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Call a Dell Technologies Advisor at 877-ASK-DEL. That's 877-ASK-DEL offered to business customers by Web Bank who determines qualifications for and terms of credit. This is the Rich Eisen Show. Please welcome Rich Eisen. What a story. Can't believe it.
The Denver Nuggets will go to the NBA Finals. Live from the Rich Eisen Show studio in Los Angeles. Love it. Today's guest, senior writer for Sports Illustrated, Chris Mannix. Eagles tackle Lane Johnson. Saints wide receiver Chris Olavi from the new film The Machine. Actor Jimmy Tatro. And now it's Rich Eisen.
Yes, yes, yes. Welcome to this edition of the Rich Eisen Show. We are back live in Los Angeles, California, here on the Rich Eisen Show. Live on the Roku Channel. Live on this terrestrial radio network. Live on Sirius XM Odyssey. Live whenever you want to listen to us on our podcast platform. And of course, our YouTube page is how you can catch parts of this show every single day. And then there's our Roku collection page, which is a fancy way of saying it's video on demand. Whenever you want to watch us, you can check us out on the Roku Channel, which is free on every Roku device. Select Samsung Smart TV.
It's free on Amazon Fire TV, the Roku app and the rokuchannel.com on the Internet. We are back from New York City, back from the Emmy Award show Monday night that just ended five minutes ago. And we return here, unfortunately, empty handed for us. But fortunate for all those who won the awards on Monday night. We congratulate them and everybody else in our industry. Thrilled that we were nominated. I wish I had two Emmy Awards to put here on this desk. Instead, I still have the Rich Eisen Show mug and the best dad ever sign. You know what I mean?
That's kind of what matters. And then, of course, the support of everybody out there watching this thing honored to be nominated. We're back here on the show with four guests. Just had a nice chitchat, quick chitchat with Chris Mannix in our green room. He is here as the NBA Finals is almost set.
And we're as we're sitting here nine days away from it potentially starting. And and so Chris Mannix is here in studio will be great chat with him. Also in studio, the actor Jimmy Tetreault, who plays Bert Kreischer, who is on our Friday show in advance of the machine, which is in theaters near you this coming Friday. Lane Johnson of the Eagles, Chris Olave of the Saints here on this program today. Good to see you over there, Chris Brockman. How are you, brother?
Rich. Smells like 04 in here. Is that right? The cologne of 04?
Yeah, cologne of 04. I smell cowboys and Jack Daniels and they let us win one. DJ Mikey D is in D's nuts. Good to see you over there.
How are you? TJ Jefferson, good to see you in the corner. The candles already lit. Hey, Rich, like I told you, the quote, the great fife dog from a tribe called Quest. I never let a statue tell me how nice I am.
So you don't worry about those statues. You got the best dad ever signed. Thank you for everybody watching the show today.
And we've got a good one, as I mentioned. I want to start with the Denver Nuggets, because they were the best team in the NBA. They were the team that had the most wins in the NBA. They were the one seed in the toughest conference and arguably the best player, arguably the best player. And they swept the Lakers out. And potentially sending LeBron James into retirement.
It was a great game. They broomed them out of the playoffs. And all we were focused on is what LeBron had to say after the game and what LeBron is thinking and what happened to a Lakers franchise that could be at a crossroads after they were off the road. Last summer with no road in front of them.
And now here they are at a crossroads. And what's happening and what will LeBron think? And everyone's forgetting about the fact that the Denver Nuggets just won the toughest conference in maybe in all honesty, all of sports, with the exception of the American football conference in the NFL. The deep end of the NBA pool, they just cannonballed right in it and the pond is for everyone else.
So look at them in their first ever NBA finals. Jokic making fall away three pointers on one leg. He's amazing. He is unbelievable. He is unstoppable. He's very difficult to guard. He's very difficult to stop and transition, which you never say about someone his size.
He's very difficult to defend on the perimeter, which you rarely say about someone his size. Jamal Murray lighting it up the way that he's lighting it up. Coach Michael Malone, son of a coach, taking the Nuggets where they want to go, which is the NBA finals. And everyone all season long was like, yeah, but this is the yeah, but team. Yeah, but who else do they have other than Jokic and Murray coming off of that knee injury from a couple years ago?
Is he the same guy? Yeah, but Aaron Gordon, what's he going to do? Yeah, but this team has to deal with the Grizzlies, has to deal with the Warriors if they make it, not to deal with the Mavs who pick up Kyrie Irving in the middle of the season, have to deal with the Suns who get Kevin Durant in their mix, have to deal with the team that doesn't know what they shouldn't know and lighting the beam in Sacramento. And look at them now. Last game they lost was now officially two rounds ago.
So there you have it. Got to give it up to the Denver Nuggets. And I understand I'm coming on the air after a game in which the Celtics extend their series against the Heat.
And Chris says you left on Friday to go to the Can-ROM Charity Golf Tournament to be an actor and golfer and left a terrific. What's more likely for Suzy to read and conduct in your spot? What was more likely, the Nuggets or the Heat being up three games to one when we come back on the air on Wednesday? And I said both, not thinking that a sweep would be coming for the Nuggets. Oh, you didn't play the game right?
Shocking. No, I did say it would be actually the Heat, you know, or I did say the Nuggets. But I said both because I believe the Heat looking the way that they were looking would be up 3-1.
