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Steve Aschburner: Going To Be A LeBron James Off-Season Filled With Drama

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen
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April 30, 2024 3:35 pm

Steve Aschburner: Going To Be A LeBron James Off-Season Filled With Drama

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen

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April 30, 2024 3:35 pm

4/30/24 - Hour 1

Guest host Tom Pelissero and the guy's debate if it’s time for LeBron James and the Lakers to part ways.’s Steve Aschburner and Tom discuss LeBron’s murky future in Los Angeles, the Phoenix Suns’ season that went down in flames, the rise of the Minnesota Timberwolves despite off-court ownership drama, and how Kristaps Porzingis’ injury could impact the Boston Celtics’ title hopes.

Tom puts on his NFL Insider cap and answers NFL Draft questions about the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers and other teams.

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This is the Rich Eisen Show with guest host Tom Pelissero. You said the first item up for bids involved the Bears. Live from the Rich Eisen Show studio in Los Angeles.

Caleb's first game in Roma D'unze and the Bears faithful showing up, maybe you put them in Detroit. Today's guests, Senior Writer for, Steve Ashburner, ESPN Staff Writer Dan Murphy, Free Agent Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry, NFL Network Insider Ian Rappaport. And now, sitting in for Rich, it's Tom Pelissero.

Welcome in to the Rich Eisen List Show. I am Tom Pelissero back in my favorite seat in television right here in studio with my boys DJ Jefferson, Chris Brockman, Mike Diltufo. Great to see you guys.

Live and in the flesh. I mean, I saw you last week in Detroit. It's true, it's true.

It hasn't been that long, but it's been a while since I've been right here. We've got a packed show for you today. We've got Steve Ashburner from going to join us, break down all the tentacles of everything happening right now in the NBA. Kevin Durant's out. LeBron is out.

We'll get into all of that. Jarvis Landry, five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, going to join the show as well. He's going to try out at the Jaguars rookie camp this weekend after being out last season. A lot to get into with Jarvis, including all those LSU guys who once again went in the first round.

Why is that not enough for the Tigers to be a factor in the national playoff race? We'll talk to him. Ian Rappaport going to be on the show as well. We're also going to get into the story. Dan Murphy, one of their staff writers, is going to join the show talking about what could be progress toward a massive shift in the landscape of college athletics, settling one of the major lawsuits right now that is holding some things up in terms of athletes getting paid.

But I want to start out. We'll talk plenty of NFL throughout the course of the show. I'm now into the real offseason, which is post draft, and the Lakers, also in the real offseason. I sense the pall over the studio this morning. A lot of deep, deep sadness among you guys.

Del Tufo was pouring one out for a Laker flag, Laker car flags. May they rest in peace for the next nine months. Look, man.

You know, watch this show. No, there's no real sadness. There's no sadness, T.J., and you know what? That was the joke. It's Denver's world, and we're just living in it, man. Nuggies.

Don't you explain that again with those nuggies. I wouldn't say inevitable. You'd call in an upset in the next round against the T-Wolves? If you watch the Timberwolves right now, and the Nuggets trailed most of that series against the Lakers, I don't know that you look at the Nuggets as being an invincible team, do you? Do you remember what made it happen last night on a strained calf?

Were they losing the whole series, or were they just, you know... Going through the paces, knowing that this is going to be easy enough. Going through the motions, and then with five minutes to go, we'll turn it on and beat you.

I mean, you've got the absolute... I mean, that was LeBron fighting for his life last night, and in Game 4, too. This was not a, hey, I know I'm done.

This is a, I know I've only got so many shots at this. He wouldn't say after the game exactly what the future was. There's a lot of...let's play, actually, LeBron last night. He's asked about his future with the Lakers and in the NBA. Let's go ahead and play that right now. Couldn't be any closer to when you just got off the floor, but have you given any initial thoughts of what comes next this summer or for next season?

Nah, I just want to get home to the family, honestly. Start looking at the schedule, obviously. One of my boys is just trying to decide if he's going to enter the draft or go back to school. I've got another kid that's playing A.U. ball right now.

My daughter is playing volleyball, and my wife is doing so many great things, so it's about family right now. Then in a couple months, I've got to go to Vegas for training camp, so I've got to rest my body for USAB, but that's kind of the initial thoughts. Tonight, was there any thought at all that this could have been your last game with the Lakers?

I'm not going to answer that. First of all, I don't believe for a second LeBron has not thought about the future. Everything in his entire adult life has been calculated in terms of where he's going to be playing. Everyone knew he was going to the Lakers a year in advance.

The decision was on national TV. He's 100 percent figured out what he wants to do. The Bronny James component in this I find fascinating for a variety of reasons. For one, I know he had the heart condition, he missed time, he came back, wasn't necessarily himself. He averaged a couple points a game, right, in his college season? Mostly a role player, just kind of finding his way out there.

Just lucky to be out there, I think, to be honest. But then, you know, a lot of people have thoughts on him. I mean, LeBron didn't do him any favors by saying, look, he's better than X amount of players in the league right now.

It's like, okay, but it's a big question, Mark. If you're the Lakers, are you going down this road for another three years? It's a max extension for LeBron James. You don't know if he's got three years left, but if you're going to bring him back, say he opts out of his contract, which based on the people who actually report on the NBA, which is not me, sounds likely that it goes that direction. Do you bring him back, draft his son, and think the product that you saw on the court during the playoffs and throughout the course of the season when you're a, what, 43-45 win team, and then get into the playoffs and get the Nuggets a run but weren't able to go over the top.

