Adrian Wojnarowski, the most dominant force in NBA reporting, brings you inside the league with The Woj Pod. Woj is probing the biggest newsmakers in the sport – from the commissioner, to general managers, coaches and star players – to bring listeners inside the processes, personas and stories that impact the NBA. Beyond longer sit-down interviews in our New York studios, Woj will deliver real-time podcasts with league personnel built around breaking news.
Here's the Latest Episode from The Woj Pod:
Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas joins The Woj Pod on taking over the Wolves, KAT, the Rockets years including the James Harden trade, Yao, Daryl a Morey, his roots in Colombia, and the privilege and responsibility of becoming the NBA’s first Latin top basketball executive.
Ryen Russillo joins The Woj Pod to discuss the NBA Playoffs, Game 7’s, The NBA Draft, Zion Williamson, free agency and much, much more.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin joins The Woj Pod to discuss the Raptors-Sixers series and storylines, Kawhi Leonard’s dominance and future, and how a Ty Lue-LeBron James future will look with the Lakers.
Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert joins The Woj Pod to discuss the Nets nasty playoff series with the Sixers, his late-blooming stardom, losing his father in high school, fighting back from a frightening injury this season, working out with Kevin Durant and much more.
Kendrick Perkins joins The Woj Pod to declare himself retired from the NBA, discuss his desire to move into NBA coaching, talk of the purity of his season in the G League at 33 years old, the story of John Calipari recruiting him to Memphis, KG, KD’s future in Golden State and much more.
The Woj and Lowe Show returns with an NBA playoffs preview, how the postseason will impact summer free agency and the latest on the Lakers coaching search.
Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam joins The Woj Pod on his 25th birthday to discuss his remarkable rise into one of the NBA’s best young players, his incredible journey from Cameroon, teenage life in seminary school, the profound impact of his late father, and how tired he’s become of answering questions about Kawhi Leonard’s future.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse joins The Woj Pod to discuss coaching Kawhi Leonard, his long climb from the bush leagues of basketball to the NBA, Marc Gasol’s indoctrination into the team and much, much more.
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers joins The Woj Pod to discuss the team’s remarkable season, ceding front office power, how football coaches influenced his evolution, the Lawrence Frank/Michael Winger-led front office, negotiating his contract with Steve Ballmer, why he wanted to be a coach and much much more.
Future Hall of Famer Pau Gasol joins the Woj Pod to discuss his illustrious professional career, his childhood dreams of med school, the evolution of the international big man in the NBA, getting traded to the Lakers for his brother, learning to co-exist and win with Kobe Bryant and much, much more.
Utah Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey joins The Woj Pod to discuss the Western Conference playoff chase, post-trade deadline fallout in the NBA, Rudy Tomjanovich’s Hall of Fame candidacy, dealing with leaked trade talks and much more.
Philadelphia 76ers GM Elton Brand joins The Woj Pod to discuss his two massive trades for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, how the Sixers will proceed forward with the two free agent stars, how impending free agency impacts the NBA locker rooms year-round, what it was like as Duke’s first star underclassmen to declare early for the NBA Draft, playing for Donald Sterling’s-Clippers, traveling to France in AAU ball with Lamar Odom and Ron Artest and much, much more.
ESPN NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony discusses Zion Williamson, the role Duke and college basketball has played in his emergence, the NBA/NBPA negotiating hurdles to lower draft age and much more.
Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk joins The Woj Pod to discuss the franchise’s rebuild, the Trae Young/Luka Doncic trade, his years with the Warriors dynasty, working in the Heat video room for Pat Riley, growing up in rural Kansas and much more.
Jeff Hornacek joins The Woj Pod to discuss his coaching tenure with the New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, his Suns run as coach, playing with Stockton and Malone in Utah, and his hopes of coaching again in the NBA.
ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks joins The Woj Pod to discuss the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Anthony Davis talks, Kyrie Irving/Celtics and much more at the trade deadline.
Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry joins The Woj Pod to discuss the Warriors turbulent season, Kevin Durant, the joy of repetition and practice, his production company’s new documentary on the 2015 South Carolina church massacre, playing with Seth in the All-Star Weekend 3-point competition and much, much more.
2:22: The Curry brothers both deciding to participate in the three-point contest in Charlotte.
4:11: ‘Emanuel,’ the new movie from Curry’s production company about the 2015 mass shooting in Charleston.
7:02: What role did Curry play in the movie as an executive producer?
8:10: Placing purpose over profits with his production company.
10:40: The endless cycle of mass shootings in the United States.
14:07: Finding happiness in the process of working on his jump shot and pursuing perfection.
18:27: The craziest place he’s ever gone to get shots up.
20:27: How the shift from pick-up basketball to organized games impacts the creativity of young players.
22:58: Curry’s impact on the younger generation in terms of how they view three-pointers.
24:53: The natural progression that led to him shooting from far behind the three-point line.
25:56: The calmness that surrounds Curry on and off the court.
28:43: How growing up around the NBA helps Curry deal with the day-to-day drama that every team battles.
30:45: The November blowup between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, and how the Warriors moved past it.
32:54: Steve Kerr’s unique perspective as the Warriors chase a 3-peat.
34:42: Prioritizing winning above all as evidenced by recruiting Durant in 2016.
38:24: The discipline to keep individual frustrations to yourself.
42:17: The Warriors focusing on the current season, and not worrying about Durant’s pending free agency.
47:02: The transformation of the Warriors organization since Curry’s rookie season.
Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic joins The Woj Pod to discuss his career season under coach Steve Clifford, his strong candidacy for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, lessons learned through years of losing and turmoil in Orlando, growing up the son of a Euro basketball star, playing for Doug Collins and the Sixers in his rookie season, witnessing Derrick Rose’s knee injury in the 2012 playoffs and Vuc’s 2019 summer free agency.
The Utah Jazz’s Joe Ingles joins The Woj Pod to discuss his success in trash talking, why he’s so irritating to opponents, the remarkable growth of his game, Donovan Mitchell, EuroLeague basketball and why he buys sneakers at Nordstrom’s.
Former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox and ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks join The Woj Pod to discuss the looming NBA trade deadline, including strategy for multiple teams, how the New Orleans Pelicans could handle the Anthony Davis situation, the contract buyout market and how the super-max contract has impacted free agency.
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie joins The Woj Pod to discuss his long journey to a new $34M contract, the fight out of the G League and into the NBA, why he didn’t enroll at Harvard despite his acceptance, building his own shoe brand, and much more.
0:23: Dinwiddie’s path to signing a 3-year, $34 million extension with the Nets.
2:39: The mental strength needed to make it in the NBA.
4:09: The difference between simply putting up numbers and impacting winning.
7:21: Brooklyn having several players on their 2nd and 3rd chances.
8:15: Having doubts early in his career that he would ever get an opportunity to play.
9:21: Challenging more experienced and higher paid players for minutes.
10:32: The grind of the G League, including his worst road trip.
11:37: Entering the draft after tearing his ACL during his junior season at Colorado.
13:21: Choosing Colorado over Harvard coming out of high school.
15:52: Finding a home with the Nets after bouncing around a bit.
19:30: Injuries to other players giving him an opportunity to play with the Nets.
21:18: Creating an identity for himself in the NBA after early adversity.
24:45: Does the security of his new deal impact how he approaches the game?
26:44: The Nets persevering after Caris LeVert’s injury.
28:48: The basics of NBA shoe deals for players who aren’t stars, and why he decided to build his own brand.
35:02: Using his foundation to help young people pay for college.
36:00: Social media allowing players to create their own identity and shape the narrative around their career.
39:00: The impact of social media inside the locker room.
Jeff Van Gundy joins The Woj Pod to discuss his USA Basketball coaching experience, re-engaging with pro players after nearly a decade away from coaching, the power of the modern NBA player, and why he is dubious about whether most top high school players can physically compete in the G League as part of the program that would pay them $125K annually.
Memphis Grizzlies coach JB Bickerstaff joins The Woj Pod to discuss the revival of Grit-‘n-Grind, watching Marc Gasol and Mike Conley work every day, the emergence of rookie Jaren Jackson, the burden of the interim coaching tag, why he considered a move college basketball, the internal fight that a coach deals with to stay true to his principles and more.
0:37: Doc Rivers getting the most out of the Clippers, and Montrezl Harrell’s breakout start to the season.
2:12: The lack of separation between teams early in the season.
3:41: The difference between being an interim head coach and having the job full time.
5:25: Why the Grizzlies have been able to bounce back after being in the lottery last season.
7:00: The value of Jaren Jackson Jr. getting to play alongside veteran players on a good team.
8:56: The Grizzlies doubling down on their Grit-N-Grind identity.
14:24: Veteran leadership being essential to set the tone in a locker room.
16:45: How shorter contracts impact team chemistry.
18:28: The advantages of playing differently than the rest of the league.
19:58: Did Bickerstaff wonder if he would get another head-coaching opportunity after his interim stint in Houston.
21:48: Bickerstaff’s thought on the benefits of coaching in college and how he could have helped the players grow as people.
29:57: What he learned about coaching from his parents.
31:19: The advantages of growing up around the league.
33:42: Bickerstaff’s coaching principles that he won’t compromise.
35:03: The importance of building relationships with players, and how he’s bonding with Marc Gasol.
40:40: The partnership between Mike Conley Jr. and Gasol.
42:27: Deciding how much to practice during the season.
ESPN front-office insider Bobby Marks joins The Woj Pod to discuss how the trade market is starting to take shape, distinguishing buyers/sellers, Markelle Fultz, Bradley Beal/John Wall, Orlando/Steve Clifford, Memphis and much more.
0:22: Where the NBA trade calendar stands approaching December 15th, when players signed over the summer can be dealt.
3:02: Nearly half of the league entering free agency in 2019.
4:38: The league wide interest in Bradley Beal on the trade market.
6:17: Steve Clifford’s impact on the Magic in his first season.
8:43: Will a team in the West make a move to challenge the Warriors in the playoffs?
13:14: Jaren Jackson Jr.’s immediate contributions to the Grizzlies with a healthy Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.
15:49: The Markelle Fultz situation and how the Jimmy Butler trade changes the team’s timeline.
18:33: Sixers players embracing Fultz amid his struggles and his lack of value on the trade market.
21:09: Would Fultz benefit from time in the G League?
24:54: Have locker room dynamics worsened or is there simply more intense coverage of the league?
29:52: Players who could hit the buyout market.
33:09: What’s next for Carmelo Anthony?
36:37: How will the new draft lottery rules change how teams play down the stretch?
39:15: The Bulls having a promising young core to attract free agents in the coming years.
WNBA star and ESPN NBA analyst Chiney Ogwumike joins The Woj Pod to discuss the Golden State Warriors turmoil, saying no to Geno Auriemma in recruiting, the WNBA future and much more.
0:57: The recent turmoil surrounding the Warriors after Draymond Green and Kevin Durant’s heated argument.
4:04: Steph Curry and Klay Thompson knowing how to lead after growing up around the NBA.
5:50: Green holding back while addressing the tension with Durant.
8:43: Green always viewing himself as an underdog and playing with a chip on his shoulder.
10:20: Golden State’s decision to suspend and fine Green.
13:00: How the rest of the league viewed the incident.
18:56: Players talking less off the floor and building team camaraderie becoming tougher.
22:46: The best team dynamic Ogwumike has experienced.
26:00: Ogwumike visiting UCONN before choosing Stanford.
29:34: The off-court benefits of attending Stanford for Ogwumike.
34:16: How interested is Ogwumike in a future in politics?
38:40: WNBA players deciding to opt out of the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement.
44:31: NBA players showing high levels of support for the WNBA.
46:17: Ogwumike’s decoration for the ESPN office.
ESPN NBA Draft analysts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz join the Woj Pod to discuss Duke’s freshmen class of RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish who could go 1-2-3 in the June Draft, the surging NBA rookie class -- including Dallas’ Luka Doncic and Memphis’ Jaren Jackson, the impasse in NBA-NBPA negotiations on ending the one-and-done rule, and much, much more.
1:30: Duke freshmen R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson dominating Kentucky in their first game.
4:00: NBA scouts loving Barrett’s competitive drive.
6:24: Will Barrett, Williamson and Cam Reddish competing to be the No. 1 pick have an impact on Duke?
8:06: Why it will be a difficult choice for whichever team has the No. 1 pick.
12:14: How the changing style of play in the NBA impacts the draft.
15:38: The strengths and weaknesses of the 2019 draft.
17:47: The impressive start to Luka Doncic’s career in Dallas.
21:19: Jaren Jackson Jr. moving into the starting lineup and producing for the Grizzlies.
24:53: Negotiations for the end of the one-and-done rule stalled because of agents wanting to keep control over player medical records.
32:30: The importance of ownership in team building and how the G League could factor into age-limit negotiations.
36:29: Players and front office members not really wanting the age limit to change.
39:23: The NCAA wanting everyone else to change so they don’t have to change their business.
40:11: The upcoming games and tournaments that NBA teams will be scouting.
Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks joins The Woj Pod to discuss his franchise’s momentous rebuild, building a free agent destination in the modern NBA, the modern Warriors vs. the 2000’s Spurs and much more
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst joins The Woj Pod to discuss Houston’s offer for Jimmy Butler, TImberwolves’ trade options, Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors, the Sixers and LeBron James and the Lakers.
0:46: Teams adjusting to the season beginning in mid-October after a sluggish start last season.
4:02: Candidates to succeed Gregg Popovich as Team USA’s next head coach.
6:45: The Rockets continuing to push for a Jimmy Butler trade, including offering 4 1st-round picks.
13:00: Tom Thibodeau feeling pressure to win this season in order to keep his job.
15:17: How willing are the Rockets to go deep into the luxury tax?
19:07: How non-NBA business dealings by owners can impact their teams.
25:00: The Raptors’ fast start, and Masai Ujiri building an extremely versatile roster.
29:55: Should the 76ers be concerned about the Bucks overtaking them as the 3rd best team in the East?
31:47: The Bucks being able to hire Mike Budenholzer despite uncertainty around the team’s ownership structure.
33:23: The 76ers’ level of interest in Jimmy Butler.
37:59: LeBron James easing his way into the season after so many deep playoff runs.
40:17: Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart being key players for the Lakers.
44:19: James appearing content to play with young teammates while showing support for Luke Walton.
45:50: “Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective Podcast.”
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey joins The The Woj Pod to discuss chasing a championship, delivering his superstars autonomy, his obsession with chasing big stars, the time invested into ideas and deals that never come to fruition, how he values chemistry now vs. years past and why his executive of the year trophy is still in a box.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe joins The Woj Pod to discuss the biggest storylines surrounding the opening of the season.
Filmmaker Dan Klores joins The Woj Pod to discuss his 20-hour documentary series, “Basketball: A Love Story,” that’ll debut soon. They discuss much of his groundbreaking storytelling, including focuses on LeBron James, Bill Russell, Shaq and Kobe, and much, much more.
1:39: The structure of ‘Basketball: A Love Story.’
4:22: Abe Saperstein’s attempts to recruit Bill Russell to the Harlem Globetrotters.
7:41: Players at the 1964 All-Star Game threatening to not play unless they were able to unionize.
12:52: Which players and coaches surprised Klores during the interview process?
16:09: Russell dealing with racism when he became player-coach of the Celtics.
20:17: Asking LeBron James about ‘The Decision’ and when he realized the announcement was a mistake.
24:08: The Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant-Phil Jackson Lakers.
28:19: Chris Paul saying James is more comparable to Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan or Bryant.
30:25: The long process that led to finally making the documentary.
38:00: How Pat Riley made Klores cry and other emotional moments in the doc.
42:43: Diana Taurasi pushing back against how the WNBA tried to market her.
45:00: The stories that Klores wishes he could add to the doc.
49:32: Advancing stories that are decades old by unearthing new information.
ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks joins The Woj Pod to go inside the news, circumstances and marketplace surrounding All-Star forward Jimmy Butler’s trade demand with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
1:18: Marks’ experience dealing with player trade demands, most notably from Jason Kidd.
5:06: Tom Thibodeau still wanting Jimmy Butler to return to the Timberwolves.
9:02: What happens if Butler reports to the team, but claims he is unable to play due to injury?
10:18: For the Clippers and Nets, would acquiring Butler help them sign another star in free agency?
14:45: How the risk of acquiring Butler is different than what it was for the Raptors trading for Kawhi Leonard.
19:27: The cat-and-mouse game of the Timberwolves trying to build a market for Butler.
23:21: How the split between the front office and ownership undercuts Thibodeau and Scott Layden.
25:48: Nets ownership initially resisting the Stephon Marbury-Jason Kidd trade.
32:14: Marks getting his start with the Nets as an intern for Willis Reed.
34:08: The unlikelihood of the Timberwolves being able to get their desired return for Butler.
37:08: The challenge of organizing multiple team trades.
40:06: Cap relief becoming increasingly valuable in trades during the past decade.
Best-selling author Ian O’Connor joins The Woj Pod to discuss his new biography, “Belichick.”
1:40: Declaring Belichick as the greatest football coach ever in the book's title.
4:20: How the reporting for this book compared to O’Connor’s previous book about Derek Jeter.
9:12: The difficulty of writing a book about Belichick without knowing how receptive he’d be to it.
13:08: Belichick learning the game and how to break down film from his father.
18:26: How Belichick learned to bring people from different backgrounds together to build a team.
23:22: Belichick not sitting for an interview for the book, and what O’Connor would have asked him, including Spygate and Bill Parcells.
29:42: The complexities and evolution of Belichick’s leadership style.
34:07: The parallels between Belichick and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
41:29: The fragility of the Patriots dynasty becoming more public over the last year, including the strain on the Belichick-Brady relationship.
49:00: Popovich’s relationship with Tim Duncan having ups and downs like Belichick’s with Brady.
52:53: Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s relationships with Belichick and Brady.
57:05: The pressure on Josh McDaniels if he does eventually succeed Belichick.
