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REShow: Chris Mannix - Hour 1

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen
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October 19, 2023 3:44 pm

REShow: Chris Mannix - Hour 1

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen

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October 19, 2023 3:44 pm

Rich kicks off the show listing the top things we know for sure about the NFL season so far including takes on the Arizona Cardinals, rookie quarterbacks, Brock Purdy, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, and Miami Dolphins.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix tells Rich if the Boston Celtics offseason addition of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis are enough to get them by Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, if the 76ers and Clippers will be able to pull off a James Harden trade, who came out on top in the Damian Lillard trade among the Trail Blazers, Bucks and Suns, who the top trade targets are for the Miami Heat after missing out on Dame Lillard, how Victor Wembanyama has already proved him wrong about his Rookie of the Year predictions, the expectations for LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers, and why Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets are still the team to beat in the NBA.

Please check out my other productions:

Overreaction Monday: http://apple.co/overreactionmonday 

What the Football with Suzy Shuster and Amy Trask: http://apple.co/whatthefootball

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Y'all remember this? Check this out. This is The Rich Eisen Show. Let me just get this off my chest too. Only those who wish to listen may do so. Live from The Rich Eisen Show studio in Los Angeles.

The number of people that reach out to me, it's insane. So your message to Jets fans would be what right now? Coach, what do you have for me?

Keep the faith, enjoy the ride. The Rich Eisen Show. Today's gasps. Senior writer for Sports Illustrated, Chris Mannix. Senior writer for the MMQB, Albert Breer. 49ers quarterback, Brock Purdy. And now, it's Rich Eisen.

Yes, it is. Can confirm, hi. Welcome to The Rich Eisen Show, live on the Roku channel and his terrestrial radio affiliate, Sirius XM, and so much more. We say hello to our podcast listeners whenever you take in this program.

We greatly appreciate it. This one as well as Overreaction Monday on Monday. We just had the best viewership on our YouTube page and our listenership for Overreaction Monday keeps growing each week. What the Football is crushing it. We're so excited for Suzy Schuster and Amy Trask doing What the Football every single Tuesday. The pressure is on because the numbers keep going up. I'm the guest this week, so if the numbers go down, it's going to be a long weekend. You know what I'm saying? So the pressure is on. Trying to move the needle in so many different ways. So we greatly appreciate everybody's viewership and listenership and the viewership on Roku with the Roku channel, which is, by the way, free on all Roku devices.

Select Samsung Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, the Roku app, and the rokuchannel.com. We've got three guests just chit-chatted moments ago with Chris Mannix chilling out in our green room right now. The NBA season, the association tips next Tuesday. And where is James Harden?

Where in the world is James Harden? So much to talk about with Chris Mannix and he'll come out in about 15 minutes time and chop it up with us. Albert Breer will join us in the middle of hour number two, speaking of Sports Illustrated.

He will be joining us with the latest on what's going on in the National Football League. And then in hour number three, my fourth child, as Chris Brockman likes to refer to him unless Baker Mayfield's in the room. Well, he's third. Well, I've got three children. You're talking about sons, you mean? Yeah, your fourth son. My fourth son, Brock Purdy.

Although, you know what? I would have loved to have had a GoPro if it existed back in the day when when Susie and I were having children to say, hey, I'd like to name our son Brock. You know, that's just, you know, Brock Eisen. What do you think? Would that have been good? Brock Eisen? Sounds good, actually.

Does it really? I mean, I've been Brock since I was 14, so. I don't know how many Brocks or Bar Mitzvahed, just to throw it out there. But anyway, long story short, Brock Purdy on this program. You know, I've been caping for this kid and and he's coming off of his, I guess you would say, worst game of his professional young career. And he's taken on the Vikings on Monday Night Football. And so I can't wait to we've never interviewed him.

He's never been on the program. I can't wait to lift the hood and see how how in the world this works so well and how he's able to handle everything thrown his way. Throwing it to Chris Brockman to say hello to you on this good Thursday. Good to see you, Mike. Mikey Diaz and these nuts.

T.J. Jefferson. The candle's been lit for a few minutes now. Good to see you, sir. You know, I made a mistake the other day when Andrew was here. Rich, I pointed the camera. I said, I'm talking to America. I forgot we're worldwide. So I mean, I want to say hello to the world. You should apologize. And I did that.

I did that for you last couple weeks being, you know, out and about in the world. Hey, listen, week seven of the National Football League begins tonight. Jacksonville and New Orleans. That's going to be a fun game on Amazon Prime, which you can watch right here on the Roku platform with Prime Video. So that'll be good times tonight.

And in this 17 game, 18 week league. You know, I do a lot of simple math over the last several years. You know, with my 15, 12 and 10 year old at home, I believe I'm smarter than a fifth grader. I believe, although my fifth grader at home, Taylor Mattingly, and sometimes can run circles around me.

These kids are advanced. They are indeed. But I think I can safely say it's an 18 week season. Correct. Correct. Six weeks in.

We're a third of the way through the National Football League season. Correct. No, no. Right. Six times three is 18.

There you go. Careful. Simple math. Not good at reciprocal. You know, it's not simple.

Figuring stuff out in the National Football League. I know he's got a script over there, but I told him we keep throwing it out and he keeps on bringing it back. I don't like the script where Aaron Rodgers only last four snaps.

Before his Achilles snaps. Now then. With all that said, I'm beginning today's program with things I already know. Okay. Through six weeks in the National Football League season before seventh week starts tonight and screws up the math.