There you go. And I understand I'm coming on the air after the more recent game that I haven't talked about. But we'll talk about, but the Nuggets deserve it.
And we'll talk about LeBron's future with Chris Manick shortly when he comes here on the show. That said, here's my analysis of last night's Game 4 in Miami. The intensity with which the Celtics came out, where's that been? Bottle it and uncork it for three more games and you might have a chance of making the NBA Finals and coming back from a three games to love deficit. But that's more like it.
That's more like it. Maybe the Heat thought, you know, that they didn't need to just, I don't know. They came out with a different intensity, even though the Heat did play a first half that made it seem like, uh-oh, here we go again. I did like the way that Celtics came out last night. And then obviously the team that quit in Game 3, because that's what they did, put their foot in the ground and changed their fortune for at least one night.
And that whole phrase that you said to start the program, Chris, don't let us get one. If I'm not mistaken, was that Millar in 2004? That was Millar, Rich.
Kevin Millar in 2004 when the Red Sox were up three games to, down three games to a none to the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series. Don't let us get one. And as we all know, they got one and then they got three more and made the World Series and won it all. Here's how I know Boston was going to win last night, Rich.
I know, I'm with you because it's already set up. I know exactly why the Celtics performed the way that they did last night, because A-Rod was at the game. And Jeter. And Jeter. Yeah, they both were there.
Well, you know what, one is the one to truly blame about it. One on the left. Where was Bronson Arroyo so he could get slapped? That's all we needed. Yeah, they were.
How dare you throw Jeter with the Ziggy. Oh, was he, he wasn't on those teams? He was. Oh, got it. He was, but he has other trophies in the case.
Sure. So does A-Rod. One. That he basically won single-handed. He did, actually. He did.
That's true. Hanging his hat on that. Oh, man, this team, it's Godfather III. I was out. I was done. I was firing the coach. I was trading Jalen Brown.
We were retooling. It's not like we had three drops to support that statement. Come on. Stephen A said Kawhi is the biggest fake superstar.
No, right now, Tatum is the biggest fake superstar. I was right. It's over.
Thank you. I was right. All that, when I said at the time, I was right.
It sounds like you're winning this series. You guys know that, right? Okay, good. I don't know that.
Good to know. Well, you know what, the NBA could certainly use the action because we don't have a game tonight. The finals start June 1st.
They start June 1st, and unlike what we're hearing about the NHL, which is going through a similar issue right now with both conference finals in the NHL 3-0, Vegas up 3-0, and Florida up 3-0, thanks to their overtime wins in Carolina and their Game 3 win at home, hey, the NHL are apparently going to move up to start if these conference finals get swept or haven't. Yeah. They should. What is the NBA waiting for? Disney to say okay?
I don't know. But so the Nuggets are in and the Celtics are still alive. They've taken several shots.
They're still alive on this program. We'll talk about it with Chris Mannix in a few. You know, and Jimmy Butler's not seemingly unconcerned. He's laughing on the bench, laughing it up, which I don't blame him.
He's incredibly confident, cocky guy, and maybe wants to win in Boston just to wave goodbye to all you chowderheads. It would make sense. It would make sense, and we'd be on brand for him. This team's been terrible in the postseason. We'd be totally on brand.
At home. So we'll see what happens. That's in a game five coming up. Also on this program, Aaron Rodgers spoke yesterday after tweaking his calf.
Oh my God. We'll also hear from Kyle Shanahan, who spoke yesterday about his quarterback room and who he expects to be the week one guy. And we've got that on tap for you. Also on a couple of stories from our trip to New York City. And again, thank you to all the fans out there who take us in every single day and our relationship with Roku and our radio relationships with Sirius XM, but most importantly with Cumulus and Westwood One.
We don't take you for granted. 844-204-RICH is the number to dial here on our show today. As I mentioned, so much to discuss here on this program. Let's talk about it with Chris Mannix, who's here in studio. Let's get him out here and chit chat. Can't wait to hear his two cents and what LeBron was thinking about having to think about things.
844-204-RICH number to dial here on the Rich Eisen Show. Men, do you get distracted during the day thinking about your underarms sweating, itching or emitting an odor? Do those thoughts keep you from showing care when it counts? New and improved Dove Men Plus Care Antiperspirant with 72 hours sweat and odor protection and one quarter moisturizing cream helps you forget about your underarms so you can be present for the moments that matter.
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So that's why. And he was there instead of at the Emmys with us. So he's letting everyone know he was at the game when he's talking about how great Jokic was. He doesn't normally care. He's honestly, we've been on the air eight plus years. He's never once commented about that. So I don't ever, I mean with, with a game under his belt, there's no greater expert then. Exactly. There you go. Thank you, Chris.
So do you want to, before Chris has the stage, what else did you glean from seeing him in person? LeBron's really big. Jokic is gigantic and he can shoot and they play music the entire game during the game, which I did not realize. Have you seen Jokic's brothers? No, are they big?
They're pretty scary. Dude, why were they, why are they heckling Jack Nicholson leaving the game? I mean, did you see the video of that? I don't know, but I don't mess with Jokic's brothers. But that's Jack, that's like an 86 year old, you know, cinema icon leaving the game. I get it. And they're like, see you next year, Jack. You know, like there's the machine.
Careful with Jokic's brothers. I understand that. But that's funny. Is it? Yeah. Jack?