Lee Jenkins joins The Woj Pod to discuss his bold move to the Los Angeles Clippers front office from Sports Illustrated.
0:45: The details of his new position with the Clippers.
3:32: How did the opportunity come about to leave SI for the Clippers?
6:37: The difficulty of leaving the only career he’s ever known.
9:24: Jenkins bringing his storytelling abilities to the Clippers.
11:33: His role in helping write the narrative that surrounds the franchise as they approach the pivotal summer of 2019.
14:04: Switching from working primarily by himself to part of a larger team.
16:43: How much did the position evolve over the last few months?
18:36: Jenkins’ role being a complement to the rest of the front office.
22:22: How his skillset will translate to his new job.
24:58: Keeping a small circle while considering joining the Clippers.
26:38: His first SI cover story after struggling upon joining the magazine.
27:56: Appearing on the cover of SI continuing to be so important to athletes.
31:54: Jenkins’ relationships with Lawrence Frank and Michael Winger.
Toronto President Masai Ujiri joins The Woj Pod to go inside the Kawhi Leonard trade, how the Raptors hope to resign the All-Star forward, DeMar DeRozan, Nick Nurse/Dwane Casey, his relationship with President Obama, his summer trip to Africa and much more.
0:53: The NBA’s passionate fan base around the globe and how the league is gaining ground on the NFL.
4:17: The difficulty of moving on from DeMar DeRozan and Dwane Casey, and the trade negotiations for Kawhi Leonard.
9:48: Measuring risk before trading for Leonard, including his pending free agency.
13:23: Completing the deal for Leonard while in Africa.
15:45: Asking RC Buford about what happened between the Spurs and Leonard during negotiations.
17:14: Ujiri’s conversation with DeRozan informing him of the trade.
19:38: Apologizing to DeRozan for the trade and the nuances of managing trade talks.
25:14: The Raptors having a year to show Leonard what their franchise is about, similar to how the Thunder had a year to show Paul George.
28:05: Is it a challenge to get to know the famously private Leonard?
29:52: Ujiri’s message to Leonard in their first meeting.
31:00: The status of Leonard’s health as training camp approaches.
33:40: Leonard elevating the Raptors on both sides of the ball.
34:54: Promoting Nick Nurse to head coach.
38:31: The challenge of a coaching search.
44:29: Being around President Barack Obama while completing the Leonard trade.
47:32: What has Ujiri learned from Obama about leadership?
49:52: Viewing Africa as home and spending time there each summer.
55:07: Basketball being a source of light and positivity around the world.
ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter joins The Woj Pod to discuss his new book, "The Man I Never Met," a memoir on his family, love and his football reporting life. They also discuss Tom Brady and the Patriots.
1:11: If the Patriots could have a do-over, would they have kept Jimmy Garoppolo?
3:33: How much patience did Garoppolo have left to wait behind Tom Brady?
5:59: The similarities between Garoppolo and James Harden as each became a star upon getting their own team.
8:17: The backstory behind Schefter’s memoir ‘The Man I Never Met’ about his wife’s late husband, Joe Maio, who died in the 9/11 attacks.
14:17: Schefter’s honesty and transparency throughout the book about his personal life.
16:37: The benefits of having Michael Rosenberg as a co-author and how he helped shape the book.
18:35: The responsibility of telling such a personal story and his wife’s approval of the book.
22:40: Schefter including intimate details of his dating life from before meeting his wife.
24:03: How Schefter’s wife has come to terms with the rigorous time demands of his career.
26:04: What Schefter learned about Joe through writing and reporting the book.
Ryen Russillo joins The Woj Pod to talk about the powerhouse class of 2019 NBA free agents, small market vs big market free agent challenges, the future of one-and-done and much more.
1:57: Russillo’s move to Los Angeles
5:57: His pick-up game, and Steph Curry’s impact on young players.
9:44: The massive summer of 2019 in free agency, starting with Kawhi Leonard.
15:02: The Lakers not trading for Leonard after missing out on Paul George in a similar situation.
17:51: How the Clippers are setting themselves up to pursue Leonard.
19:54: The cast of characters the Lakers added this summer to surround LeBron James.
25:38: Questions surrounding Kyrie Irving’s future with the Celtics even though the team is set up so well for the future.
28:13: The Knicks being in position to land an impact player in 2019.
29:08: The long list of star players who can enter free agency next summer.
32:10: How the rising salary cap has outweighed league rules that try to limit player movement in free agency.
39:26: NBA players carrying power in a way we’ve never seen in professional sports.
42:45: How player movement makes the NBA offseason an event by itself.
45:42: The added importance of drafting well in the modern NBA.
47:48: The Thunder trading for Dennis Schroder when many thought they would need to waive Carmelo Anthony.
50:20: Are NBA teams in favor changing the age limit?
52:41: NBA owners wanting to get talented young players into the G League.
Grant Hill joins The Woj Pod on the cusp of his enshrinement into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, opening up about his journey to Springfield – his years as part of the Duke dynasty, his early All-NBA seasons with the Pistons, the darkness and isolation of his recurring ankle injuries with Orlando, his relationships with Steve Nash, Coach K and his parents, his role as Vice Chairman of the Atlanta Hawks and why he’s still considering a future run for political office.
0:36: Hill being unsure if he would get into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
2:38: Never considering leaving Duke early for the NBA.
6:00: Hill leading the NBA in All-Star voting as a rookie.
8:11: Sharing the Rookie of the Year Award with Jason Kidd.
10:48: How Hill’s parents prepared him for a career in sports.
13:16: Double majoring in history and political science.
15:12: Focusing on fitting in during his early years at Duke before taking on a leadership role as an upperclassman.
18:39: What separates Coach K from other coaches?
20:41: Maintaining confidence before Christian Laettner’s iconic shot vs. Kentucky.
22:33: The difficulty of replicating the Duke camaraderie in the NBA.
24:05: Being uncomfortable with Michael Jordan comparisons early in his career after modeling his game on Magic Johnson.
28:21: The ankle injury that cost him years of his prime in Orlando.
30:55: Battling a staph infection after ankle surgery in 2003.
33:51: What convinced him to continue his career after years of setbacks?
35:44: The sense of isolation that came with missing so much time with injuries.
39:47: His time in Phoenix feeling like a second career, and playing all 82 games in his late 30s.
43:22: Playing with Steve Nash at the height of his powers.
45:19: Did Hill play longer to make up for lost time?
47:00: Finding fulfillment in his post-playing life and still considering a political career.
54:44: Hill’s role as Vice Chairman of the Hawks.
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan discusses her revelatory five-part series on mental health in the NBA, including insights into revelations by Kevin Love, Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh and others. She talks about how the league is handling these issues, and what this means for the future.
1:12: MacMullan’s 5-part series on mental health in the NBA.
3:42: Kevin Love being open about his own struggles with depression.
6:06: How the perception of mental health has changed around the league.
7:35: Players being liberated by discussing their issues publicly.
9:42: How prepared are teams and organizations to help players during difficult times?
11:44: Paul Pierce discussing his struggles and depression after being stabbed in 2000.
13:29: How childhood experiences and environments continue to impact players once they reach the NBA.
18:54: Trae Young being mindful of the negative effects of social media.
21:07: How reporting this series gave context to players from previous eras.
23:22: The Celtics being a proactive organization in terms of helping players with their mental health, and Danny Ainge’s personal story.
25:52: How the language surrounding mental health has changed.
27:22: How much better will the NBA be prepared to handle teenagers once high schoolers are allowed to enter the draft again?
28:56: Balancing player privacy with the need for teams to understand the person they are investing millions of dollars in.
31:47: Players being apprehensive about discussing their mental health for fear of how it will impact their careers.
33:00: Jalen Rose’s story about the Pacers wanting to put him on medication to help him focus.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas to joins The Woj Pod to discuss the NCAA basketball rule changes, what makes sense, what doesn’t and how it’ll impact the NBA.
0:40: Sean McDonough’s golf tournament which included Bill Raftery and Charles Barkley.
2:58: Barkley being one of the most accessible athletes in terms of interacting with the public.
5:08: Barkley’s famous quote while at Auburn: ‘I didn’t pay for the car. I’m not paying for the tickets.’
7:05: The NCAA’s latest attempt at reform, which included some common-sense changes, but didn’t address the amateurism model.
10:36: Players having the option to return to college if they go undrafted.
12:04: Why undrafted players might be unlikely to return to school.
15:13: The benefits of keeping the door open to undrafted players.
19:06: Why paying players won’t single-handedly end the ‘corruption’ surrounding the sport.
25:04: The likelihood of high school players returning to the NBA draft, and how it will impact college basketball.
29:20: USA Basketball being blindsided by the NCAA’s announcement on Wednesday.
35:16: The difficulty of being a professional player for marginal prospects, including low salaries and arduous travel in the G League.
39:46: Owners wanting to lower the age limit as a way to increase interest and revenue in the G League.
ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth joins The Woj Pod to discuss the impact legalized gambling will have on the NBA, sideline reporting, NBA twitter and much more --- including ESPN NFL reporter Dianna Russini joining them in studio.
1:06: Hubbarth covering college football in addition to the NBA.
2:36: The grind of covering summer league.
5:58: The challenges of being a successful sideline reporter, including interviewing Gregg Popovich.
9:43: How the legalization of gambling will impact the league.
15:17: The league’s tanking problem and how Sam Hinkie sold his vision to the media during the Process.
18:01: The Suns going through a multi-season rebuild after missing out in free agency.
20:35: Draft lottery reform and the league wanting to further even out the odds.
25:26: Russini’s unique Instagram account and turning down a chance to connect with Woj a decade ago.
29:38: Gambling being more associated with the NFL than the NBA and how media reports can change betting lines.
32:26: How the influx of money from gambling will impact the pro leagues.
33:32: Referees facing harsher criticism as leagues embrace gambling.
38:20: The already toxic relationship between players and officials in the NBA.
43:13: Players having power in the NBA, while owners have the power in the NFL.
47:58: Hubbarth and Russini’s friendship.
54:08: How the NBA and its players show respect to women covering the game.
Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley returns to The Woj Pod to discuss his move back to the Eastern Conference, what NBA superstars want in free agency, why referee-players relations are so poor, and much, much more.
1:04: The trade to the Nets giving Dudley a chance to get playing time again after the Suns went young last season.
3:32: Not being interested in giving up money in a buyout from the Suns.
4:37: The importance of veteran mentorship.
6:17: Fans wanting teams to bottom out for high draft picks.
8:35: How players being willing to take less money hurts smaller market teams.
12:58: Star players being more willing to change teams via free agency or by forcing a trade.
14:29: Players recruiting during the season and how common tampering is across the league.
15:39: Players being more aware of a franchise’s reputation from the coaching staff to the front office.
18:22: Star players having significant power and influence on the league in ways NFL players don’t.
21:00: The lasting impact of the NBPA rejecting the league’s cap smoothing proposal.
23:42: Teams not showing restraint with their cap space in 2016 and 2017.
26:53: The tremendous talent imbalance between the East and West.
29:11: Do players believe the league pushes for certain things to happen behind the scenes?
30:08: The relationship between players and refs being at an all-time low.
32:06: New refs not knowing how to interact with players.
Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego joins The Woj Pod to discuss leaving the Spurs for his first head coaching job, signing Tony Parker, building a relationship with Kemba Walker, the process of becoming a head coach in the NBA, what he learned under Gregg Popovich, growing up with a single mom in New Mexico, and much more.
0:44: The prestige that comes with being 1 of the 30 head coaches in the NBA.
2:42: Tony Parker’s role in bringing the Spurs culture to the Hornets.
4:02: Kemba Walker’s eagerness to learn from Parker.
5:40: Borrego’s first steps upon joining the Hornets.
8:42: Going through the interview process for head-coaching jobs with fellow Spurs assistants.
10:46: The transition from the video room to being an assistant coach for Gregg Popovich and the Spurs.
13:32: What he learned by leaving San Antonio and coaching in other organizations.
17:44: How NBA coaches gain respect from their players.
19:18: Growing up in a single-parent home in New Mexico.
22:21: The University of San Diego developing a string of NBA head coaches.
23:41: The level of discipline in the Spurs organization that he noticed from Day 1, and how Popovich empowers his coaching staff.
27:22: The passion and energy from the city of Charlotte for the Hornets.
29:30: Inheriting a team that was competitive last season under Steve Clifford.
30:59: Walker setting an example for younger players and being a true franchise player for the Hornets.
Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer joins The Woj Pod to discuss Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks future, the Hawks years, LeBron leaving the East, where and how he gets ideas and getting the courage up as a young assistant to raise a point with Gregg Popovich in a Spurs coach’s meeting.
1:48: How much different is Budenholzer's approach to his second head-coaching job?
3:29: Learning about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s tremendous work ethic.
5:47: The uniqueness of Antetokounmpo’s skillset and the appeal of coaching him.
8:41: The stressful situations that come with being a first-time head coach.
10:58: Reflecting on his 5-year tenure with the Hawks, including the 60-win season.
14:10: Danny Ferry’s role building the Hawks and his qualifications for another front-office job.
16:54: Losing Al Horford in free agency in 2016 and bringing in Dwight Howard.
18:55: The difficulty of balancing the short- and long-term while being both coach and team president.
23:06: What Budenholzer learned from Gregg Popovich about holding multiple titles.
25:42: The importance of alignment between ownership and the front office.
28:34: Growing up as the son of a successful coach and the value of playing multiple sports.
34:34: Starting in the video room for the Spurs and developing his own voice as a coach.
39:57: What role do coaches have in motivating players?
41:13: Staying in the Eastern Conference and the opening presented by LeBron James going to the West.
42:45: How James single-handedly challenges opposing teams in the playoffs.
ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks joins The Woj Pod for a discussion on DeMarcus Cousins’ move to the Warriors, and the storylines and moves still left to play out in July free agency.
0:51: Trae Young struggling to start summer league, and how former Nets executive Rod Thorn would have reacted.
3:50: The limited amount of cap space around the league giving teams tremendous leverage over players.
5:40: The limited market for players in restricted free agency.
7:17: Dante Exum re-signing with the Jazz and still having a chance to be a good player despite a string of injuries during his career.
8:50: Tony Parker’s uncertain future with the Spurs and potential interest from the Hornets.
9:32: The Bucks having a hard cap next season, which sets a limit on their potential offer to Jabari Parker.
10:46: The lack of player movement on the trade market.
12:54: Nerlens Noel and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope turning down much larger contracts last summer.
14:47: The biggest contract a player turned down while Marks was with the Nets.
17:00: How is a locker room impacted by a roster full of 1-year contracts?
20:07: DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Warriors and trying to fix his health and his reputation.
23:56: The Warriors having the luxury of patience to bring Cousins back slowly.
25:10: Why Marks and the Nets chose Derrick Favors over Cousins in 2010.
27:05: Every team having the opportunity to sign Cousins.
28:08: The Suns getting important veteran leadership in Trevor Ariza.
29:06: The Magic constructing a roster of long, athletic big men.
ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks joins the Woj Pod for the first of a two-part delve into NBA free agency, including LeBron James’ move to the Lakers and the future of Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio.
2:06: The Lakers signing Lance Stephenson, who has only had success playing for the Pacers.
4:37: James wanting to surround himself with high IQ players.
6:07: Luke Walton facing a challenge with the new-look roster next season.
9:30: The belief that news of Lonzo Ball’s knee injury was leaked to try and prevent his inclusion in trade talks.
12:43: The difficult pathway to a Kawhi Leonard trade for the Lakers, and how the Spurs handle trade offers.
18:07: The low returns in trades for All-Star players over the last few years after reaching an apex with the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011.
20:51: Teams not getting an advantage by offering an extra year to their players in free agency.
23:51: How much additional value does Kawhi Leonard have from a marketing standpoint if he lands in Los Angeles?
25:02: The Clippers losing appeal to Leonard because of James signing with the Lakers.
26:17: How much leverage do the Spurs have in Leonard negotiations and when should they make a move?
27:17: The weight of the Leonard drama on the Spurs organization.
28:37: Teams being worried about Leonard’s health.
ESPN Draft Analyst Jonathan Givony joins The Woj Pod to discuss the aftermath of Thursday’s NBA Draft, including the Michael Porter Jr., saga, the Luka Doncic/Trae Young trade, and much much more.
ESPN NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz joins the Woj Pod to breakdown the final days of maneuvering for Thursday’s NBA Draft, including the Michael Porter saga, Luka Doncic, the art of the draft day ‘promise’ and much more.
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell joins The Woj Pod to discuss his breakout rookie season, his battle with Ben Simmons, learning how to become a franchise player, Quin Snyder, and why he believes he can be a recruiter to bring star talent to the Jazz.
1:38: The whirlwind of the last two months for Mitchell, including leading Utah’s playoff run.
2:52: How much has changed for Mitchell after being doubtful whether he should turn pro last year.
3:58: The Jazz going on a phenomenal run once Rudy Gobert returned from injury
5:01: Mitchell’s relationship with Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who gave him more responsibilities throughout the season.
8:21: Leaving Louisville before the program became entangled in controversy.
9:03: Mitchell’s Jazz teammates helping him in his transition to stardom.
10:43: Learning the responsibilities of being a star player, including the ferocity and energy it requires each game.
16:53: The Jazz not thinking about rebuilding after losing Gordon Hayward.
18:22: What Mitchell learned from growing up around the Mets clubhouse about how young players should interact with veterans.
19:56: Attending Greenwich Country Day School and the benefits of being a late bloomer on the court.
23:21: Going to the EuroLeague playoffs in Serbia and seeing how much the entire country loves the sport.
26:48: Mitchell emulating the mentalities of Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook.
29:46: With Mitchell and Gobert in place, the Jazz being an attractive destination for free agents looking to win.
31:46: Staying the same person after achieving success.
33:25: The adidas sweatshirts trolling Ben Simmons and his Rookie of the Year candidacy.
