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Brian Windhorst: State of the Lakers and the end of LeBron's career

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January 24, 2024 1:13 pm

Brian Windhorst: State of the Lakers and the end of LeBron's career

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen

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January 24, 2024 1:13 pm

Michigan alum Rich weighs in on the latest news about Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh possibly bolting Ann Arbor to coach the Los Angeles Chargers, and reacts to the Milwaukee Bucks surprisingly firing Adrian Griffin and replacing him with Doc Rivers. 

ESPN NBA Insider Brian Windhorst and Rich discuss the Bucks firing head coach Adrian Griffin despite being 2nd in the Eastern Conference standings, if Doc Rivers gives Milwaukee a better shot to win an NBA title this season, which teams could be buyers and sellers at the trade deadline, and LeBron James’ future with the Lakers as his career heads down the home stretch.

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Find out how to bring your ideas to life at dell.com slash welcome to now. There's no doubt in my mind that he has raised this franchise. Today's guests, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst, Fox Sports college football analyst Bruce Feldman, hosted pro football talk Mike Florio. And now, it's Rich Eisen. And our number one of this championship Wednesday edition of the Rich Eisen show is on the air. And by championship, I mean what the Milwaukee Bucks apparently think they're up to.

844204rich is the number to dial. Oh, and it's championship Sunday in the National Football League. The head coach of the Detroit Lions, Dan Campbell, just finished speaking.

John Harbaugh stepping to the podium right now. Lots going on in our world in this neighborhood. And we would love to talk with you, as I mentioned, 844204rich number to dial right here. We say hello to our Roku channel viewing audience, Sirius XM Odyssey and more. We also welcome in our terrestrial listening radio audience on this Rich Eisen show radio affiliate. We're thrilled to have you, our podcast listeners. Anybody out there who wants to take in all three hours of this show whenever you want to hear it.

It's available wherever you get your podcasts. Same thing with What the Football with Suzy Schuster and Amy Trask. Andrew Whitworth recorded that. They had him rank the top remaining pass rushes and top remaining quarterbacks in championship action coming up this weekend. Andrew Whitworth and Absolute Dynamite Listen all the time are over the reaction. Monday podcast Chris and I did on Monday still is as relevant as ever because we're still overreacting to things.

So check all that out. Good to see you over there, Chris Brockman. What's going on, sir?

Rich, not much, man. How are you? All right. Jason Fellers. Good to see you over there. I pulled in this morning and I saw Jay and I was like, oh, OK. Good to see you, TJ. How are you? I'm chilling, man. How are you guys?

Great. Well, I'm I'm on on pins and needles. I'm not going to lie. I believe today may be Jim Harbaugh day. I'm just getting the sense my ears to the ground. I hear I from I hear from a lot of people in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I know some folks here in Los Angeles as well. I'm I'm having a I've got that feeling. I've got that feeling.

Today is the day. I can feel it that we're going to hear from Jim Harbaugh one way or another. I'm I'm hearing he's he hasn't decided. He may be within striking distance of a contract. With the Chargers, according to Mike. Mike Garofalo of NFL Network, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talks, joining us in hour number three.

And this thing may have popped by then. And I also hear from some friends and involved in. A certain national championship football program that Jim is still talking to Michigan to. And at some point, leverage, I just and by the way, bless him, whatever, whatever makes Jim, whatever makes you happy. That's that's where I'm landing on that.

And because leaning towards one way of happiness. Well, I mean, listen, I I could I will totally understand it if he's like, hey, the Chargers offered me a gajillion dollars. And yes, Michigan offered me a gajillion dollars, but I hung the banner in my in my alma mater's stadium. And I will always come back and look at that and be part of it. And when the Chargers visit Detroit, I'll stop by and say hi. Take everyone for cheeseburgers, you know, wink, nod, you know, hey, this is what I did. I hung this banner, that flag you'll see on top of Michigan Stadium where I was a starter once upon a time.

That's that's something I put up there with Team 144. And and for that, I am eternally grateful. I mean, Susie and I took the kids and one of our nephews, Jack, to the Rose Bowl and watch that all play out in front of us. Retired Nick Saban, who knew at the time I couldn't be more ecstatic. But if he comes back and says, I want more on my OK, let's let's saddle up, because this guy has definitely helped crack a code that it seems so many other coaches in college football are either having trouble cracking or are trying to figure out, just like Michigan figured out what the last three years are and and bless him if he says the Lombardi trophy and the chase of it and going to a league where there's actual rules surrounding free agency, you know, doesn't appeal to me as much as it does to go back home to Michigan, then I'd be ecstatic to whatever makes him happy.

I want him happy. I want to do you want to know it's not in your script, sir, because I'll tell you there's one thing that there's one thing that both everybody says to me on either side of this equation. It all boils down to you think, yeah, I think so. And then it's like, really? And they're like, with Jim, you never know.

Honestly, every everybody says that at the very end with Jim. You never know. Man drinks whole milk.

You can't try to figure out anything now. Now, did he used to did he not used to drink whole milk because, you know, the cows are lazy animals. You know what I mean? Like, you know, honestly, once upon a time, he doesn't eat chicken because it's a nervous bird. Now you're hearing how players stop buying a spot in Ann Arbor and see him feed chickens in his backyard.