Like what is, what are you doing? They don't care who Jack Nicholson is. Clearly. Have you seen As Good As It Gets?
Like do you think they're? Good choice of Jack movies. Just saying.
As Good As It Gets. That's a perfect one. Now you can't. In terms of endearment is not something the Jokic brothers have probably rented.
You can't mess with Jack. I don't care who you are. Come on, man. I know. That was pretty harsh, man. That's for damn sure. Back here on the Rich Eisen Show Radio Network, part of the Roku Channel live stream, sitting at the Rich Eisen Show desk, furnished by Grange with supplies and solutions for every industry, Grainger has the right product for you.
Call clickgranger.com or just stop by. Kind enough to stop by once again from Sports Illustrated and so much more, none other than Chris Mannix here in studio. Good to see you, Chris. You too, Rich. All right.
So let's, let's jump right into it. The Nuggets won this series, swept the Lakers out. I know you were, you were spot on about how far the Lakers could go. You even thought they'd make the NBA finals. The Nuggets won this series in the manner in which they did because?
Well, a couple of reasons. One. Nikola Jokic is awesome. I mean, he came into this postseason.
Probably with the burden of having to prove himself. A lot of people believed that he was just an advanced analytics darling, that he wasn't capable of leading a team to the NBA finals, and he did that eight triple doubles in these playoffs. He's already surpassed Wilt Chamberlain for the most triple doubles in a post in a single postseason.
He's still got at least four games to go, probably going to collect at least a couple of more. I mean, his performance stands out the most, but you've also got Jamal Murray and the way he played in these playoffs, Jamal Murray, who has not been part of the last two Denver postseason runs because of injury, never been an all star. He took his game to another level. You watch the way he played against the Lakers, 25 points in the clincher in three of the four games of this series, he shot better than 50% from the floor. A two man game between Jamal Murray and Nicole Jokic was the reason that the Nuggets were able to close the Lakers out in some of the close games in the series. As impressive as Jokic was and has been throughout these playoffs, and he deserved to be the Western Conference Finals MVP, Jamal Murray so far is probably the breakout star, not just of the Western Conference, but probably this entire postseason. Now normally when a team has the best record in a deep conference and sweeps their way to an NBA Finals and has a one-two punch like you just described with Jokic and Murray, and then they come out and say, nobody believes in us, you're like, yeah, right. But this is a rare case of a team that wins as much as they do and has the stars that they have.
And when they say that, there's credence to it. Like they have this card. Michael Malone is playing this card of nobody talks about us. I mean, Barkley on the air last night was saying he got sick, had to turn the TV off by how many people, LeBron and Lakers centric, nobody's talking about the Nuggets. It does feel like they have a legit, nobody believes in us card to play here.
I don't think they have a nobody believes in us card to play because a lot of people pick Denver to come out of the Western Conference. You can't say nobody respects Nicole Jokic when the media has voted him MVP in two of the last three years. The card the Nuggets can play is nobody talks about us. Nobody spends air time discussing us, column inches writing about us, because frankly, the Nuggets aren't very interesting. Like Nicole Jokic is arguably the best player in the game right now, but he's not someone that does a lot of interviews outside of the NBA mandated stuff.
You're not going to see a lot of profiles on Nicole Jokic. Jamal Murray, great player, not especially interesting. Michael Porter Jr., excellent player, not especially interesting, at least not compared to what we have at the bottom of the playoff bracket, where you've got drama in Los Angeles almost weekly. You've got the Suns, can they succeed in this first year with Kevin Durant, the Warriors, all their dysfunction this year. The Clippers, can they get it together? The Nuggets' problem is they're not respected, they're just not talked about.
People just don't find them as interesting as some of the teams on the bottom half of the bracket. Because you see, I guess what, Steven Adams doing more commercials than Jokic? I mean, you're certainly- He doesn't want to do it. Like he just, look, it's a kind of a cliche, but he just wants to play, he wants to collect a check, and he wants to help his team win. That's really all that's on his mind any given week. You don't see him doing endorsement deals. You remember when he won the MVP award, both times the Nuggets had to fly over to Serbia to give it to him. He was out, he was gone.
He was just hanging with his family back home in Europe. So they're just not a compelling team to talk about, to write about, at least not as compelling as some of the other teams I mentioned. Okay. It does seem though that they do feed off of that nobody talks about them as much. Yeah. I mean, they've kind of combined the two, right? They're like, nobody talks about us, but that also means nobody respects us. They're able to kind of co-mingle those two things together.
But the reality is they are respected. They are proof that patience can persevere, that if you draft well and you stick with what you've got and don't panic at the first sign of adversity, that stuff like this can happen. Look at the way this Nuggets team was put together. Nikolai Jokic was a phenomenal draft pick, maybe the best draft pick in NBA history. He was a second round pick. He's a two-time MVP.
He's going to go down as one of the great centers of all time, great players of all time. Michael Porter Jr., 14th pick in the draft several years ago. He was a guy the Nuggets said, look, we could draft somebody safer with 14th, but this guy was a top five talent who had a back issue.
Let's take a flyer on him and see if that works out. They were a patient. They dealt with a back surgery. And now here he is, Michael Porter Jr., as good a third option as you're going to get in the NBA. Jamal Murray, lottery pick, but he was someone they stuck with even after the injury that cost him a season and a half. So the Nuggets just bided their time.