And I have a top five list to start this program. How about that for a little curve ball to mix metaphors. I did not see that coming. How about them apples?

Matt Scherzer could have used that curve ball last night. Understood. That's a good point. The Metropolitans did one right, I think, over there. Anyway, long story short, I have a top five list. The top five things we know for sure about the 2023 NFL season. A third of the way in here. High five. One, two, three, four, five. Rich's top five.

Yes. A top five to start things off. A little burst of energy.

A little zing. And also things we know. Number five. What do we know? We know we were wrong about the Arizona Cardinals. Supposed to be tanking. Supposed to be rolling over. Supposed to be not performing in a way that looks competitive on the field. And for six weeks, they have been nothing but competitive.

And we were wrong about Jonathan Gannon that he had lost whatever is in that locker room. This team might have only one win, but this team looks prepared and they come for you and they're gunning for you. And they're in the games and they beat the Dallas Cowboys, which you're not supposed to do if you're tanking.

And then there's this. How many times did we say in the summer, in the spring, when we were assuming tanking was occurring, when DeAndre Hopkins is just let walk, and then we saw, hey, Colt McCoy, you're not starting. We're going to go take someone from someone else's franchise two weeks before the season had starred him. And Josh Dobbs has looked prepared and looked ready for the moment. But we thought one win at the six week point, two weeks away from the trade deadline, we would definitely start hearing how Kyler Murray is not ready to come back. And he wasn't going to play this year. So they could totally tank for Caleb Williams.

And guess whose window for practicing is opened up? And guess who's back? Kyler Murray! We're wrong about the Cardinals. They might be a one win team at the end and might be tanking later on. But we thought they'd be tanking throughout.

They're playing each game and they're bringing Kyler Murray back, which I don't think any of us saw. Number four, six weeks in, CJ Strad is the best rookie quarterback. No doubt.

I mean, no doubt. I know I didn't have you at five, but I had you at four. Well, at five, I said on the Overreaction Monday preview podcast that they would not have the worst record this year. OK, so I was wrong and you were right. Is that what you want to hear? Nope. OK, so CJ Stroud is the best rookie quarterback. Anthony Richardson's done for the year. Does he win this by default? Bryce Young hasn't won a game yet. Oh, no, he's been legit. It's not just a fault. It's just not like, yeah, he's two and four and he's got five, five touchdowns and three touchdowns and five interceptions.

That's the default. This kid's throwing. He's top five and passing three and three. Yeah.

And if the Jaguars lose tonight and they're on their bye week, they're flat out in this mix. Oh, yeah. He's only got one pick this year. He's been awesome.

He's been terrific. And that we know for sure. You know, with all due respect to Tyson Bajant and Aiden O'Connell. I hope those guys ball out to number three.

And I'm not just saying this because you accuse him of being my fourth son. After Baker Mayfield and Zander and Cooper rising. But Brock Brock Purdy was the right choice. I mean, now we know for sure. We know for sure.

Yeah. Brock Purdy was the right choice as Jimmy Garoppolo is hurt again. And Trey Lance got traded. Obviously, he hasn't had an opportunity to prove me wrong on this front.

But what the kids doing? And I understand the Browns had them all twisted up in a way that we haven't seen yet. But I can't again, I can't wait to talk to him later on in this program. Brock Purdy was the right choice.

I think we can make that just and just leave it at that. You see it. The eye test, the win column, everything else, the way that the team feels about him.

Number two on the list. I'm going to say this because I don't see how the sky's falling or trap doors opening here. And we saw enough last year to feel this way coming into the season. And the first six weeks of the season have confirmed that the Detroit Lions are for real. They are for real truth and everything. I'll say it again because I kind of dig the line.

Everything that Dan Campbell said in his introductory press conference is happening, except the cannibalism, you know, except the Hannibal Lecter. Yeah. Everything else they are having they have in the league for fava beans and an ice key. That's the only like this stuff. Right.

And I cover what I see every weekend, which is the Detroit Lions doing it. I'm done. I'm done. I got nothing.

It's a great movie. Keep rolling. You know what they're doing?

They're telling the rest of the league to put the lotion in the basket. Are they dancing to Goodbye Horses in their basement? Oh, God.

I might get a conversion van. Come on. The Lions are for real. Honestly, what's going to happen? What's going to happen that they're not for real?

A rash of injuries, just like would turn anybody that looks for real into not for real. If the Ravens punk them, do you feel a little bit different? I don't because I saw the Ravens with my own two eyes.

That's a tough assignment in Baltimore. They're not going to win every game. Lions aren't getting punked by anybody, I don't think. You know, I agree with that, too. The Lions are for real.

And then number one, I feel this way. You might feel otherwise, but number one through six weeks, the number one thing that we know for sure about the twenty twenty three NFL season, the Miami Dolphins have one of the best offenses of all time. They're the best in the NFL. But in terms of all time, they are that through six weeks, they are en fuego, to use DP's phrase, best in passing, best in running.

They are superb. And yes, even one of the best offenses of all time can be stopped like they were in Buffalo. And this weekend, another challenge against the Eagles. But they are schematically and athletically and all of it. Talented in a way that we have rarely seen in the NFL. Factual.

All of it together. I think we know this right now. The two thousand Rams are only in front of them in terms of points through six weeks and things of that. You're hearing about greatest show on turf all the time.

And the Miami Dolphins, TJ Jefferson, greatest show on surf and turf, as you said. Yes, sir. Marcus Rice. Well, make make sure that we trademark that just in case LeBron takes it like he did Pukadanchich from you. Sorry.