Do you go further and double down on an old roster? Anthony Davis has locked up for like four more years. Do you double down on that and give LeBron the kid? Or if you're the Lakers at some point, do you just say, we're good? You're still the Lakers. You're going to be the biggest story in the NBA. We're going to be talking about whether you have LeBron or not. Do you go down there from a competitive basketball-only standpoint? Do you continue to double down on it and say, if LeBron wants me back, we want him back?

I mean, Tom, that's such an excellent question. You know, when Kobe got his big money, created a little bit of controversy, right? Some people were like, yeah, we're giving this for everything he's done and accomplished for us. But other fans are looking at this like, wow, this is going to like handcuff us going forward. And it did for a few years.

So that's an excellent question. We've never seen a player at this age do the things that LeBron's capable of doing. And look, does he have three more years in him? I wouldn't bet against him. I don't know about this high. Look, he had a great season for a 39-year-old player.

We've never seen somebody put numbers up like this before. But you're right, three more years? Man, you're risking a lot by doing that. And I'm glad I don't have to make the decision. Are they serious about winning? That's the question. Or are they just comfortable with, it's LeBron James, it's the show. Or do they want the star power and the show and all the headlines that go with it? See, Chris, I'm glad you said that, bro.

That's the two questions. Because that's how I feel about the Cowboys, as you know, right now. Sometimes I'm like, are they really that concerned about winning? Or do we like the fact that we're the most valuable franchise and we're the lead block on every show, whether we deserve to or not, and the prestige.

So what you said, I think is very accurate. The Lakers gave Kobe Bryant all that money in the last two years of his career, and you know what it got him? 38 combined wins in two years. Are the Lakers serious?

I would say they've probably maxed out as good as they can be. Look, they made the Western Conference Finals last year. Seems like that was kind of a fluke. And so in the other years, first round exits.

Or not making... Or they didn't make it at all. If you're the Cowboys, you at least can say you're taking strides forward. Now, they play an abysmal game at home against the Packers in the playoffs last year. But at least you can say from Mike McCarthy's first year through last season, in terms of the win total, in terms of the level at which Dak is playing, Mike McCarthy calling the plays last year, Dak got that much better. It was a complete disaster from every angle in the playoff game.

There's nothing you can do about it. But it's not like the Lakers got out here and they'd won 60 games and then lost in five in the playoffs. No, this was a team that was limping toward the playoffs and then go out in five games, gave the Nuggets a hard time, but still weren't able to close those games. It's hard, I think, when you're talking about building winning franchises here to mix in the idea of, like you guys said, the branding aspect of it. Are you happy that, well, no matter what, we put the star on somebody's helmet, they're going to be able to make all the marketing money, we're going to be highly valuable, we're going to be the centerpiece of the show all the time. The Lakers are always going to be the centerpiece of the show. If they go into a rebuild, are they on national TV lists?

Sure. Is every single show talking about them like we are right now every single day? Maybe not to that same degree. I think that something has to change for the Lakers. It's all likely that it involves Darvin Ham no longer being the head coach.

That's the simplest solution, but I don't know that that fixes. Getting rid of Darvin Ham doesn't suddenly make LeBron James into Benjamin Button, and he starts getting younger and playing better. That's not going to help D'Angelo Russell make a shot, like getting rid of the coach. Did you see D'Angelo Russell's comments after the game last night?

No. Hell of a season for D'Angelo. Went third person.

Hell of a season. Said as long as, and I'm paraphrasing only slightly here, it's as long as my family and my family and friends texted me saying what a great job I did, that's all I need. Oh. So that's good. I mean, I guess in the big scheme of things he's right, but in the sports world scheme of things, the Rich Agent Show's ratings are tanking, but you know what?

Rich's family and friends are saying you're doing a good job, champ. Great job. That's all the... Great jacket, Tom. You know what I mean?

That's all that really matters. You like that one day, Tom? I do. You guys like the casual jackets. I thought about going suit. No, I actually got to go over to the NFL Network and be on TV tonight.

Love the casual jackets. But I figured you wouldn't like it. No, we're not a suit show, Tom.

And on top of that, there was also, I got so much flack from you guys, I think I was on for what, 15 minutes or so in Detroit? Oh, that's... This was about not wearing socks. I am wearing socks.

That's my question. You got socks today? They're just the... They're low socks. They're low socks.

But also the inseam in the jeans is not as aggressive as the inseam in my suits. I'm not going to play or hate, but I think the bigger issue was the inseam of your pants. Like it wasn't that you weren't wearing socks, it's that we were seeing a lot of ankle and a lot of like high ankle. You know what I mean? Like if you had a high ankle sprain, we would have seen the bruise, the brace.

We would have seen everything. My suit guys would tell you I don't have the highest inseam either. Like if they had their way, you would see even when I'm standing more, you'd see just a little bit of ankle. I like the pants to at least touch the top of the shoe if I'm standing.

I don't like the high water, basically capri look. We're not digging clams in the summer, Mike. But when I said, you're going to get a little bit of leg. I think that that's fair. I don't think that that's the worst thing.

Maybe a pre-draft spray tan would have been something you could have just penciled in there. You know what I mean? There is that issue of, because right now this is very, I got makeup here at the studio. This is very natural. When I do it myself, which is if I'm on TV 200 days a year, 180 days, I'm on my home cam in my basement and it's me going, and we're done. That's it.