No one knows. But it works. It's kind of crazy works. I love it's crazy. I love it. Yeah. You can't deny that wherever he goes, he wins and he turns places around. Yes.

And then he kind of has a weird exit. And then that's where we're at. You know who had that? Parcells. Yeah. And I think it was Albert Breer who's kind of routinely called him the modern day Parcells.

And I kind of think that's spot on. So and you can't blame the Chargers either. Can't blame the Chargers. Hey, Justin Herbert's in his second contract. So we got to go. We got to figure out how to fill out a roster with now a second contract for our quarterback as opposed to his rookie deal. And who better to figure out this equation than somebody who who did it at the collegiate level. And you're seeing all these coaches potentially want to get out of college football. Because who knows how this world works. So I'm I'm I'm I'm like a chicken.

I'm a nervous bird sitting here right now waiting for my end. And I see Sharon Moore trending on Twitter X Twitter and I hit it thinking, OK, so what happened is Harbaugh decided because Sharon Moore is definitely in the mind's eye of Wolverines. The clearer choice to succeed, Jim, if he does, in fact, go to the pros because he's the one who took over the program last second in Penn State. And obviously got through the trap game in Maryland before beating Ohio State. And keeping that winning streak alive and putting Michigan in the college football playoffs as the one seed and then dialing up a whole bunch of plays in the Rose Bowl.

I hadn't seen them run all year long and then taking care of business in the. National championship game on the offensive side of the football football when everything came down to it because the defense kept him in a game. And it seems that if Jim goes to the Chargers, he's taking defensive coordinator Jesse Minter with him. And if Jim stays, Jesse Minter may say, I want to go to the pros. Look at what Mike McDonald, his predecessor, is doing. He's in the national I mean, the American the American Football Conference championship game. He's the one who's going to have to try to crack them a home's code this weekend. The defensive coordinator who's also interviewing for jobs in the NFL and the Packers just fired Joe Barry, as many Packers fans were pounding the table for for much of December and early January. They need a defensive coordinator.

Look, there's a lot of pieces up in the air. But the one thing that I do know about Michigan season is, one, it made me very happy. And two, it's made Ohio State apparently spend like sailors on shore leave to keep their team. There's an article in today's Wall Street Journal that says the Ohio State Buckeye.

Collective. Amassing and spending millions of dollars to put a roster together for the Ohio State University. The headline was Michigan won a national title.

This team is spending to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's the headline in the Wall Street Journal. And Bruce Feldman strolling into the studio. By the way, I'm not joking. That's a good headline.

Yeah. The great Bruce Feldman in his usual Wednesday spot will stop in here. And maybe just maybe Jim Harbaugh will make his announcement as Bruce is sitting here. First up, though, is is Brian Windhorst.

We're getting windy on a zoom. I love it. Because I'll tell you this. You know, when you're 30 and 13 as a head coach in the NBA. I mean, winning 30 of your first 43 games.

And you kind of got to think you're safe in your job, you know. Right. Eighty two game season just past the halfway point in terms of number of games played and you're 17 up.

You know, 500. Not as good as Brockman Celtics, though, in terms of a record. But you got Giannis and Damian Lillard and it's all working.

And hey. Adrian Griffin, you're fired. What?

That's the look actually right there on his face. What? Say what? Excuse me. I'm I'm now dismissed.

I mean, I'm not laughing. And that watch bomb happened, I think, in the very last segment of our show yesterday. We were just the middle of talking to Andrew Whitworth, who I don't believe is an expert on Milwaukee Bucks basketball. So we just let that ride and decided, let's talk about it today, because maybe they'll have named a new coach by then. And it appears it's going to be Doc Rivers. Doc, having a Belichick Jets head coach tenure is the broadcaster of the moment sitting between Doris Burke and Mike Breen. So Doc is finalizing a deal to become the Bucks head coach and somewhat of a homecoming for the kid from Chicago.

Just up the toll road. He's you know, he's he played his college ball at Marquette. And now he is the guy to potentially track crack a code in Milwaukee that he was not able to do with Embiid and Harden and and Maxie last year. And obviously with Ben Simmons before that in Philadelphia. And then, as T.J., you know, on the other side of your rooting coin with the Clippers. Where he did a remarkable job leading that team through the Donald Sterling disaster.

That is true. And and then having all sorts of issues, trying to win that fourth game in a playoff series when they're up three games to one every year. Some type of weird injury. So we'll see how Doc does with this gig. And, you know, it's kind of interesting.

I'm searching. This is what I want to know from Brian Winhorse. Why? Because, you know, watching last night's Lakers Clippers game on Turner, you know, Chris Haynes was all over the story from Turner. Didn't really give a specific reason other than just a new voice that the organization needed a new voice.

And as you know, they don't kind of. Care about paying somebody for not coaching them, because this is going to be when they hire Doc officially third current coach on their payroll, because they bounced Coach Budd with years left on his contract in June and then hired Griffin in the left. Let him coach for forty three games. And now here comes Doc. That's three coaches on a payroll.

I guess is Aaron Rodgers saying coming out of his darkness therapy saying, well, I got to how much of that is on my tab. One is the minority owner. One percent. Yeah.

So I honestly and then, you know, you read it. Well, they're defensive. Right.

