We’re joined by Bleacher Report’s NBA Salary Cap Strategist and writer Eric Pincus to discuss the latest trade rumors and speculation involving the Pacers, Lakers, Celtics, Blazers, Kings and more!
Full show transcript below: Please be advised transcript contains multiple typos and errors.
Cal Lee 00:40
Welcome everybody you’re tuned to the baseline Cal Lee, Warren Shaw, Jabari Davis discussing the hot button topics of the NBA as always, man, it’s around that time of the year. Christmas Day games coming close to 2022. A lot of good things for the NBA. Even though we are in the midst of another pandemic, we obviously want to make sure that everybody is staying healthy and staying safe for the remainder of the holidays. Oh we got some good things lined up for you and yours. And as always, man, I thoroughly appreciate everybody for hopping on board our holiday edition of the baseline. This is a really really good time for us to be able to get in connects with people who have got their fingers on the pulse of things happening in the association in this episode. We do not disappoint. Coming up we’re going to have with us he is basically a cat biologist extraordinare he has definitely been keeping his eye on things happening since now we are on the other side of the NBA deadline that allows all offseason acquisitions to be eligible for trade. So while we are not at the trade deadline, the fact that trade rumors are now running about makes it very easy for our guest, Eric Pincus from Bleacher Report to jump on board and talk with my Men’s Mr. Shaw and Mr. Jabari Davis in reference to the possible trade rumors that might be going around in the association. So we’ll definitely get into that in a couple of moments. As always, we appreciate you and yours for hopping on board with us. As always make sure to get up my man Shaw Astro sports NBA man, Jabari Davis, Jabari Davis NBA or you can get me a game face. So you’re the show’s twitter handle at NBA baseline available on all the major platforms so you know where to find us. Just look for the baseline add us to your playlists and whatever platform you use to listen to podcasts, and allow us to be your go to listening choice for all things that are happening in the association. To check out this episode and all of our episodes, you can go to www dot the baseline nba.com. That is the home site. And as always, you know that we roll with the 19 Media Group family. So if you want to check out our content, and the plethora of content from 90 Media Group, be sure to go to www dot 19 media group.com We’re not going to waste any time with it. It was definitely a great forward pointing and thought provoking interview with our man Eric Pincus. So you know how we do baby. You know how we roll. This is how we do things here on the baseline, be sure to check us out as we do a little FaceTime with the baseline.
Call Lee 04:23
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Jabari Davis 05:10
we’re joined by salary cap strategist, writer, instructor for the sports business classroom, as well as a writer for Bleacher Report The Great Eric Pekus. For today’s in a baseline NBA breakdown, how’re you doing today, Eric, thank you for joining us.
Eric Pincus 05:24
Doing well. Thanks for having me
Jabari Davis 05:25
on. Oh, no, without without question. I mean, anytime you’re in for the record, we are recording this on what I’m affectionately calling Yoli. We overspent we overextended, we overestimated and now we have buyer’s remorse you know from last summer so with everybody you know, with a majority of the league available, of course the trade you know, the trade rumors are all are flying all over the place. So again, that that’s why we specifically wanted to come to you. We’re gonna go ahead and kick it off with Indiana because I’m going to be honest with you, I have no idea what to expect out of this. So I’ll just ask you this to start off? Does it seem like we’re set for a full on like, quote unquote, press Reset rebuild, come in? Or do you think they’re going to be more of a step by step measured approach?
Eric Pincus 06:08
Right? Well, when we think kind of like the real like full on rebuild you, you think like the Oklahoma City Thunder under Sam Presti, or you think the Philadelphia 70 Sixers under Sam hinkie, where it’s the process where you just collect picks, and you you could be terrible for three or four or five years, the goal is to just get as much capital in young players and draft picks as possible. I don’t think that’s the kind of appetite that Indiana has both from an ownership point of view. From a coaching point of view, I think the front office, their job is to feel the team that can win. And I think with Rick Carlisle coming in, I think he’s evaluated this team, and would like change, I don’t think the players that they have fit exactly how he wants to play. And I would also say that, from my experience, talking to people with the Pacers previously and their style of communication is to really be open with their players, they’re not going to offer players out in trade without communicating that to them. And so the recent reports that say bonus, or Turner or levert could be had, those are probably from what I can tell from what I gathered, and by reading the quotes from Myles Turner and some of the players and also from doing some research around the league like these guys are legit available. There’s some question as to whether or not they’ll trade one of Sabonis and Turner or both. And I really think that’s just going to be a question of who’s available and what they can get. I heard as far as what they’re looking for, they’re the focus is less on pics. So it’s not like the the thunder what they’re doing. It’s more like they would like guys who are on rookie scale contracts, who are recent first round picks either last year, the year before, maybe the year before that, who have some time on their deal who don’t get paid larger salaries right away who they could grow with. And then some veterans who could help them long term as well. They want culture fits, they don’t want to just get any player and I will say that like they’re they’ve been linked to the Sixers as a team that is pursuing Ben Simmons. And I personally struggled to believe that and while it very well may be true, I would be shocked if the Pacers who are all about culture are all about not overpaying players like they pay players in the 10 to $20 million range or 20 to 23. overpaying a player who doesn’t want to play right now for the Sixers knowing Rick Carlisle as I do, which is relatively well. He’s not somebody who’s gonna baby a player, you know, I mean, like he’s an older school type. There was a recent article on him. And some of the tough situations that went on with Luka. I forget who wrote it, I just read it. I think in the last 24 hours. It was a good article talking about Dennis Smith Jr. What went wrong there and, and it was very critical of Rick Carlisle and I’m not here to to dump on Rick, other than to say that he isn’t necessarily a nurturing type coach. He’s not the kind of guy who’s gonna necessarily be really sensitive to someone like Ben Simmons who’s clearly going through something we don’t know exactly what. So it’s a complex question. I don’t think they’re fully rebuilding. But I do think they’re soft rebuilding and are willing to move out of Sabonis and Turner and liver and probably Warren and lamb who are all players they can move relatively easily. They can’t trade Brogden base On his recent extension, he’s not trade eligible this year. But we’re gonna have to wait and see, I don’t I don’t believe they would go after Ben Simmons, they’ve been linked to him, I do think that they’re looking more for economical players who they can really invest in long term, like Chris Chris Duarte, who’s been great for them. They want to see what Isaiah Jackson can do. Is there room for Goga to emerge as a player, he hasn’t really kind of taken him and shown what he is yet maybe without the semi, all stars, you know, certainly bonuses and all star ahead of him, maybe he can have an opportunity to show what he can do.
