there. Hockey season's over, Sully. But anyways, I don't want to talk. It's too soon to talk.
For me, it's too soon to talk. Okay, buddy. Sully, you brought up some stuff that your career could have gone in a completely different direction. Really? You almost ruined the money maker in college by trying to do some, like, fight night. Oh, I did. You're too handsome to be in fights. Sully, and we're going to end the show on that.
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