That's the extent of the effort that I put into it. But also I can tell I use the same, whatever, foundation slash powder every time, regardless of the time of year. So in the winter, I'm changing my entire skin tone because it's the same stuff I would wear in the summer, which I initially had when I started NFL Network in July of 2017. They matched the makeup to that. And that was not the right look by December at all.

So I like downgraded by one spot, but it's still off. And there's one camera guy, Steve Van Osdale in Minneapolis, who his big thing is always Tom, meaning before I go on TV, I have to take the makeup and put it on my hands because when I'm holding the microphone, it doesn't look too bad right now, when I'm holding the microphone, you will get a white hand with a different colored face. So maybe the trick last week would have been? Get someone to do the ankles. A little makeup on the ankles. I think CeCe would have had a problem with that. Can you also get down there and just do the ankles?

I need about the mid-calf because I tend to cross my legs on this show. There was a lot that happened in that draft week, man. For all the talk about the trades that could happen up at the top, we didn't get a ton of those. They happened more so later on in round one and then at the top of the second round, which is a phenomenon that's really taken place over the last handful of years here when I went to the three-day draft to really extend this thing and make sure 800,000 people are in the streets of Detroit, which was awesome. It was very cool, especially because when the draft actually begins, I'm on it all day leading up to it. I'm not on during the actual draft. So I'm leaving right as everybody's pushing forward, like this is the Metallica Guns N' Roses tour in 1992, and they're shoving forward and making sure that they're up front because Axl's voice goes out after 20 minutes because he's been sucking down Marlboro's and drinking scotch right up until he goes on stage and do a knocking on heaven's door. I leave right then. So I get to just watch it from afar. I know that it was a little complicated for people to get out, for even the people who are on our draft broadcast to get back to the hotel.

But it was very cool. But part of the phenomenon that's happened since they went to that three-day draft is everybody gets to recalibrate after round one. And I had a GM calling me on Friday morning and complained about it, just saying like, the old school people are used to how it used to be, which was you were ready to roll through three rounds, so you just kept going. Now the thinking is the GMs who aren't as prepared, the teams who aren't as prepared, get this time to go, OK, now what do we do? They only have to think through 32 picks on the first night.

So what do you see? 33, the pick is made by the Panthers, but then 34, there's a trade, and 35, there's a trade because teams are sitting there looking at their board and going, OK, here's where our strategy is going to be. But we didn't get the trades up at the top.

And I want to dig into this later on in the show because there's so many stories. Six quarterbacks in the first 12 picks never happened before. I believe that six picks, I said it on this show in Detroit, I believe that six quarterbacks were going to go in round one.

Realistically, it seemed unlikely they'd all be off the board by number 12. But every single one of those picks, there's a story behind it, and the conversations that took place, and the way that they scouted that position. I do want to get into all that as we roll along in the show. We've got a lot more NFL content to come as well. We've got Jarvis Landry again, he's going to come up on the show. He's great breaking everything down around the NFL. Ian Rapport also will be here. So some tales from the NFL draft that was in 2024, last week in Detroit. We'll get into all of that. But let's resume the NBA conversation on the other side of this with somebody who knows a lot more than me, quite frankly.

Steve Ashburner, longtime NBA writer, He joins the Rich Eisen Show right after this. Steve, welcome to the show.

Our house is a mess. Come on in. I'm Amber Wallin, internet comedian and host of your new favorite podcast, Fly on the Wallin. That's pretty presumptuous to assume that this is going to be their favorite podcast, by the way. Anyway, that wasp that you just heard interrupt me is my husband. And co-host Benjamin Wallin.

Listen in as we discuss relationships and keeping our sweet baby kid alive. Fly on the Wallin, wherever you listen. I don't know if you're aware, but you going to Yale was brought up on Game 2 of the NBA Finals. No way. Yes, because? Was it the part where the Cavs were really losing at the end? No, it's not that. It's not that, no. It's that Jeff Van Gundy, who was on the broadcast, said he went to school with you.

No way. In a class. Do you? Sorry, Jeff, don't remember you. You weren't that memorable.

Oops. You don't remember Jeff Van Gundy in class? I'm afraid I don't. I'm afraid I don't.

Because the reverse is true. Oh, that's great. Yeah? Yeah, I know.

So your phone wasn't lighting up from friends saying? No, I wish I'd seen it. I wish I'd seen him.

I would have been able to see his face and maybe, you know. Well, I mean, I think we could, can we bring up a picture of Jeff Van Gundy? I don't know, so just stroll down memory lane here.

The one in the middle is Jeff Van Gundy. Does that ring a bell to you? That rings no bell whatsoever. I'm so sorry, Jeff.

No class reunions at all with Dean Jody Foster and Jeff Van Gundy. Okay. We noticed you mentioned on the air that you were classmates with Jody Foster at Yale. Yeah, and then you cheap-shotted me afterwards.

No, I don't know. I don't know about cheap- You brought her on and just saying total indifference to my existence in the world. It was a setup. I mean, our freshman year, there was 12 guys on the floor. We all threw in $100 and said, hey, the first guy that gets a date with Jody Foster, you win the money.

I'm coming back from the gym in the early fall and there's a candy shop right outside the big quad for freshmen. The popcorn is popping. It smells great. And from behind me, someone goes, man, that popcorn smells good. And I turn around and it's her. And I totally choke and I say, yeah, yeah. And I run to my dorm. I was scared.

I was intimidated by her. Welcome back to the Rich Eisen Show Radio Network. I am 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 or just stop by. If you have not noticed, I'm not Rich Eisen. I am Tom Pellicero in for Rich today. Do we know what Rich is doing?