38:19: Other players being willing to answer Mitchell’s questions about the league.
ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks joins The Woj Pod to discuss Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Bryan Colangelo saga in Philadelphia, NBA free agency and much more.
Portland Trail Blazers star C.J. McCollum joins The Woj Pod to discuss the Blazers playoff exit and future, building an identity in an NBA small market, growing up a LeBron James fan outside Cleveland, his new Pull Up podcast, the league’s salary cap and much, much more.
1:26: C.J. McCollum’s new podcast Pull Up.
3:07: Damian Lillard and McCollum having large brands despite playing in a relatively smaller market.
4:52: Being recognized for his podcast instead of being a basketball player.
6:26: Growing up in Ohio while LeBron James became a global star, and the evolution of his game.
9:58: Championships being the measure for how James’ free agency will be judged.
11:32: James’ game showing no signs of slippage in his 15thseason.
12:37: McCollum leading the league in miles run per game.
14:20: The potential impact of legalized gambling on the NBA.
17:50: Is McCollum happy that his Cleveland Browns drafted Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield?
19:30: How would Cleveland react if the Browns won a Super Bowl?
20:28: McCollum’s brother Errick playing professionally in Europe.
21:22: Gaining an appreciation for the European game by watching his brother play.
23:02: The Trail Blazers being shocked by the Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs.
25:57: Does Portland need a star swingman, like Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, to take the next step?
27:48: McCollum’s go-to drill to start his workouts.
30:15: Why McCollum picked the Cavs to win the series vs. the Celtics.
30:56: The potential for a woman to become a head coach in the NBA.
32:08: How do trades impact the locker room?
Lakers forward Julius Randle joins The Woj Pod to discuss his restricted free agency this summer, the franchise’s decision to not offer him a contract extension to protect salary cap space, Lonzo Ball, and much, much more.
ESPN draft analysts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz join The Woj Pod to discuss the aftermath of the NBA Draft lottery, how Phoenix, Sacramento and Atlanta will view their picks, the politics of the draft combine process for players, and how Danny Ainge and Boston has managed to have so much success in the evaluation of players.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Bobby Marks join the Woj Pod to discuss Dwane Casey’s firing, the coaching market, Boston’s future, and how the Cavaliers can sell LeBron James on a future with the Cavaliers.
ESPN’s Ian Begley joins The Woj Pod to discuss the New York Knicks hiring of David Fizdale, the process leading to his four-year deal, its impact on Kristaps Porzingis’ future, and the Celtics and Sixers rapidly moving toward years of dominance in the Eastern Conference – and perhaps the NBA.
1:06: The Knicks hiring David Fizdale as their next head coach.
2:22: Fizdale wanting to be in New York and having his choice among the open jobs around the league.
3:25: His plans to build a strong relationship with Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis, including a trip to Latvia.
6:14: The Knicks needing Fizdale to be a face of the franchise and to establish a winning culture.
9:41: Porzingis and the Knicks being cautious with his return from injury next season.
11:21: Knicks GM Scott Perry cementing himself as the leader of the front office with the Fizdale hiring.
13:42: Were the Knicks under pressure to hire Fizdale before another team did?
20:37: The ACL tear making Porzingis more likely to sign an extension with the Knicks.
21:09: The Celtics and 76ers being poised to swing the balance of power to the Eastern Conference.
23:52: Danny Ainge’s tremendous patience while rebuilding the Celtics in the post-Big 3 era and having the assets to acquire any star that comes on the market.
27:00: Sam Hinkie’s success finding players like Robert Covington and T.J. McConnell during his tenure with the 76ers.
28:46: The Knicks front office placing an emphasis on Frank Ntilikina’s development.
ESPN’s Royce Young and Ramona Shelburne join The Woj Pod to discuss the NBA playoffs.
Steve Clifford joins The Woj Pod to discuss his dismissal as the Charlotte Hornets coach, Kemba Walker, earning players’ respect in the NBA, the loss of practice time in the NBA, coaching Yao Ming.
0:39: Clifford’s days recruiting players in the northeast as a college coach.
3:19: His exit from the Hornets after five seasons and a change in the front office.
4:57: The Hornets lacking consistency this season and a mentality of wanting to improve.
8:15: The changing role of big men like Dwight Howard in the modern NBA.
10:45: Kemba Walker being fully invested in Clifford’s vision for the team.
16:30: The traits of successful players that are harder to find today than in previous generations.
20:28: How Clifford built relationships with his players when they have many people in their ears.
24:45: The evolution of how head coaches lead and interact with their players.
26:13: The successful coaches that Clifford worked with as an assistant during his career.
30:58: What are the hardest decisions that head coaches have to make in the NBA today?
32:55: Clifford showing his players what he wants from them instead of merely yelling at them.
35:12: Balancing the need for rest with the need to practice and how players view practice.
41:45: How great Yao Ming could have been if he stayed healthy.
43:29: Yao’s sense of duty and obligation to represent China in international competition, particularly the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
45:34: Yao’s global impact on the game.
ESPN Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks joins The Woj Pod to discuss the NBA Playoffs, breaking down the coaching searches, tanking, and the race for NBA Executive of the Year.
0:35: The tremendous pressure on the Thunder to beat the Jazz in the first round.
2:28: The Heat having the veteran leadership and coaching to challenge the 76ers.
4:31: Marco Belinelli making a real difference for the 76ers since getting a buyout from the Hawks.
6:29: The Rockets facing championship-or-bust expectations after a great regular season.
7:47: The Warriors needing to be at full strength to beat the Rockets.
12:09: Stan Van Gundy’s future with the Pistons and the start of the coaching carousel.
16:07: The Knicks placing an emphasis on someone fans can get behind in their coaching search.
22:00: Teams waiting to see which coaches become available after the first round or two of the playoffs.
23:16: The Magic being an attractive coaching job because of ownership’s willingness to spend and the city having previous success in free agency.
26:46: The widespread tanking during this season across the league.
30:21: The unlikelihood of another team following the 76ers’ approach of tanking for a prolonged period.
31:55: Daryl Morey being a heavy favorite for Executive of the Year.
33:10: The importance of coaches and GMs being on the same page, like with the Raptors and Jazz.
Mina Kimes joins The Woj Pod to discuss her newly released and remarkable ESPN The Magazine story on European teenage basketball sensation Luka Doncic, who could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Mina talks about her time reporting the story on Doncic in Spain, including her conversations with NBA stars Goran Dragic and Kristaps Porzingis about him. Mina and Woj go in-depth on a teenage prodigy still largely shrouded in mystery to NBA fans.
1:17: Kimes’ story on potential No. 1 pick Luka Doncic.
3:08: Doncic dominating the EuroLeague at a very young age.
5:00: Doncic’s maturity on the court while simultaneously being a regular teenager.
6:37: Doncic being sheltered by Real Madrid’s culture.
9:25: His standout performance in Euro Basket and not deferring to Goran Dragic.
13:55: Doncic’s awareness of the stereotypes of European players.
17:38: The competition in the EuroLeague being higher than in the NCAA.
18:36: The similarities between Doncic coming to the NBA and Shohei Ohtani coming to MLB.
20:48: Doncic having star qualities in his game and personality.
23:47: Kimes’ career path helping her write profiles.
26:47: The questions that exist around Doncic’s game entering the NBA.
28:51: Doncic entering the NBA in what will likely be Dirk Nowitzki’s last season.
David Griffin joins The Woj Pod to discuss the NBA coaching market, how NCAA coaches like Jay Wright and John Beilein could fit into the NBA, how he conducted the search for David Blatt in Cleveland and his years with new Basketball Hall of Famers Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill with the Suns, and much more.
1:18: Jay Wright building Villanova into a true powerhouse program and his NBA candidacy.
5:14: John Beilein’s humble beginnings and his Hall of Fame candidacy.
10:55: How NBA teams have changed what they want from college coaches making the jump to the pros.
15:55: Griffin on evaluating candidates who haven’t coached in the NBA yet and the Cavs’ 2014 coaching search.
20:35: In hindsight, would Griffin had waited to hire a coach if he knew LeBron James would return to Cleveland?
23:58: Jeff Van Gundy refusing to discuss a coaching job while the position is still filled.
25:54: Common mistakes from coaches when interviewing.
30:25: The trend of teams interviewing assistants for the purpose of gaining knowledge about opponents.
33:26: The Spurs developing coaches and helping them find head-coaching jobs.
36:46: Koby Altman deciding to stay with the Cavs amid interest from the Spurs in 2016.
41:43: How building a front office has changed during Griffin’s career.
46:08: Griffin’s memories of Jason Kidd and Steve Nash as Suns teammates.
48:11: Why Nash’s career went to new levels when he returned to Phoenix.
49:39: Grant Hill’s second chapter with the Suns.
Popular NBA writer Kelly Dwyer joins The Woj Pod to discuss the league as its rolls into the final days prior to the playoffs, as well as the early days of the basketball internet, his time together with Woj at Yahoo, mental health in the NBA, and much, much more.
ESPN’s Tim Legler joins The Woj Pod to discuss James Harden’s MVP season, the Rockets-Warriors matchup, the evolution of the three-point shot in the NBA, Legler’s incredible journey to the NBA, how much more valuable Legler’s shooting talent would be in the modern NBA and his desire and belief that he could succeed as a college basketball coach.
1:19: Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni calling James Harden the best offensive player he has ever seen.
3:15: Harden being in his prime and having his best supporting cast yet.
5:20: The Rockets’ chances against a healthy Warriors team in the playoffs.
7:26: Harden and Chris Paul needing to overcome past playoff failures.
11:00: How Legler’s career might be different if he was playing in the current era.
14:00: The three-point shot being added to college basketball before Legler’s junior season.
15:48: The slow adoption of the three-point line.
19:40: Legler’s career in the basketball minor leagues.
22:33: The limited opportunities in a 10-day contract.
24:43: The USBL being filled with talented players, including the Miami Tropics.
29:48: How important winning the three-point contest in 1996 was for Legler.
34:07: Legler’s interest in a college coaching position and how he has prepared himself to lead a team.
39:48: Would Legler consider taking an assistant job to gain experience?
41:18: Legler’s work ethic being a key part of his candidacy.
Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey joins The Woj Pod for a wide-ranging visit on Rip City, chasing Golden State and Houston in the West, the Chris Paul trade/Chauncey Billups waiver claim with Clippers, NBA playoff realignment, the idea of the NBA possibly returning to high school gyms, and much, much more.
1:15: How bartending helped him learn to interact with a wide range of people.
4:28: His father’s career as a police officer.
5:33: The Trail Blazers fighting for position in the crowded Western Conference playoff field.
6:47: Good teams in the West being overlooked because of the Warriors.
9:27: Where do the Trail Blazers fit into the Western Conference hierarchy?
11:53: How seeding the playoffs from 1 to 16 could help curb tanking.
14:53: Why has the Western Conference been consistently better than the East for so long?
19:00: How Olshey balances trying to compete in both the short and long term.
23:05: The Trail Blazers still not having a G-League franchise.
26:20: Can the NBA create a better environment to develop and evaluate players than the NCAA?
31:00: The potential impact of allowing players to enter the draft straight out of high school.
34:33: The benefits of the old rivalry between Nike and adidas to recruit players.
37:32: Claiming Chauncey Billups in 2011 against his wishes.
48:20: How Billups’ Hall of Fame candidacy mirrors NFL quarterback Ken Stabler.
Denver Nuggets owner Josh Kroenke joins The Woj Pod to discuss alternative ideas to NBA early entry, how he chooses his GM’s, inside the legendary Carmelo Anthony trade, the passing of agent Dan Fegan, and much, much more.
2:14: How does Kroenke watch the Nuggets while he is on the road?
3:30: The passing of prominent NBA agent Dan Fegan.
9:14: Kroenke’s mentors as he prepared to become a team owner, including his father Stan.
11:16: The Nuggets getting a tremendous return for Carmelo Anthony in 2011, especially compared to recent trades involving stars.
13:37: How the Anthony trade changed the NBA news cycle.
15:48: The months-long saga that led to the Anthony trade.
17:20: Chris Paul’s famous toast in 2010 about playing with Carmelo Anthony.
19:29: Having the Nets as leverage while negotiating with the Knicks.
24:23: The decision to fire George Karl after he won Coach of the Year in 2013.
29:57: What Kroenke has learned from different franchises in other sports, including the Los Angeles Rams.
34:29: Hiring Tim Connelly as GM after Masai Ujiri left for Toronto.
39:14: The Nuggets’ proposal to change the draft and utilize the G-League as an alternative to the NCAA.
43:02: How the youth basketball circuit has impacted young players entering the NBA.
45:56: Signing Mike Miller in 2015 to be a presence in the locker room and around the league.
49:00: Getting advice from veteran players on how to improve the organization.
52:58: The value of getting a sit-down meeting with Dwyane Wade in 2016.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne joins The Woj Pod to discuss the sexual harassment and abuse scandal rocking the Dallas Mavericks, the impact on women working in these environments, the state of Kawhi Leonard’s relationship with the San Antonio Spurs and the possibility of postseason changes in the NBA.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey joins The Woj Pod to discuss the revelatory season for the Toronto Raptors, coaching in the All-Star Game, his years with Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, pro basketball in Seattle and a conversation about gun violence in America.
2:31: Toronto’s young players exceeding expectations this season.
3:43: The evolution of All-Star Weekend into a major event.
6:39: America’s ongoing gun violence problems.
9:47: NBA coaches using their platform to speak on social issues.
12:30: White supremacists feeling empowered over the past year.
14:33: Trying to explain the gun violence in American to his children who are growing up in Canada.
17:39: The Raptors adopting a new style of play this season and Casey’s partnership with Toronto president Masai Ujiri.
22:29: The Raptors excelling in player development.
26:18: Heat big man Bam Adebayo reminding Casey of Shawn Kemp.
28:23: The Kemp-Gary Payton SuperSonics energizing the entire city of Seattle.
30:00: Seattle being a great market for an NBA franchise with the right ownership group.
34:13: Casey’s extended tenure in Toronto being an outlier in the modern NBA.
39:04: What Casey learned about coaching Payton that he applies to coaching Kyle Lowry.
41:13: The challenge and importance of earning respect from players.
43:30: Which player would Casey have draw up a play?
46:12: The parallels between this Raptors teams and the 2011 Mavericks.
48:09: Casey’s long journey to coaching the All-Star Game.
Golden State’s Klay Thompson joins The Woj Pod for a visit live on site at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. Thompson and Woj discuss his future free agency, growing up with Steph Curry in the NBA, Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals, fathers and son in the NBA, his 60-point game and much, much more.
1:45: The Three-Point Contest being easy for Thompson.
2:28: Thompson’s initial expectations for his career upon entering the league.
4:22: How Golden State’s team culture helped Thompson develop.
5:53: Stephen Curry’s willingness to share the spotlight with his teammates.
7:35: Thompson’s 41-point performance in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals playing a pivotal role in eventually signing Kevin Durant.
9:26: Thompson’s ability to focus on the next shot as inspired by Kobe Bryant.
10:40: Thompson’s 2019 free agency and his hopes to stay with the Warriors.
11:43: The Warriors needing players to take slightly less than their market value to keep their core together.
14:14: The Rockets pushing the Warriors to keep their focus.
16:02: Could Thompson exceed his 60-point performance some day?
17:48: The benefits of having a father that played in the NBA.
19:18: The quietness of Thompson, Curry and Durant being balanced out by Draymond Green’s huge personality.
22:40: Playing in the 2016 Olympics and hoping to play for Team USA in 2020.
ESPN analyst Tim Legler and front-office insider Bobby Marks join The Woj Pod for a post-NBA trade deadline edition. Legs, Marks and Woj walk through Cleveland’s dramatic roster overhaul, including how it impacted LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas. They talk about the Lakers free agent bid, how the Utah Jazz gambled on Jae Crowder’s recapturing his Boston-self in coach Quin Snyder’s system, and much, much more.
2:51: How much better are the Cavs after revamping their roster?
5:20: The complexity of orchestrating multiple deals at the deadline.
8:10: Teams showing restraint with their assets.
10:56: The Cavs surrounding LeBron James with more youth and athleticism.
17:50: How should the Cavs approach recruiting James to stay in the next few months?
20:12: The Lakers clearing cap space and getting a first-round pick.
22:42: How strong is the mystique of playing for the Lakers compared to the challenge of playing in the West?
29:30: The 76ers not adding a scoring guard like Tyreke Evans at the deadline.
31:09: The Pistons adding a pair of rotation players in Jameer Nelson and James Ennis.
32:37: The Jazz believing that Quin Snyder’s system will rejuvenate Jae Crowder’s career.
35:43: Legler and Marks on how players and front offices handle the trade deadline, respectively.
38:47: Marks on nearly trading Brook Lopez during his time with the Nets in separate deals for Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Reggie Jackson and Marvin Williams.
ESPN’s front-office insider Bobby Marks joins The Woj Pod to breakdown the NBA Trade Deadline. Marks and Woj discuss the complexities of the Cleveland Cavaliers making a deal, the logjam of bad contracts flooding the market, and some of Bobby’s best stories working in the Nets front office on past deadlines.
2:06: Marks’ trade deadline memories with the Nets.
4:17: The complicated behind-the-scenes negotiations for the Jason Kidd trade in 2008.
5:24: How close the Nets came to acquiring Dwight Howard in 2012.
8:45: Nearly trading Brook Lopez at the 2015 deadline.
10:13: The logjam of available players at this year’s deadline because of the cap spike in 2016.
14:32: The high value of first-round picks on the trade market.
18:05: The Cavs looking for a big move at the deadline but not wanting to trade the Nets pick.
23:53: The Celtics signing Greg Monroe and still having options at the deadline.
26:22: Boston being willing to listen to offers for Marcus Smart.
30:16: Players on rookie-scale contracts that might benefit from a change of scenery, including Elfrid Payton, Emmanuel Mudiay and Julius Randle.