Prowess is less than or they're there. They had a fall off on defense. Well, when you trade away Drew Holliday, don't you think that's going to have an effect?

Right. I mean, and then you hear what Giannis and and Lillard kind of weren't into this guy anymore. And if Giannis isn't into him anymore, then guess what's going to happen? That's going to probably filter up to ownership. Pardon me, governorship.

And that's going to lead to Doc Rivers rotations, some late game stuff. I don't know. People can. People said you could see it on the court. You're hearing that. You're having trouble beating Indiana. You hear it. But Indiana went in the in the in the play in and recently.

So wait a minute. So the play in tournament had an issue with the basketball. I think so. Right. With Giannis wanting the basketball. And now the play in tournament is the ripple effect of actually costing the coach a job.

It's possible. In season, not play in season. The play in season. Right. The in season tournament. Pardon me.

So yes, I'm searching for an answer. I'm sure Adrian Griffin is as well. And, you know, I you don't really see that 30 and 13 kind of unprecedented. Well, I think Mo Cheeks got bounced in Philadelphia after 50 games one year. The name I saw yesterday, David Blatt member in 2016 with the Cavs. And then they get to Ron Loo and then win it all.

Correct. OK, so now they figure let's get Doc Rivers and try and win it all. You can see it going poorly. Let's just cut bait now and try to regroup. I mean, three and a half behind the Celtics.

Second best record in the NBA. I don't I don't I don't understand it. This is like a this is like an NHL move. Yes. You know what I mean?

Like this is wild. Yeah. Well, what's their winning? What's the actual I don't know the math. What is the actual winning percentage? I'm trying to put it into like football terms. Oh, for these guys? Yeah.

Like what it would be. It's like six ninety eight, 70 percent. OK, so 70 percent of your games. So that's like taking a seven and three coach of and just firing, firing them.

In the NFL, you've won seven of your first 10 games, you're four up seven and three, probably put you right in the mix for your divisional race unless you're dealing with an undefeated team at the top. I don't know. It's just weird. And I don't have an answer, but I'm about to get one. Eight four four two or four rich numbers. I have a power rankings. Oh, Mike Hoskins texted this idea to me this very morning. And I'm like, sold.

I love it. Power rankings that can single handedly send their team to the Super Bowl. Players that can single handedly sell, send their team to the Super Bowl this week. And I've got 10 of them and I will rank them because that's what you do when you power rank people. Oh, is that how that works? Yeah. Oh, gosh. And feel free to start heckling me now because you might not like this list. Oh, you know, I don't heckle that much. Yes, you do.

No, I really you're an underrated heckler. By the way, write that one down. If you want me to.

That's a great. I don't know. No, I don't. I don't. I don't. I don't. I don't appreciate it.

You should do that. Eight for four to four rich hits. Do that hockey. And that's what the Bucks. That's what the Bucks basically said. We're going to treat you like a hockey coach.

What is going to see you later? They say hockey. Let's do that.

One of the best SNL sports sketches ever for Chance the Rapper as a fill in hockey correspondent for the US Network. All right. We'll take a break.

Eight for four to four rich number to dial. Let's get Brian Windhorst on here. I need answers. You want. I demand the truth and I can handle it.

That's next. This is the Rich Eisen show. Welcome to talk about all the ultimate small rewatch podcast. Karen, what you got?

Hi, guys. Karen from Australia with a quick question with season three talisman. That knife wound was so powerful. Tom, what was it like to do that scene with John as your director?

It's great that I was with those people, because when your eyes are closed and someone is supposed to stab you in the chest, you have to really trust that they're not going to hurt you. So I was in good hands with John. Jump in now or catch up on any of the past seasons of Talkville on YouTube or wherever you listen. Well, then, there's some big news that hit just now.

John Stewart's back as the host of the Daily Show. Really? Yeah. Oh, wow. Yeah.

How about that? Roy Wood Jr. was mouthing the words hire a host behind higher right behind Trevor Noah as he was collecting the Emmy Award for the Daily Show. Oh, wow. John Stewart is back. For the election season. I mean, so he's just in time to bring some sanity, I guess. I don't know.

But he just he just tweeted, friends, after much reflection, I've decided to enter the transfer portal for my last year of eligibility. Excited for the future. Five, seven ish. Yeah. One sixty five. Fourteen point eight. Second forty. So I can get him. Oh, you got him.

Second. Hashtag blessed. Hashtag NIL, baby. Hashtag TDS nation. The Daily Show nation. And hashtag you'll love this. TJ LFG M. What does that stand for? Let's F and go Mets.

Let's go. John Stewart, a real host. In a host spot in a spot where truth telling needs to be told. In a funny manner. Oh, God, that is just a delightful piece of news. He must have also broken the Viacom Bank. I don't know. It's Viacom. Is that old? Is that or I don't know what it is anymore. Paramount Bank, the Paramount Bank, Viacom back in his old days.

Honestly, he ain't coming cheap. He. Oh, my gosh. So he's going to host Monday nights. That's it. Seems like it. Good enough.

Starting when does it. Let me just click. OK.

Squad goals. Yes, indeed. He is truly one of the best ever at doing a hosting job.