They were a patient. They didn't panic with Michael Malone when things got a little bit rough the last couple of years. They kept their coaching staff in place. They kept their team in place. And now that chemistry and that path has taken them to this point.
Chris Mannix from Sports Illustrated here in studio on The Rich Eisen Show. OK, I'd like you to interpret LeBron and his comments postgame for me. I don't know if I speak fluent LeBron yet, but it's a little bit rough. You've been around. You've been around. I think you definitely have the handbook. I'm sure.
So look, I think a couple of things can be true with the LeBron comments the other night. Hold on. Before you get to it, that was me setting up a sound. Oh, sorry. It's all good. I forgot you've been at the Emmys, right? I've been there. Yeah.
I was just trying to set up the sound. Did you guys win? We didn't. Did Dan win?
He wasn't nominated. Oh. Sorry, Dan. No, that's OK. I'm sure. He's in the case and he's been to this event before and three hours and 15 minutes in, we found out that we weren't winning. You ever see The Shining? Yes, of course.
OK, Scatman Crothers. He's living in Florida. He travels all the way to Colorado just to get an ax in his chest. That's the way. That's what it was. That's how it felt. Yeah, that's how it felt. Spoiler alert, by the way.
All right, here's LeBron postgame after being swept out the other night. We'll see what happens going forward. I don't know.
I don't know. I got a lot to think about, to be honest. I got a lot to think about, to be honest, and just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.
What does he have to think about? So I think two things can be true here with those LeBron comments. Number one, I think you can take them at face value because this was the most grueling season of LeBron's 20-year career. It was grueling mentally because of how the season started, 0-5, 2-10, the Russell Westbrook drama playing itself out night after night in LA. Then they make the trades, shake things up.
They're trying to piece the thing together. And just as they're doing that, he has the most significant injury of his career. Fast forward to the playoffs. He's playing 43 minutes a game in the Western Conference Finals. He plays 48 in Game 4.
I can understand if he's sitting there, 38, almost 39 years old, thinking maybe I might be done doing this. All that being said, there is nothing LeBron James ever says or ever does that isn't calculated and deliberate. And LeBron James, you just heard that answer.
He wasn't asked about that. That was the last question of a media availability and it was the last question that didn't have anything to do with his basketball future. LeBron knew it was the last question. The PR person for the Lakers says last question to this person. So LeBron absolutely made sure that he put that into the universe.
Now the question is why? LeBron is the king of leverage. He always has been. In Cleveland, he signed all these one-year contracts with the Cavaliers. That was to exert maximum pressure on Cleveland to make sure they kept doing right by him and right by the team or else he would take his talent somewhere else. He has a contract next year with L.A. so he can't exert that leverage on the Lakers. What he can do is threaten to walk away and say all this stuff you built, all this investment you made in this team short term, pshh, gone. I'm out. If I walk away and go sit on the USC campus and watch my son play for a year, you're pretty much out of luck next season.
Who knows if I'll ever be back after that? To me, that's how I interpreted that. I think LeBron going into this offseason wants to make sure he gets everything he wants. Now that may mean Kyrie Irving getting signed as a free agent. That may mean going out and trading for a Trae Young. That may mean just doing something else, nibbling around the fringes a little bit. But my interpretation of those comments was LeBron was trying to make sure that as he entered this offseason, he had maximum leverage with the Lakers.
So I understand a phenomenal response leads me to think about so many different things. The Cleveland one year deals was probably because he didn't trust Dan Gilbert or the setup that was there potentially, even though I know David Griffin was there and he really, you know, I think he's the one that he really respected there. But look, he paved the way for a lot.
Now a lot of guys are doing this because what does LeBron James need a multiyear deal for? So that's what I'm saying. It's just like Cleveland was Cleveland. So now for him to say this, because he also chit chatted with Dave McMenamin of ESPN, as you know, who who had a back and forth.
Yeah, they were walking right past me in the hallway there as they left. It was like. Right. So that that did go a little bit even more into detail than what LeBron just said from the podium. So what is it that was he not completely satisfied with the maneuvers that were made at the deadline?
Because they seem to be magical. I mean, a wand being waved is what it seemed like Polinka was able to do with a roster that everyone thought was dead in the water with Russ and then completely unworkable, even when he wound up with the Clippers until we saw how they all looked in the playoffs and Reeves, et cetera. Is he not pleased with the roster or there was moves that they he thought they could have made that they didn't?
So why would he say that? My guess is he's pleased with the roster because the roster was significantly upgraded. Rob Polinka did a fantastic job shaking things up and putting the right pieces around LeBron Anthony Davis. At the same time, LeBron is one of the smartest guys that ever played the game.
He knows that this roster that he has is good, but maybe it's not great. They got swept by the Nuggets and LeBron played great that game for we had 40 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds at 48 minutes. That was one of the best performances LeBron has played as at ever, ever.
And that whole series, LeBron was largely excellent and they still got beat in four games. LeBron's probably looking at next year as the last year he's going to have to win a championship because the year after that, it sounds like it's all about Bronny. If Bronny gets drafted by the Orlando Magic, we'll get ready to see LeBron in a Magic uniform in 2024 2025. Next year is the last year.
It's probably all about basketball. And this team, if they ran it back, yeah, they'd be really good, but would they be better than Denver? Would they be better than Boston or Miami or Milwaukee, whoever comes out of the Eastern Conference next season? Does Kyrie Irving make them better? I mean, it can't go unnoticed by LeBron that D'Angelo Russell was effectively unplayable in the Western Conference Finals.