Warren Shaw 10:40
Eric, I want to follow up here on on Indiana simply from even from the Turner standpoint, so he has an article come out with Shams, the whole nine and you know, I’m a glorified role player wants a bigger role. Is that going to alienate him in any way? Have you heard anything along those lines? I mean, obviously, he’s not he doesn’t have the gravitas of Harden, and guys like that, who when they didn’t want to be there, they were really being a distraction. And for all intents and purposes, Turner seems like a good individual guy. He just wants, you know, a bigger role. But him making those comments. Have you heard anything where maybe it’s graded on some of the team and the ownership at all?
Eric Pincus 11:12
No, I mean, leadership basically told him that they’re looking to make some changes. This is not the first time they’ve told him that they’re trying to trade him. They told him this a year back and ultimately didn’t make a deal. I think it was around the time that Gordon Hayward was picking a team and ended up choosing Charlotte and and out priced himself from what Indiana was willing to do, which kind of goes to the whole, like Ben Simmons thing, I guess it was injury risk and age issues comparatively with Hayward that aren’t there with Simmons. But to me, like they’re both risks, and I just don’t see them being that. But as far as Turner, like, he had a what I would call to be a natural human reaction to the situation. I think he’s been nothing but a team player in that he’s like, you have two guys playing the same position in an NBA that’s gone away from centers. They have two centers, and that’s fine. And like the Cavs are doing it. They’re doing really well. The Lakers have had success with two bigs. The Bucs just won the title with Yanis, who’s a big and Lopez. So it’s not that it can’t work. But I do think of the two that Turner has taken more of a complementary role to the bonus, who’s more of the primary score between the two. And I think it’s more about inform, first of all his natural reaction and his just natural emotion. But then also letting whoever might be interested in acquiring him understand, he doesn’t want to go to the next place and be a guy standing in the corner, wasting threes, and just defending and blocking shots. And while I get it from that point of view, like wherever he ends up, they’re going to need to know that’s what he wants, but at the same time, they’re also going to need to play him to his strengths, and he may not find the paradise he wants. But like if you say like the Sixers getting Turner, and he’s gonna be a complimentary player to mbeadh. I’m not saying this is a rumor, I’m just saying, you know, to understand the the issue, he doesn’t want to be the guy complimenting and beat he wants to be the main focal point. As far as the the big player on the court. I think he would work well with Anthony Davis, and I think they could make that work. But you if you look at teams that don’t have that kind of size, like, for instance, Charlotte, that makes a lot of sense, where if Plumlee was out and he was in for Plumlee, and maybe they moved out PJ Washington, he would be probably their best big player. And that might be the kind of thing that appeals him obviously, I don’t know where he wants to go. But just by reading the quotes, which I thought were very honest, I think it was, as you said, Shams, Trani of the athletic who’s been all over this stuff, this stuff, really high quality material, especially getting Myles to talk so openly about his feelings there. So I don’t think it’s alienated the Pacers? I think they’re just, you know, this is a team in flux. It’s, it’s, it’s a divorce, that’s going to happen in some fashion. And that’s an uncomfortable thing until it’s done. It’s just, you know, the nature of life when there’s a breakup, and you know, like you live together and someone has to find a new apartment or something. It’s awkward, you know what I mean? So, I think that’s just where they’re at. We have just about two months, a little bit less than two months until this is all resolved. Typically speaking, trades don’t really go down until right at the deadline. We’re at the start of trade season because today, when we’re recording this, it’s December 15. And most players who signed over the offseason cannot be traded. Some can’t be until January 15. Some can’t at all like Brogdon or Terrence Mann, some players who’ve gotten certain extensions, and then Boogie Cousins who just signed with the button He can’t be traded, because he just signed. But generally speaking, the trademark will heat up, I’ll be going to the G league showcase in Vegas next week, or actually this weekend, and that’s where the entire NBA will be basically. And the executives from most teams will be there. And it’s a very relaxed setting, at least historically, we’ll see how it is this year with the pandemic and everything going on. But I guess two years ago, it’s been a while since I’ve been there, I guess two years ago is last time I was there. But it’s one of my favorite events. And what you get is a really low key environment similar to summer league without the fans. And it’s just executives and, and top decision makers, sitting around little tables watching GB players play and in between games, or even during games, sitting down and talking to each other and just kind of shooting the you know, and just getting an idea of, hey, you know, we’re not really invested in this player, we like this player, and what do you think of this player, and that’s how trades actually get formed, just kind of just talking. So I look forward to what comes out of the next week or two. But really, teams tend to sit on the pot until they have to make a decision. And that’s not until February 10. So I don’t expect a ton of movement. Until then, there’s usually a few trades that jump out early. But by and large things tend to take a little bit of time.