Long story short, those are my top five things that we know for sure about the NFL season. Love it. Through six weeks.

Do you think we need one? Oh, all right. We'll get one more. What? What?

Here's the one last one. The Cleveland Browns defense is fixed. That is fixed. And all the Browns fans that were saying this, that and the other thing about how their defense stinks and they hate their defensive coordinator, Joe Woods. Back in the day, they are using the Schwartz to use the Spaceballs phrase.

We're going to get that as a drop. Use the Schwartz. I see your Schwartz and what Jim Schwartz is doing with the guy on the left radio audience. It's Miles Garrett.

He's bad. That is a Hall of Famer who is smiling because he knows he's got the right mix and the right D.C. And with Deshaun Watson, by the way, Amari Cooper letting it be known that Watson was back at practice today. Oh, but without Nick Chubb, boy, do they need to lean on this side of the football. And that side of the football is leaning on people and that defense is fixed. So that's the other thing we know for sure about the twenty twenty three National Football League season.

Six weeks. I like that. Good start. Everything else is kind of, you know, arguing arguable or up in the air.

Kind of juggling. I think so. So that's my top five to start it off. What say you eight, four, four, two or four rich number to Donald, take some phone calls, but let's bring out Chris Mannix from our green room and talk some association. Let's go, baby. Yeah, we'll tip it off.

Let's do it. As we have just tipped off this edition of the Rich Eisen Show on the Roku Channel and your Ear Gate choice of listening. All right, we're back here on the Rich Eisen Show on the the Roku Channel. How much time do we're back on the radio?

How much time? Another minute. OK, so I say hello to you for the first of two times. Chris Mannix, how are you, sir? I'm good, man. Good to be here to see you. This is awesome. I'm excited.

So many storylines, right? I mean, we got it's great. You know, the east is top heavy, right?

And the west is pretty much expand. I didn't realize you had Chris Porzingis, his cousin. We do for you. I was in that original rap video. Cage's first. Your choice was Crips Kristaps, right? Kristaps, Kristaps was my first choice. He's checked up on Kristaps Brockman. But then then we got I got vetoed because Sarah's favorite player was Michael Cage, right? So it was it's all he's named after Cage is named after Michael Cage. He loved his curls.

He loved the Jerry Curls. All right. So we're here on the on the Roku Channel. And now we're going to be right back here on our radio, back on the Rich Eisen Show radio network, 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 click Grainger dot com or just stop by our friend from Sports Illustrated. And so much more.

Chris Mannix back here in studio, in person. I'm going to start with the question I get asked every time when the season begins. Is you jacked up? I mean, you're or you're just you inhale and then you exhale around June. Like what are your what are your thoughts before association season? I'm more excited about this season than I've been in any season I've covered to this point, because I think the parody is unprecedented in the NBA. Simply looking at the Western Conference, you have 12 teams that I count that believe they're not just play in type teams, but playoff teams that believe they belong in the top eight. The 13th team that I put there is going to be Houston.

And with Emei Yudoka in Houston, I think they're going to be a better team in the second half of the season. So I think it's going to be wildly competitive in the Western Conference, where like one minor injury could be the difference between a top four seed and a team being out of the playoffs altogether. And then the East is completely top heavy.

It's not it's not top heavy in the sense that there are only two teams that are any good. You've got teams like the 76ers, which we'll get into. Yeah, Knicks and Nets are good teams, but it's clearly a Boston, Milwaukee world in the Eastern Conference. And both those teams made significant moves in the offseason that upgrade them. Damian Lillard, obviously, big upgrade offensively from Milwaukee. I love how the Celtics responded by going to get Drew Holliday, who is not only a great defensive player and a winner, but is there anybody in the NBA that's going to be more motivated to play Milwaukee and defend Damian Lillard than Drew Holliday, who was just cast off from the Bucks?

So I think that series, if they get to in the postseason, that is going to be an all out fight. Yeah, I mean, and, you know, obviously Marcus smart being flipped for that is a brutal Boston accent. No, it's OK. I mean, Marcus smart. I mean, it's the greatest name in Boston sports history, right? Well, as opposed to no, no more. It's close. I thought about that as someone from Boston. Yes, it's close.

Like, no, my it's going to come out of me like I've gotten rid of it over the years. No, Mar was was phenomenal. That Saturday Night Live skit where it's Seth Meyers and Derek Jeter.

And it's the point counterpoint of Jeter sucks. And no, I don't wear the right to wear Seth Meyers. Seth Meyers yells no more into his ear over and over again is from I would think no more has the best. Yeah, that's the best Boston based name. Well, again, you sound like my wife.

Any time I try to do the Boston accent, she says exactly what you just said. Yeah. So Marcus smart. Yes. To flip him for Porzingis and then get Drew holiday to take smarts place.

Sounds like a stroke to me. What do you think about the Celtics roster? So the Celtics perimeter players are elites, right?

Like the move to get Drew holiday. You pair him with Derek White in the backcourt. That is now arguably the best defensive backcourt in the NBA. In a complete backcourt.

Guys can do a lot of different things organically. Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum are going to be better players this year. Tatum, I think, is going to be a top five MVP candidate. Jaylen Brown was second team all NBA last year. He has a chance to be first team this year after getting his contract and getting all that resolved. What worries me about the Celtics is the front line.

They've got two guys that are strong. You've got Kristaps Porzingis coming off perhaps the best season of his career. And Al Horford, who has been remarkably consistent when he wears a Boston uniform. He has other uniforms. He's a little bit different. But when he wears a Celtics uniform, he's really good.