Amazing. Back on the Rich Eisen Show, sitting at the Rich Eisen Show desk. Furnished by Granger with supplies and solutions for every industry. Granger has the right product for you.

Call click Granger dot com or just stop by. I need answers about what in the world happened in Milwaukee and what's going on with the association. As we are just past the halfway point in terms of games played of a remarkable NBA season. And he is one of the best from ESPN. Brian Winhorse, the ESPN senior NBA writer.

And so much more back on the program. Great to see you, Brian. Hey, Rich, how's it going? I'm good.

Why? Why did the Bucks do what they did with Adrian Griffin? Yeah, they just kind of got to a point where they felt that they he wasn't going to get into a position to give them the best chance to win.

That sounds like a I even hate saying it that way, but it was, I think, just that simple. I think really, if I could get down to brass tacks, they realized pretty quick that maybe Adrian was in a little bit over his head. And look, if he had three years, maybe he would end up being a really good head coach. They didn't have three years. This team is built to win now, especially with Dane Willard's age and the pressures on the organization in terms of just, you know, in the NBA right now, it's hard to maintain your level with the rules are in place.

They just didn't have time. And it was really apparent to, you know, anybody in the league who was paying attention that that team was floundering a little bit. I know their record is very good, but nobody looked at them and said that is a serious contender for a title because you can't be a serious contender the way that they were playing.

And so I think they were hoping that he would get into the season and he would sort of grow into the job. And instead, the opposite was happening, which they were getting worse on defense. I just you can't take a team seriously. I know we're in the modern era where everybody scores one hundred and thirty points. And, you know, you're not supposed to worry about your defensive numbers, but you're an unserious contender if you're a bottom ten defensive team. It just the history says that you can't you can't fight that. And they've been a bottom three defensive team over the last three or so weeks. It was getting worse and not better. And so the move that this reminds me of is, well, got eight years ago now when the Cavs fired David Blatt.

And I even looked it up. The Cavs fired David Blatt on January 22nd. Griffin was that go January 23rd. The Cavs were eleven or thirty and eleven.

The Bucks are thirty and thirteen. And at the time, it seemed a little bit crazy. But if you were around that Cavs team, you would know that Blatt just wasn't the guy for the for the job and not to.

This is not a personal situation on Adrian Griffin. He was not the guy for the job. And when they fired Mike Buttenholzer, they had the option of going with a more proven coach. They elected not to. They elected to go with the first time head coach. That was a gamble.

That gamble didn't work. And so they've pivoted pretty hard. They sure did.

They sure have. So before we get to the doc part of it, what what so the symptoms you're saying that were that made it up to the suite of the governorship is just the defense or how much came from the players in your estimation? There was there was a couple of things going on.

Number one, they completely lost their defensive identity. And one of the reasons was was because they didn't have a system in place. Now, Mike Buttenholzer was the definition of a system coach. He he almost sort of come hell or high water was like, we're going to play my system no matter what. He taught it in October.

He taught it in May. He played the exact same system with very little variance. It was annoying at times because he was one of these guys who believed in protecting the middle at all costs and giving up threes. And there would be games where they'd get toasted from the outside. Teams would make thirty five threes against them and they'd be sitting there protecting the inside.

And you'd be like, what are you doing over there, bud? But his he had they had great fundamental defense. They won a championship playing great fundamental defense. And so when Adrian Griffin came in, he didn't have a system. And not only that, like he literally like six or seven games of the system publicly announced he was changing the way they played defense because the players didn't like it. And whether the players like it or not, you either believe in your system or not. And he didn't have a system he believed in because he was he was flopping around on it. And Giannis repeatedly, I think three or four times, talked about the lack of organization and questioned the strategy.

And when you're doing that publicly, you know, you can debate whether or not a player should be doing that. But it was very clear that they didn't feel like they had that organization. And to me, you know, the thing about it was it was a red flag when Terry Stotts, who was a longtime NBA coach, longtime NBA head coach.

He resigned as as lead assistant before the start of the season. And I'm not saying that's why it didn't work. Like I'm not saying if Terry Stotts had been there, that they would all of a sudden be a much better team. But when that happens, when you're looking at a team that could be a championship winner, it's just a huge red flag. You know, you know that there's something going on there. So it's uncomfortable. But the Bucks, you know, in a lot of ways, Rich, I respect it because it's them saying, look, status quo isn't going to get it done.

And if we're going to go down, we're not going to go down without taking action. That's what they did. So how does Doc fix it?

Why Doc? Well, the first thing he's got to do is he's got to get them an identity defensively. And one of the big challenges is when they hired Adrian Griffin, and this actually again reminds me of David Blatt. When they hired David Blatt, the Cavs didn't have LeBron James or Kevin Love. And then a month after he was hired, they had LeBron James and Kevin Love.

And it was like, oh, this is a different team. But when they hired Adrian Griffin, they still had a lot of really good defensive pieces and parts. And they had a good defensive concept. Then they make the Dame Willard trade. And the end result of that trade, they get, frankly, one of the weaker perimeter defenders in the league. Now, he's an unbelievable offensive player, one of the great scorers we've ever seen. But like, he was already replacing a really good defensive coach under some pressure.