Jabari Davis 16:25
I really I really appreciate how you phrased Turner’s reaction. It’s a natural human reaction, because I think oftentimes, and I won’t say we all have been, but I’ve even been guilty of it, even though I usually rail against it, of forgetting it. These are not just trade assets. These are not just, you know, put your characters that play on, you’ll play in my favorite game, these are actually human beings that you know, might have a natural reaction of that nature. So I can, I can definitely appreciate that. You know, Warren knows where I want to take this, we’re gonna go ahead and go ahead and shift to the lake and go ahead and shift to the Lakers. Because, look, we know when with your with the Lakers, they’re always going to sort of find their way you know, their name is going to find their way into trading, whether there’s any actual validity to it or not. But when it comes to some of the recent conversations, if I’m not mistaken, I think I did notice you at least providing clarity on what a potential move for Ben Simmons, or that level of player would look like on Twitter, which for anybody that does not follow Eric Pincus on Twitter, you need to make sure that you do that if you’re an NBA fan, especially. Were you simply answering one of us less D fans? or might there actually be some smoked any of this?
Eric Pincus 17:32
Well, I have an article that just went live and it’s about Ben Simmons in general and it’s really about Russell Westbrook. So I, I do my own investigation, but I also we live in a world where, you know, we have to rely on colleagues and contemporaries and other people to do the investigation and we kind of collectively put it together, right, we get little dribs and drabs like we have the conversation we just had about Turner. A lot of that was based on the work of Sean’s and this actually builds upon that as well. And so the article is entitled could Lakers realistically unload Russell Westbrook for a star like Ben Simmons. Now what I did tweet earlier today was like, the word like there because people don’t read articles, they read headlines, unfortunately, it’s one of the semi frustrating things I try not to get too bothered by it. But I get a lot of responses that are like to the headline. I don’t write the headline I’m I write the article, the editors, they write the headline, the people who pay my salary, need to get clicks and they write their headlines. And I have to respect that that’s my work for the LA Times it was the same thing. It’s just the nature of being a journalist. So I didn’t write that. But the thing is, is like, you know, like, like Ben Simmons, to me, like, like means not him, right? It’s someone like Ben Simmons. Ben Simmons isn’t like Ben Simmons. And I tweeted that, like, it’s the same same issue I have with like lyrics, like, when they have a lyric like, you know, I’ve been waiting for a girl like you or something like that. Well, that’s like basically saying, like, I’m not actually waiting for you. I’m waiting for someone like, that’s how I’ve always interpreted it. And maybe I’m too literal. But really, what I did was I just looked at the the basic logic, Shawn’s wrote a list of teams that had pursued Well, Simmons, including Westbrook in the late Well, he didn’t say Westbrook but including Lakers. The the basic logic is that there are only three Lakers that can return, Simmons and that’s LeBron Ed and Westbrook and I’m based on all my Intel, the Lakers have no interest in moving LeBron and ad. And so the only piece they could offer there’s no like Taylan Horton, Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and eight players that’s gonna get you to a trade for Siemens. So if Shams is correct, which I’m willing to say that he’s either certainly he’s getting good intel Question is, is are the people giving him that Intel using Lakers to draw attention because they are a franchise that draws attention. So sometimes the Lakers are used in things where maybe the person providing the Intel is not being honest. That said, I followed up with, there was another article that I cite, which is written by Jake Fisher, who’s a actual colleague of mine with a Bleacher Report. He’s also someone I know is very well connected. And someone who I, you know, I’ve, I know, is not just these are professionals, they’re not making stuff up. You know, I’m saying like, I know, what Jake does, I’ve collaborated with him a bit. I’ve known him for some time. And so it’s not just something that he throws out lightly, lightly. But one of the things he said is that you know, there was conversation it didn’t get very far. And that Westbrook is not a player on the Sixers list of hopeful returns. So really what we have just put the pieces together, Shams, Fischer, they’re both saying the Lakers called they talked about Ben Simmons, they didn’t get that far. The only player that they could trade to do so. You know, at least the main player there, there could be other pieces, but the primary piece has to be Westbrook. And so with that logic in mind, is there if they’re willing to do Westbrook for Simmons, is Simmons The only player in the NBA who they would trade Westbrook for? And so then I said, Well, I can’t assume that’s the only player and then that kind of begs the question fine. If they’re willing to trade West Westbrook for anywhere between one to 10 to 20 play who knew however many players I don’t know. Who would take Westbrook is is really the other side of that coin because it’s if the Sixers don’t want him persimmons, then you’re not going to get very far well. So I did speculate and the article is a speculative article. It does include research and sourced information, and it’s not just stuff I’m throwing together, however, it’s taking some leaps. You’re tuned
Cal Lee 22:00
in with the baseline Callie Warren Shaw, Jabari Davis discussing the hot button topics of the NBA. more from our interview with national writer, Bleacher Report basketball cap biologist, Eric Pincus. After this short break, keep us locked.