My problem is that they don't have anything behind those guys right now. They pick up Wenya Gabriel, you know, a couple of weeks ago. And Wenya Gabriel is kind of the prototype for being regular season playable. He played 68 games for the Lakers last year.

Yeah. He played 10 in the playoffs. Averaged three minutes per game in the playoffs. That's the definition of a guy you can play in the regular season, but can't play in the postseason. You have Horford, who's 37 years old. You have Porzingis, who has been chronically injured throughout the course of his career. If one of those guys goes down with an injury, and that's not, you know, outside the realm of possibility. They don't have anybody they can turn to right now with that front line. So for me to believe the Celtics are truly the top team, not just in the East, but the entire NBA. I think there's one more move that needs to be made that adds a big man to that front line.

Okay. What's the move? Well, they've still got, and forgive me if I'm screwing this up a little, but they've still got, I think, a $6 million trade exception that they got with the Grant Williams deal. And they still have some draft capital that they can move.

I don't know who's out there right now that they can fit into that box, but I think before the trade deadline, they've got to get somebody there. Because like Porzingis, I love his talent. I've watched him in the preseason, not as closely as you have, because you're kind of a psycho with that.

But I've watched him in the preseason. And look, he's really good, and he fits in to what the Celtics want to do. But, and I've said this and I've written this, my concern with Porzingis coming off last season was he was effectively in a contract year. He was playing for a new deal last season with the Wizards. He was at times the number one option with that team, and at worst number two when Bradley Beal was out there on the floor. But the Celtics, he is going to be at best the third option. How does he adjust to that role? Is he going to be comfortable kind of camping out in different spots in the corner, not being a focal point of the offense? That's my big concern with Porzingis. If they get the same guy from last year, great deal.

Brilliant. They absolutely killed that trade. But I need to see it over the course of the regular season to believe it. Can he be that consistent rim protector that Boston hasn't had in the playoffs the last few years? I think he is a very good rim protector. I do worry about him if they decide to play minutes with Porzingis and Al Horford. You know, the idea of Porzingis defending the perimeter is a little worrisome for me. But as far as rim protection goes, I mean, the guy's 7'3". We've seen in the preseason he has been pretty good in that respect.

So yeah, I think he can be that guy in the middle. I think you'll see Boston stagger the minutes of Porzingis and Horford. Was Porzingis starting or Horford starting and one of those guys coming off the bench?

I don't think you'll see too much of Porzingis and Horford on the floor together. But Al, look, Al's probably, you've got to count Al for like 50 to 60 games at most during the season because he is 37. He's going to be 38 in the playoffs next year. You want him to be as fresh as humanly possible and that depth or lack thereof, that does worry me.

I've got Chris Mannix here in the Rich Eisen Show studio in advance of the association season. What's going on with James Harden? Good question because people in Philadelphia aren't, at least as recently as yesterday, are not entirely sure. Nobody believes that James Harden is happy. Nobody believes that he can kind of put this behind him and be fine playing.

What's the this that he's putting behind? His dissatisfaction with not getting what he wants and what he believes he was promised, which is a trade. He believes that when he opted into that contract that the 76ers were going to turn around and trade him. I believe the 76ers have tried and have been motivated to do a deal. But Daryl Morey's position, the GM of the Sixers, has been, look, we've got Joel Embiid. We've got Tyrese Maxey. We've got Tobias Harris in a contract year.

We have got a team that on paper should compete for a championship. We are not dealing James Harden for spare parts and we're not dealing James Harden unless we can get the draft capital in return that we can then package and flip ourselves for another quality player. So it's an impasse right now. We've all heard about the conversations that the Sixers have had with the Clippers.

Those are ongoing and they have happened recently, as recently as a couple of days ago. They're not close to a deal. The 76ers want Terrence Mann, the fifth year guard, who is a really exciting young player with the Clippers. And they want at least one first round draft pick, probably a pick swap with it. The Clippers have made it pretty clear they don't want to deal Terrence Mann.

And look for the Clippers. They're betting that the Sixers don't have another option out there. Right now there is no team that is bidding for James Harden. So the Clippers right now don't want to bid against themselves.

Which, everything makes sense. The one thing that doesn't make sense is that Maury would tell him, yeah we'll trade you. And then, and then he doesn't. And is surprised that James Harden tells the entirety of the Republic of China, I'm not playing anymore there. I mean like, what else are you expecting if you're saying, yeah you opt in, I'll trade you.

And then you start doing what he needs to do as a general manager, which is your due diligence. I take a little bit of a different take on this. Don't opt in then. James Harden had the opportunity to become a free agent. He chose not to. He chose not to because there was nobody out there that was going to pay him $35.6 million next year. There was nobody going to give him the kind of deal that he had. James Harden was coming off a really good year. Not the James Harden to Houston years.

But he averaged 21 points and he led the NBA in assists. Like, you should be able to go out and get a deal that is to your satisfaction. He couldn't and that's why he opted in. He kind of wanted his cake and he wanted to eat it too in this situation. I want the money and I want you to trade me to the city that I want to go to. He didn't say trade me anywhere.

He wanted to go to the Los Angeles Clippers and play there. So I don't really fault Daryl Maury for drawing a line in the sand saying, we're not just, you know, acquiescing to all this. Nor do I.

Nor do I. So did nobody explain to Harden, hey, if you opt in, they might actually keep you? I mean, he just thought, like, this is the association. I'm James Harden.