And they replaced him with, they replaced the roster a lot. And so he just didn't have a defensive tool. So now Doc has got to try to figure out how they can play defense with what they've got. Because they have a team that is designed very poor in the perimeter. Right now in the NBA, Rich, if you don't have size on their perimeter, you're in trouble. Because you go down and look at how big the NBA is and how the lead scorers of each team. I mean, if you're in the Eastern Conference, you're thinking, how do we deal with Jason Tatum and Jalen Brown? How do we deal with that size? How do we deal with the size of Joel Embiid? How do we deal with the size and physicality of some of the great players, the great wing scorers? Even in the West, if you make it all the way to the Finals again, they are not equipped to do that.

So Doc, he definitely brings more experience and will command respect in the room. But that's going to be a challenge. And it's also going to be a question about, will they look to try to figure out a way to do something with the roster to get some more defense in? Because even though they're 30 and 13, they don't win games by outplaying opponents. They win games by outscoring opponents. And that's only going to take you so far.

And everybody is very well aware of that. OK, Brian Windhorst. Brian Windhorst in the Hoop Collective is his pod.

Of course, ESPN is the spot where you can see him right here on the Rich Eisen Show for the moment. So let me go in the trade deadline direction. What are you hearing right now? Not just specifically Milwaukee. We've already seen two trades because Toronto is selling off some players.

What do you have for me on that front, Brian? Yeah, so I think one of the teams people are keeping a very close eye on right now is the Atlanta Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks are underperforming and they have shown some interest in talking about some of the players on their roster, particularly De'Jaunte Murray. Murray has been an all-star in the past. He's under a long-term contract, and it's deemed to be a reasonable contract for his talent level. He's a guy who can play both ends of the court. He's a guy that a lot of contending teams are interested in. So there's a lot of interest in whether De'Jaunte going to a contending team could tip the balance of power.

So they are one of the hot spots to keep an eye on. And then you obviously always have the Lakers. The Lakers are once again at midseason about.500 like they were a year ago. And once again sniffing around to see if they can make a move. It's actually kind of remarkable how similar the situation is. They're in a better state than they were last year.

In my view, they're much deeper and they have much more versatility. But they're still underachieving. And so Rob Palenka is looking to see if he can find a way to improve that roster.

So they're out there scavenging and trying to find it. And of course, the Lakers and the Hawks, two teams looking to do business, have talked. But there's other teams out there interested. I mean, I think the Golden State Warriors are a big question mark. Do they stick with this roster and try to sort of go against the grain when it looks like that this team has maybe run its course?

Do they keep this core together and wait until the summer to address it? Do they look to do something at the deadline to try to give them another chance? They've got a $400 million dollar paywall, Rich, when you include their luxury taxes. $400 million. And they've got Chris Paul's contract, $36 million. They've got some first round picks that they have available. They have some young players.

They actually have some pieces that they could go out into the market with. The question is, is there a move for them that is actually productive as opposed to just hoping that their guys regain some of the form that they had two years ago? That's a tough question.

You could ask 10 different people and get 10 different answers of people in the league. So I think there's some other teams that will try to improve around the edges. I think you'll see the Knicks are definitely, you know, they've already made one significant trade with Oji Ananobi. I think they're looking to maybe make a supplemental acquisition. You know, there are still some teams that are going to do some things. I don't know if we're going to see any giant names move like we've gotten used to the last few trade deadlines when James Harden and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have moved around. I'm not sure we're going to see anything of that level. But I do think we'll still seek a handful of trades from the contenders.

Brian Winhorse, you're on the Rich Eisen Show. Let's revisit the Lakers again because it just seems like they are on a little bit of a treadmill after winning the in-season tournament with a couple of games in Vegas that made us all think, well, there it is. That's it. We could see that maybe from April through June as opposed to just two games, maybe over two months, that's possible. But they just seem to be on a treadmill where they'll win a couple and then just go back to the same old, same old, where we're wondering where the championship quality is, Brian. What is going on there and how does that affect LeBron's future? Yeah, they're a little bit maddening, I can imagine, for their executives because the team that they put together at the end of last season, they defended like crazy. They were the number one or two defensive team after the trade deadline last year. And some of the players they brought in also could do some things offensively. They were like, man, that's a team. A concept of having two future Hall of Famers, LeBron and AD, and a defensive first team. I'm not saying they would ever move into leading contender to win the title, but that's something you can do some damage with. And then you watched how they played in the in-season tournament.

And it wasn't just the games in Vegas, Rich. They crushed in that tournament. LeBron turned it up. Because we had to pay attention to scoring differential because that was a tiebreaker. The Lakers were the scoring differential leader by like 50 points, not 50. They were the leader by 50 points.

They dominated that whole event. And so if you're their front office, you're saying this is our team. We defend, we get AD and LeBron playing well, but we are now 40 plus games into the season. And I think AD has missed four or five games.

LeBron's missed maybe three. They haven't had injuries to their stars. Those guys have been there and they're not getting the wins. And in the last couple of weeks, they've actually even gotten some really good play from D'Angelo Russell, who's been a guy who's been a disappointment this year. They re-signed him instead of like letting him walk and maybe trying to go find another guard. They re-signed him and he was in a terrible slump. He was out of the starting lineup.