33:17: The Nets finding tremendous value in players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris.
36:11: How teams prepare for the frenzy of trade deadline day.
39:27: The closest Marks ever came to missing out on a trade because of the 3 pm deadline.
ESPN basketball analyst Tom Crean – the former head coach at Indiana and Marquette --- joins The Woj Pod to discuss how NBA teams mine college coaches for information on draft prospects, Pat Riley’s process in drafting Wade out of Marquette, Victor Oladipo’s journey to the All-Star game, how he’s made the transition from coaching to TV for the season, and much, much more.
1:10: Stephen Curry’s influence on young players being seen in Trae Young.
5:33: Young taking the pressure off his teammates.
7:57: NBA players and teams that Crean would show clips of to his players at Indiana.
10:55: Victor Oladipo’s path from lightly recruited entering college to NBA All-Star.
13:29: What Crean saw from Oladipo during his time in Orlando.
17:39: Crean taking a year off from coaching for the first time in decades.
23:04: The differences between an NBA organization and a college in terms of finding synergy from top to bottom.
27:21: Dwyane Wade’s potential leadership role with the Cavs and his history of putting the team above himself.
31:24: The tough adjustment Wade had after leaving Miami.
35:50: Is there an early-entry rule for the draft that will work for both players and teams?
39:40: The difference between being ready to be drafted and ready to play in the NBA.
46:43: The wide range of approaches that NBA teams take when evaluating draft prospects.
53:06: Crean’s conversations with Pat Riley before the Heat drafted Wade.
Jalen Rose joins the Woj Pod to discuss the Cavaliers dysfunction, Paul George’s free agency, advantages of playing college basketball, why he longs to play Michigan’s 1993 NCAA title game loss to North Carolina over again, how players only meetings tend to go in the NBA, and why he was able to make such a seamless transition from an NBA career to broadcasting.
1:00: Rose’s seamless transition from his playing career to working in the media.
3:21: The difference between a long day as a player and a long day in media.
5:08: The one season in Rose’s career he would like to do over.
8:09: College players feeling pressured to make the leap to the NBA before they are ready.
10:50: The benefits of staying in college on and off the court for some players.
15:02: How much bigger would Rose be if he played during the social media era?
16:38: The dysfunctional locker room in Cleveland.
21:13: Toronto emerging as a legitimate threat to win the Eastern Conference.
23:00: The Cavs’ options at the trade deadline.
26:40: The pressure Paul George would face if he signs with the Lakers.
28:34: Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins thriving alongside each other.
30:00: Rose’s concerns about the 76ers’ future with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne joins The Woj Pod to discuss the NBA trade deadline, the Clippers deal dilemma with DeAndre Jordan and how that’ll impact Blake Griffin’s future, OKC’s chances of advancing deep into the playoffs, NBA officiating issues and her interview with Clippers guard Austin Rivers.
3:32: Austin Rivers’ candid interview with Shelburne this week following the Clippers-Rockets confrontation.
7:16: How challenging it is to coach your son in the NBA.
9:04: Rivers’ work ethic and love for the game saving his career after a slow start in New Orleans.
11:05: The Clippers facing a crossroads at the trade deadline.
15:54: Dysfunction existing among the Clippers well before Doc and Austin Rivers arrived.
18:51: Chauncey Billups’ unhappiness when the Clippers claimed him on waivers in 2011.
21:00: DeAndre Jordan’s trade value and the congested standings slowing the market.
24:53: The Warriors still being overwhelming title favorites.
26:31: The Thunder having the star power and positional flexibility to compete in the playoffs.
32:49: Tension between players and referees continuing to escalate.
35:54: The younger generation of refs having less patience with players.
40:33: How social media has increased the spotlight on player relationships and missed calls.
Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan joins The Woj Pod for an introspective visit on the cusp of his fourth NBA All-Star selection and the Raptors rise to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. DeRozan talked about going most of his first year with teammate Kyle Lowry and barely talking or interacting with him. He discussed how close he once came to asking for a trade out of Toronto, about what true leadership means in the NBA, about his obsessive pursuit of greatness and the price that needs to be paid. DeRozan and Woj discussed in detail about growing up in Compton, internalizing a childhood of witnessing senseless gang violence and murder and how he carries that with him as an adult.
Jeff Van Gundy joins the Woj Pod to discuss his coaching assignment with USA Basketball, the state of NBA officiating, the OKC Thunder and much more.
Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo discusses his breakout season in the NBA, the impact Russell Westbrook had on his work ethic and commitment, the dysfunction of his early years with the Orlando Magic, why many colleges overlooked him out of high school, his close bond with former Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean, repairing his relationship with his father, and the inspiration of a younger sister who has overcome a hearing loss.
2:20: Oladipo’s journey from being underrated entering college at Indiana to becoming an NBA star.
4:45: Being overlooked despite playing for DeMatha, a high school powerhouse.
6:26: Tom Crean’s recruitment of Oladipo to Indiana.
7:14: The advantages of Oladipo’s steady rise compared to players that are hyped up from a young age.
9:06: The difficult environment in Orlando to start Oladipo’s career.
12:19: Playing for five different coaches during his first five seasons.
13:38: Learning from Russell Westbrook’s intensity and work ethic.
16:37: How did Kevin Durant’s departure impact the atmosphere in Oklahoma City?
20:58: Looking to Durant as a role model because they are from the same area.
23:37: The importance last season with the Thunder played in his breakout season with the Pacers.
26:11: What did he need to overcome after starting his career in a rebuilding organization?
28:03: Oladipo’s parents prioritizing education over athletics.
33:38: How his family was impacted by his sister losing her hearing at a young age.
36:14: Finally having a team to call his own and establishing himself as a star player in Indiana.
38:17: Hoosier fans always showing love to Oladipo during his career.
39:07: Crean being more than a coach to his former players.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown joins The Woj Pod to discuss teaching and nurturing his young stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the unique process of No. 1 overall pick Markele Fultz’s shoulder rehab, the Sixers’ failed pursuit of Manu Ginobili in free agency two years ago, and much much more.
1:10: How coaches prepare their teams for back-to-backs.
3:24: Ben Simmons succeeding as a point guard for the 76ers.
5:55: The benefits of Brown’s relationship with the Simmons family.
7:45: Is there a blueprint for rebuilding Simmons’ jump shot?
9:54: Why Spurs assistant Chip Engelland is so successful working with players to change their shots.
13:29: The challenge of dealing with injuries to the team’s top draft picks during his tenure.
15:53: Helping Simmons and Joel Embiid learn the responsibilities that coming with being franchise players.
18:20: How the team views Embiid’s social media usage and trash talking.
21:16: The core leadership principles that Brown is teaching the 76ers.
25:06: Nearly signing Manu Ginobili during the summer of 2016.
28:32: Helping Markelle Fultz deal with criticism as he rehabs from a shoulder injury.
31:32: Brown’s longtime friendship with Hornets coach Steve Clifford and the toll of being an NBA head coach.
NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony joins the Woj Pod to discuss the remarkable emergence of Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell, impressions of his years of scouting the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball, why Slovenian guard Luka Doncic could go No. 1 in the NBA Draft, how the younger Ball brothers overseas odyssey could go, the building of a mock draft and potential unintended consequences of allowing high school players back into the NBA Draft.
1:55: Givony’s early season scouting schedule.
3:30: The farthest Givony has gone to find a player who ended up being a disappointment.
4:20: Discovering Giannis Antetokounmpo while he was playing in a low level league in Greece.
6:46: Donovan Mitchell’s breakout rookie season for the Jazz.
10:06: Mitchell and Jayson Tatum landing with coaches who can maximize their potential.
14:13: Early takeaways from Lonzo Ball’s rookie season.
17:47: The basketball futures of LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball.
20:40: The challenge for a teenager to play overseas.
23:45: Givony’s approach to mock drafts at this point in the season and why Luka Doncic is currently at No. 1.
26:47: Is there pressure to take an NCAA star over a foreign player at No. 1?
30:50: The unclear future of the one-and-done rule and what teams would like to see.
34:50: The age limit being a business decision.
39:42: The G-League not being an appealing alternative to college basketball.
Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers joins The Woj Pod for a far-reaching conversation on the Warriors burgeoning dynasty, the pressure of winning, the battle against complacency, struggling with life balance, Danny Ainge’s role in getting him his front office job, Steph Curry’s willingness to bring Kevin Durant to the Warriors, a mistake he regrets with ex-coach Mark Jackson that helped him to work with Steve Kerr, and why he cried at the final buzzer of the Warriors 2017 NBA Finals victory over Cleveland.
1:17: Myers’ unorthodox career path from playing at UCLA to being an agent to being a GM.
10:18: Continuing to value the small victories to battle complacency.
12:26: How Myers’ job changes on a daily basis.
18:43: Helping restore the Warriors become a perennial contender after decades of dysfunction.
20:37: How the Warriors are trying to fight complacency, including a visit from Roger Federer.
27:11: Becoming a public figure upon joining the Warriors front office.
31:52: The importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a GM.
39:02: The things Myers doesn’t tolerate in his franchise, including selfishness.
44:02: Myers’ conversation with Stephen Curry about pursuing Kevin Durant in 2016.
49:22: The long-term benefits of losing the 2016 Finals.
51:22: Danny Ainge’s pivotal role in Myers joining the Warriors.
53:52: Why Ainge was able to quickly rebuild the Celtics over the past few seasons.
56:09: The extreme financial cost it will take to keep the Warriors’ core together.
59:46: Coming close to losing Andre Iguodala in free agency last summer.
1:01:54: The continued toll of the job despite Golden State’s recent success.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert joins The Woj Pod to discuss his emergence as an All-NBA center, Dion Waiters’ role in his knee injury, the loss of Gordon Hayward, the rise of French national basketball and hopes of beating Team USA in the Olympics, and much, much more.
1:07: Gobert’s initial reaction to his knee injury and Dion Waiters’ role in it.
3:15: The Jazz struggling without Gobert in the lineup.
4:16: Building a new team identity after Gordon Hayward’s departure.
6:29: Taking a step-by-step approach to becoming a star player.
7:21: The start of his basketball career and playing other sports growing up.
11:10: Gobert’s early friendship with Magic guard Evan Fournier.
12:06: Players he looked up to while growing up.
13:53: The success of the current generation’s French national team.
15:02: The intensity of international basketball.
16:08: Dreams of winning Olympic gold and beating Team USA.
20:32: Gobert’s up and down draft stock during his final season overseas.
23:58: Having one of his best pre-draft workouts for the Jazz.
25:01: The mentality required to be a great shot blocker and defender.
31:34: Gobert’s successful partnership with Jazz coach Quin Snyder.
33:55: Taking on a bigger leadership role this season and moving the team forward.
36:58: The depth of quality young centers around the NBA.
39:39: Being the No. 27 pick and playing in the D-League early in his career.
Royce Young and Bobby Marks of ESPN join The Woj Pod to breakdown the Oklahoma City Thunder's present and future, Brad Stevens, Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics, and much much more.
2:15: The uneven start to the season for the Thunder.
3:34: Russell Westbrook making adjustments on and off the court to accommodate Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
5:32: The challenge of integrating star players to a new team.
8:00: The Cavs’ early struggles giving hope to other Eastern Conference teams.
11:10: The value of adding pieces for a playoff run even if a team can’t compete with the Warriors.
13:25: How much better does Eric Bledsoe make the Bucks?
16:10: Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis capitalizing on bigger roles in Indiana.
21:39: Anthony’s adjustment to not being the No. 1 option with the Thunder.
23:55: The Thunder likely only having one season with this Big 3.
29:08: Thunder owner Clay Bennett’s willingness to pay the luxury tax.
35:14: The Celtics winning 10 straight games with an overhauled roster.
39:43: Brad Stevens’ ability to develop a bench by giving minutes to young players.
44:06: Coaches who consistently elevate the value of their players.
47:44: Deron Williams still being a free agent.
48:34: Kendrick Perkins playing in the G-League.
Los Angeles Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank and GM Michael Winger visit Woj Pod to discuss how a new front office starts to build out its infrastructure, process and long-term planning. Frank and Winger discuss how they’ve approached a new partnership, share duties, bring influences from past stops and work to integrate them into a new program. Frank and Winger discuss Steve Ballmer, Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin and the departure of Chris Paul in free agency.
3:02: Michael Winger joining the Clippers as general manager.
5:06: Lawrence Frank’s emphasis on synergy and building a positive team culture.
7:22: The difference in responsibilities for a president of basketball operations and a general manager.
9:59: Winger’s initial steps upon joining the Clippers.
11:35: Winger’s evaluation of his own strengths and weaknesses.
13:47: The Clippers’ strategic planning extending beyond player acquisition.
16:29: The importance of knowing other teams’ goals to gain a competitive edge.
19:03: Building out the Clippers’ scouting staff in recent years.
23:35: Winger’s experience with teams rebounding after the departure of MVP caliber players.
28:27: Making the Clippers a destination franchise beyond the attraction of playing in Los Angeles.
33:28: How the new CBA has changed the team-building process.
34:58: Star players gaining leverage over teams with short-term contracts.
40:10: Do the Warriors impact how the Clippers build around Blake Griffin?
44:05: The flexibility the Clippers gained from Chris Paul’s departure.
46:34: Winger’s questions for the Clippers before joining the franchise.
48:44: The characteristics of great franchises across sports.
53:42: How Frank’s move to the front office changed his evaluation process.
56:50: Winger’s quick adjustment to the Clippers.
Best-selling author Jack McCallum joins The Woj Pod to discuss his new book “Golden Days,” on the modern Golden State Warriors and the early 70’s Lakers, including insight into Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Jerry West, Pat Riley and more. McCallum, a Hall of Fame basketball writer, discusses covering the NBA in the glory days of Jordan’s Bulls, Bird’s Celtics and the Detroit Bad Boys.
2:28: The origin of McCallum’s new book Golden Days.
5:15: How the current media landscape has changed the book writing process.
7:58: The rough times the Lakers experienced in the 1960s with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.
10:20: Jerry West’s continued passion for the game at 80 years old.
13:07: West admitting he would have left the Lakers if free agency existed.
16:10: What McCallum learned about Kevin Durant while reporting the book.
20:20: Stephen Curry welcoming Durant and sharing the spotlight.
27:00: The tension between Steve Kerr and Mike D’Antoni during their time with the Suns.
33:36: Draymond Green’s immense importance to the Warriors.
37:12: Golden State GM Bob Myers’ role in building the team while not seeking any credit.
42:35: Pat Riley’s reflecting on the end of his tenure as coach of the Lakers and his respect for West.
50:08: Gregg Popovich and other successful coaches putting the team above themselves.
54:33: Does McCallum miss covering the league on a day-to-day basis?
58:05: Michael Jordan not doing interviews with Sports Illustrated.
59:46: Covering the NBA’s ascension during the 1980s.
1:02:40: Articles McCallum wrote that never saw the light of day.
1:05:25: McCallum having a tough time trying to connect with Isiah Thomas.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Bobby Marks join the Woj Pod to breakdown the early NBA season, Gordon Hayward’s injury, LaMarcus Aldridge’s contract extension, how the Lakers need to clear cap space to chase LeBron James and Paul George, the Rick Pitino post-scandal interview, the state of the Chicago Bulls and much more.
1:55: Rick Pitino’s interview denying prior knowledge of the Louisville scandal.
7:05: Assistant coaches taking the hits for head coaches.
11:28: Gordon Hayward’s opening-night injury and the opportunity for other players.
13:48: How a franchise responds to a season-ending injury to a star player.
17:02: The extra burden placed on Kyrie Irving.
21:42: LaMarcus Aldridge’s surprising contract extension with the Spurs.
25:28: Aldridge’s mercurial personality and the importance of surrounding Kawhi Leonard with talent.
27:54: How the Spurs structured the contracts for Aldridge and Pau Gasol.
33:50: Dejounte Murray emerging as a capable successor to Tony Parker.
35:57: Can Chris Paul keep up with Mike D’Antoni’s uptempo system in Houston?
41:00: The Nikola Mirotic/Bobby Portis fight and the bleak outlook for the Bulls.
46:08: The Lakers needing to clear cap space in order to chase LeBron James in free agency.
49:55: James’ history of joining forces with other stars in free agency.
Ian Begley, the Knicks beat writer for ESPN.com, joins the Woj Pod to discuss the totality and residual damage of the Phil Jackson regime, the Carmelo Anthony exit, the issues surrounding Kristaps Porzingis’ future in New York and the pathway for the Knicks to resurrect the franchise’s credibility and standing in the NBA.
1:38: How Carmelo Anthony’s departure has changed the atmosphere around the Knicks.
2:52: What finally caused Anthony to waive his no-trade clause?
5:55: Phil Jackson’s decision to publicly criticize Anthony instead of doing it privately.
7:55: The negative impact of the triangle offense during Jackson’s tenure.
11:05: Jackson setting the Knicks back with his decisions.
14:07: How much autonomy did Jackson have under Jim Dolan?
16:30: Jackson’s lack of success in trades and free agency.
19:37: The failed acquisition of Derrick Rose.
23:44: How worried should fans be about Kristaps Porzingis’ future with the Knicks?
29:40: Did players view Jeff Hornacek as Jackson’s puppet last season?
33:53: The mentality of Knicks fans entering this season.
35:18: The franchise’s previous reluctance to go through a rebuild.
39:49: Could the Knicks have gotten more in a trade if they brought Anthony to training camp?
Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly joins The Woj Pod to discuss the discovery and emergence of Nikola Jokic, evaluating skill vs. athleticism in the draft process, why trades are hard to make in the NBA, the East-West balance of power and his favorite amusement park vacations as a kid.
Gary Parrish of CBS Sports joins the Woj Pod to discuss the criminal scandal that has rocked the basketball industry, including its impact on the future of college and pro basketball, elite basketball prospects, the possibility of USA Basketball and the NBA taking a greater roll in amateur basketball, Rick Pitino's past, present and future, and much more.