Warren Shaw 22:14
This episode of the baseline is brought to you by ruffles Yes, the original ruffles with ridges. ruffles are my go to chip and I want the perfect cheddar and sour cream flavor. Actually, the lime jalapeno are so good. I just can’t pick a favorite ruffles with no ridges. It’s like the coat without the world when can you imagine? Yeah, that’s not it either. ruffles is the official tip of the NBA ruffles on your ridges.
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Warren Shaw 23:10
We’re chatting here with Eric Pincus from Bleacher Report. Make sure you’re following him on Twitter at Eric Pincus Pei NC us, Eric, one a quick follow up on the Laker stuff here. You mentioned tht is he basically the the most tradable asset they have? I mean, obviously Russ the contract the whole nine use outlined all the reasons how when wire and maybe why not. But it’s kind of tht that guy that most teams would have interest around the league. And then I guess kind of also along those same lines with it. What is the actual Lakers need? Because we’ve talked about point guards, we’ve talked about wings, we’ve talked about centers, like what are they even trying to keep and get back?
Eric Pincus 23:45
Well, so like if you look at the roster, and if you just go with the assumption that LeBron and ad are not available, obviously the ad or the Braun were available, then they would be the most desired. But they’re not. And so if we work with that assumption, the Lakers are such that they made the decision to be a very top heavy team. They didn’t have to make the choice of trading Kuzma KCP mantras, Harrell and then letting Caruso go to invest in a $44 million player that was their decision. And when you make that decision, whether or not Westbrook is the right guy or not, you’re going to be a top heavy team. It’s just the nature of it. You’re paying so much to three players that it’s you have a limited amount of resources, resources, the NBA is functionally about resource management. When you have a team you only have so many resources, some are more than others. And then the same team may have different resources depending on the year depending on how contracts are written depending on like whether or not you made a mistake with lubang some years back you know I mean like everybody has what they have and the Lakers decided to put that into Westbrook and instead of depth you when you say who’s the most attractive Laker if we say LeBron and ad aren’t available, the only other Lakers that are making above the minimum are Westbrook whose contract makes him less interesting because how many teams want to trade situations with Lakers and get too invested in one player and we did go over some examples where it’s not like overwhelming for the Pacers for instance so they don’t have to include Jeremy lamb but basically they could do like a three for one and the Lakers would probably send back you know Ken Bay’s more one other guy maybe the Andre Jordan something like that. Uh you know Carmelo has been fun again, who’s gonna trade with the Lakers to get Carmelo Anthony at 1.7. And the Lakers also aren’t trading Carmelo. So that’s when you get down to if the Lakers have to make a move that involves a trade and there’s no market for Westbrook. And they need to bring back any substantial amount of salary on a starting or six man caliber player who’s being compensated as a six man or starting caliber player. The only path is Taylan, Horton Tucker, and probably none as well, who hasn’t played the show with the knee injury, he would be more of a salary inclusion, he does have an option for next year. So even his contract isn’t necessarily that attractive. A team has to hope he gets back to normal and he’s fine. Or maybe if his injury is more serious, they’re gonna be obligated to pay him about a little over 5 million next year. So you put in all those factors and, and so if you assume that Westbrook is not being traded, then you’re pretty well set and that your forwards are LeBron and ad. Maybe ad is your center. Ross is your point guard. And so you just need to fill them in with wing players. And yeah, they might need some backup help at the point when Ross sits. But when Ross sits LeBron plays and so Lakers have either Russ or LeBron at the point for basically 48 minutes in the game. There’s no real replacement for ad they Dwight’s older, deejays. Older, they could use another sized player, which is why I think Myles Turner could help them but it’d be a kind of a shift in philosophy. But I think it would be a good shift. I think Jeremy Grant is like clearly the best player for them and that he can score. And he’s a big rangy forward who can defend they definitely need defensive help. But they also need some shooting, and they just haven’t found the right combination. Because when you get minimum players, you probably get flot players who are a little more flawed than higher paid players the
Jabari Davis 27:36
same here and before we know because we’re gonna we’re gonna transition to the Blazers, I’d be lacking if I didn’t ask this question. And this is definitely more of an opinion one, but there’s a purple and golden unicorn in the room. The plan that most of us are many of us, you know, kind of presumed would be that, you know, the ad would sort of slide into the leadership role or the leader of the team role at some point, but I’m interested in is in your opinion, is that a realistic expectation when LeBron is not only still actively on the roster, but with the roster seemingly being built around still, you’re built around the Bron at this stage?