He's come back to the starting lineup over the last couple of weeks and been awesome. Put up some huge performances and they've had a very favorable portion of schedule and they're still basically 500. So I think they're a little bit stuttered by the thing that their team is operating in a significant way like they wanted to. And it's not producing results when that team has produced results in the past.

So there's not an easy answer here. And when you ask about LeBron, LeBron is 39 years old. He has an option in his contract and his son might be in the draft. I think there's a good chance his son is going to come to the draft. He has said he wants to play with his son.

These are all facts. I really can't see LeBron not being in L.A. That said, he has never been on a one year contract with the Lakers. He has always extended. I think he's been there six years and he's extended his contract. He's signed three different contracts.

He's extended repeatedly. He is clearly leaving that option there. Not because he necessarily wants to leave, but because I think he just wants to have flexibility.

He wants to see what happens. And that's a reality the Lakers have to grapple with. Regardless of what LeBron's contract is, he's 39. When he retires or moves on, whatever, he's not replaceable. Like, yeah, they're the Lakers. People are going to want to play there. He's an unreplaceable resource. So even if he was signed to contract for five years, they still would have the pressure of dealing with a 39-year-old who they need to try to take advantage of.

And I guess there is, I mean, let's just go there. The way that they handled Kobe's end of his career and how that kind of cap strung them on occasion. But they wanted to have Kobe there. And I'm wondering if they'll do the same thing with LeBron. Although, I don't know how much longer LeBron wants to play.

Is it just one year with his kid? I mean, is there anything to inform all this? Because that not only informs what they do at the trade deadline, it's what they do in the draft. It's what they do for next year. And who knows, Brian? I mean, that's big.

Yeah, there's a ton of unanswerable questions there. You know, one, the Lakers don't even know if they're going to have their draft pick this year. There's this weird thing that the Pelicans have. The Pelicans have the option, and I think the deadline is like June 1st or something like that. The Pelicans have the option of either taking the Lakers pick this year or next year. And obviously, it's going to depend on where the Lakers pick ends up. Like, are they going to miss the playoffs and be a lottery team? Are they going to get lucky in the lottery?

It's unprotected, by the way. Even if it gets unlucky, if the Lakers miss the playoffs and it gets lottery luck, the Pelicans can take it. So, I don't even know. Like, forget about whether or not you think the Lakers should draft Bronny James or anybody should draft Bronny James. The Lakers don't even know as they operate today whether they're going to have a draft pick in this year's draft.

So, that's one complication. Second complication is, I do think that LeBron could play multiple more years in the league. And also, he's under contract for $50 million. His option for next year is $50 million, 5-0. I know the man is wealthy, but $50 million is not nothing. So, you know, maybe he wants to play with his son, but maybe his son gets drafted by a team that says, Yeah, LeBron, you can come play here, but we've got $10 million. That's what we've got. Like, they don't have, you know, salary cap space. Is he honestly going to leave that kind of money on the table to move?

I can't see that, but, you know, I don't know. Maybe Bryant James doesn't get drafted at all. Maybe the best thing for Bronny is to go to a team where he can develop, not a team with LeBron on it, where he would, you know, there would be a totally different set of circumstances.

There's a ton of different things. All I can tell you is the Lakers are coming in under expectations right now. LeBron is 39. LeBron has an option in his contract. The Lakers don't know whether they're going to have their draft pick. I don't know what's going to happen with Bronny James, whether he's in the draft or not. And if he's in the draft, I don't know where he's going to take him. I don't know how strong and important it is for him to play with LeBron Jr. in 24-25.

These are all unanswered questions, and that was what makes this kind of a fascinating thing to watch. No doubt. So just to put a point on it, based on what you said, it's possible it could come down to LeBron staying with the Lakers, comes down to the Lakers drafting Bronny, because that's what's obviously, and it makes total sense that LeBron would want to do that before, you know, moving on to the next part of his life.

In a weird way, Rich, I know that this sounds counterintuitive. The better Bronny plays at USC, the harder it might be to play with him. And the reason is because if he had a brilliant season this year, and he becomes, because, you know, Jonathan Gavone, who's at ESPN, our guy who evaluates draft picks, he's awesome at his job. And go look at his mock drafts.

He nails the mock drafts. Maybe not a year out, but certainly in the, you know, and he thought that Bronny, before his terrible event last summer, he thought Bronny could be a lottery pick. Well, if Bronny's potentially a lottery pick, the Lakers might not have a shot at him. If Bronny looks like more of a project and he slides into the second round, it becomes much more feasible for the Lakers to acquire him. And frankly, if he doesn't get drafted at all, which I think he's going to get drafted, but like if he doesn't get drafted at all, Lakers could just sign him. In a strange way, obviously LeBron wants Bronny to have a great season at USC, but if Bronny goes later in the draft, it becomes easier for the Lakers to acquire him, and this becomes a cleaner process.

It's counterintuitive, but it's one of the other facets that's just fascinating about the situation. And yet they may not have a draft pick to use on him because of the Anthony Davis trade? At least the first round. Is that what that's from? The Pelicans? That's right. Wow. Okay. That's right. What a wild scenario. Oh my goodness, Brian.

But there's lots more basketball to be played. Love chatting with you. Thanks for the time, Brian. Truly appreciate it. Thank you, Rich.