Rich is in New York. Roku new front. New front.

Ooh. A new front, not an up front? Streaming, it's new front. We were explaining that yesterday. Why is it not just still up front?

Not in charge, Tom. I don't know what the phrasing is. That's what we're calling it.

That's what we were told. I mean, a new front isn't a thing. An up front is a thing.

No. Like it's a word. New front is a thing. It's a thing now. But new front is not a word. It is now.

Why not? It's new front. Up front. Like I'm being up front with you.

Right. New, it's two words. It's a new front. It's a new front. It's here.

It's a front, Tom. Is it new spelled N-U? Ooh, that would be cool.

Like Roku? Or new metal? That's interesting.

That's a good question. The new front. I don't hate that.

I don't hate it either. Or the coup front? No?

The coup front? Anything? I don't hate that. No.

I like your N-U though. You were at, you mentioned this in the break. I brought up the Guns N' Roses Metallica Tour. I don't even remember what I was talking about or why.

I don't know where you pulled that from, by the way. But that's like my image if I'm thinking like the biggest concerts of all time. And I was not there. I was like 11 years old at the time, but you actually were there.

You saw that tour. 1982, Three Rivers Stadium. 92. Pittsburgh.

What did I say? Those were the days. 82. Oh, I said 82?

Guns N' Roses formed in like 85. I was not T.J. Wait a second.

It could have been 82. Shut up. It definitely was. Whoa. Whoa.

That was aggressive. But yeah, 1992, Three Rivers Stadium, Faith No More opened, Metallica, then Guns N' Roses. And it rained. It was great. I'm not a big concert person. And that was like the first rock concert I'd ever seen. But I'm one to go out on the limb and say that was probably the greatest concert I've ever seen in my life. Because every story is that Metallica played just forever. And they were opening, right?

Yeah. Before Guns N' Roses. Yeah, before Guns N' Roses. But then, yeah, Metallica, I guess was, they came second. But Guns N' Roses, they finished the show. So. But this is the two biggest bands on earth. Yeah. They beat, I don't know, Taylor Swift and another Taylor Swift.

I don't even know if there's going to be a second one that you put in the same category at the time. I did see that. I saw that tour as well. Steve Asperger joining the show right now. Ash, great to have you here. Great to see your face here on the Rich Eisen Show.

Last night, we talked about it at the top of the show. The Lakers are done. All the questions that arise out of this, just break down the totality of what the Lakers are facing right now with the future of LeBron, the future of Darvin Ham, the future of that entire team. Hi, Tom.

Thanks for having me on. Well, you know, it's a LeBron off-season, which is usually filled with as much or more drama than the regular season. You know, he has an option to come back and play for the Lakers next season.

I know that sort of made that question at the post-game presser mandatory. You have to at least try to test what the guy is thinking, but he's going to use that for leverage. He'll try to improve the roster, make sure that gets done. I would imagine if he's unhappy with Darvin Ham, we'll see a change there. If he's happy with Darvin Ham, then you keep the coach. He's at a point in his career where he's not going to wait for things to happen. He's going to use his leverage to make things happen. He's always been able to do it before.

No reason now, heading towards 40, that that would change. Where would he go, Ash? If it's not the Lakers, and if he decides at age 39, going on 40, he wants to continue to play, where else, if anywhere, would even make sense, and would it be doable for LeBron to go there? Well, if he were to leave, I think the smoothest PR landing he would have would be to go back to Cleveland. If Donovan Mitchell wants out of there, and LeBron could go back in there, and that is his team, his franchise, essentially, it's not seen when he went to Cleveland the last time. He was returning home, and it would be, I think, looked at that again the same way. It wouldn't be he's out stalking one more ring.

That would be... It could make some sense. I'm not paying any attention or any mind here to all the numbers and what would have to happen payroll-wise and this and that, but as far as him going somewhere, I heard it suggested on radio this morning that Philadelphia, to go play with Joel Embiid, might make sense if there was a way for the Lakers to get some fair return or at least some future by moving LeBron that way, or if LeBron just signed outright, I mean, I think Philadelphia could have enough money to set aside that need, so if he just didn't exercise his player option and went to a place like Philadelphia, I mean, has he played with a big, the caliber of Joel Embiid, another MVP? But I think other than that, I mean, you could see him in a Golden State or Dallas or somewhere like that, but I think it would be looked at a little bit like Kevin Durant's move to what Golden State was. Now, Golden State is not the same team it was that Kevin Durant jumped onto, but nonetheless, for LeBron to roll the dice on one of 30 or one of 29 other franchises and think that's where he's going to get his ring, I think there needs to be more to it than that. So the Lakers and LeBron decisions to make there. There's also decisions to make in Phoenix, they build a team that's around Kevin Durant and bringing in Bradley Beal, and obviously you've got Devin Booker there, to get swept and not even be particularly competitive, Ash, in a lot of that series against the Timberwolves.

You look at the way that their salary is set up here and the money that they've got committed. Where do the Suns go from here in this offseason? Well, and the lack of draft capital, the ability to improve and bring in some affordable contracts.

Yeah, it's a mess. They were built badly. I mean, it was sort of an old school kind of a build that reminded me of the first year of the Miami Heat super team, where they brought those guys in, but they really weren't prepared to pay for that right away. And so they ended up with a very thin bench, complementary players that didn't really complement, and they got the three stars in the door. But I think they had more maneuverability in Miami to flesh out that roster in the coming years. They made it to the finals that first year and then got beat by Dallas. And then they won a couple of championships after that. Dwayne Wade took a step back, and there was not that sort of fight for supremacy with the ball.