He was really good prior to that, but he was unplayable in the Western Conference Finals. And Kyrie Irving was sitting there, game four, sitting in his baseline seat, observing the whole thing. But LeBron, even though he's got to have a lot of mixed feelings about Kyrie, knows he can win a championship with Kyrie, knows Kyrie is a high level player. Does LeBron want the Lakers to go all in to get Kyrie Irving in a Laker uniform? I don't think it's a matter of being dissatisfied with what's on the Laker roster right now, as much as it's knowing that what they have probably isn't good enough to win.
Well, I guess what I'm really hunting and pecking at here is he might just be doing that, saying what he said, as you call out as deliberate, that he would say such a thing. And it may be as simple as like, man, you ask me right now, after I just scored 30 plus in the first half, just set a record, you know, I just set the scoring record, a lot happening this year, you're asking me now, I got a lot to think about. That's the big wind up to this pitch is, don't you think, though, that Polinka and obviously Jeannie Buss, they know that next year is the last year to be about basketball for him. They know that there's only a player option the year that Bronie can get, you know, drafted after being one and done in USC. They know this. So don't you think the Lakers being the Lakers and wanting LeBron to go out with one last Laker title before he goes and does the father son Griffey thing, you know, don't you think they know that, too?
Why does he have to say that as leverage? Well, because, look, let's frame this through the lens of Kyrie Irving, that let's say for argument's sake that LeBron does want Kyrie Irving on the Lakers next year, which is not far fetched. The Lakers have pursued him in the past, and it makes sense. But to get Kyrie Irving, the Lakers would probably have to gut their roster. They would have to say goodbye to Rui Hashimura, who was terrific for them this year. The Angela Russell would obviously be gone.
It may mean that Jared Vanderbilt won't be back and Vanderbilt played a pretty big role for this team in the second half. Austin Reeves may become too expensive for them to bring back if he's going to get a hundred million dollar offer from somebody out there, which I think is likely in the next couple of months. You would have to do all that to bring Kyrie Irving in, not a one year deal, but probably on a four year deal. Basketball Rich will be played in Los Angeles after LeBron James is gone, and the Lakers have to start thinking about what their team looks like beyond LeBron James.
I firmly believe Rob Palenka knows basketball. He knows that Kyrie Irving on this team makes sense, but there's a cost to bring in Kyrie Irving, a long term cost, maybe even a short term cost. Who's to say that with Kyrie Irving in, and with the combination of Russell, Rui Hashimura, and Jared Vanderbilt out, that they're a better team? It's not like Kyrie's the most reliable guy in the world. I can understand the Lakers not being eager to just blow things up to bring Kyrie Irving. And I thought, if you listen closely to that media availability that the Lakers had yesterday, I thought Rob Palenka kind of threw a salvo back at LeBron James in a way. When he was asked about this team and keeping it together, he said, and I'm paraphrasing a little bit here, he said, I want to bring back our young core.
Continuity is key. They just saw what the Nuggets did with all their continuity. So Rob Palenka was messaging that they believe in this group, and they believe this team is a championship contender. I don't know that LeBron James believes that. It believes they're really good, but LeBron wants to win a championship next season. It's championship or bust for LeBron James next year, and they might not quite be there. And the Nuggets are wondering whether or not they're being talked about.
I mean, you just laid out a poop ton of drama, Matt. They're so good, but they're so boring sometimes. It's good to be boring. You're successful. Hey.
The Spurs, look how boring they were. No doubt. No doubt.
Four championships, five, whatever it was. I know. Now they got Big Vic. They got him.
Matt. I was sitting in that drawing room, by the way, where they actually do the lottery, not the TV room. Okay.
And Brian Wright, the general manager of the Spurs, just had a very Spursian reaction, which was not at all. He just sat there and was like, I was talking to other representatives. He knew that the four digits were his?
No. Yeah, you know. So how it works in the drawing room. Is you have all these ping pong balls, you know, like Powerball, and somebody pulls the numbers up. And on a wall, there are eight white boards or eight poster boards with 1001 different number combinations.
So when the numbers are pulled out, there's a representative there that literally just scans the wall looking for that number combination. They say San Antonio, right? That's what they said at number one.
And Brian Wright, the GM of the Spurs, just kind of. No response. Come on. No response whatsoever.
No LFG. I talked to a couple of other representatives in that room who said that if they called my name out, you wouldn't have been able to control me. Like one said he would have put his feet up on the desk and pulled a cigar out. But isn't that just the perfect Spurs response for a representative for the team to just be like, all right, cool. Yeah. We got the next Tim Duncan. Great. Probably better.
Awesome. And now Tim Duncan, who lives in San Antonio, I think he works at a mechanic shop or runs his own mechanic shop. He's going to work with this guy next season.
So it's incredible. Tim Duncan was the David Robinson, but better, right? And now- Wembunyama. Wembunyama is now Tim Duncan, but better. Yeah. No pressure on Wembunyama though, right? If he turns out to be anything less than Wilt Chamberlain, it's apparently- But you know Greg Popovich is going to handle this well.
Don't you? I mean, there's no question. Look, this is why people were texting me afterwards being like, rigged. It's got to be rigged. Come on.