Look for more of my texts and Zoom requests. All right. Take care, man. Enjoy this weekend. Thanks, bud. Appreciate it.

At Winhorse DSPN. And I just want to say this too, because everything that we just discussed, because obviously LeBron James's status here in Los Angeles is huge on a million fronts. And I mean like millions of dollars for businesses in the area that are thriving because the Lakers are thriving. And, you know, certainly when the Clippers are moving to their own place in the city of Champions, Inglewood, California. And so the reason why I just want to say this is LeBron may not be thinking of any of this at all, because it's all about what he wants best for his son.

If his son balls out and he's a lottery pick somewhere else, then LeBron will just play against him when the Lakers see this kid. Ball out. He might just be sitting there going, don't even worry about what I want. It's about what you want. And here we are saying, well, maybe better. And here we are speculating our heads off. And certainly when it's a kid coming back from a heart incident, like go ball out, you know, Bronny, figure out the rest down the road, you know, because that's not fair to the kid.

Let him do whatever he wants to do and be whoever he wants to be. And that I would bet you dollars to donuts is LeBron's entire mantra when it comes to him. And if they can play together, wouldn't that be a dream? So but the fact is that if the Lakers need a draft pick in the first round to get him to make all this happen and they don't have it because they went and they got Anthony Davis years ago. Can you imagine that that is the scenario that prevents this from playing out? We talk about all these trades where it's like the picks are seven years down the road and you don't think it is.

You don't pay it any mind at the time. And now here it is coming to roost, possibly eight, four, four, two or four. Rich number to dial. We'll take your phone calls when we come back right here on The Rich Eisen Show.

Oh, my son's talking right now in Baltimore. Play game with Chris Brockman and Mike Del Tufo over there where I will read out the facts. They will guess whether it's true meta or false meta and then you will confirm. OK, let's do it.

Here we go. The Rich Eisen Show presents real meta. Or fake meta.

I wore number 37 for the Lakers because Michael Jackson's album Thriller was number one on the Billboard charts for 37 consecutive weeks. True meta. No way. No way. Fake meta. That is 100 percent true.

That's true. I knew it was 37 weeks, but I wouldn't guess. All right. Next one right before his comeback with the Wizards. I broke I broke two of Michael Jordan's ribs in a pickup game and delayed his comeback by three months. I was so upset about it.

I didn't leave my house for days. True meta or fake meta? I think that's true. I'm saying true.

That's true. I love Michael Jordan. One of my probably my favorite player. You broke his ribs. It was on accident. It was a summertime pickup game and it was an intense game.

In 2010, an art show honoring me was held in Toronto, Canada, entitled Lovable Badass. False. True.

That's true. Last one. Last one.

In 2010, I was cited for driving a race car with an expired registration down a city street. True meta or fake meta? Based on his reaction, I'm going to say true. I got to go true, too. I get you.

That's true. It was an Indy 500 car. It was fun. How did you fit in that thing? I didn't really fit. I was real like this and hitting the gas in my one little pinky toes. By the way, the city was Westwood back here on The Rich Eisen Show.

844-204-rich, number to dial. All right. Anything from you gents that Winhorse said surprised you? You were talking to Chris early on in the program that reminds you of David Blatt in Cleveland, where they fired him 41 games in. Yeah, I had no idea the actual similarities one day apart and the record was virtually the same.

Kind of wild. And he said that Blatt was hired before they got Kevin Love and LeBron. Oh, different story. So that made sense at the time. This one, it's like you knew what you had. And I guess they thought, let's go with the young guy and the young way of doing it and his first time doing it. And he'll either get it or learn on the job. And apparently he didn't get it and wasn't learning fast enough on the job. So out in comes Doc.

Just I guess also just to keep it, you know, all encompassing in what we're seeing in our world these days. That's why you've got to sit here and wonder, OK, let's go with the hot coordinator. I mean, in the NFL or we're just going to or or, you know, the Falcons and the Chargers, you got Harbaugh and you got Vrabel and you got Belichick or you got a whole bunch of these. You know, hot coordinators, Ben Johnson, let's wait around and see what the Lions do.

Let's talk to Bobby Slowik. Let's talk to you know, I mean, they just hired Brian Callahan in Tennessee. I mean, they may get it.

They may learn on the job and eventually get it. But if you're the Chargers, you're going to you're going to you're going to put that in the hands of let's see who can figure it out. Atlanta just did that with Arthur Smith and you know, and it's not like he couldn't figure it out. I don't know if it just was a fit or they just lost patience. Get out. So I'm just saying he got Belichick or you got known commodities.

You go with the known commodities have done it. And that's the thing with Doc Rivers. He's he's really good at coaching superstars and managing those type of massive egos. And that's what he's going to come in here and do in Milwaukee. And there's no doubt he's going to have success. It's when he gets to the playoffs, can he make the game to game adjustments?

Can he figure out the X's and O's in the in a tight series? And that's what he struggled with, with Philly and the Clippers. I mean, you're the Philly Clipper guy.

You want to chime in? I mean, at this particular time, I don't really think he's speaking any lies right now. What he said is pretty accurate. You know, again, you can't always I'm of the belief you can't always put everything on the coach, because like I said, with the Clippers, Chris, Chris Paul's hamstring. Paul George is this broken fingers, you know, me, you know, injuries, injuries. So, you know, you can't put everything always on the coach. But by the way, the Paul George is this is just the entire Clipper. Run. Yeah, but that has Doc had nothing to do with Doc was already gone, you know what I'm saying?