I've done this multiple times before. I've seen what other stars do. He has put on a master class in getting out of situations. I mean, he has been, I mean, Houston, Brooklyn, and now what he's trying to do in Philadelphia. I think this whole thing in Philadelphia is being handled so clunkily, like, right? So you've got him, you know, not going to media day, which was actually a two day holdout.

Showing up to training camp, participating for like a week, and now he's holding out again. I don't know who was advising James Harden on all this, but they are doing a bad job of it. They are not helping his situation by advising him to go in and dip out. Because the Sixers, from what I'm told, their resolve is pretty strong in all this. They are not going to be bullied into doing a deal. And they shouldn't be rich because, look, what did Damian Lillard and that situation teach us, right? In July, when Damian Lillard wanted to be traded, and the pressure on the Portland Trail Blazers was enormous, they didn't do it because they believed if they waited, something better would come along.

Well, they waited two and a half months, something better did come along. A deal with the Milwaukee Bucks that got them more than what they could have gotten from the Miami Heat. Now here you are in a very similar situation where you have a player that wants to be traded to a specific team. The Sixers don't want to do it. If they wait a month, two months, who knows what happens during the regular season. What if Miami gets off to a slow start?

Which is not, again, outside the realm of possibility. That is not really a great team down there in Miami, despite the fact that they went to the finals. What if they get off to a slow start? Would Miami be motivated to say, all right, Kyle Lowry plus two first round picks, plus a pick swap, and we'll take James Harden for the year? That's a better deal than what the Sixers are being offered right now. So I think waiting, even though it's going to make it very uncomfortable for a couple of months, is the right move for Philadelphia. But the uncomfortable would be him being there, right? Because isn't the collective bargaining agreement essentially rule out holdouts like this from now on? It always has ruled out holdout. The Ben Simmons situation is ironically happening to Philadelphia.

It's a comparison. Ben Simmons was fined more than $10 million, at least temporarily lost out on more than $10 million. James Harden is going to go through the same thing. I think it's like $390,000 he would lose out on for every preseason game he misses, every regular season game he misses.

And those fines will escalate from there. James Harden, even though he's been very good at this before, is not in the same situation. He doesn't have multiple years left on his contract to backstop him. He doesn't have the leverage of being one of the top five or ten best players in the game.

He's in his mid-thirties. He's on the last year of his deal. Really, look, James Harden doesn't need my advice, or maybe he does. But if I was advising James Harden, I would say, look, you're on a great team. That team could be great.

You were right there, 3-2 against the Celtics before you cratered in the conference semifinals. Go out there, play your butt off, be an All-Star this year, and you hit the open market next summer? You're going to be a two-year, three-year, $30 million per year type of player. Those numbers aren't outrageous for a guy like James Harden. That would be the most prudent move for James Harden right now. Chris Mannix here on the Rich Eisen Show. Let's dust for Prince on the Damian Lillard trade.

And how did it come about, best you can tell here? I mean, it's kind of what I was just referring to with the Harden stuff. I mean, the Blazers just waited.

And they just were patient and waited for the deal that got them what they believed was maximum value. Now, Milwaukee, you go back to early July, and Damian Lillard was not really on the radar of the Milwaukee Bucks. They had a disappointing exit in the playoffs in the first round to Miami. But you can chalk that up to Giannis getting hurt early in that series, and Miami just being kind of a team of destiny in a lot of ways.

The Bucks at that point were pretty comfortable at just going back into the season, running it back with largely the same group. Giannis still in his prime. But Giannis then said something totally out of character. Well, I mean, look, Giannis is emboldened. He's getting emboldened in his older years as he hits his late 20s. Giannis went out and in a couple of different interviews effectively said, we need to be a championship contender or I'm not going to sign the contract.

And we need to be on the level of my peers or I'm going to look somewhere else. And that certainly pushed John Horst and the Bucks front office in the direction of Damian Lillard. Damian Lillard, in addition to being a great player, one of the best point guards in the NBA, has a good relationship with Giannis.

She went to the All-Star Game of this past year, the draft, chosen first, chosen first. So there's an obvious affection from Giannis to Damian Lillard. And look, do they take a step back defensively with Damian Lillard?

Of course. But the biggest weakness in Milwaukee was half court offense last year. They couldn't get it done half court.

The numbers were pedestrian at best now. And I watched them. I was at the Lakers game the other night watching for the first seven, eight minutes of that game. Giannis and Lillard in the pick and roll is devastating. I don't know how you defend that if you're an NBA team. Do you come out and blitz Damian Lillard?

Okay. Then you've got a freight train and Giannis going to the basket. Do you leave Lillard alone coming off a screen? Well, you've got one of the most efficient three-point shooters in the game right now knocking down threes. It was the right move for them to make and the right move for Portland because look, right now, what they got out of it effectively was DeAndre Ayton and what is it now? Two first round draft picks, three first round draft picks. They also have Malcolm Brogdon who they don't need who they're eventually going to trade and Robert Williams who they really don't need and they're probably eventually going to trade. So the dust hasn't settled on this Damian Lillard trade for the Portland Trailblazers. They're still going to get more in exchange for him when they deal these other two veterans. So they could walk away theoretically with DeAndre Ayton who, despite the criticism, is still in his mid-20s and averaged 18 and 10 as a third option last year on the Phoenix Suns. They'll have a high-level all-star caliber center and perhaps as many as four or five first round picks in exchange for Lillard in today's market. That's really good.

That's a killer. And then the Suns are also a beneficiary of it too. Lillard out, eight and gone, and they made out very well in this trade too, right?