Eric Pincus 28:09
I mean, I don’t think it’s realistic period. It’s just you have to allow the people who to be who they are. I mean, ad is a really tremendous talented player, but he wasn’t that guy in New Orleans and he’s not that guy in Los Angeles. It’s just not who he is. And that’s okay. Right like not everybody is the lead ball handling aggressor primary attacker and we live in a very guard, heavy league a guard centric lead and what we’ve seen has happened is that the definition of players and their positions is kind of shifted right like so kind of shifted with like a Mari Stottlemyre was a power forward and the sons decided Nope, he’s a center now. We’re gonna play with center and Shawn Marion was a small forward they said no your power forward now. So they basically changed how the game was played. And that’s kind of where the game has gone. And it was actually not even an NBA invention. It’s really a international invention where they just they had the players they had and a lot of teams had to play small because they didn’t have the the size and they found that small ball can work and it took a little while for people to get off a Dan Tony’s back because they thought he was crazy. But now it’s where the NBA is. And it’s really rare to see double bigs like we do in Indiana and when the Lakers won, which availa and Dwight with at the LeBron is the point guard. He is the decider with the ball. And the problem with a D is not a problem. But it’s the same problem that Joellen bead has now it’s not the problem that Yogesh has. Because he’s for whatever reason He’s, he’s better than those bigs at being a ball handler, not a ball handler but like a playmaker, I guess is the right word, he is out of out of the high post, you can run your entire offense out of out of your kitchen. And that used to be the case with Mark assault as well. But big guys tend to have a harder time like Shaq needed the ball. And that was like the heart of the the discord with him and Kobe was that Kobe needed the ball. And Kobe had the ball because ball handling guards have the ball. Shaq was not often going to bring the ball up Shaq needed to fight for position, and all that. And it it’s really what we’re looking at here. It’s like, ad is a really, really talented player. He’s a very special player. He’s not a point guard, even if he played point guard in high school before his growth spurt. And that’s it, he needs to get set up. He they can get him the ball at the high post. But also like LeBron missed half the season. And he’s playing with Russell Westbrook, who doesn’t shoot the ball well, and except for them for what they’re not at is not a ball handling guard in this league. He’s reliant on people around him to space the floor and get him the ball where he can do what he needs to do. They don’t have anything close to that this year, and they haven’t all year, maybe at full strength they do. And that’s still maybe we’ll have to wait and see.
Warren Shaw 31:26
So as you talk about maybes and teams being on at full strength, let’s flip it over to my squat and a lot of Brooklyn gold conversation on the baseline here today. Let’s go back to the Eastern Conference. And let’s talk about the antithesis of the Lakers in a lot of ways the you know, the the the Venom and Carnage is a situation and the Boston Celtics. Eric, you know, I saw something on Twitter the other day that and it might even be Jake, who put it out there. I think, you know, it’s like teams are monitoring the Jaylen brown situation. And I said shit, there’s a Jalen brown situation. So I didn’t know there was one and I know he’s been banged up this year. And the whole nine. What’s your take on that? What have you heard about Boston? I know they’ve in some ways underachieved and you DOCA still trying to get his kind of his imprint on the team. But Jalen and Jason all that I’m not really trying to figure out if we need to break them up because they’re not working or is there just a better player out there that complements Tatum better? And that’s why they’re looking potentially looking at Brown. What are you hearing on the Jalen situation and things that Boston?
Eric Pincus 32:22
Right, well, so like the Celtics kind of hit a problem that like Atlanta hit last year, and it’s that they overachieved? And if you actually look, they were like in the conference finals, I think three out of four years or something crazy like that, for a young team that’s abnormal, like they, they skipped steps. And so that’s great. That’s not a criticism. But it creates an expectation of not even sustained success, like you can’t do just as good as you did before. You need to improve upon that. If you got to the conference finals, you need to get to the finals, you get to the finals, like the sons if they got back to the finals this year and didn’t win it again. We’d be talking about like, what’s wrong with the sons, you know, even though they got to the finals, two years in a row, we’d be saying, you know, something isn’t right. We they need to fix it. Right. And so in the case of the Celtics, that’s kind of where we’re at where, you know, they overachieved because Tatum and brown are both, you know, they were both great picks. They’re both great talents. They haven’t really had the right pieces around them, and they got Hayward thinking that would be a solution. And then in the very first game of Hayward’s career with the Celtics, you know, he has a disaster and breaks his ankle. And it took him a while to even near what he was supposed to be. You can even argue that he’s still not quite what he might have been. And that’s frustrating, and I’m happy he’s got plenty of money in Charlotte, he got a great contract. I’m happy for his success. You know, it’s just disappointing that that happened, and it’s just part of the game but when we talk about the Celtics today, like you look at the roster, and it’s like, they have a ton of young really interesting prospects. But prospects don’t win. I mean, they just don’t it’s just not it every so often. You get something kind of like, I mean, the Raptors had like a Fred van li B and Pascal siakam Be Cornerstone pieces. It was really you know, they had Kawhi that made that work, right. Where’s that guy is Tatum and an R is Tatum and Horford are Tatum and Horford? Sorry, I’m sorry, Tatum and brown those guys? And I don’t know. And I think a lot of people are trying to say that they’re not together that they don’t complement each other. Well, I don’t know if that’s true or false. I do know that the roster that they have. I look at that on paper. And I’m like, Yeah, I mean, it’s a pretty good roster, but it’s not a great roster. It’s just not like Josh Richardson is a perfectly adequate player. He’s not a great player he’s a probably an above average defender and probably a below average shooter. Dennis shrewder is a really good scorer, but he’s a point guard. And it’s difficult when your point guard is a score. Because you’re on a team with brown and and and Tatum, you probably want someone who’s more of a facilitator. I’m not to say that Ricky Rubio, but like, when Ricky Rubio got to Phoenix, that’s when Phoenix kind of showed like, oh, wait a