1:08: The wide-ranging impact of the scandal across all levels of basketball.
3:38: Will the sneaker companies need to reassess their grass-roots strategies?
6:37: Would paying players solve the corruption problem?
11:42: The potential benefits of players signing with agents while in college.
14:00: How people around the players currently benefit more than the players.
16:31: How the NBA and USA Basketball could change the structure of youth basketball.
21:34: The educational value of the NBA’s overseas academies.
23:55: How Rick Pitino’s repeated scandals will impact his legacy.
27:38: The lack of interest in Pitino from NBA teams.
Mitch Kupchak joins The Woj Pod to discuss his storied career as Los Angeles Lakers general manager, his dismissal in February, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and David Stern’s veto of the Chris Paul trade.
1:02: Kupchak’s early basketball career and the impact of AAU basketball on young players.
3:57: How he was persuaded to focus on basketball instead of baseball.
8:59: Being recruited by some of the great college coaches of all-time.
11:30: Choosing UNC and playing for Dean Smith, including the bond between former Tar Heels.
17:27: Not being part of a basketball team for the first time since he was a child.
19:59: Kupchak’s abrupt exit from the Lakers.
26:15: The criticism that Kupchak’s adherence to league rules hurt the Lakers in free agency.
34:40: The sense of urgency to return to the playoffs, which led to signing Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov.
37:19: Navigating the family dynamics of the Buss family.
42:57: Why the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson in 2012.
47:51: Acquiring Pau Gasol in 2008.
50:13: Kobe Bryant’s trade request in 2007.
55:02: The vetoed Chris Paul trade in 2011 and the decision to trade Lamar Odom shortly after.
1:06:26: The opportunity to learn from other front offices during his time off.
Jared Dudley of the Phoenix Suns joins The Woj Pod for a terrific visit on the state of the modern NBA, salaries, the impact of the Golden State Warriors on NBA locker rooms, free agency, playing ball with an old Michael Jordan and a young Greek Freak.
0:51: How Dudley uses Twitter to engage with fans and whether players have alternate accounts.
2:18: Shaquille O’Neal’s role in Dudley’s early adoption of social media.
4:14: Pros and cons of gambling on team planes.
6:20: How smartphones have changed the way players communicate.
9:52: The impact of social media on a player’s psyche.
11:31: Embracing his role as a veteran leader.
13:36: Giannis Antetokounmpo's initial adjustment to the NBA as a rookie.
18:06: How the AAU basketball culture compares to the system overseas.
24:46: The importance of veteran leadership to young teams.
28:36: How Kevin Durant’s move to the Warriors dramatically changed the league.
31:14: Dudley’s luck to be a free agent in 2016 during the cap spike.
33:18: Shorter contracts impacting player mentalities.
40:09: The traits of successful front offices.
43:07: The chemistry issues that plagued the Clippers over the last few seasons.
45:44: Playing for Michael Jordan in Charlotte.
51:26: How coaching strategies have changed during Dudley’s career.
57:06: Dudley’s preferred post-playing career.
Zach Lowe joins The Woj Pod to discuss NBA Draft Lottery reform, Carmelo Anthony, the Cavaliers plan with the 2018 first-round pick via Brooklyn/Boston, NBA tampering, and Harvey Araton’s Hall of Fame weekend in Springfield, Mass.
1:07: The renewed push for draft lottery reform.
4:38: The impact of the 76ers’ “process” under Sam Hinkie and the failed push for reform in 2014.
8:37: Smaller-market teams being opposed to lottery reform.
17:20: Potential unintended effects of the latest proposal.
19:51: How the conference imbalance dramatically impacts team building strategies.
23:18: Lowe suggests incentivizing making the playoffs.
28:51: The latest on Carmelo Anthony’s future, including Portland’s continued interest in him.
34:20: When teams don’t call a player for their bluffing in the pre-draft process.
38:24: The near-misses in draft history, particularly 2009.
41:16: What should Cleveland do with Brooklyn’s 2018 draft pick?
46:46: How interference is a bigger problem than tampering.
51:10: Longtime New York Times writer Harvey Araton’s Hall of Fame induction.
ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks joins the Woj Pod to breakdown the finality of the Celtics-Cavaliers blockbuster trade, examine the behind-the-scenes of the deal, Boston’s magnificent rebuild, Cleveland’s road in LeBron James’ final year and how Isaiah Thomas’ future free agency could unfold.
0:30: Boston refusing to give another first round pick to Cleveland.
2:40: The high risk for each team if the deal had fallen apart.
4:55: The Cavs placing the highest value on the Brooklyn draft pick.
8:45: Trying to get value in a deal after a player demands a trade.
10:27: The Celtics’ rebuild being complete in many ways.
12:05: The creative lengths teams go to while conducting trades.
18:16: Danny Ainge’s rapid rebuild of the Celtics.
21:10: The Celtics likely needing another star player to compete with the Warriors.
22:47: Kyrie Irving’s fit with the Celtics.
24:22: LeBron James having to take on even more playmaking duties.
25:53: The Cavs prioritizing the future as LeBron James approaches free agency.
28:02: How an Irving trade could have been different if James was committed long-term to Cleveland.
31:20: The impact of the past week on Isaiah Thomas’ next contract.
35:50: Thomas being motivated to prove people wrong.
Doris Burke joins The Woj Pod and discusses the Cavaliers quagmire, Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston, social consciousness in the NBA vs NFL and much more on the show.
0:52: Jeff Van Gundy’s return to coaching with USA Basketball.
4:35: The challenge of getting a team ready for international competition with a limited amount of prep time.
8:39: Van Gundy’s effectiveness relating to his players.
11:39: How James Harden and Chris Paul will play together as they try to catch the Warriors.
14:52: The Warriors setting an example for making sacrifices for the good of the team.
18:58: NBA players finding their voices to take social and political stands.
22:49: The difference between NBA and NFL fan bases that gives players confidence to use their voice in the NBA.
27:37: Cleveland’s desire to trade Kyrie Irving before the season starts.
31:47: LeBron James’ uncertain future with the Cavaliers past this season.
33:15: Kevin Love not having high value on the trade market.
34:50: Concerns teams have about acquiring Irving.
40:07: The Spurs’ flexibility around Kawhi Leonard, and Dejounte Murray’s emergence.
43:46: LaMarcus Aldridge not being a classic Spurs player from a personality standpoint.
47:48: What separates superstars from the rest of the league.
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey joins The Woj Pod to discuss James Harden, Chris Paul, the Rockets ownership sale, risk-taking as a GM, NBA awards, and much more.
1:12: The sale of the Rockets and Morey’s gratitude to Leslie Alexander.
2:57: The traits of a successful NBA owner, including holding front offices accountable.
6:40: The most important decision of Morey’s tenure with Alexander.
8:47: His philosophy on accumulating assets to acquire a star player.
10:48: James Harden immediately proving to be an All-Star caliber player in his first game with the Rockets.
12:25: Harden’s recruitment of Chris Paul.
13:56: How Paul’s opt-in deadline facilitated his trade to Houston.
18:40: Has increased media coverage and criticism made it harder to get trades done?
22:08: Houston’s success in adding star players in free agency.
25:06: How much time does Morey think about ways to compete with the Warriors?
27:30: The Rockets not having the option of waiting out Golden State.
30:56: The role of the media in determining some player contracts through All-NBA voting.
33:57: Adding Paul to decrease Harden’s playmaking burden.
33:25: The Western Conference almost being a different league than the East.
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley joins The Woj Pod to discuss his challenge with the Clippers, his years with Houston, why he wanted a trade from the Rockets, how the NBA has evolved on the court, summer free agency and why he thinks so many players don't play hard enough.
2:11: Beverley’s request for a trade from the Rockets.
3:46: Bringing his signature toughness to the Clippers.
4:45: Identifying ways to improve the team’s chemistry.
5:55: Will the James Harden-Chris Paul partnership work?
7:04: How the Warriors have changed the league and impacted player movement.
8:55: The benefits of playing overseas before coming to the NBA.
10:35: How the game has shifted with the increased emphasis on analytics.
13:58: How playing for the Rockets changed his game to be more efficient.
15:08: His friendship with new Clippers point guard Milos Teodosic.
17:07: The 2016 free agency class getting most of the benefits of the salary cap spike.
21:10: The increased power that players have gained in the last few years.
24:46: The essential traits a coach needs to succeed in the league.
27:27: Why playing hard is a skill in the modern NBA.
29:27: Young players following his example of how to build a lasting career.
Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell joins The Woj Pod to discuss his arrival with the Nets, his exit from the Lakers, the ups-and-downs of his brief L.A. career, Magic Johnson’s comments upon his departure and much, much more.
0:55: Being in Los Angeles while not being a member of the Lakers.
1:36: How quickly things changed during his tenure with the Lakers.
2:48: Russell’s initial reaction to being traded to the Nets.
3:52: The welcoming culture in Brooklyn.
5:55: What he learned in his first two seasons.
8:16: Playing off the ball last season with the Lakers.
8:56: His relationship with the new Lakers front office, including Magic Johnson.
10:31: Hearing his name in trade talks last season.
13:47: Learning from Rajon Rondo about the importance of confidence.
15:37: The added structure in the Nets organization and the opportunity in front of him.
20:51: Magic Johnson’s comments questioning his leadership.
21:48: The pressure of playing under the spotlight in Los Angeles.
23:25: Moving to the Eastern Conference and getting away from the loaded West.
25:20: Thad Matta’s exit from Ohio State.
28:00: The depth at the point guard position across the league.
All-Star forward Gordon Hayward sits down with Adrian Wojnarowski for an exclusive and introspective study of the free agent process that led him to leave the Utah Jazz for the Boston Celtics.
Hayward goes into great detail about the meetings with Pat Riley and Miami, Brad Stevens and Boston and an emotional final visit with his Jazz teammates. Hayward discusses how he left the Miami visit thinking that he might sign with them, left Boston even more torn and spent the final 24 hours going back and forth between Utah and Boston. Hayward also opens up about how leaving the Western Conference for the East opens up possibilities to become a consistent All-Star.
2:52: Hayward’s expectations vs. the reality of free agency.
6:57: How Miami emerged as a possible landing spot.
8:33: Communicating with the Jazz before July 1, including the Ricky Rubio trade.
14:05: The timeline of his meeting with the Heat.
16:30: Hayward’s experience being recruited by Pat Riley.
18:25: Not having any prior relationships in the Heat organization.
22:02: Hayward’s thoughts after leaving Miami.
24:05: Brad Stevens picking up Hayward and his wife at the airport and their relationship.
28:27: The intensity and pressures facing athletes in Boston.
32:40: Hayward’s limited relationship with Isaiah Thomas before free agency began.
34:14: Al Horford’s role in his recruitment and Hayward’s thoughts after the entire visit.
36:14: The emotion of his meeting with the Jazz.
40:04: The Jazz’s final message in their pitch.
45:48: How the stacked Western Conference factored into his decision.
49:08: When Hayward began leaning towards the Celtics.
52:13: The call to inform Utah of his decision.
54:33: The Jazz not offering him a max deal in restricted free agency in 2014.
56:12: Why he ultimately chose Boston.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer joins Adrian Wojnarowski for an extended SportsCenter interview on the Woj Pod. Ballmer discusses the departure of Chris Paul, the Clippers culpability in losing him and the decision to trade the All-Star guards for assets instead of losing him in free agency. Ballmer discusses the lessons learned as an NBA owner, the hiring of Jerry West, competing against the Lakers and the restructuring of his front office around President and Coach Doc Rivers.
Orlando Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman joins Adrian Wojnarowski to discuss the reshaping of the Magic franchise, the evolution of the GM position, growing up the son of two NBA executives, life in the locker room of the St. Louis Spirits as a kid, and much more.
In the entirety of its ESPN SportsCenter conversation, Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George sits down with Adrian Wojnarowski to discuss his future in OKC, partnership with Russell Westbrook, departure from Indiana, and the trade that never happened with the Golden State Warriors.
Monty Williams joins Adrian Wojnarowski on the podcast to discuss his desire to become an NBA head coach again, the lessons learned working in the San Antonio front office this year, Tim Duncan, and lessons of empathy and patience learned in the wake of his wife’s tragic death. Williams talks about balancing fatherhood with his profession, how the Spurs front office has prepared him to take on a president’s and coach’s role in the NBA, and much more in an illuminating visit.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to breakdown the Paul George trade market, Kristaps Porzingis, D'Angelo Russell's trade to Brooklyn and Thursday's NBA Draft.
Front office insider Bobby Marks joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for a Paul George special edition of the show. Bobby and Woj breakdown everything surrounding George's plan to leave the Pacers in free agency in 2018 and join the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, possible trade scenarios between now and Thursday's NBA Draft, the Lakers as a future free agent destination, why the Knicks are no longer a target for top free agents and much more.
Front-office insider Bobby Marks joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss the future of the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, the summer free agency class that includes Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kyle Lowry, Gordon Hayward, the new cost of doing business in the NBA and how the top of the 2017 NBA Draft lottery could unfold next week.
Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for a rare extended interview, touching on the revitalization of the Jazz franchise, the growth and pending free agency of All-Star Gordon Hayward, his own coaching comeback in the NBA after a tumultuous ending in college basketball, including how the NBA D-League saved his career.1:56: The difficulty of unplugging after each season and the benefits of getting away during the offseason.4:15: Utah’s steady progress during Snyder’s three seasons.6:18: The team’s approach to Gordon Hayward’s free agency this summer.9:36: Snyder’s creativity and experimentation in maximizing Hayward’s skillset.16:34: How the dominance of the Warriors impacts how the Jazz build their roster.20:08: The partnership between Snyder and Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey.24:25: How Snyder’s three years in the D-League transformed his career.32:07: Leaving Duke for his first head-coaching job at Missouri and the resentment towards him.37:17: The year between leaving Missouri and taking the job in the D-League in Austin.39:44: The welcoming nature of the coaching fraternity in the D-League.43:38: Enjoying being out of the spotlight as a coach in the D-League and the NBA.46:51: Leaving the NBA to work with Ettore Messina in Russia.49:25: Making sure he was fully prepared before taking a head-coaching job in the NBA.52:22: The unique structure and stability in the Jazz franchise.
Sacramento Kings Executive VP of Basketball Operations Scott Perry joins The Vertical with Woj to discuss his bold new assignment in to help reshape the franchise's fledgling front office, educating Vivek Ranadive on how ownership should support basketball operations and lessons learned in Joe Dumars' front office with the Detroit Pistons' great teams of the 2000's. Perry discusses his season with the Seattle Sonics in Kevin Durant's rookie season, what he learned about Kobe Bryant recruiting him as a high school star and the memory of his late father, an all-time Big 10 football player who was a trailblazing NFL assistant coach.1:50: Perry’s top priorities upon joining the Kings and what role he will have within the franchise.5:48: His experience working with Pistons owner Bill Davidson and his early impressions of Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.10:23: The importance of the upcoming draft for Sacramento’s rebuild.13:00: The most shocking draft moment during Perry’s career.15:00: Why veteran players sometimes get overlooked in the draft.21:27: The chaotic scouting environment before the one-and-done rule.25:35: The unique construction of the 2004 NBA champion Pistons that didn’t feature a traditional superstar.28:36: Watching film of his father Lowell, who was a star athlete at the University of Michigan.33:53: Perry’s father being the first African-American assistant coach in the modern NFL.35:46: The Sonics' emotional final year in Seattle .40:02: Memories of being around Kevin Durant during his rookie season.41:17: The value of Perry’s experience as a college coach.
The iconic Ice Cube joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss his new basketball venture, the Big 3, Allen Iverson's part in the league, the Warriors-Cavs Finals, the Lakers, LaVar and Lonzo Ball, NWA, and much, much more.1:29: What fans can expect from the inaugural season of the Big3 league.2:55: The benefits of traveling to multiple cities during the summer.4:58: The injury and conditioning concerns that come with older athletes.7:25: Initial reactions from players about the league, including recruiting Allen Iverson.12:39: How launching the league has impacted Ice Cube’s other ventures.14:50: The NBA’s cooperation with the Big3.19:00: Previewing the Finals rematch between the Cavs and Warriors.21:46: The Lakers’ options with the No. 2 pick, including Lonzo Ball’s potential fit.23:33: Ice Cube’s back-and-forth with Lavar Ball.28:52: The courage it took for Ice Cube to leave NWA.31:27: Learning at a young age the importance of knowing the business side of the music industry.33:39: Realizing the Lakers and other athletes were listening to his music.35:13: Athletes turned rappers, including Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.
Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss his appearance at the NBA Draft Lottery, his emergence as one of the top young two-way guards in the NBA, why people underestimate Nikola Jokic, high school basketball in Indiana, playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State and much, much more.3:44: The Nuggets’ young players finding their way together.8:51: Nikola Jokic emerging as a franchise player for the Nuggets.9:58: Jokic surprising opponents with his ability despite not being an elite athlete.11:06: What Harris has learned from being around so many international players with the Nuggets.14:00: Harris continuing to play football through his senior year of high school.17:46: Tom Izzo joining Harris for lunch in the high school cafeteria while recruiting him.20:08: The benefits of playing multiple sports growing up to avoid burnout.22:23: The unique experience of playing high school basketball in Indiana.23:50: Izzo encouraging his players to show emotion.26:11: Harris’ advice to Miles Bridges, who decided to return for his sophomore season.30:13: The family atmosphere at Michigan State that comes from Izzo’s longevity at the university.33:53: Being eligible for a contract extension and his strong relationship with the Nuggets.36:44: Similarities between Nuggets coach Mike Malone and Izzo.