So the injuries that always seem to crop up. But I wish him success. Yeah, I can't.

Good for you, too. Yeah. You two guys are like the party is like, oh, and the party is like, OK, we'll see you. Because right now he's coming between the two of us right now. I don't see in the playoffs because they're going to make it.

They're going to be one of the top three seeds and then we'll see what happens. Robby in Memphis, Tennessee, you're here in the Richardson show. What's up, Robbie?

What's going on, Rich? What's on your mind? This super excited for this weekend, man. I'm going to be making my way out to California for the NFC championship game. Oh, OK.

This would be like, I think, the eighth time I've seen the 49ers play, but it'd be the first time I've ever actually been to a home game. OK. So I'm excited for that. Get you making the commitment. You're committed. I like it. Of course, I'm committed.

I've always been committed. I was actually at the game earlier this season when they came off the bye against Jacksonville in Florida. Hey, that's when that's when Robbie, you know, that's when it was all up in the air, man. They're coming off of their bye three game losing streak, sitting on their bye on a three game losing streak, you know, where they look terrible in Cleveland, where Purdy actually did lead them to a chance to win it with no time left and they missed a kick. The Minnesota game was a disaster, you know, just to name two. And then they came off the bye and they punked Jacksonville.

And I think they they they found something. And thanks for the call. Good luck. Enjoy the game, man. Enjoy the game.

You bet it. I mean, that's where things turned in that Jacksonville in the north. They went in until the Ravens came to town and just hit them in the mouth and drew significant blood.

And that's something that we'll be thinking about if both one seeds advance on Sunday, we'll have two weeks to chop that one up and see how it could be different. But there is a team that is in San Francisco from Detroit that has their own ideas in mind. Dan Campbell had this to say about the thing they need to stop. And it's kind of obvious and obviously he knows what he's talking about. You got to stop the run because if you don't, they'll they'll rush for 250 on you and then they won't even worry about passing. Pretty does a hell of a job. You know, they throw a lot of daggers move the field.

He does a hell of a job with touch, timing, rhythm. But we have to stop this run game. It just has to start there as much as you can. You have to try to make this team one dimensional.

That's not easy to do. You know, this would be an outstanding test for us, but it's one we're ready for. So we're built to handle this. And this is going to be just be an outstanding game on the road. Our guys can be ready to roll.

I love it. Hey, the issue with making them one dimensional by taking away the run game is because they're multi-dimensional in the run game, not just scheme, but with Debo in the mix, too. That is so huge today. Today, we're supposed to find out a better chance if it's going to be a coin flip on Sunday or worse, or maybe even better. That's the thing, because they're multi-dimensional in the run game. You don't know where McCaffrey is going to line up and and get a toss and or or find a seam, get a crack, get a crease, because it's not just, you know, I mean, with all due respect to Elijah Mitchell, it's 23. That's who's going to be running it. It's either 23 or 19.

And if there's no 19, it's just 23 that makes it a little bit less of a conundrum for them. But you can hear like this is Dan Campbell. He's probably saying it 20 times an hour to that defensive staff and the room just getting their minds right about stopping this run and then stop the run on the way to try and get Purdy off the spot and then out of his rhythm. That's part of our world heading to our to Bruce Feldman in studio. You know, I mean, that that is that is.

Our first, I guess, chewing into the X's and O's here. And we all know about the Jimmy's and Joe's on that. Offensive team in in in San Francisco, but no Debo that is that is that is one million percent.

The question of the moment is it is he up or down? And, you know, Irv said he spoke to Debo the next day after the win over the Packers. And he said Debo said he could hardly lift his arm the last time that he sat out with that shoulder injury. This time it's better. It's not as bad. And we also know at least the shoulder is not broken.

So I'm sure he's going to be out there. It's just how effective is I get it. You know, I don't know what it is. I know that he was top pointing to the top of his shoulder at one point when they had cut away. That's an AC joint. I know because I suffered that injury at the Pro Bowl years ago. I was able to go to my left hand with the handheld mic the rest of the week. I fought through it. I was questionable for a couple of broadcasts. What happened? Yes, it did.

Yeah. Ray Lewis and and and Rod Woodson had me hit me at the tackling dummy. And then Rod, like Lucy, let go of the bag. I thought I was going to run right into it.

He let it go. And I went through it and I landed right on my shoulder. And then I'm on the on the beach about five minutes later.

I'm like, damn, I can't lift my arm. So, yes, I'm like Debo. You don't know. I'm a coin flip.

It's basically what I'm saying. How wrestling really works and how you get the ratings. Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson explain on 83 weeks. I mean, I dig Jay Uso because he's born out of great storytelling and he lived up to the opportunity and exceeded it.

The LA Knight, he's way up on my list because here's a guy that's been around for almost ever. Should have probably quit a half a dozen times. And he just forced his way into their life. And now he's making money hand over fist. That is a story I love. 83 weeks on YouTube or wherever you listen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 14:26:20 / 2024-01-24 14:48:21 / 22

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