second. This is how this team can work. And then they upgraded Rubio to Chris Paul. And now they’re in the finals. Right? So I think they haven’t found like that one complimentary piece like Marcus smart isn’t Bulldog. He’s not true point guard. He is more willing to pass the intruder though. But he’s not he doesn’t have that kind of vision. He’s that’s just not really what he is. And then like Robert Williams is a prospect. A well paid one and has, you know, I’m happy for success. But are you ready to win with him? They’ve got Horford who’s expensive and they have to decide on some money that he has next year. Is he better off as a trade piece? Or is he better off being the veteran who’s been really good for them? Although there you could argue the plus minus numbers are not great with Horford, but sometimes that’s a reflective of Horford being asked to play in certain combinations of players that involve like maybe he’s on the floor when Tatum is not or something like that. I don’t know. I’d have to look. I haven’t run the exact numbers but his his numbers aren’t great plus minus, or offensive rating defensive rating. I think specifically, his offensive rating is low. When he’s on the floor of the Celtics, it’s not a player’s offensive rating. That’s a team stat. The point being is that the Celtics have an offensive rating as a team and their obviously offensive rating is lower when Horford is on the floor. But I think, to me, I don’t think it’s the combination of brown and Tatum. And it’s the the roleplay like they haven’t they’ve held too long, personally, in my opinion, to their prospects. They had all these picks, and they focus too much on on holding their assets instead of cashing them out. Like the Lakers over cashed out their roster their assets. And probably in my opinion, could have one or two, like maybe they could have held on to one or two Pete like Josh Hart or something like that. Not to say that like that would have made a huge difference. But like, I think the Lakers were too generous, but at the same time it worked. So whatever works, you got to embrace and say, well, it works. So that was the right choice. right choice. Any other choice might not have been the right choice. Whereas the Celtics, they’ve been more conservative, and they’ve had a pick after pick after pick. And they’ve drafted pretty well like Grant Williams nice player. Nice Smith. Nice player, Prichard, nice player. They’re all prospects. Langford, nice, nice prospect. But they haven’t really found the exact right combination of pieces and whatnot. So I would have liked to have seen them cash out Gordon Hayward for a piece, they ended up getting Horford, which, you know, for Kemba, which is interesting, and is probably a better fit for them. But like they got Kemba and Kemba. It was, you know, cameras at the time high paid. Not as good as he was because of injury, but like a score. And he’s a point guard. But he’s really a score, who doesn’t really have the body to defend just in terms of metrics, like he’s not very big. He’s not very strong. And then he’s also not as nimble or quick as he was before. With with injuries, so they’re like any other team, they’re exploring for that exact right mix. And I just think expectations are higher because of the success they had. And you wouldn’t want to begrudge them that success. Like they got to the conference finals, three out of four years. That’s like amazing. But they didn’t get you know, like the Lakers and Celtics are the storied franchises as far as, you know, the ring leaders in the they’ve the most rings in the NBA, but you know, I think Jabari will say, you know, how many, you know, since like any of us were born, but that’s a different story. Right, but like, I grew up in the 80s. So like, you know, I grew up watching the Lakers verse out of LA so, you know, that’s, it’s, you know, I apologize to my, my, I’m friends with people on the Celtics in their organization, you know, like, I this is where I was born. This is where I actually I was born in New York, but I grew up here I grew up in LA, since I you know, since I was like six so like, my sports memory is of like magic and bird and all that as a really young kid and the impression of like, you know, watching those with my father, not really understanding what I was watching, but just, you know, his excitement over, you know, what was happening and you know, seeing like those great moments. These are the storied franchises, and so like if the Lakers only get one ring in the Lebron era, that’s it more or less a fail for the Lakers for anybody else outside of the Celtics? It’s not a fail right? But like the Lakers got three with Shaq and Kobe they got two with Shaq I’m sorry with Kobe and pow they got like five with magic. They only had like the one with with Jerry West back in the day but that team that was before the Lakers were what they were like of course they had the mic and ones like you go back far enough and yeah, they want a bunch in a row there so like you look at the the greatest old school like Jerry West will Chamberlain team. And like those aren’t held in the same regard. I mean, they are nostalgic wise, but those teams lost like eight times in the finals nine times something crazy like that. So for the Celtics to just get the conference finals and not to bridge that gap and to take that next step for the Celtics is it’s for them. It’s it’s definitely not achieving their goal. The sons that they could live off of what they do they they’re there, it hurts that they didn’t win from their point of view. But like they got to the finals after they’d been laughed at is like a joke in the NBA. Like when they drafted, Cameron, Cam Johnson like teams were literally like they traded down, they traded up or down or wherever they traded to get him I think they traded up or something like that. Forget it’s been a minute. They traded Sarge and drafted. And people were like, What the hell are they doing? Like, that’s our reach and like, oh, they don’t know what they’re doing. And that team’s a mess. And they that may be accurate or no, but on the court, they’re killing it. So anyway, that’s kind of a long winded answer to say that the Celtics had early success. I don’t think the issue is brown, Tatum not fitting together. They have a new coach. It’s gonna take a minute to figure it out. I don’t love their roster and their makeup. And that matters and to great stars matter. But like there are other teams that have two great stars who also have better complementary rosters like Booker and Chris Paul had better complementary rosters. Steph Curry has a better complementary roster. The Bucs have a better complementary roster. You just start going down the list and like there’s not a lot of them. The nets are still a TBD. But Katie is such that he’s better than Tatum and brown. Because he’s sort of, you know, you know, arguably the best player in the league. It depends. We could argue all day on that. But certainly a slightly above those gentlemen. So I like the Celtics. I think they’re they’re close, but I just don’t think they I look at the roster. I’m like, Yeah, I mean, it’s a good roster, but it’s not a great roster.