You know, Phoenix was just an old model, I think. I think they were reaching for something that didn't make sense even on paper, if you look at those three stars. I mean, Devin Booker, even Durant and Beal were saying, you know, he's got to be the guy.

He's our alpha. And Durant, obviously, is still a potent scorer, dangerous player, tough matchup. That made sense. But Bradley Beal, after the injuries he'd had, after the sort of one-dimensional career that he's had, it didn't fit well. And certainly, his salary, what's owed to him on his contract, does not fit well. Not having a point guard, it still matters. They talk about this as the positionless era, and we're supposed to pick all NBA teams that way.

Well, you know what? Point guards do matter. If you think of that roster with Chris Paul on it, as opposed to Beal or Booker trying to bring the ball up and organize the offense, you know, you do need somebody to say no as they like to say, to guys who are not as open or ready to receive the ball as they think they are.

I just think that that was bad roster construction, and, you know, Frank Vogel or somebody else might pay a price for that, but it really was a front office gaffe, the way they built that team. Steve Ashburner is with us, Senior Writer for Ash, the last time the Timberwolves won a playoff series, I was a part-timer at KFAN Radio in Minneapolis going to those games where they were facing the Kings and the Nuggets. That's 20 years ago. I believe you might have still been on the Star Tribune beat at that point, or you at least covered the team in that era. I mean, it has been forever since the Timberwolves were a relevant basketball team, but gosh, you watch them in that opening round series against the Suns. You watch Anthony Edwards almost single-handedly close them out in Game 4.

It seems like this is real. It seems like the way that they've put together that team. You talk roster construction and all the questions when they made the big trade for Rudy Gobert and how are he and the Karl-Anthony Towns going to coexist. It's working right now, and they've got some of the bright young stars in this league.

Yeah, no, Dan, it's a fun story. I was on the beat back in 2004 when they won their only two playoff series and then got beat in the Western Conference Finals. You know, until two nights ago, I was the only Minneapolis beat writer who had ever covered that team and had seen them win a series.

So I've suddenly got more company, and that's good. Yeah, you know, things change. I mean, I think that Rudy Gobert trade was properly criticized last year because of – yeah, we got at the period of adjustment and all, but whether you could make that work, you know, in today's game. And the jury was out until this season, and they did make it work. So kudos to them. They changed the narrative on that.

They took a negative and made it into a positive. Karl-Anthony Towns has accepted, and I'm not sure he had a ton of choice in this, but he accepted a role that's different from being the dominant, low-post, offensive-minded big. He's more of a complementary player now to open things up and to exploit some mismatches. Gobert's defense has proven real. You know, there are a lot of Victor Wemenyama backers who want him to immediately get the Defensive Player of the Year award, and I don't see that happening.

I think Rudy Gobert is going to win his fourth. His impact, his reputation dissuades a lot of guys from even going into the paint, and that can be as effective as swatting a shot. And Anthony Edwards, yeah, I mean, he's taken step by step. I think he still needs some maturity, but he's 22. He hasn't been as consistent. He certainly wasn't during the regular season. He didn't crack my MVP ballot because of that, but he's right on the fringe at sixth, seventh.

He's got all the skills, and he's got, I think, the will and the personality to be a real assassin out there. Great nature with media and, you know, the Timberwolves. And this happened before Tim Conley and the current regime, but they drafted him number one, and it was a very prescient pick. In classic T-Wolves fashion, there's always got to be some drama. I don't think many fans even have a concept of who actually owns the team at this point.

I mean, you've been around long enough that you remember when Glenn Taylor rescued the Timberwolves. They were selling them down the river, they were going to move to New Orleans, and somehow Glenn ends up keeping them around. Now, this has happened several times where he's pulled the plug on a deal at certain points. This one with Mark Lorre and A-Rod seems so far down the road, and then all of a sudden there's this terse two-paragraph statement of, they blew it, they missed the deadline, I still own the team. You know Glenn.

You know what makes him tick. How does this entire drama end? I think ultimately, and I know there's an arbitration process in place, and so that supposedly is going to have the final word.

I still somehow can't see this getting resolved without intervention from the league. I do know Glenn. In fact, when he saved the Timberwolves from moving to New Orleans, he did it at just the right time, because it looked like they were gone. I was covering that team. I went down to New Orleans to write several stories about the NBA returning to New Orleans, and I met my wife, the woman who would become my wife, and so instead of the team going all the way down the Mississippi, I brought her up to Mississippi, and had that deal never been flirted with, or if it had gone through more smoothly, that wouldn't have happened.

So I do owe a debt of gratitude to that aborted transaction. This one, look, Glenn Taylor is an affable fellow. He comes across as this unexpected accidental billionaire from Mankato, Minnesota. He is a tough businessman, and I've got to think that he's got a fleet of attorneys that have combed through the documents and found loopholes that he believes will keep that team in his hands. I think it's driven by the change in the valuation of that team since that agreement was entered into. It's allegedly doubled in value, and he's locked into 2021 prices, and I think it's also related to the fact that the team's doing well now, and he has bankrolled that team for a long time, 20 years in between playoff series victories, and at 83, he wants to enjoy some of this. Now, why these guys can't work out a deal between them, I don't know.

I understand. I mean, it's high finance, and it's above my pay grade for a lot of us. I mean, it's just buy popcorn and see multimillionaires or billionaires going against multimillionaires and billionaires.