New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss the future of the Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins partnership, Gregg Popovich and Mike D'Antoni, Press and Pete Maravich, growing up with Hall of Famer David Thompson, coaching the Donald Sterling Clippers and what's best to order at dinner with the deposed Clippers owner.0:55: How Mike D’Antoni influenced Gentry’s coaching career.4:05: Working alongside Steve Kerr and his continued health problems.7:26: How acquiring DeMarcus Cousins shapes his vision for the Pelicans’ style of play.10:10: What Gentry has already learned about coaching Cousins.11:45: Gentry’s belief that he will return next season as head coach.12:43: The difficult task of making the playoffs in the Western Conference.15:42: Anthony Davis’ unique skillset and his desire to be a great player and leader.18:46: The Pelicans having bad luck with injuries during his tenure.20:39: Gentry’s journey from a small town in North Carolina to the NBA.22:36: Growing up and playing alongside David Thompson and insight into how colleges recruited him.28:44: Gentry’s experience playing for Press Maravich at Appalachian State.31:23: Working on Larry Brown’s staff at Kansas alongside RC Buford, Kevin Pritchard and Milt Newton34:43: Gregg Popovich’s generosity behind the scenes.38:41: Leaving the Spurs coaching staff to become coach of the Clippers under Donald Sterling.43:21: How Gentry’s season with the Warriors made him a head-coaching candidate again.45:18: The Warriors being one of the most talented teams Gentry has seen in the NBA.
Frank Isola joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for a fun visit on the dysfunction of the New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, Kristaps Porzingis, James Dolan, the late Glenn Frey’s fandom of Frank, NYC parking, the glory days of the Knicks beat in the 1990’s and much, much more.1:09: Frank Isola refusing to pay for parking in New York City a la George Costanza.2:53: Phil Jackson not being fined for saying Carmelo Anthony would be better off on a different team.4:43: The Knicks having the ability to attract elite front-office executives.8:40: Jackson’s insistence on running the triangle offense.13:25: The lack of in-person scouting Jackson has done.16:51: How the dysfunction surrounding the Knicks has already impacted Kristaps Porzingis.22:04: Isola on covering the Knicks in the 1990s, including Don Nelson’s tenure as head coach.28:12: How access to the players has been drastically reduced during the past 20 years.30:54: When Isola’s relationship with the Knicks began to deteriorate.32:47: Isola’s Twitter persona being a perfect match for covering the Knicks.39:41: Opposing teams wondering if they should wait out the Warriors and Cavs.43:08: LeBron James’ continued dominance of the Eastern Conference.
Michael Lee of The Vertical joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for an NBA playoffs edition. Michael and Woj breakdown the series’, including the epic Isaiah Thomas-John Wall matchup, the Warriors without Steve Kerr, how LeBron James’ breaks the spirit of Eastern Conference teams and Michael Lee’s historic role in introducing Soulja Boy and Jay Z into the old Cavaliers-Wizards rivalry. All that and a lot more on the Vertical Podcast with Woj.2:38: The Isaiah Thomas/John Wall matchup and Lee’s history covering Wall and the Wizards.5:18: The mutual respect between Thomas and Wall.10:37: Lee on covering the Wizards/Cavs series that included the Deshawn Stevenson/LeBron James beef and a Jay-Z diss record.16:40: Thomas’ unprecedented rise from being the 60th pick to a superstar.20:56: Thomas’ ability to focus on the game following the death of his sister.25:46: LaMarcus Aldridge’s up and down play during his two postseasons with the Spurs.34:53: How Aldridge fits in the Spurs culture.38:46: The Raptors struggling on the road against the Cavs for the second straight postseason.41:32: LeBron James’ pursuit of a seventh straight trip to the NBA Finals.44:31: Steve Kerr’s uncertain future and how it could impact the Warriors.47:47: How Kerr’s experience as a player with the Bulls helps the Warriors avoid distractions.53:06: The Rockets far exceeding external expectations this season.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra joins Adrian Wojnarowski for a visit on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a rare extended interview, Spoelstra goes into great detail on the Heat’s improbable regular season success, the Big Three era with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, his relationship with Pat Riley and why the idea of someday becoming a president/coach in the NBA intrigues him. Spoelstra talks about growing up in an NBA family in Portland, playing pro ball in Germany, and the fateful day that Hank Gathers died on the court against his University of Portland team.3:28: The team’s resilience after an 11-30 start to the season and lessons from this year’s team.9:05: The organization’s decision to not tank this year.12:04: How the perception of Spoelstra differs from when he had the Big 3.14:33: Learning from other coaches like Chip Kelly and Pete Carroll while maintaining the Heat’s culture.18:33: David Fizdale’s success in his first-year as Grizzlies coach.24:08: How his father’s career as a marketer exposed him to innovative thinking.31:05: Growing up around NBA players and later recognizing his own limitations as a player.36:48: Being on the court when Hank Gathers died on March 4, 1990.43:00: His professional playing career in Germany and the expectations for an American player to be a big-time scorer.49:09: His expectations when he started with the Heat in the video room.57:23: The point Spoelstra realized he could become a head coach in the NBA.1:00:41: The pressures of replacing Riley on the bench.1:06:41: How Riley empowered him to help shape the team’s culture.1:13:19: His first reaction when the Big 3 formed in Miami and the team’s first training camp together.1:16:35: How Spoelstra’s relationship with Wade helped during the early days of the Big 3.1:22:44: The intense scrutiny surrounding the team’s 9-8 start in 2010.1:29:17: Losing in the 2011 Finals to the Mavericks following the emotional season.1:34:16: Blocking out the criticism to enjoy the experience of coaching the Big 3.1:43:16: Spoelstra’s ambition to eventually run an organization himself.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss his rapid rise to stardom, his national championship regret at Kentucky, giving up his chance to play USA Basketball to elevate the Dominican Republic national team, and whether he will intercede on the issues separating his mentor Kevin Garnett and Minnesota ownership.0:50: Towns interviewing Kevin Durant while he was in high school.2:27: How players like Kevin Garnett and Durant inspired Towns to develop a perimeter game and 3-point shot.4:24: Playing against his father’s high school team while he was still in elementary school.6:30: Understanding the importance of carrying himself the right way from a young age.8:17: Deciding to stay with a local AAU team instead of joining a bigger program.12:54: Playing for the Dominican national team while he was in high school and not being able to play for Team USA.15:47: John Calipari coincidentally being the Dominican team’s coach.18:48: Losing in the Final Four during his lone season at Kentucky.22:45: What Towns learned from his mother’s career as a behavioral health nurse.25:23: The weight and expectations that come with being the No. 1 pick.27:00: Towns’ first conversation with Kevin Garnett.29:54: Will Towns attempt to repair the relationship between Timberwolves ownership and Garnett?31:25: Learning the responsibilities of a franchise player.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown joins Adrian Wojnarowski for a conversation on the rapid development of Joel Embiid, the elements of coaching that become more important to Brown as he gets older and how he's learned to work with new GM Bryan Colangelo.1:00: The 76ers’ improvement from last year despite injuries to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.2:12: Maintaining self-confidence during the down times with the 76ers.8:21: The pressure to win close games for a coach.10:19: Takeaways from Embiid’s 31 games this season.12:28: The energy Embiid brought to Philadelphia.16:12: How Embiid’s competitiveness made it difficult to manage his minutes and number of games this season.18:37: Brown’s plans for how to use Simmons, including how much time he could see at point guard.22:52: The transition from Sam Hinkie to Bryan Colangelo.27:49: The 76ers having the cap room to make a big splash in free agency this summer.33:25: Being less stressed about the draft lottery because of the team’s foundation.35:37: The franchise’s player development program paying off with T.J. McConnell and Robert Covington.40:36: The broad mission of player development beyond skills.43:13: Pros and cons of the youth basketball circuit in America.46:46: The rise of specialization at an early age instead of children playing multiple sports growing up.49:03: The benefits of playground basketball in developing creativity.
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum joined The Vertical Podcast with Woj. McCollum discussed his partnership with Damian Lillard, the challenges that comes with a $100M contract, his path from a small college to NBA stardom and much more.1:35: McCollum’s support of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Portland and his hometown in Ohio.2:53: Deciding to stay at Lehigh instead of transferring to a bigger program after his freshman season.5:45: McCollum and Lillard as examples that scouts will find talented players no matter what school they play for.10:03: His mindset when he got injured after returning for his senior season.15:22: McCollum’s breakout third season and winning Most Improved Player.17:03: Lillard’s support and encouragement for McCollum’s development into a star player.19:52: Becoming a leader and dealing with the team’s struggles this season.23:27: Jusuf Nurkic’s instant impact on the Trail Blazers and how he fits into their future.26:19: How signing his maximum contract extension impacted McCollum’s off-court life.29:56: People wanting him to take big risks after signing his extension.31:54: Seeing other players spend beyond their means early in their careers.34:15: How the spike in the salary cap has impacted players’ mindsets.36:33: The quick negotiation process for his extension with the Blazers.
Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj and discusses in great detail his franchise’s research into NBA data on how the league has officiated the franchise over the past few years. Lindsey offers a something rare out from an NBA GM: A detailed, data-driven window into how the NBA’s referees have officiated his team in recent years, and why the findings concern the organization. Utah has spent a great deal of time and resources investigating the accuracy of officials’ calls against the Jazz --- and how he’s a proponent for the NBA to make even more referee data available to teams. Lindsey also discussed the impending free agency of Jazz star Gordon Hayward, the hiring and emergence of Quin Snyder as one of the league’s finest coaches, his background working with Gregg Popovich and RC Buford in San Antonio and an amazing childhood growing up with his parents in Texas as part of a household that included dozens of abandoned children whom the Lindsey’s took in.2:13: Balancing scouting responsibilities with following the Jazz4:07: The team’s mindset as it returns to the playoffs.7:53: Utah’s research about how the league officiates the Jazz and being on the wrong end of high-discrepancy games.16:29: How the team’s style of play influences how its games are officiated.18:58: Should the Jazz strategically get more technical fouls?24:10: The NBA’s response to the evidence the Jazz have accumulated.27:10: The movement towards making more officiating data public.32:44: Lindsey’s childhood growing up with his parents in Texas as part of a household that included dozens of abandoned children whom the Lindsey’s took in.40:25: How his upbringing informed his views on situational character.45:52: Breaking into the professional game in Houston.49:06: How his time with the Spurs prepared him to become a GM.1:04:11: Hiring Quin Snyder to coach the Jazz.1:10:50: Building the Jazz through the draft.1:17:35: Hayward’s upcoming free agency this summer.
Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Crean join Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast to discuss the pronounced and subtle differences between NBA and college coaching, including some great Bill Parcells, Dwyane Wade/LeBron James and Harbaugh brothers stories.1:50: Crean and Van Gundy’s friendship dating back to the 1990s.3:45: An early lesson Crean learned from Van Gundy about dealing with the media and pressures of being a head coach.5:33: Van Gundy’s jump from college to the NBA.7:58: Crean discusses the large gap between college basketball and the NBA, including what he learned from watching Michael Jordan at a shoot around.12:04: The burdens outside of basketball that college coaches deal with, including recruiting and graduation rates.19:26: The importance of players having a competitive edge to separate themselves.23:13: D-League assignments serving as wake-up calls to young players.26:16: The difference between the college and pro lifestyles for players.31:11: The disappearance of 1-on-1 games at both levels.37:35: The false sense of reality delivered to young players about their chances to be NBA players.39:57: What Van Gundy learned from Bill Parcells during their time coaching in New York.43:38: Crean’s takeaways from his brother-in-laws, Jim and John Harbaugh.48:39: The importance of getting players to focus and concentrate.56:07: The different ways coaches use the media to get their message out.1:02:00: The influence of money and outside influences in college basketball.
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. Pelinka lays out the franchise’s vision to rebuild the storied organization, including big-game hunting in free agency. Pelinka, who represented Kobe Bryant, talks about his transition from a prominent player agent into the front office. Pelinka talks about his history with the Fab 5 at the University of Michigan, where he took part in three NCAA Final Fours.1:37: The Lakers’ legacy of excellence3:30: Pelinka’s first priorities since taking over as GM and using Dr. Jerry Buss as an example.6:24: The importance of re-establishing the Lakers as a free-agent destination.11:40: Pelinka’s previous experience in orchestrating trades as an agent.13:51: The valuable insights that agents get into each organization and how Pelinka plans to apply what he learned from other franchises.16:11: Changing from competing against other agents to working with them.19:14: Strategies the Lakers can take from smaller market teams.21:27: Playing with the Fab Five at Michigan.25:32: Being recognized more often for looking like actor Rob Lowe than his career or his Fab Five involvement.
Cleveland Cavaliers coach Ty Lue joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast to discuss the Cavaliers championship run, coaching LeBron James, learning the craft under Doc Rivers and his close relationship with Kevin Garnett.2:13: The Cavs’ decision-making process for resting players.7:13: How has the coaching position changed since the start of Lue’s playing career?9:29: The positive and negative impact of social media on players and the league.11:08: The whirlwind experience of taking over as head coach of the Cavs midway through last season.13:30: His relationship with Doc Rivers and the difficult decision to leave the Clippers for the Cavs in 2014.18:53: The influence of his former coaches on his own coaching style.22:27: Childhood goals and dreams while growing up in Mexico, Missouri.25:14: Leaving his family as a 15 year old to move to Kansas City.28:00: Not being afraid of confrontation after a childhood filled with adversity.30:14: The keys to coaching LeBron James and earning his trust and respect.33:04: Being one of the few people to be close with Kevin Garnett.34:25: Helping talk Garnett into accepting the trade to Boston.37:47: The differences between Boston’s Big 3 and Cleveland’s current Big 3.
Derek Fisher joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast for a candid visit on his tenure as New York Knicks coach --- and what’s next for him. Fisher detailed his relationship with Knicks president Phil Jackson, the triangle offense, the mistakes he made and lessons he learned as a young coach.0:55: The transition from growing up in Arkansas to playing for the Lakers.2:23: Not having the structure of an NBA season for the first time in two decades.5:27: Fisher’s reaction to being fired by the Knicks.7:08: Was his firing more about results or alignment with the front office?10:32: How his coach-GM relationship differed from his player-coach relationship with Jackson.12:20: The transition from player to coach and what he would do differently.14:34: Fisher’s relationship with Carmelo Anthony before working together on the Knicks.16:00: His trip to California during training camp in 201518:34: The impact the Matt Barnes incident had on him in the locker room and in the eyes of the front office.22:58: Quickly appreciating Kristaps Porzingis’ ability, potential and drive.29:55: Considering a return to playing after being fired by the Knicks.32:53: Would Fisher have benefited from being an assistant before being a head coach?40:48: How his various roles as a player helped him relate to players as a coach.45:08: The relative lack of control over a game as a coach compared to a player.
Jonathan Givony of Draft Express joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to break down the NCAA tournament’s potential impact on the 2017 NBA Draft. Givony and Woj offer some bracket tips before digging into UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Duke’s Jayson Tatum, and many of the stars who’ll impact this year’s deep NBA Draft. Givony delivers great perspective on how team’s weight March Madness in context of a prospect’s overall body of work. Woj and Givony also discuss the Luka Doncic, the 6-foot-8 teenager tearing up the EuroLeague for Real Madrid, a player whom many believe will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Draft.1:15: Potential first-round upsets, including Florida Gulf Coast against Florida State.6:00: The various factors that impact March Madness performance.8:57: Villanova’s unique roster in the one-and-done age.12:00: Kentucky and Duke having the most NBA talent, including Jayson Tatum’s standout ACC tournament.16:29: Frank Jackson finding his footing late in the season for Duke.18:37: The high number of first-round picks that spend time in the D-League.23:16: Dennis Smith not benefitting from his season at North Carolina State.27:17: Lonzo Ball’s opportunity to capitalize on the March Madness stage.29:22: Do teams still overvalue breakout performances in the NCAA tournament?35:00: Real Madrid point guard Luka Doncic emerging as an early favorite to be the No. 1 pick in 2018.38:33: Other players capable of being the No. 1 pick in 2018.
Michael Lee of The Vertical joins Adrian Wojnarowski to break down the MVP race (including Westbrook, Harden and Leonard) the impact of Kevin Durant on Steph Curry’s season in Golden State, the Coach and Executive of the Year races and much, much more. The Vertical’s shoe insider Nick DePaula also joins Woj to discuss the shoe endorsement dynamics of the MVP race, the summer sneaker free agency of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the potential shoe marketing might of UCLA’s Lonzo Ball.Michael Lee0:57: How Kawhi Leonard’s performance against James Harden impacts the MVP race.4:17: Leonard keeping the Spurs close to the Warriors in the Western Conference standings.8:13: Does Leonard’s quiet personality hurt his MVP chances?14:19: How Stephen Curry’s game has changed this season, including the impact of Kevin Durant.22:06: Curry’s elite work ethic and even-keeled demeanor.25:17: Erik Spoelstra’s Coach of the Year credentials.30:00: The Heat having one of the strongest cultures in all of sports for 20 years.33:28: Riley being motivated to win more championships, particularly after LeBron James’ departure.37:40: Executive of the Year candidates: Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey and Rockets GM Daryl Morey.40:53: The Celtics looming as a real threat to sign Gordon Hayward this summer.Nick DePaula45:45: How sneaker endorsements impact the MVP race.47:56: The financial incentives to win MVP included in sneaker contracts.49:06: Kevin Durant’s impact on sales of Stephen Curry’s signature sneaker.51:32: The upcoming star-studded sneaker free agent class, including Giannis Antetokounmpo.53:16: Kristaps Porzingis’ adidas deal setting a benchmark for other international players.54:49: Lonzo Ball’s future as a sneaker endorser and the potential impact of the March Madness stage.
Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka visits with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Ibaka talks about his arrival in Toronto as the potential missing piece on an Eastern Conference championship contender, the run in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, his journey from the Congo and his summer free agency. All that and more on the The Vertical Podcast with Woj.2:42: Ibaka’s brief stay in Orlando.3:28: His long history with Masai Ujiri, dating back to when he was still in the Congo.4:55: The Raptors wanting Ibaka to be a dominant defender and how the style of play in the league has changed in his career.9:37: Expecting to win multiple titles with the Thunder.10:26: Could the Thunder’s core have balanced their egos for the long term?12:10: The hunger the Thunder had as a young team.13:35: How painful it was to lose a 3-1 lead against the Warriors last season.15:42: Balancing his personal goals with the team’s goals while with the Thunder.18:50: Was Ibaka surprised when the Thunder traded him?20:16: Westbrook being the only core member still with the Thunder and Ibaka’s reaction to Durant’s departure.24:30: How his daughter has changed his life.28:17: His daughter’s transition from Africa to living in the United States.30:22: His priorities entering unrestricted free agency for the first time.31:35: Ibaka’s journey from Africa to Europe to the NBA.39:08: What gave Ibaka hope that he could succeed as a basketball player?42:02: Using his foundation to improve the infrastructure in the Congo, particularly to increase the education opportunities.48:43: The Raptors viewing Ibaka as the piece to push them over the top.
Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks breakdown the deals of the NBA Trade Deadline, including the future of Paul George in Indiana, Jimmy Butler in Chicago and the Boston Celtics. Here are some key moments:0:34: The Pacers holding on to George and his well-known interest in joining the Lakers in 2018.5:47: The Pacers being in a tough position without knowing George’s intentions.9:26: How the new CBA is already impacting star players in small markets.12:15: The Celtics being in position to pursue Butler, George or Gordon Hayward this summer.15:10: Isaiah Thomas’ potential reaction if the Celtics draft a point guard.17:46: Danny Ainge being patient instead of going all-in to win this season.19:33: Rebuilding teams accumulating draft picks at the deadline.22:10: Daryl Morey’s quickly reshaping the Rockets since the end of last season.25:23: How being in trade rumors impacts players.28:31: The Raptors making a push to chase the Cavs in the East.32:36: How teams, including the Raptors and Heat, are using the D-League to develop players.37:28: The Thunder adding Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott.
Adrian Wojnarowski and Vertical front office insider Bobby Marks break down the DeMarcus Cousins trade in a bonus edition of The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Woj and Marks go inside the process and drama that led to Cousins trade from Sacramento to New Orleans, and what the ramifications will be for both franchises. Here are some key moments:0:42: Why the Kings changed their minds about trading Cousins.4:40: The similarities between the Cousins trade and the 2008 Jason Kidd trade between the Nets and Mavericks.6:38: How trading Cousins will impact the Kings’ reputation among players and agents.10:42: The Kings’ decision to start rebuilding.15:06: How Cousins’ reputation limited the trade market for him.21:34: Cousins’ agents telling other teams he may not re-sign once his contract expires.23:32: The instability in the Pelicans franchise and its potential impact on Cousins.25:50: Can you build around a player with Cousins’ temperament?28:16: How the trade to New Orleans impacts Cousins’ potential future contract.31:13: The fit between Cousins and Anthony Davis.
San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina joins The Vertical Podcat with Woj. Messina, a legendary European coach, discusses what it’s like to work with Gregg Popovich and immerse himself into the unique Spurs culture. Messina talks about his years as Dean Smith’s interpreter on the Carolina coach’s trips to Italy and his years coaching Micheal Ray Richardson in Italy after his banishment from the NBA for substance abuse. Messina talks about his desire to become the first European-born and raised NBA head coach and what the distinct differences are between coaching in Europe and the United States. Here are some key moments:2:17: How Messina’s views about basketball have evolved with the Spurs.4:20: The differences between the Euroleague and NBA.6:51: The benefits of being an assistant and getting to know the league.8:42: How Popovich uses team dinners to bond with players and create a unique team culture.12:40: Messina’s relationship with Manu Ginobili.19:04: Falling in love with the game of basketball as a child in Italy.20:50: How visiting American coaches, including Dean Smith, helped his development.24:17: The Spurs’ focus on fundamentals and execution.25:38: How Popovich’s Spurs compare to Smith’s Carolina teams in terms of taking social stands.28:20: Coaching Michael Ray Richardson after he was banned from the NBA.33:35: Messina coaching against Kobe Bryant’s father in Italy.35:00: What he learned from being around all-time greats like Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.37:42: How he decided to coach in Russia.40:16: Mikhail Prokhorov’s hand-off ownership style.42:40: The opportunity to become the first European-born head coach in the NBA.45:11: Popovich’s respect for international basketball and his popularity overseas.
Three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade joins Adrian Wojnarowski for a probing hour of conversation on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Wade speaks with great candor on his split with Heat president Pat Riley, the building of the Big Three with LeBron James and Chris Bosh and how that free agent coup transformed the powerbase of the modern NBA star. Wade talks of his future with the Chicago Bulls, how he evolved with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and why he was so uneasy about climbing into the Banana Boat for the first time. Here are some key moments:2:56: The thin line between success and failure in the NBA.5:19: Wade’s expectations for this season in Chicago.8:10: Thoughts on Tim Duncan’s jersey retirement ceremony in San Antonio.11:47: Wade’s relationship with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.14:39: The distinctive culture around the Heat and Spoelstra proving himself with the Big 3.19:58: Wade and Spoelstra leaning on each other after James’ departure and Bosh’s health problems.23:02: The microscope the Big 3 played under during their first season together.25:00: The Big 3 starting an era where players have leverage over teams.27:40: How important was USA Basketball to the formation of the Big 3?29:57: The dysfunctional Knicks not being prepared for Wade, James or Bosh in 2010.34:02: An increased sense of admiration for Riley after leaving the Heat.36:12: Did the Heat take Wade for granted?38:23: Not hearing from Riley during the negotiation process last summer.41:00: Balancing his desire to win with his desire to make up for past paycuts.43:36: Returning to his hometown and trying to help during the ongoing gun violence crisis.45:35: Watching his sons and nephew play basketball, including the pressure that comes with their connection to Wade.49:57: Plans for his post-playing career and looking to Magic Johnson as a model.52:33: Not wanting to get on the Banana Boat and the possibility of the group playing together.54:43: How Wade’s selflessness in pursuit of winning will impact his legacy.
Lakers forward Julius Randle joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj.Randle discusses the influences of Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace on his young professional career, the intense scrutiny of life as a Kentucky Wildcat, John Calipari and how he's approaching fatherhood with his newborn son after growing up without his father in the household.
Legendary Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for an extensive visit. Krause goes into great detail on the building of the Bulls dynasty, the genius and competitive will of Michael Jordan, MJ’s retirement and return, the hiring of Phil Jackson from the Albany Patroons and the dynamic drama of those relationships. Krause goes into great detail on his painstaking processes as a basketball and baseball scout, the lessons Red Holzman taught him on the scouting trail and the most important quality beyond talent that he needed to surround Jordan with on the Bulls (yes, mental toughness) Krause tells of his anxieties on the phone discussing trades with Celtics GM Red Auerbach, the amazing chain of events that led him to making a draft night deal for Scottie Pippen and how as a member of the Phoenix Suns organization in the early 1970’s, the organization talked with Bob Knight about becoming the franchise’s coach – and why the offer was never made. And finally, Krause talks about his deep desire to be elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame, where he’s finalist again in 2017. Here are some key moments:1:50: Krause’s health preventing him from scouting for the past few years.3:57: Scouting at a high level in basketball and baseball.6:30: How Theo Epstein’s overhaul of the Cubs led to a World Series title.8:47: The benefits of scouting two sports.13:31: What he learned about scouting from Hall of Fame coach Red Holzman.14:51: Discovering Earl Monroe before he was on the national radar.18:17: The Suns nearly hiring a young Bobby Knight in the 1970s.21:17: Transitioning from being a scout to general manager of the Bulls.25:44: Wanting Jordan to not play after he broke his foot and the divide it caused between him and the front office.32:23: Drafting Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant in 1987.38:16: Identifying Pippen as a playmaker to complement Jordan.45:33: Jordan challenging the mental toughness of his teammates.46:51: The difficult decision to replace Doug Collins with Phil Jackson.54:53: How the Bulls came to run the triangle offense.58:10: Negotiating with Celtics president Red Auerbach.1:01:03: Jackson portraying Krause and the front office as the team’s enemy.1:03:49: How he learned about Jordan’s first retirement and his improvement as a baseball player.1:07:37: Building the Bulls for their second three-peat.1:14:49: Jordan and Pippen disliking Krause’s pursuit of Toni Kukoc.1:16:39: The end of the Bulls dynasty.1:23:27: Where the Bulls rank among the NBA’s greatest teams and dynasties.1:27:05: Being a finalist for the Hall of Fame this year and what it would mean for Krause.
Hall of Fame player and executive Joe Dumars joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. In his first extended interview since leaving a 14-run as Detroit Pistons GM in April of 2014, Dumars goes deep into his championship run in the 2000’s, the turbulent final seasons, the Rasheed Wallace trade that completed a championship team and the Kobe Bryant deal that never happened. Dumars talks about his desire to work as an NBA GM again, what he’s learned away from the front office grind and how he’d approach a new challenge. Dumars also talks about his affection for Pistons coach Chuck Daly, his childhood in rural Louisiana and a teenage AAU team that included Dumars, Karl Malone, Benny Anders and Benoit Benjamin. Here are some key moments:2:37: Stepping away from the NBA after spending so many years with the Pistons.5:42: How the dominance of Golden State and Cleveland will impact the trade deadline.10:48: The trade for Wallace that pushed the Pistons over the top in 2004.16:56: Larry Brown pushing for the team to acquire Wallace.21:48: Nearly acquiring Bryant after coming to an agreement with the Lakers.26:17: How the league has evolved since his playing career in the 80s and 90s, including the elimination of fighting.30:54: His initial reaction to the Malice in the Palace.33:32: Growing up in a football family in rural Louisiana.37:47: Learning the value of hard work from his father.40:26: Dumars’ worldview before entering the NBA.45:39: The importance of Chuck Daly to his career.51:30: Evaluating the last few years of his tenure with the Pistons.55:12: The process that led to drafting Darko Milicic in 2003.57:50: Wanting to get back into the league in the right situation.1:00:35: Lessons learned during his time away from the league.
Boston Celtics All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas joins Woj on the Vertical Podcast to go inside his spectacular season, watching Patriots quarterback Tom Brady up close, his relationship with his childhood idol Allen Iverson, the NBA stars that he would pay to watch and his belief that he can be a franchise star on a championship-level team.
Actor Jerry Ferrara joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. Ferrara recounts his love of basketball and the New York Knicks, how the game intertwined in his character, “Turtle”, on the HBO show “Entourage” and his prolific history as an adult fantasy camp basketball maven. Ferrara talks about his young days growing up in Brooklyn as a Knicks fan, his relationship with Kristaps Porzingis and his secret desire to take an internship in an NBA front office someday. He talks about his memories of Lamar Odom and Jerry Buss in the tapings of Entourage, the bond of the cast and why the show worked for so long. Here are some key moments:2:50: The disappointing season for the Knicks.4:04: Kristaps Porzingis’ development and his value to the team.5:49: The process of getting seats on celebrity row at Knicks games.7:28: Bigger meeting: Martin Scorsese or Porzingis?14:27: Ferrara’s fantasy basketball camp experience, including wanting to play for Jeff Van Gundy.23:39: The relationship between ‘Entourage’ and the NBA, including filming at games.33:15: Would Ferrara give up acting to join an NBA team at an entry-level position?35:08: How much Ferrara influenced how Turtle dressed on the show.40:48: Moving to Hollywood after growing up in New York City.43:24: The cast of Entourage putting the good of the show above themselves as individuals.48:52: Avoiding being typecast as Turtle in future roles.53:32: Would social media have impacted how the show was received?
The Philadelphia 76ers Nerlens Noel joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Noel discusses his future in Philadelphia, his summer free agency, his thoughts about a possible trade and living through the embarrassment of the Sixers losing streaks and tanks as well as growing up the No. 1 high school prospect in America. Here are some key moments:2:37: Battling for minutes during a contract year.5:19: Speaking out on the team’s crowded frontcourt before the season.6:42: Adjusting to playing for a different front office after Sam Hinkie’s departure.11:55: Other teams having concerns about Noel’s character when doing research on him.13:23: The impact of the constant losing during his first few seasons with the 76ers.18:04: Not feeling like the 76ers were an NBA team while they were tanking.19:00: Noel’s parents moving to the United States from Haiti to give their children a better life.23:22: The similarities between Noel’s background and Patrick Ewing’s.27:30: Tearing his ACL while playing at Kentucky and its impact on his draft stock.30:50: Developing patience while returning from the ACL injury.33:02: How often does Noel communicate with Bryan Colangelo?35:01: Noel’s fit playing alongside Joel Embiid.
Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond joins the Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss the drafting and development of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the modernizing of the Bucks franchise, his years under Joe Dumars building the Pistons championship team and his own harrowing life story. All that and much more with John Hammond and Adrian Wojnarowski. Here are some key moments:1:07: Deciding how much time to spend traveling with the team.2:50: How having a pair of foundational players impacts building a roster.5:51: Antetokounmpo’s development from unknown player into a superstar with the Bucks.7:41: Scouting Antetokounmpo before the 2013 draft.13:20: The unpredictability of the draft.17:26: Lessons learned from helping build the 2000s Pistons.20:52: The deal they labored over the most while building the Pistons.26:22: Hammond’s career path through many levels of basketball.28:38: The high school motorcycle accident that changed the trajectory of his life.31:00: How he ended up at a small college and its impact on him.36:25: The value Hammond places on relationships, personally and professionally.43:33: How the responsibilities of a GM has evolved during47:15: Working with Justin Zanik, who will be his successor with the Bucks.
Adrian Wojnarowski goes inside the 2016 roster of shows on The Vertical Podcast with Woj, telling behind-the-scenes stories on visits with the biggest names in the game as well as answers audience questions. From Adam Silver to Bob Myers, RC Buford and Joel Embiid, Manu Ginobili and Patrick Ewing, Woj takes his audience on a tour de force through the inaugural year of the podcast. Here are some key moments:1:05: An update on J.J. Redick’s podcast and the origins of his podcast.6:02: Woj’s favorite podcasts in the first year, including Adam Silver and Bob Myers.15:06: Chris Herren’s appearance and how he maintains the same passion and care during each of his presentations.19:23: Spurs GM R.C. Buford discussing Tim Duncan’s career and retirement.24:34: Manu Ginobili being the guest Woj wanted to have on the most.30:44: Why was Sam Hinkie not mentioned during the Joel Embiid podcast?34:02: Do guests ever come on the show as part of a PR tour?41:28: Woj nearly not recording an early podcast with Kyrie Irving.45:52: Does Woj ever turn on his notifications before breaking a big story?48:38: Woj’s best Craig Sager story, including the strength he showed while battling cancer.
Memphis Grizzlies All-Star Marc Gasol joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Gasol and Woj break down the story of Gasol's improbable journey from an oveweight teenager into the best center in the world. All that and more on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Here are some key moments:1:12: The closeness of the Grizzlies’ core group and the Spanish national team.4:55: Expanding his game to include 3-pointers.6:31: Not caring about being an MVP candidate.7:38: How coming to the NBA impacted his development as a player.14:52: Growing up in the shadow of Pau and overcoming stereotypes of European players.18:45: Getting traded for Pau and the pressure to succeed.23:47: His close bond with Mike Conley.26:14: The factors he considered when deciding to re-sign with the Grizzlies, including establishing an identity for the team.30:47: Appreciating the opportunity to play against Pau in the NBA and how hard they compete against each other.33:33: Coming close to beating Team USA in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Fizdale discusses his long journey, from the crossfire of growing up in South Central L.A., to fighting stereotypes often assigned to young African-American assistant coaches, to his partnership with head coach Erik Spoelstra in coaching the Big 3 to two NBA titles in Miami. Fizdale talks about his impressive 18-9 start as the new head coach in Memphis, how his Heat pedigree under Spoelstra and Pat Riley prepared him for the opportunity and his strong feelings about the gun issue in America’s cities and towns. Here are some key moments:1:57: Only being able to fully understand a head coach’s job when you become a head coach.3:33: The importance of building relationships with young players.4:45: Taking over a team with an established identity, while implementing his own style.6:40: Succeeding during Mike Conley’s absence.8:03: What Fizdale learned while being a video intern for the Heat alongside Erik Spoelstra.11:08: How the Heat coaches established a relationship with LeBron James and Pat Riley’s support of them.17:44: How Fizdale was viewed as an assistant league-wide.21:50: The perception and stereotypes African-American assistant coaches face.27:52: How growing up in South Central Los Angeles shaped his view on relationships.33:27: The volatility of growing up in South Central.36:22: Seeing the Rodney King riots first-hand.39:30: How drugs changed the relationship between police and African-Americans.45:13: The need for common-sense gun laws, including background checks.48:11: The NBA empowering players and coaches to make political stands.51:20: Visiting the White House with the Heat during President Barack Obama’s tenure.
Vertical Front Office Insider Bobby Marks joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to breakdown the start of NBA trade season, including reporting on multiple teams plans and hopes to improve themselves and the players who could be on the move. Here are some key moments:1:13: The significance of Dec. 15 as the start of trading season.3:18: The lack of big-time players traded midseason during the past few years.5:28: The Pacers and Kings not discussing Paul George or DeMarcus Cousins with other teams.8:26: The Kings needing to trade Rudy Gay or lose him for nothing in free agency.16:48: The Raptors’ collection of assets to possibly upgrade the roster.20:08: The Warriors being more likely to add players after March 1 than via trade.22:47: The Heat likely to test the market for Goran Dragic.25:10: How draft picks have gained value as salaries have exploded in free agency.27:41: The Nuggets’ mix of veterans and young players that will draw interest on the trade market.33:05: Players available on the trade market, including Greg Monroe, Nerlens Noel and several Suns players.35:24: The Celtics having the assets to make a deal, including their interest in Gordon Hayward.38:01: The Nets wanting real value for Brook Lopez.43:46: No head coaches being fired so far this season.