Send him to San Antonio. I've been in that room for seven or eight times over the last 10 years. They're rigging this process. It's the most elaborate rigging I've ever seen. They're not.
They're not. In all honesty, if they wanted to rig it, because the way I read it is that after the first three numbers were pulled of the remaining 11 numbers that would have, 11 ping pong balls that were going to determine which was the four digit code associated with another team, that the Wizards had six of the 11 numbers in their pocket to get this kid. Don't you think the league, if they were going to rig it, would have put them on right in the middle of the Eastern time zone, right in the middle of the Eastern seaboard? I mean, if they had that option, right? Yeah. Don't you think?
Yeah. I think the only places like the league- Put them in Washington, D.C.? The only place the league didn't want them probably was Dallas, because Dallas mailed in the end of the season and you don't want to reward that for- Right. But look, there's no doubt that San Antonio is the best place you could possibly wind up. Like a multicultural organization that is known for player development- From France.
Yeah. From France, played on Tony Parker's team in France for a little while, and he's going to get the chance to work under the coach that groomed Tim Duncan into the star. He became, and presumably Duncan, I've read, is going to be part of that coaching staff next year. He's going to be able to work with him. If Victor Wemenyama is going to reach his potential, he's probably going to do it in San Antonio. Unbelievable.
Chris, real quick. Brockman and I were having a discussion. Do you think the Spurs, can you see them making any moves to kind of maybe bring some of these French-born players that are already in the league to the team to kind of help them adjust? Like a Batum or a Fournier or one of these type guys? No, I don't know what Pop would do at Fournier.
Like a guy that doesn't defend at all. I don't think they're focused on bringing in guys that are going to make Wemenyama more comfortable culturally. I mean, this guy's played in a lot of different places at a very young age.
Came over to Vegas and played with his team in that great two-game exhibition against the G-League team. I think it's more about finding guys that fit, bringing veterans in around him no matter where they're from to help introduce him to the NBA and bring him along slowly in a low pressure environment. The Spurs are going to have no pressure to win next year. Like they've got a bunch of young guys and one of the worst records in the NBA.
He is going to have ample opportunity to grow organically and that's going to work I think really well for him. I've got Chris Mannix here on the Rich Eisen Show. Before in our final minutes we have here, let's talk about the Celtics. Anything that we saw on Game 4 that gives them credence to go on this run that Boston Sports has obviously seen before, but in baseball, what do you got for me on that front?
I saw all the quotes from before Game 4, like don't let us win one, like channeling their Kevin Millar from the Red Sox run. Look, the two numbers you have to look for in this series are made threes for both teams really. Made threes and defended threes. First three games Miami shot something like 44% from three overall in those games. The Celtics were awful. The Celtics live and die by the three-point line. More so since Joe Mazzola took over as a coach.
There's literally no amount of threes that Joe Mazzola is not comfortable with. They weren't making them the first few games. Jason Tatum was off. Miami on the other hand was making all of them.
They were all over the place. I think Game 1 they made 50 something percent of those threes. In Game 4 the script flipped. The Celtics I think they were 19 to 45 from three-point range. Miami shot 25% from three.
That's the ball game right there. You can point to other little things, turnovers, defensive rebounding, those are all variables, but in this series it's all about making threes and defending the threes. So as we go into Game 5, if the Celtics who should be able to defend the three-point line a lot better because they're a very good perimeter defending team, if they can slow Miami down there and if they can keep this momentum up making three-pointers, they've got a shot.
They've got a shot here with two of the potential next three on their home floor. Michael Malone on sodium pentothal chooses which team he wants to face. Probably Miami.
I know they're a great story, but they're more defendable. If you look at Nikola Jokic's numbers against Bam Adebayo, they're actually really good. So Miami is a physical series, but it's probably a series that is more winnable for Miami, at least on paper, than what Boston would be right now. So he chooses the Heat? He would choose the Heat?
I would think so. I mean, you have to match wits with Eric Spoelstra and you have to be prepared to defend or to score against every kind of junk defense in the book. That's what's given Boston problems too. I mean, Miami's throwing a whole different variety of zones at the Celtics and they're not responding to them at all. I saw one of the adjustments the Celtics made in Game 4, at least it was a shot Jason Tatum was taking and making, was putting Jason Tatum kind of at that free throw line, which is like a zone-busting spot.
Usually it's a place for Al Horford or a big man. Tatum was making catches at that free throw line and taking shots there, kind of that Joel Embiid range in the middle. If he can be patient and if he can be willing to take those kind of two-point shots, I still give the Celtics a chance here. Look, they are, it's no disrespect to Miami, but they are a lot more talented than Miami. They're the better team on paper than Miami.
They, of any team that could come back from a 3-0 deficit, they are probably the most equipped to do it, but they've got to defend the three and they've got to make threes. Chris Mannix here on the show. Could you hold on one more second? Sure.
I want to come back from break. I want to talk about the coaches that are out there and what the coaching search will look like in the timeline on all of that. I've got Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated here. Lane Johnson of the Eagles is going to call in in hour number two. What Aaron Rodgers and the 49ers are saying about their situations.
That's all still to come. Back here on the program, I love that you took us inside the actual ping-pong ballroom. You have to sign a document that you can't say anything, do anything, like do they make you? You can't bring anything electronic into the room.