I don't have an emotional favorite in this thing. You know, a deal's a deal, and yet there were clauses in there that there were certain deadlines that had to be met. I hear things on both sides. I don't think it's trickling down into the locker room or even the coaching ranks. I think that's so separate and for next season or beyond that it's not going to interfere with this postseason run, and then we'll see. I mean, we'll see in terms of what this team, based on where it finishes, has to do around the edges to improve, maybe go a step further. Maybe they won't have to go a step further. Maybe they'll be looking at defending and repeating. Timbrel's Nuggets, going to be a great series in the second round.

That opens up on Saturday. Before we let you go, Ash, Eastern Conference right now, Porzingis gets knocked up. That would be a real story. Gets nicked up last night. I got caught between a couple of different words right there. Porzingis nicked up in that game.

That one's going to make the rounds on social media. When you look at the East right now, if Porzingis has to miss any significant time, how does that in your mind impact the landscape of the East? Well, I mean, the definition is significant. First of all, they have to put Miami down. I think Miami represents probably their biggest test over the next potential two series. I think that if they're playing the four or five winner, Cleveland or Orlando, and then ultimately the Knicks or the Pacers, then I think Boston would be in decent shape. I think they could beat those teams even if Porzingis was not available to them. Once you get into a final situation, whether it's Denver or Minnesota, I think that would be a real problem. So he's on the clock. He basically has until June 6th, which I believe is the start of the finals, to mend from this.

And that's, what is that, about five weeks? So it's possible, I don't know the degree of the injury, but that's not as dire or urgent as needing him. Now, if Miami somehow gets back in this and stirs the ghosts from last spring, that could be a problem.

But I think if Boston closes out the heat, it won't be a crippling injury for the next two rounds. Ash, you're the best. I had never heard that story about how you met your wife.

Glad that unlike Glenn Taylor, she didn't get all the way back there and then decide, you know what, deal's off. So thank you very much, man. One of the previous co-owners, the guy that wanted to sell the team down there, when he found out what happened, he bought us the nicest wedding gift we got. I thanked him for that. What was it? What was it?

Oh, it was this really nice silver platter that's stored away and you never use because it's kind of funny, but it was a nice gift, though, it was top of the line, Tiffany or something. Ash, thanks a lot, man. We'll talk to you soon. All right, Tom.

That's Steve Ashford, I had no clue when I asked that question where we were going. That's one of the best stories I've ever heard. The Timberwolves are fun, man. Fun. You go back to that old four team.

Fun. And that was, I mean, that was something. So I grew up in Minnesota watching the Timberwolves. They started in 1989 and I was part of the Junior Wolves program where they were getting youth basketball going and, you know, 97, they get in the playoffs for the first time, it was just loss, loss, loss, loss. That old four team that won a couple of series, they were exciting. But you also knew this is a one off type of thing with Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell and Michael Olowekandi.

And they tried to bring it back the following year and it was a disaster. This team feels like it's got staying power with Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, the ages that they're at, Rudy Gobert is playing the best defensive basketball he maybe has played in the course of his career. That series against the Nuggets is going to be very entertaining. All right, let's flip back to the NFL coming up after this. I know Brockman, I know T.J. have a lot of questions for me. I'm going to try to answer them. Anything that happened in the draft, anything you guys want to know about, anything that anybody else wants to know about, 844204 Rich, it's Tom Pelissero in for Rich on the Rich eyes and show.

America in the morning, the podcast available wherever you listen. For you personally, you have an embarrassment of riches. You've got a beautiful family, a beautiful stadium.

You're the guardian of the star. You've got a bust. You've got a Hall of Fame ring.

You got a jacket. What you don't have is a fourth Lombardi Trophy. How bad do you want it? Jerry Jones, how bad badly do you want this?

Well, Rich, like you said, you've been around for two decades now and you haven't seen us raise that trophy. I did ask the man upstairs when I got the third one, I said, if you'll give me this one, I'll never ask again. I'm asking.

I'm trying to re-trade that deal. To the extent that he's listening to us, and I'm sure he is, I will do better. They've got some things that I could offer you to get that trophy. On the other hand, you know, that's why we're here. That's why I'm involved.

A lot of people say and relate us to financial, but I was fortunate, lucky, and I had some resources and I used it all to buy the Dallas Cowboys, every bit of it to buy the Dallas Cowboys. I'm excited for this season. On behalf of everyone in the NFL Network, greatly appreciate your support for our network, for all from Jump Street to now, and then just for me personally, I want to thank you. I truly appreciate it.

Rich, I've watched you handle Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders, anybody that can keep them in their place deserves to be the star of the network. Jerry, I really appreciate that. That means a ton. Best to your family and good luck for the season. We appreciate the call. Thank you. Thank you, Rich. You got it. Thank you, Rich. You got it. Bye. Right back at you. Thank you.

Thank you. Welcome back to the Rich Eisen Show. I am Tom Pelissero sitting in for Rich today.

You can join us, 844-204-rich is the phone number. A lot of great guests coming up through the course of the rest of this show. Dan Murphy from had that story with Pete Thamel today about potentially settlements of a lawsuit that could drastically change the landscape of college football and all college sports. Dan's going to join us shortly.

Jarvis Landry, five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver. Going to pop on as well as my buddy Ian Rappaport from NFL Network. We've got a call right now, Brandon in Wisconsin has been waiting quite a while. Brandon, it's Tom. What's up?