Jabari Davis 42:47
I think that’s fair. I think that’s fair. We again, we are speaking to Eric Pincus, the great Eric Pekus, Bleacher Report as well as the sports business and sports business classroom. Really, let me get that right as a sports business classroom. What was the official
Eric Pincus 43:01
there? Okay. Officially sports business classroom? Yes,
Jabari Davis 43:04
sir. Okay, thank you. Before we get out of here, and I already know my your producers, you know, probably going to be kicking looking to kick me in the shins after this. But I want to get you out of here on one more and I’m going to combine with a quick here, more likely to take place, the Blazers break it up, or the Kings break it up. And I And let me also say it would have been more likely before the Blazers to break it up had CJs lung that collapse, unfortunately,
Eric Pincus 43:30
oh, well, no, like so I mean, just on the surface. We have uncertainty in Portland, more so than we have in Sacramento, like, we know that Sacramento thought they were better than they were. And they fired their coach. And they have a lot of pieces. They have several young players. They have several veterans at this point, Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes are well respected and coveted around the league to different degrees. Of course, they have young players like Marvin Bagley, who’s now a part of the rotation. Who’s someone who, at least a team that has the room to let a young player grow, they’re going to be interested. I don’t think they’ll move like a Halliburton or David Mitchell. I think those are probably guys they won’t touch. The big question is would they consider Darren Fox at this point? The answer is no. But we’ll wait and see. And then they’ve got filler salaries like a decent enough player Tristan Thompson, they have so much flexibility to make a move. They have the front office stability, and they want they they believe that they’re better than they than they are, or at least that they should be better and they would love to get to that. How you get to that is by trade and looking at them in the standings. They’re in the plane right now. So they’re the most likely between the two teams because Cronin just Joe Cronin took over for Neil O’Shea. How much power does he have? Now, if you listen to his press conferences, it sounds like he’s got the authority to do what he needs to do. But I don’t know that to be true. I’ve heard that they’re, you know, he has an opportunity to keep that job permanently. But I’ve heard that like, Eversley, who’s with the bowls? And then Sharif Abdul Rahim, who is with the the G League, he’s the G League President. I’ve heard they’re the front runners. And of course, that’s just rumors at this point. It’s intel that I believe to be true that they’re in in the works or not in the works in consideration. I don’t know that they’re going to let this team be broken up by Cronin, or are they going to hire someone quickly? Or they’re going to hire someone after the season? And if they’re going to let Cronin do it, are they gonna let him operate as GM with like full authority to make the kind of moves that he wants to make understanding that most big moves aren’t made by a GM are not necessarily made aren’t approved by a GM they’re approved by whoever oversees the the GM be at the usually the governor is the person, the person who the primary owner, basically, I don’t know that we have the stability, and that Cronin has the authority in that organization to do what he wants to do whatever that would be. And so, based on that uncertainty, I can’t say that the Blazers are more likely to do anything. I don’t know what they’re gonna do. I don’t know what they can do. I don’t know what he has the authority to do. And that lack of certainty makes that that question pretty easy. The Kings have the desire, they have the front office, and they have the pieces, and they are underperforming. And I view them as like, I view Indiana, Philadelphia, and Sacramento as probably the three I don’t like a seller’s in this market. Obviously, the the Sixers are selling one particular guy, it’s not like they’re selling off their roster. But as far as you know, like there’s all the players we’ve talked about with the the Pacers, you have a series of buyers. And then you have some other teams that could easily find that could say like, well, they might trade this guy, they may trade that guy, they might want to get this guy, they might want to get that guy. The Blazers I have in the pelicans pile of like, I really don’t know exactly what they’re gonna do. I don’t know what their situation is. There’s a certain level of just vagueness and uncertainty that I view the pelicans with, and that I view the certainly the Blazers more than anybody with, and I’ve had that opinion, for a long time, because when ole Shea was under investigation, like, they’re not going to let him rebuild the team, they’re not going to let him make massive changes, if they’re not sure if this investigation turns up something terrible, or whatever, I don’t know where to turn it up. But he doesn’t have a job anymore. And I know, Neil a long time and, you know, I wish him well. And I, I don’t know the details enough to make a judgement on I would need to do my research. But by and large, I think the answer is definitely the Kings by a significant margin.