We'll see if the Suns benefit from this. I wrote a story in Sports Illustrated, the preview issue that's out right now, about how the sausage was made in Phoenix, how they came to this decision about going all in, really zigging when the rest of the NBA was zagging with all the spending that they did. At the time, Ayton was going to be a part of that group, and I believe that was the right decision to keep DeAndre Ayton around because they hire Frank Vogel. And what is Frank Vogel really good at?

He's really good at getting the most out of centers. He rehabilitated and resuscitated Roy Hibbert when they were in Indiana. Roy Hibbert became a big-time center when Frank Vogel was the head coach. He won a championship in LA with Dwight Howard playing center. He revived Dwight Howard temporarily in LA. I was interested to see how Frank Vogel would do with DeAndre Ayton, if you'd be able to connect with him in ways that Monty Williams could not. The Suns, though, what they elected to do was they sacrificed a star for depth. They got a lot of role players, Nasir Little, Grayson Allen, a bunch of guys that you could put out there on the floor, theoretically, in a playoff game. Maybe it works. I need to see it in action.

I need to see what it looks like. But I think without DeAndre Ayton, they lose something defensively in the middle. Jusuf Nurkic is not the player DeAndre Ayton is, and I think they lose a little bit more offense in that low post as well. And what about the ripple effect in Miami about not getting him?

And clearly Tyler Hero's got a chip or he's pissed or whatever. What do you think the ripple effect of not getting Lillard is on the Miami Heat off of that great season? It's tough. I don't want to sit here and say that Miami can't duplicate what they did last year because you never bet against that team. It's so cliche, but Eric Spolstra is the best coach in the NBA.

Jimmy Butler is one of the most clutch players in the NBA. Bam Adebayo is a monster, but they absorbed some tough losses. Like they lost Max Struce. They lost Gabe Vincent. Kyle Lowry is a year older.

Tyler Hero, what's his attitude? What's his mindset going to be after hearing all summer long that he was expendable for that team? This team got into the playoffs through the play-in and was a couple of shots away from losing one or both of these play-in games during that tournament.

Can they absorb the losses of Struce and Vincent and still be a high level team? The clock is ticking rich on Miami. Jimmy Butler is in his mid-thirties.

You don't have the luxury of being able to take kind of a gappy here. That's why I think Miami is the team to watch with both James Harden and other players. I think they'll be willing to do a deal that involves Kyle Lowry last year of his contract, maybe involves Tyler Hero, and involves whatever draft capital that they can afford to expend. Because their window to win is this year, maybe it's next year, and then you really can't count on Jimmy Butler being the same player. What other player other than Harden? I mean you can look north to Minnesota, to Carl Anthony Towns, and see that's a player everybody's watching. Teams like the Knicks are watching, the Nets are watching Carl Anthony Towns. What Minnesota wants to do this year is try to get all these guys on the floor at the same time. The Towns got hurt early last season. We never really saw what a Town's Rudy Gobert frontline would look like.

Maybe it's awful. There's certainly an argument you can make that it's not going to work too big on that level. But I think Anthony Edwards is going to have a breakout year. I think Anthony Edwards is going to be great. They've still got some veterans on that team, but if that team goes south and goes sideways, Carl Anthony Towns is the player worth watching approaching the trade deadline. And then one last on this, because it's the NBA, there's got to be a conspiracy theory. After the trade was completed, Lillard to the Bucks, that video of what we referred to at the NBA All-Star game of LeBron and Giannis going through the draft of choosing players, and Giannis chose Damian Lillard out of everybody. LeBron kind of made a comment like, oh yeah, that's kind of shocking. That's kind of surprising. And a lot of folks threw that out there as if LeBron, it was an open secret what Giannis was trying to do with Lillard on the block. Everyone's been talking about it for months. Was that really in play?

I think a lot of that. And Jimmy Butler had a video too. That's tongue in cheek. I mean, there's no such thing as player tampering in the NBA. The NBA cracks down. There's no such thing. The NBA, like I've had this conversation with NBA executives.

It's impossible to police it, right? These guys spend so much time around each other in the offseason. Many of them work out with the same trainer. Jason Tatum and Joel Embiid work out together with Drew Hanlon. Tyrese Maxey is in that mix. There's so many guys out there that are constantly co-mingling. The only thing the NBA cares about is teams and when they contact players and how they operate behind the scenes. They'll come down hard on that when it comes to player tampering.

It is the Wild West. When LeBron said that, it did sound like LeBron, like, I know what you're up to. Out of everyone here, no offense to Damian Lillard, but out of everyone, you choose Damian Lillard? I mean, LeBron, he's more subtle about it, but he's done the same thing over the years. I mean, look back at how he effusively praised Anthony Davis with the Pelicans. I don't think LeBron was serious about that. LeBron knows the score. He's been around this game too long. He's all in on it. Can I keep you to the end of the hour?

Yeah, anything more. Okay, great, because I want to talk Lakers, Clippers, and obviously Victor Wambunyama is going to start things off. This is going to be fun. He's not Kristaps Porzingis, I'll tell you that. I don't know how to take that. Because he thinks you're Kristaps Porzingis-Stans?

I have no choice. He's wearing number eight. He's going to wiggle.

It's going to be amazing. What do you mean he's going to wiggle? Oh, the Antoine Walker. That bothers me a little bit. A little shuffle.

A little shimmy. Manix gets it. Got it. Now I'm with you. All right, let's take a break. We're back with Chris Manix and more. The association's tipping off, folks. Back here on the Roku Channel.

Radio audience joins in in a couple of seconds. You think it's Anthony Edwards' breakout season you mentioned, Chris Manix? Who else is a breakout season, do you think, similar to that?