So it's like a Dave Chappelle comedy set? Yeah, yeah. You're stuck in an envelope and you leave it outside the door. But what's difficult is you can't bring even a recorder into the room. So when you're doing interviews with participants afterwards, you've got your notepad out and you're kind of scribbling. So that's why sometimes if you read stories from people that are in the drawing room, quotes don't always match up exactly the same in these stories.
Okay. So there was a GM, there was a representative of every team? Every lottery team, not always a GM. Sometimes teams put a PR guy in there or put a different representative, but a representative from every team in that room, which really is like, it's like 15 minutes of activity and, you know, tension. And then because you can't leave the room until the TV drawing takes place, you're just standing around there for an hour eating like turkey sandwiches and, you know.
Knowing that what's happened? Yeah. Is Mark Tatum back there practicing his smile?
No, he's on stage, but you've got a bunch of, like Joe Dumars was hanging out back there. After a while, it gets a little awkward. It's like a mixer that'll never end. You just kind of like, all right, is it time to go now and, hey, Sam Presti, I'll.
Wow. Is that why the Hornets didn't get the first overall pick because Dumars was locking Jordan down? I love the story that Michael Jordan waited to see if he was going to sell the team until after the lottery went over.
Because if you're Michael, that's smart. Like, if you get number one, don't sell the team, you know, with Victor Wemenyama, like, why would you sell the team when you finally have a chance to build this into a winner? Or you're going to sell the team regardless and you know it's worth more money if you've got the top kid. It's worth a lot more money.
I wouldn't sell it. If you get Wemenyama, like, that is your ticket to, you know. That's it. Success.
Ticket, period. And you think about the way the Hornets have, not to make this a Hornets conversation, but the way they have struggled in the Jordan era, like, they've accomplished nothing. Chris Maddox here on The Rich Eyes and Show, we're back on the radio, audience has rejoined us. How come coaches haven't been hired yet? Is this just, are we waiting to see if Missoula doesn't make the finals? Is that what's happening or what?
I'm not buying that theory at this point. The teams that are looking for coaches have made it clear they're going to be methodical with this. You know, I was talking to someone in Phoenix just the other day who said their coaching list was as many as ten people were on that list. These teams, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Toronto, Philadelphia, they want to make sure they get it right. And maybe that comes at the risk of losing out on their top candidate because there are some really, really strong coaching candidates out there. But I don't think it's about waiting to see what happens with Joe Missoula and Boston. I think it's more about these teams not ready to make a final call.
Interesting. Is there, have we, because of, let's just put it this way, Steve Kerr is Steve Kerr, but guys who haven't really done it and played it and then became a head coach, are we through that cycle because nobody's really stuck on that front yet? Because it seems like the strong candidates you're talking about are guys that have grinded it out, or even Sam Cassell's been on an assistance bench forever and a day, former NBA champion head coaches, or is there going to be just some guy who's never done it before, dynamite player given the chance to be in HC in the NBA?
No, I think that, I don't want to say those days are over, but at least for this cycle it's probably not going to be in the mix. I don't think there is a candidate like that that's in the mix right now. I mean, Steve, you know, a guy like Steve Nash, who was a surprise hire in Brooklyn, at least he's got a couple of years under his belt with the Nets, if he winds up getting a job, whether it's Toronto or somewhere else, the coaches that are in the mix right now are proven commodities. You know, Nick Nurse has won a championship. Mike Budenolzer has won a championship. Doc Rivers has won a championship. Frank Vogel has won a championship. So there are top level coaches with championship pedigree.
Right now it's about finding the right fit for each one of these situations. Like if you're Philadelphia and you're building this team out for the next five years around Joel Embiid, who makes the most sense for you? What kind of coach and what kind of style makes the most sense for you? Same thing with Milwaukee and Giannis, same thing with Phoenix and Kevin Durant. You've got to find a coach whose philosophies line up with the talent of your players. I do find it funny, like Doc Rivers reportedly interviewing in Phoenix, like, does Doc want a break? Like, do you want to just like, I understand Phoenix is an attractive coaching job, but Doc went from Boston straight to the Clippers like a week after he left the Clippers straight to Philadelphia. Like Doc would be great on TV, like with the, I think he has two years left in his Sixers contract, so he's going to get paid. Doc loves playing golf.
Maybe take a year off. I think he loves coaching. He obviously does. You know how these coaches are in any sport. It's a long time to be coaching. Like, he took over the Celtics, I want to say, in 2005 maybe, and he's coaching all the way to 2023 in three different cities. Oh, he'd have a TV job in two seconds. Two seconds. He could choose it. Yeah, he's phenomenal.
I get it. And he could just sit there and have probably no offset and just, but if you can coach Kevin Durant, I mean, isn't that the end of that? I don't know, Phoenix is a great job though.
So which is the best, which is the best job? I look, do you think, I mean, Milwaukee on paper is the best job because Milwaukee will have Giannis for at least the next couple of years, right? If they spend the money, and I'm sure that's a conversation every coach that goes into that Bucks interview is asking, they'll bring back Brook Lopez. They'll bring back all the key guys that they've, Chris Middleton, they'll bring back those guys and give themselves a chance to be the number one seed next year and a co-favorite to win the championship. But Milwaukee right now, for at least the next couple of years, is probably the best job out there. So why do you say the Suns-Phoenix isn't a good job?