Tommy P. Big pimpin', big pimpin'. Let's go. Appreciate it. What's going on, buddy? This is me. How's it going, guys?

Happy Tuesday. What's up, brother? So I was just calling to talk about my Bucks. I have been a Bucks fan for about 35 years now. And I remember the times of barely even reaching double digit wins. And now we are just stuck in mediocrity.

What do we do? TJ, I'm going to kick this one to you. Man. They're the three seed. They won the NBA title a couple of years ago. Yeah, Brandon, you got your title.

That's the thing. I wouldn't say this is mediocrity. Mediocrity is 35 years of Timberwolves basketball with two series wins prior to a few days ago. Yeah, the thing is... We're not too far behind you on that, Timberwolves. But you got your title and you have one of the... And the times of draft of Andrew Bogut, it's been pretty rough. Andrew Bogut.

That's a good reference right there. You got your title and you got one of the five best players in the league. That's going to buy you at least some fun basketball here in the next five, seven years? It just seems like he's starting to break down here and there. And with the Dame Lillier acquisition, I'm just not sold.

So I was just wondering what you guys think. And you were hoping that was the missing piece, right? Dame didn't necessarily want to be there. He wanted to be Miami.

It didn't work out. They said, we're trading you for Portland to Milwaukee. You changed coaches not even halfway through the season.

When what were they? They won 31 games or something like that. They had a crazy record.

They had a great record. So now you've got to change your entire blueprint right in the middle of the season. That's tough in itself. And then, of course, Giannis goes down.

That's almost a situation where you can't recover from. But bro, you've got a solid team and I mean solid in a good way, not the way Rich takes solid. You're just a piece of a piece or two away from being right back in the mix. I wouldn't worry, to be honest with you, man, who's the who's the team that you fear in the East?

Thank you very much, Brandon, for the call. I don't know that there's a singular team here that you're fearing to the degree that you don't think. I'm sure they're down 3-1 to the Pacers right now. But if they're able to right the ship, I don't think you're sitting there going, well, they got no chance. If they sneak out of this series, they got no chance.

Who are you fearing? No, they have a chance every year and in every series. They're going to be in it. They're going to be one of the favorites, top five favorite every year, as long as they have Giannis. So I think if you're a Bucs fan, that's why you lift all them weights.

That's why you waited the 30 years to get a guy like this, a generational player, a potential top 10 all-time player. And so you just ride this out. Is it enough to get you over the hump? I don't know, but you got your title and that's more than just about every other team can say. You got a new arena. You got stable ownership.

You got a lot of things going for you. All right. NFL draft ended a few days ago.

I was in Detroit the entire week. We're going to talk a lot about this throughout the course of the show, but I want to open up the floor to the fellows here in studio, TJ Jefferson, Chris Brockman. Just lay it on me here.

We got about seven minutes. Give me all you got. Any questions you have about the Cowboys or otherwise, what's going on? Cowboys. Go ahead, TJ. Start. You know, actually, because that's all I do is talk about the Cowboys. I want to get away from them a little bit. So I'll ask you this.

Plot twist. One of the guys who I feel we talked about yesterday should be mic'd up this entire season is Keon Coleman out of Florida State. But I'm wondering that the Bills do enough to address their wide receiver situation after letting Diggs go and letting Gabe go. I mean, I think a lot of people fixated on you have to get the receiver because you traded Stephon Diggs because you don't have Gabe Davis. They were quite possibly going to take Keon Coleman if they stayed at 28. So to make a couple of trades move down, end up with the same guy, you'd say that they got some value out of that situation. There's going to be a lot of people that are fixated on one of those trades allowed Xavier Worthy to go to Kansas City, your arch rival, and he could be the latest speedster who's torching you in the playoffs. But I would be in, based on my understanding, I was going to the draft thinking I'm not even certain that they're going to take a wide receiver.

There are only certain guys that they thought were going to be fits for what they do. Keon Coleman though, so he was on my first round surprise list because after he ran a 4.640 at the combine, everybody dropped him out. When I talked to coaches and front office people, everybody said when you watch him play on tape, he's faster than that. He was the fastest guy in the gauntlet drill at the combine, which is where you're running and there's a ball here and a ball here and you're going down.

The ball looks like it's coming in slow to his hands like he sees it. The fast guy in that last year was Puka Nakua, who also ran slow 40 and then went out and caught like 700 balls for the Rams in his rookie season. Keon Coleman was still training for basketball two years ago. He was on the Michigan State basketball team for Tom Izzo, so he hasn't filled out his body.

He's like 6'3 and a quarter. He makes plays. It's a situation where I totally understood why Keon Coleman was the right guy for the Bills because they see a guy who can make an impact now but also has so much room to grow in the future. Was that the right one when you stack up that against Ladd-McConkey where the Chargers go and trade up to get versus Xavier Worthy versus the other receivers who were on the board in that general area? You can debate that.

We don't know. Wide receivers are unpredictable always, but round one, round two with Keon Coleman, he was the guy over Jayden Reed. Jayden Reed had a great first season for the Packers. Again, he's not even fully focused on football until about a year and a half ago. Is it true that he's the one that Josh Allen specifically wanted in this draft? I kind of heard that rumbling.

I mean, that's a good thing to say after the fact. I wouldn't be surprised if Josh Allen, again, he's a big receiver who can move. He's not a straight-up speed guy, but when have the Bills really focused on that type of a receiver for where they play for the style of football? They play like, yes, Savon Diggs is a burner, but Diggs can be physical, and he's a technician. He's a really good route runner. The straight-speed guy, not that Xavier Worthy can't do other things, but I understood why Keon Coleman was the guy. Those players, though, are always, along with Xavier Legette, the other receiver who went when they made that flop with Carolina at number 32. Those guys, yeah.