Jabari Davis 48:19
Fair enough. Fair enough. Honestly, folks, for anybody that’s listening to this for the last hour, if you don’t have more questions, or you don’t want more, I don’t I don’t know what you want. If you’re an NBA fan. Eric, thank you so much for joining us. Can you let the folks know once again, where they can find all of your incredible material when you’re whether it be a Bleacher Report, and also let the folks know about what sports business classroom actually
Eric Pincus 48:39
is? Well, you can find me Of course on on Twitter at Eric Pincus EIC ein cus that’s usually where you’ll get the links to my my articles and whatnot, and they’re all my writing is at Bleacher Report. And then I also do teach at Sports Business classroom. And you can go to sports, business classroom comm or just follow us on Twitter at sports biz bi Z class, you know, don’t do that. I want to make sure I get it right. I don’t know I forget the exact handle. Let me let me double check that but go to sports business classroom.com. That’s just instead of me looking it up while we’re talking. Just go there. And we actually have a program coming up in less than two weeks. So normally, our main program, our in person immersive program is at summer league every year. And it’s like the best thing that I do every year is honestly my favorite of all the stuff I do. I work with students and and we usually have between, I don’t know in the in person under 100. We I forget the exact numbers but we try to cap it so that it’s not watered down. It’s not like panels where it’s just like 1000 people listening to someone talk. It’s very immersive everyone I’m actually in charge of what I’ll be doing also, in the one coming up. In a couple of weeks, I’m in charge of our mock deadline, or mock trade deadline. And so we pair off the students, maybe 234 to a team five to eight depends on on situation. And their job is to investigate their team come up with a game plan of what their team is, where are they going, what are they trying to achieve, and then negotiate with other teams and try to come up with a way to improve your team and so we get some really beautiful, wonderful trades. We’ve done it very different ways. I know one year, I was working with the Cavaliers and I was working with the Celtics. And we traded Isaiah Thomas. Wait, we traded Yeah, we we got Kyrie Irving. We did the Kyrie Irving Isaiah Thomas trade. I’m trying to remember exactly what we did. Yeah. Yeah, we were the Celtics, and we got a we got Kyrie Irving. It’s a blur now. But basically and then we talked to Mike Zarin of the Celtics, who was a speaker at our program, and told them about what we did. And then they did almost the exact same trade, like a month later, and they did not get that from us. We just happen to follow the logic perfectly. And so like, that was a long time ago. Now I don’t actually participate in as a team leader, I actually help run the that part of the program and you learn a lot you learn. Like it Ryan McDonogh, former GM of the sons is really the primary host, Larry Kuhn is, you know, my good friend and somebody who’s a big driver in all the content, and it’s just so much fun. So the one we’re doing is called GM Academy. If you go to sports business classroom, you’ll see I know that there are some spots open, there’s a limit to how much it’s a virtual one. So you’re not going anywhere. It’s on the Christmas break, between you know, after Christmas before New Year’s, December 27 to 29th and it’s all day and you’re just gonna you’re gonna build contacts and I still keep in touch in fact, I work with some former students I collaborate with them and they helped me do a lot of research in what I do and we have and I actually paid payment which is great you know, when I when I can when they’re when there’s a client who’s who’s asking me to do some research for them. I do a lot of research for a lot of different people so but anyway, it’s it’s it’s a great program, follow me on Twitter at Eric Pincus, er ICPI, NC us, Bleacher Report articles will be found there most likely, and then sports business classroom, if you want to learn about the NBA and have interest about getting into that, as a career, this is really the best way to get in the door. We literally get people jobs, a lot of people say Oh, well get like, I can give you a list of like 6070 people who have jobs now like, like the GM of the capital city, gogo, Mr. Nichols is a former student like, I mean, the list is it’s it’s stunningly impressive. And it’s probably why I take so much pride in it is that it’s not just like, sit there and listen to how, you know Ryan McDonagh became the GM of the suns, like, great. Good to hear the story. And it is an interesting story. But it’s not actually going to help you get to where you want to be. Because you’re not Ryan McDonagh, you’re not going to walk in those footsteps. Because it isn’t that it’s not the kind of that’s not what we have here with this league. It’s, there’s no, it’s not like go to law school, become like an associate, eventually make partner all that stuff. It’s just a very different kind of business. And there’s only 30 teams. So but yeah, that’s that’s where you’ll find me. And I really appreciate the conversation gentleman. So he’s a real pleasure.
Jabari Davis 53:45
No, honestly, Eric is truly our pleasure. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you for all of the knowledge that you drop on us here today. For the record for anybody that’s interested in that class on Twitter. It’s at sports base, class biz bi Z. You know, I had to make up I had to make up for mangling that you know the name of it. But make sure you follow Eric on Twitter. Make sure you follow all of his you know, incredible content, follow him on YouTube, give him great reviews, do all of those things because this man absolutely puts a great deal of passion into his work
Cal Lee 54:14
Quality stuff. Well, we hope you enjoyed our interview with CAP biologist and Bleacher Report national writer, Eric Pincus. As always, we certainly appreciate him taking the time and opportunity to educate our listeners and also educate us in this crazy world that the NBA lives in as far as money and player movements go. Once again, we appreciate you and us for hopping on board with us this week. To all of you guys. Do listen to us and to everyone else abroad. We want to wish you happy holidays. I can’t wait to get you guys back in the mix with us on the next trip. But as always, man stay safe in the holidays. You know how we do, Cal Lee, Warren Shaw, Jabari Davis…The Baseline and we’ll catch up with you