Is that because Ishby is- No, Ishby is fine. I went to Phoenix and I sat in his office with him for an hour and we talked for a while. I love his enthusiasm and I think he's good for the NBA, but look, the reality is he pushed all his chips in to get Kevin Durant when maybe you didn't have to, right? Like Kevin Durant, after Kyrie Irving asked out and was traded, was going to get traded at some point, whether it was before the deadline or this offseason, Phoenix was always going to be kind of in a pole position there because Kevin Durant wanted to play in Phoenix. But Ishbya just took over the team, wanted to make a deal, got it done and made sure that deal happened. Then he fires Monty Williams and that was a Matt Ishbya production there. And look, say what you want about Monty, but he got the team to the finals a couple of years ago and last year they won 64 games, he was coach of the year.
So I don't know that it's about Matt Ishbya as much as it about that team might have a ceiling. Like Kevin Durant is still Kevin Durant, but he's 34 years old, we 35 next year. Chris Paul, what's he going to look like next season? Devin Booker is great, but they all seem to fill in the roster around these guys and don't have a lot of trade equity or a lot of cap space to go out there and do it. So as interesting as the Suns job might be, I don't know if over the next two or three years it's the best one out there.
That's wild. What happens with Harden? The Houston stuff is real and I get it to a degree why James Harden wants to play in Houston. He's the king of the castle in Houston. He runs that city. The Rockets have forever given him the run of that organization, allowed him to do whatever he wanted.
It's not run by Daryl Morey anymore, but the owner is still the same and Rafael Stone, the GM, was Daryl Morey's assistant GM when he was in Houston. So I get it to a degree why Harden would want to go back there. For the life of me, I can't figure out why Houston would want James Harden.
Like Houston right now is in the infancy of a rebuild. They've got some good talent. They've got Jalen Green. They've got Jabari Smith. They've got Alperin Sangoon. They've got another top tier guy coming in with the fourth pick in the draft.
I think they've got a perfect coach, Anime Udonka, who is kind of built to break guys of bad habits and get them on the right path to success. The one mistake the Rockets could make that could set them back would be signing James Harden because James Harden makes no sense. To get James Harden, you're going to have to give him a four year deal. So at 34 years old, you're going to give James Harden a deal that will take him up to age 38. James Harden's game is not aging all that well. He's still a good player, but he's not the player he once was. And we saw in the postseason, he still has trouble getting to a high level in the playoffs. Why would you bring a guy like that in? Do you think James Harden is the right role model for these guys? I don't know about that.
I don't know if I'd consider James Harden that kind of player. It just doesn't make any sense for Houston. I know they've got $60 million in cap space, but we talked a little bit in the last segment about the Nuggets. Patience. Have patience. Have a plan. Follow it.
Deal with some of the bumps on the road. Right now, the Rockets have a good mix to build around. They've got players. They've got the coach. Yeah, they didn't get Victor Wemenyama. That sucks for them, of course. But they still have the pieces to become a contender over the next two or three years.
Trying to hit the fast forward button by bringing in James Harden, A, is not going to work, and B, it could cost them in the long term. Chris Mannix here on the show. I greatly appreciate you coming in here, chopping it up. Your insights always make us smarter. Thank you for that. I really appreciate it.
Anytime, Rich. You got it. You got it. Chris Mannix is here. We've got coming up in hour number two, Lane Johnson of the Eagles, then Chris Olave of the Saints will lead us off on top of hour number three, and then Jimmy Tetreault, who plays the young Burt Kreischer in the film The Machine that Burt was on our show last Friday to promote. He'll be here in studio on hour number three.
You at 844-204, Rich, number to dial, hour number one in the books. Still have about another minute and a half right here. There's always, Chris, in the summer, that moment with the NBA where I look down at my phone, and it's either a text from one of these guys, TJ or Chris, or I'll see it on Twitter. I'm like, whoa. You got a crystal ball for what the whoa moment might be this summer? You were great to say the Lakers were going on a run when no one was saying it.
So what do you think? Is there a whoa moment? You could even say there won't be one. I think there will be whoa moments. I think there'll be a lot of player movement this offseason, because I think the Knicks are going to be really aggressive. I think Philadelphia is going to be really aggressive. The guy to watch, in my mind, is Damian Lillard. The Blazers, after winning after the lottery, where they got the third pick in the draft, they were talking about making a deal to upgrade right now. If that deal's not out there and they get into August and they're not a contender, there's a conversation that's going to take place between Damian Lillard and Paul Linder about exactly where they're going to go. And Damian Lillard is still white hot. He is still one of the best players in the NBA, and there will be a robust market willing to give the Blazers the kind of godfather offer that we've seen other teams give up for top-tier stars awaiting them. That's the guy I'm watching the close, because he could be a difference maker, whether it's in Philadelphia, New York, maybe even Boston. Boston fizzles up and wants to shake things up, they could make the Blazers a pretty appetizing offer. That's the guy I'm keeping my eye on the most. With a man.
Damian Lillard is the whoa guy this summer. Count me in for that, I'm sure. Put that filly out in the air for me, put that filly out in the air for me, baby. Sorry, we're out of time. You can't speak it into existence.
Our number two coming up. What you did not see is when Raquel arrives and she wants to talk to me, I made her sit in a corner. Explain. Sit in a corner booth all by herself in the dark. Waiting for to talk to you. Waiting for me to finish dancing to 50 Cent. It's my birthday. Sit in a corner. Give them Lala wherever you listen.
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