Legette, when I talked to him before the Senior Bowl, I mean, he is as South Carolina as it gets in terms of like this super thick accent, but big smile on his face all the time with him. He's like a little DK Metcalf build to him, right? He's a big kid.

Yeah. He's got probably more debos. He's not as tall.

He's not as tall as DK, but he's, yeah, a big physical dude. The question is just, he was on campus for five years in South Carolina. How did he only have one season where he was in a factor on offense, but he was playing special teams a couple of years ago, so how quickly can he pick up the NFL offense?

What can you get out of them? Carolina, man, that draft, we haven't talked a whole lot because the Panthers were the worst team in the NFL last year, and unlike every other team that's the worst, they did not own the number one pick because they had already traded to Chicago. But the way that they navigated the draft board, it was all with the eye on, let's go ahead and get Bryce Young some weapons here. So you jump up a spot and you get Lee Get. You trade down, but then you trade back up again to make sure you get Jonathan Brooks. You pick up a two next year to give yourself some more assets to build with. And then the top pick in the fourth round was Jutavion Sanders, I believe, the tight end from Texas.

Another guy who people thought was going to go earlier, he ends up sliding down. I thought that Carolina, for what they had with limited resources in the draft, which I know is not where this question began. I thought that they made the most of what they did have on the board. Brockman, you got anything else? Yeah, of course. Obviously you want to talk Patriots. Was it always you veer away from the Cowboys?

Brockman still one track? Because you know what? Unlike TJ, I give the people what they want and this is what they will get back to the Cowboys. Don't worry. Blatant Homer ism. Was it? I gave Hoskins what he wanted. Was it always Drake May?

What were they? Did they seriously entertain any offers? We know they did get the pick in pretty fast. It was four or five minutes into the ten allotted. The pick is in.

The graphic went up there. Was that always the move, Drake May? I want to go through all the quarterback movement and how all that came to be a little bit later on. For the Patriots specifically, it was pretty clear that if they stayed at three, Drake May was going to be the guy. Once they knew Caleb was going one always, Jayden Daniels was probably going at two. There was a chance something else could have happened, but it was probably going to be Jayden Daniels. Drake May fit. When I talk to other people, I did that massive 13,000 word quarterback story title, all the scouts and coaches, everybody was connecting Drake May to the Patriots.

Why? Number one, he needs time to develop. They got Jacoby Brissett, so he can start this year. He knows Jerrod Mayo.

It's going to be easy. Jacoby's a pretty good guy. It's not going to be something that, you know, it's an issue with Drake May behind him.

So you give him time. Number two, Drake May is a pretty big dude. He's well built. He's a good athlete, but also just like he's taller in stature. Him playing in the AFC East, bad weather, Gillette Stadium, it makes sense.

He profiled like that type of guy. The third reason is because there were big Michael Penix fans in this draft. Obviously, the Falcons were among them. There were really big fans as well of J.J. McCarthy. But basically, when you had people rank them, and I talked to dozens of people and had everybody kind of rank how they stacked the quarterbacks, it was pretty close to an even split between Jayden Daniels and Drake May. Jayden Daniels, unbelievable playmaker. Some people think he's the most talented passer in the draft.

Drake May, from a developmental standpoint, was somebody that a lot of teams had high. Never seriously entertained trading out of that pick. They absolutely entertained offers all the way up until the day before the morning of, and they even got an offer when they were on the clock.

I'll talk more about that later. They got an offer, one last Hail Mary effort while they were on the clock to try to get them to move. But they had already, I reported maybe two, three hours before the draft, it's all signs pointing to them taking a pick. But they absolutely were open to it. Some people like reading into that, that that's, well, they don't actually, they like but they don't love the quarterbacks.

No, it wasn't that. It was, hey, if somebody makes you a Godfather type offer here and you need a ton of work on that roster, why would you not entertain it? I think that they were like a lot of teams where they liked J.J. McCarthy. They didn't like him at three.

They weren't going to do it there. They thought that the value, the upside on Drake May was higher. Whereas J.J. McCarthy might have a higher floor because Drake May from that North Carolina offense, it's the most dumbed down, simplistic type of thing. All those North Carolina quarterbacks who come in, it's this massive leap.

And there's no reason to think Drake May doesn't have the aptitude for it or the work ethic or any of those things. It's just, he's not close to being ready to play. J.J. McCarthy, you know, he threw the ball, whatever, four times a game at Michigan, but he operated under center. He called plays in the huddle. He ran a pro style offense.

You feel like he's probably closer to being able to do the things that you do, or at least there's evidence on tape of him doing them. I will talk more draft with Ian Rapport later on. I will talk through all the quarterbacks, how they landed with their teams in the draft. But after this, Dan Murphy, is the landscape of college sports about the shift. We'll talk with them next.

Mike Carruthers shares little pieces of intel and interviews you can use to improve your life on the Something You Should Know podcast. The next time you're looking for a job and have to write a cover letter, here's some advice from Skip Freeman, author of a book called Headhunters Hiring Secrets. Add a PS to the bottom of that cover letter. That can actually increase the chances of that letter being read by up to 75%. Some people actually glance down and read the PS first. Something You Should Know. Check it out on YouTube, or wherever you listen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-30 16:41:23 / 2024-04-30 17:05:49 / 24

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