What do you like? Edwards for sure, because I just think Edwards is a superior talent. He is unbelievable. Is that what we saw in international play this summer, too? You see a lot of that.

The international game is a good place to look. Austin Reeves, another guy, I think is going to have... You think so. Austin Reeves, after the trade that sent Russell Westbrook out, or the trade, he averaged 17-18 points per game from then. So I think that's going to be a continuation off of last year. He's going to get the same kind of role in that rotation. They brought a lot of the same guys back. I think that's a guy to watch. I love that Gabe Vinson addition, too.

That's a sneaky, really good one here for the Lakers. Yeah, 3 and D kind of player. A guy that was a floor general for finals teams. You like Austin Reeves as a breakout. Who else? Anybody in the East that you like as a breakout?

I don't... I mean, can you call Ben Simmons a breakout player? Yeah, you can.

Hell yeah, you can. I'm watching him in the preseason, reading all the stuff about him, and I'm kind of buying back into Ben Simmons. You know, maybe not being the guy we saw as an All-NBA talent, Defensive Player of the Year candidate, but I think he can get back to 85-90% of that, and that's still a really good player, if you can get back to that. James Frady is. Okay, I like that. Are you just asking so you can take notes for fantasy next week? No, absolutely not. Chris... Hey, Ben Simmons could be a good fantasy player, too. I mean, he just kind of racks up a lot of numbers.

How dare you? I'm in this chair as a service to the listeners and viewers of this program, or just at this point, just the viewers of this program. I understand. You're asking for breakout guys, though, which sounds a lot like, who are the sleepers I should take in fantasy?

No, sorry. Just sit there and count your Chris Staps Porzingis load management days, okay, pal? Can't do that anymore, though, right? Because he's too young for that, right? Too young for load management. The NBA discovered this year that... Back here on the radio network, along with the Roku Channel feed, I was just accused of asking Chris Maddox on our Roku Channel audience by Chris, who's the breakout stars of the year, just trolling around for fantasy advice. It's ridiculous, sir. How dare you? He would never.

How dare you? He would never. The expectation level for Victor Wenbunyama is what, Chris Maddox? I had more modest expectations before the preseason started.

Then I'm watching him kind of do the stuff we saw last year in the European leagues. Was it last night or the other night? He nutmegged a guy when he went through the legs. Well, he dunked over somebody.

I saw a video. I don't know what the player was. You could mouth, like, oh, my God. Thomas Bryant, I think. Thomas Bryant. Yeah, he's just like, oh, my God. He started his ascent outside of the restricted area, which is ridiculous. And dunked over him. And dunked over him, yes. And he's like seven feet, isn't he? Yes, Thomas Bryant's the center, legit center. So, yeah, that was something. Him not making Reggie Bullock, though. I was like, this is the biggest man I've ever seen not make another man.

So you think this is it, right? Yeah, my preseason prediction for Rookie of the Year was Scoot Henderson because I assumed Lillard was going to get traded, and I figured he'd have a big role. And I watched a lot of Scoot playing for the G League night team this past season. And I think he's got a little bit of Westbrook in him, and he's just got a lot of talent. But watching, and I thought, Benyama, because he's not the strongest guy in the world, I thought there'd be a learning curve for him early on. He might get bullied early on. And he still might, but he looked great in some of these preseason games. Like, the skill level is there.

The comfort level is there. He has the most diverse skill set coupled with unique size that you'll ever see in the NBA. And I think he's going to hit the ground running this year.

I think I'd like to revise my prediction, if I could, to Victor Wenbyama for Rookie of the Year. I mean, I cannot wait to watch. I mean, he is going to be must-see TV. I will watch any game that he's playing just to see stuff like what we're talking about, physical freakishness, to see if he's freakier than Giannis, which we expect him to be, you know, and anyone else that we've seen. He's going to be, the Giannis comp gets made all the time, understandably. He's going to be very different, though, because there's a lot more finesse to Wenbyama's game than there was to Giannis early on. Giannis, it took, and maybe it's still taking, a number of years for him not, for him to be more than kind of the freight train going downhill.

A guy that is more, you know, power than finesse on the outside. Wenbyama is coming in making threes. Giannis is still working on his game to make threes. Wenbyama is playing off the dribble a lot more, almost as a de facto point guard.

There was one clip that made the rounds early in the preseason when he operated as the point guard, came up, made one pass, and then called for an alley-oop on a slice to the basket. I mean, he is going to reinvent the playbook in a lot of ways, because you're going to be able to do things with him that you've never been able to do with players of that size before. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum, you've got LeBron, the all-time leading scorer, in his dotage, we're assuming, in the NBA, your expectation level for him personally, and the Lakers writ large as well. I mean, look, LeBron last year, age 38 season, still 28 points, 7, 8 assists, those number kind of rebounds, he was still an all-NBA level guy. I think you'll see comparable numbers, maybe a bit dip in the scoring this year, but, you know, 25, 26 points, 7, 8 assists, 6, 7 rebounds. Defensively, he's not the same guy. Defensively, he's still, he's someone that you don't take advantage of him and he can still dial it up, but the guy that was one of the best defenders in the NBA for a number of years, that guy's probably not going to be there, but they don't need him to be there. What they need is Anthony Davis to be the most dominant guy on the floor more often than not. And I love what I've seen from Anthony Davis in this preseason. This was one of the first off-seasons in a while, Rich, that he's been able to go into the summer injury-free, where he's been able to go into the summer and say, look, I need to work on X, Y, and Z in my game.

I need to address this part of my body. He came in and looks a lot leaner than he did at this time last year. He looks sharper than he did this time last year. I think Anthony Davis is poised to have one of those New Orleans Pelicans types of seasons where we're talking about him as an MVP candidate. And what about the other stuff that's usually with LeBron, contract, end of season, end of career, what's going on with the roster? No, look, a lot of that stuff is...

It's already done? I just think a lot of that stuff has taken a back seat. I don't think, look, it's a different conversation about Bronny and if he gets drafted and where does he play. Obviously Bronny's got his own health to worry about right now.

And that's certainly a conversation for down the line. But whenever I talk to people around LeBron about his future, they say he likes living in LA. He likes playing in LA. And the Lakers have given him a supporting cast that is capable of winning a championship.

You look at this team, they're two or three deep at every position. Austin Reeves, I think, is going to be a breakout player this year. D'Angelo Russell kind of is what he is. He's not going to be the best defensive player. He's going to have nights where he's inefficient, but he is a solid top half of the NBA starting point guard. Rui Hashimoto spent the entire offseason working out with LeBron. Like he was his shadow this entire offseason.

That's going to pay dividends this summer. Torian Prince, a 3 and D guy, those guys traditionally play really well off of LeBron James. I think this team is deep.

I think it's strong. I mean, they've got some question marks up front when it comes to the center position. Like how many minutes is AD going to play at that five spot? But there's no reason to believe that this team, if healthy going into the playoffs, can't win a championship.

And of course, to channel my inner Michael Malone with two and a half minutes left in a 40-minute long appearance, which I greatly appreciate, Chris Maddox. I'm now asking about the defending champs after I talked about the Lakers. What are your expectations level for Jokic and the Nuggets?

Well, two things. One, I think they might get off to a bit of a sluggish start. I mean, they were able to celebrate this offseason, as they should. They won a championship. There might be a little bit of a championship hangover early on.

But I think until proven otherwise, until somebody steps up and shows otherwise, that's the team to beat in the NBA. Because, yeah, they had some losses. They lost Bruce Brown.

They lost Jeff Green. But that team has done a remarkable job of filling in those gaps with guys that they draft. Christian Brown out of Kansas in his second year is going to take a step forward. Julian Strother is a guy they just drafted. He looks like the next guy that they just struck gold on in the first round of this draft. They've got some other guys on that bench who didn't get opportunities last year.

Peyton Watson is one that I think are going to get opportunities and will thrive in those opportunities this year. I think Jamal Murray, one more year removed from an ACL injury, is going to be an all-star this season for the first time. And Jokic is still just 28.

That's unbelievable. I think he's going to be the best player in the NBA this year. So, again, to go back to the top of the conversation, it's wildly competitive in the Western Conference. There are probably, like I said, 12 teams that believe they're going to make the playoffs and probably six teams that believe they can win the West. So, you know, health is going to matter and, you know, inconsistency is going to matter. But right now, the Denver Nuggets are, I think, as strong as they were last year.

And if these guys develop as I expect them to, they could be even stronger than they were last year. 28 years old. He's 28. I could watch Jokic interviews all day long. Like, somebody asked him, like, was this the best summer of your life?

And he's like, no. Like, it wasn't long enough. Yeah, because he played too long. Yeah, he played too long.

Like, his concern was that he didn't have enough time to be off. Are we really not giving the Nuggets the respect they deserve? Because, Rich, as you said, 40 minutes in. No, I get it. And we just now mentioned the Nuggets.

No, no, no. We can't do the Nuggets no respect game. The Nuggets won a championship. They get respect. They get the respect they deserve. They are the best team right now in the NBA.

To me, there's no question about it. Again, I do think there'll be some bumps early on. These guys kind of work their way back into true top-level shape. But when we get to mid-season, you know, they'll be hitting their stride.

Chris Mannix, everybody here on the Rich Eisen Show. Got about a minute and a half to go. So, your prediction is what? What do you got for me? Championship, MVP.

Go for it. Denver out of the West. Okay. Milwaukee out of the East. And Denver by, right now.

Yes. Denver by the slightest of margins. That prediction could change once I see what Chris Middleton does. Chris Middleton has not played yet in the preseason. I don't believe he played against Oklahoma City. I didn't watch that game.

Yes. But he has not played in the preseason. He's coming off offseason knee surgery. He was injured all last year, or most of last year. If he can get back to the player he was two years ago, that could turn out to be the team to beat in the NBA. But until I see Chris Middleton fully healthy and able to play 60 plus games with Lloyd and Giannis, I have some questions about that. So, that means if the Nuggets go back to back, is Jokic the MVP again?

Oh, I think he's the MVP. Look, I think there'll be a lot of people that didn't vote for him last year that feel stupid about it. And then, you know, who voted for maybe Embiid and voted for somebody else.

Sure. That vote for him this year. If he puts up the kind of numbers he did last year, and Denver's a great team, he'll win MVP. All right, in the 30 seconds I have left as well, give me an off-the-wall Finals prediction. Off-the-wall Finals prediction. Philadelphia, with all its dysfunction, gets through it and gets to the NBA Finals. And... Suns?

What do you got? That's not off the wall. Oklahoma City gets to the Finals. And Oklahoma City, Philadelphia Finals is an off-the-wall prediction. Chris Mannix with an appearance on Sports Illustrated. Check out the crossover on Sports Illustrated and his boxing podcast on the volume. Albert Breer coming up.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-19 16:37:29 / 2023-10-19 17:00:26 / 23

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