Lakers coach Luke Walton joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to go inside his coaching influences, Golden State Warriors pedigree and hopes to turn the Lakers back into a destination for free agent stars. Here are some key moments:2:30: Managing his time amid the demands of being a head coach.7:41: Recognizing the ideal situation the Warriors had during the last two seasons.12:54: How he is still benefitting from his time coaching in the D-League, including the importance of chemistry.19:00: Using his experience as a player to relate to his team.22:49: Immersing himself in understanding the mood around the team.25:24: Nick Young’s resurgence this season under Walton.28:19: Re-establishing the Lakers as a major free-agent destination.32:44: His experiences wanting to help his father and Steve Kerr as they battled back pain.36:02: The misconception last season that the Warriors didn’t need Kerr while Walton served as interim head coach.40:10: His continued appreciation for the situation in Golden State after leaving.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford joined Adrian Wojnarowski for an entertaining visit on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Crawford talks about his incredible 17 year NBA journey, including stories that include Michael Jordan and Jay Z and Samuel L. Jackson. It’s an incredible visit for basketball junkies, truly a must-listen. Here are some key moments:3:23: The make-or-break pressure the Clippers are facing this season.5:43: Initially signing a letter of intent to play for Jerry Tarkanian.8:47: Nearly entering the NBA draft out of high school before going to Michigan.9:58: Growing up competing against older players.11:50: Getting to know Michael Jordan, getting introduced to Jay-Z and racking up a high gambling debt.15:44: Being one of four players to score more than 50 points for three different teams.19:33: Crawford’s love of the game and reputation as a great teammate.24:05: Deciding to play pick-up basketball year-round.27:05: The craziest place Crawford played in a pick-up game.30:10: Playing with teammates who don’t share his love for the game.31:26: Kanye West being star struck by Eddy Curry.33:23: Jerry Krause’s belief in Crawford and omission from the Hall of Fame.37:37: Holding the all-time record for four-point plays.39:14: Embracing a sixth-man role to play for better teams.42:38: Memories of playing for the Knicks and serving as a mentor for Isaiah Thomas.45:00: The close-knit group of players that have come out of Seattle.
NBA legend Donnie Walsh joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to cover one of this generation’s most accomplished basketball lives. From the building of the Pacers franchise around Reggie Miller to the challenges of navigating the New York Knicks under owner James Dolan, Walsh details the triumphs and tribulations of a quarter of a century of running NBA front offices. Walsh covers fascinating territory in his life, including how he nearly accepted a job in Richard Nixon’s law firm, and his memories of playing and coaching under Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina. Here are some key moments:2:44: Did Walsh ever think the NBA would get as big as it is?4:12: His current role with the Pacers and working with multiple ownership groups.10:22: The value of Reggie Miller playing his entire career in Indiana.16:23: The changing nature of front office interactions in the last 20 years.18:22: How important the draft is to building a team.20:15: Going to law school and nearly working with Richard Nixon.25:00: Playing for Dean Smith at North Carolina and why he never came close to leaving for the NBA.29:07: Smith creating the modern college program and quietly making stands on social issues.32:45: Walsh’s role in helping Metta World Peace during his tumultuous early years in the league.35:10: Deciding to take over his hometown Knicks.40:07: The focus on the 2010 free agent class during his time with the Knicks.48:50: Jim Dolan’s role in negotiating the Carmelo Anthony trade with the Nuggets.53:01: Dolan wanting to bring Isiah Thomas back to the franchise.55:29: Walsh’s legacy as a front-office executive.58:28: Working with Larry Brown.
Golden State Warriors All-Star Draymond Green delivers an illuminating visit on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Green and Adrian Wojnarowski discuss everything from Green’s personal quest to harness his professional and personal volatility, his recruitment of Kevin Durant, his surprising benching on Team USA in the Olympics and his love and history with football. Green talks about his obsession with becoming the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, the 2016 NBA Finals loss to Cleveland and the power that players possess in building NBA super teams. Here are some key moments:2:51: Green being a natural fit for the Oakland Raiders.4:19: Playing in the Green-White football game at Michigan State and Tom Izzo’s excitement for him playing.9:42: The reaction of NFL players to the guaranteed contracts signed by NBA players last summer.12:57: The flawed logic of why college athletes aren’t paid.18:31: The Warriors’ strong start after adding Kevin Durant, including the value of losing on opening night to the Spurs.21:49: Green’s pursuit of the Defensive Player of the Year award27:00: How much of being a great defensive player is mental?30:48: Green’s role as the emotional leader of the Warriors and finding the right balance of how far to push the envelope.38:13: How long did the Finals loss sting?39:50: Green’s reaction to Durant’s free agency decision to join the Warriors.42:44: Green’s recruitment of Durant throughout last season and over the summer.45:26: The power NBA players have to decide where they play and form super teams.47:10: Green’s role diminishing over the course of the Rio Olympics.
Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry visits The Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss his jagged journey to the NBA, the blessings and burdens of life as MVP Steph Curry's younger brother, growing up playing ball with Muggsy Bogues and much, much more. Here are some key moments:1:24: Still being hungry after signing a two-year contract following time spent in the D-League.5:07: The different motivations for players in the D-League that create a unique culture.8:07: Did his last name make it tougher for him to get a chance in the NBA?9:49: How growing up around the NBA made it seem achievable.13:20: Playing one-on-one against Muggsy Bogues.16:20: Lessons learned from his father.19:14: The transition from being recognized as Dell’s son to Steph’s brother.22:15: Major college programs not heavily recruiting either of the Curry brothers after high school.26:31: Battling injuries during his senior season at Duke.28:32: Supporting Steph when he was battling ankle injuries earlier in his career.35:21: Staying confident in his ability to make the NBA and turning down big overseas offers.39:34: Former Kings coach George Karl’s bias against Duke players, including Curry.42:35: Steph understanding that his success might make it tougher for Seth.43:23: Turning down offers from the Warriors in an effort to make his own path.44:18: The belief the Mavericks have shown in him.
Philadelphia’s 76ers center Joel Embiid and coach Brett Brown join Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast for an extended conversation on the young star’s remarkable journey to prominence in the NBA. In one of his first extended interviews, Embiid discusses nearly quitting during his long rehabilitation process, his younger brother’s tragic death and for the first time discloses his friendship and line of communication with Tim Duncan. Embiid talks about the flawed stereotypes that Americans have about African players, and the jokes that he has played on people concerning his childhood upbringing. All this and more on Embiid and Brown’s visit to The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Here are some key moments:2:26: The new 76ers practice facility.3:37: Embiid and Brown discuss how their international friends are reacting to the presidential election.7:31: The NBA as a melting pot and its ability to lead on issues of race and culture.9:29: Lessons Embiid learned from sitting out two NBA seasons.14:41: Embiid on the pressure of being viewed by fans and the media as the team’s savior.20:03: Not playing basketball until he was 15 years old and quickly picking up the game.21:49: Embiid’s childhood in Cameroon compared to how Americans perceive it.24:27: The death of Embiid’s brother during his rookie season with the 76ers.28:02: Brown’s role in Embiid’s life during the last two years beyond the basketball court.32:23: Embiid’s relationship with Tim Duncan.35:45: The difficultly of having his minutes limited to ensure his long-term health.37:10: Handling the praise and criticism that comes with social media.39:46: Helping Ben Simmons with his recovery from injury.42:09: Embiid exceeding Brown’s expectations in his first season.
DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj to breakdown the early returns on the 2016 NBA rookie draft class, the top prospects for 2017 and the trends in players evaluation throughout league front offices. Here are some key moments:1:27: Givony’s plans to scout college and international games.3:07: Brandon Ingram’s early adjustment to the NBA and how the Lakers are using him.4:23: The long process of building through the draft as seen with the Jazz.6:33: Why Boston's Jaylen Brown has been better than many expected at this point.8:19: Expectations and trends for the 2017 draft class, including the abundance of point guards.10:41: Indiana forward O.G. Anunoby’s development to become a likely first-round pick.12:48: The wide-open race to be the No. 1 pick.14:35: How important is the program when evaluating a one-and-done prospect?18:38: European players deciding to play college basketball.24:16: Prospect Terrance Ferguson’s decision to play in Australia and the difficultly of evaluating him.27:52: The league and teams wanting more players to attend the pre-draft combine.32:42: Duke joining Kentucky by adding a preseason pro day.
Luis Scola of the Brooklyn Nets joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for a fantastic visit centered around one of the unique global basketball careers of this era, including his Argentina national team partnership with Manu Ginobili, turning pro at 15 years old and playing with 40-year old ex-NBA players Earl Cureton and John Long, Olympic gold, his role in the NBA-vetoed Chris Paul trade, how the NBA has become more like the NFL in terms of player preparation and much, much more. Here are some key moments:2:08: Scola on becoming a professional as a 15-year-old in Argentina.7:43: The extended run of success for Argentina’s Golden Generation9:23: Meeting Manu Ginobili for the first time as a 16-year-old.12:22: The family bond among the national team.15:42: Winning the 2004 Olympic gold medal18:00: Being drafted by the Spurs, but never playing for them.20:00: Learning English by watching “Friends.”22:32: Entering the NBA as a veteran player.24:32: Taking the time to learn about each city he lives in and visits.27:14: The challenges of switching teams with four children.30:35: The Rockets’ 22-game winning streak in 2008.36:16: Scola’s interest in roster building and team management.45:04: The unlikelihood of a true team like the Argentina national team or Spurs being replicated in the NBA.50:00: How will Scola know when to call it a career?
Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell sits down with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast to discuss life as the No. 2 overall pick, Luke Walton, Kobe Bryant, growing up as a Rajon Rondo fan in Louisville, playing with Ben Simmons in high school and much, much more. Here are some key moments:1:19: What Russell knows about the NBA that he didn’t a year ago.2:10: Playing in the golden age of point guards as a young player.3:13: His relationship with Walton and the difference between Walton and Byron Scott.5:56: Walton empowering Russell to be the team’s leader.7:33: What he has learned about what it means to play for the Lakers.10:26: Memories of Bryant’s 60-point finale against the Jazz.15:45: Being compared to former Lakers greats instead of just his contemporaries.18:16: Jerry West’s visit to the Lakers and his message.18:54: Growing up in Louisville and following Rajon Rondo’s path to the NBA.24:48: Leaving Louisville for a prep school in high school.28:07: Being teammates with Ben Simmons at Montverde.29:43: Not expecting to be a one-and-done player at Ohio State.35:04: What advice would Russell give to a player considering leaving college early?37:51: Dealing with the media spotlight that comes with playing for the Lakers.42:07: His increased confidence coming from better preparation this season.
Jerry West joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for an illuminating visit that ranges from Kevin Durant's recruitment to Wilt Chamberlain, the Showtime Lakers to Kobe-Shaq, to growing up in an abusive home in rural West Virginia. Here are some key moments:1:48: Memories of playing in the NBA Finals in New York against the Knicks.4:46: Working on raising awareness for www.MyAFibChoice.com8:42: His track record for recruiting star players, including helping the Warriors land Kevin Durant.16:17: Would West have considered joining the Celtics or Knicks if free agency existed during his career?17:41: Warriors owner Joe Lacob’s comments about the Warriors being light years ahead of the rest of the league.21:36: Nearly quitting his job with the Lakers when Jerry Buss wanted to trade James Worthy to the Mavericks.25:28: West’s reaction to criticism of players forming super teams.28:47: The formation of the NBPA and the players standing up to the owners to gain collective bargaining rights.34:07: Growing up in an abusive household and coping with the death of his brother in Korea.39:46: Bringing his intense work ethic with him to the front office.42:49: Quickly knowing a young Kobe Bryant would be a great player.48:33: His relationship with Wilt Chamberlain and the impact of his death.58:17: Reflections on his tenure with the Lakers and deciding it was the time to go.
Vertical front office insider Bobby Marks joins Woj to set the table on the 2017 summer free agent market including Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry, the latest on trade scenarios for Sacramento's Rudy Gay and much, much more on the cusp of the 2016-'17 season. Here are some key moments:2:24: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin entering their final season under contract with the Clippers.6:17: Potential suitors for Paul in free agency, including the Knicks and Spurs.9:02: The difficulty the Clippers could have in re-signing J.J. Redick.11:06: Kyle Lowry’s preference to return to the Raptors.17:10: Players eligible for rookie contract extensions.21:54: Steven Adams’ ability to get a max contract if he reaches restricted free agency.23:24: Rudy Gay’s free agency and hopes to be traded this season, including interest from the Pacers and Thunder.30:56: The young core the Suns have drafted recently, including Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss.33:07: The optimism about the NBA and NBPA agreeing to a new CBA in the near future.35:33: The expected changes in the next CBA, including the NBA’s desire to compete with college basketball for players.39:20: NBA teams wanting to develop international talent themselves.
Denver Nuggets GM Tim Connelly and coach Michael Malone join Adrian Wojnarowski on the The Vertical Podcast to take listeners inside the GM-coach dynamic in the NBA. Connelly and Malone take Woj inside the dynamic of how the working relationship works, how they try to avoid pitfalls that have doomed other relationships and how they collaborate on ideas and decisions. They talk about how they handle agents, players and ownership in trying to align themselves to build a winning program. Here are some key moments:1:06: Malone details what coaches want from their general managers and Connelly give the perspective of the front office.3:48: The importance of mutual respect between the coaching staff and front office.6:42: Connelly on balancing the coaching staff’s desire to win immediately and the need to build for the future.9:00: Dealing with agents who want more playing time for their clients.13:15: Malone’s father only getting one chance as a head coach and how it influences him.17:07: Lessons Connelly learned in previous jobs about creating a positive culture around the team.20:19: Connelly and several of his siblings being involved in pro basketball.23:12: Malone initially planning to be a state trooper after graduating from college.27:03: The importance of grinding to rise through the ranks.33:50: Malone’s belief that he would receive another head coaching job the Kings fired him.37:47: What Malone wanted to do better with the Nuggets.42:15: Questions Connelly had for Malone before hiring him and the value of their prior experience working together.46:06: The most common reasons why coach-general manager relationships fall apart.50:37: Connelly and Malone maintaining open lines of communication.
Kendrick Perkins sits down with Woj for a candid conversation about wanting to bridge the personal divide between his ex-Oklahoma City Thunder teammates, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the retirement of his mentor, Kevin Garnett and preparing for his next NBA playing opportunity at 31 years old. Perkins and Woj look over the center's 13 year NBA career, including the 2008 championship season with the Boston Celtics, and his years playing with LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Garnett, Durant, Westbrook and Anthony Davis. Perkins discusses his jump from high school to the NBA and the lessons of professionalism that helped make him such a valuable locker room presence. Here are some key moments:1:42: Perkins on looking for another NBA opportunity as training camps open.5:07: The shift away from traditional centers as the style of play changes league-wide.6:53: His influence on Anthony Davis during his season with the Pelicans.10:34: How Kevin Garnett helped take Perkins’ career to another level.13:05: Is Garnett at peace with his retirement?15:48: How receptive the young players in the league are to veteran mentorship.20:36: The breakup of the core of the 2008 NBA title team.25:25: Entering the NBA straight out of high school and the benefits of learning from veterans as a young player.33:02: Providing leadership to a young Thunder team after being traded from the Celtics.38:07: His expectations entering last summer for Durant’s free agency.40:37: Acting as a mediator between Durant and Westbrook.45:46: Golden State’s season-long recruitment of Durant.49:18: The Thunder’s confidence entering free agency.52:00: Will the Warriors be judged differently than other teams if they win a title?54:24: The emotion of winning a title with a team you grew and built with.
Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley joins Adrian Wojnarowski for a powerful visit on the The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a raw and emotional conversation, Beverley, one of the most intense and relentless players in the league, traces his ferocity to the violent streets of Chicago’s west side as a young man. Beverley talks about why he has no almost no friends in the NBA, still finds himself most comfortable in his old neighborhood and details the short list of rival guards whom he thinks are willing to go to-toe with him. Beverley talks about why other guards have failed to displace him as James Harden’s backcourt mate and how egos and a lack of trust derailed the Rockets a year ago. Here are some key moments:1:00: Growing up on the west side of Chicago and the city’s violent streets.4:06: How Beverley successfully navigated the city and made it to the NBA.5:39: Playing professionally in the Ukraine and Greece after leaving Arkansas.8:17: Being the last cut by the Heat in 2010, including what he learned from being around LeBron James.13:14: His signature tenacity that is so uncommon in the league and how it earned him a spot on the Rockets.15:50: How his childhood influenced his game and why he isn’t friends with NBA players.18:19: Why no one has been able to take his starting job alongside James Harden.21:05: The reasons why the Rockets struggled last year.22:22: Dwight Howard’s departure and the team’s retooled roster with added perimeter shooting.23:28: His appreciation for the national anthem and trying to set an example for all of Chicago.28:10: Returning to Chicago and remaining true to himself and his city.29:54: The movement away from playgrounds to the suburbs for AAU tournaments.33:03: How he knows which opponents he can intimidate.34:22: The players who will look him in the eye and compete.
In honor of Kevin Garnett's retirement, Brian Scalabrine joins the Vertical Podcast with Woj to take listeners inside his five years in Boston with KG, with stories on his influence, impact and unforgettable imprint on the NBA. Scalabrine details the opponents that KG most disliked, his ferocity within the locker room and why KG's the most unique teammate of his NBA career. Here are some key moments:1:38: Imagining the NBA without Garnett.2:54: The atmosphere in the Celtics locker room the season before Garnett’s arrival.5:05: The immediate impact Garnett made on the team’s culture.7:38: The intense debates between Garnett and Scalabrine about the best players of all time.9:02: The initial pushback from the Big 3 against Tom Thibodeau’s defense.12:24: Which types of players did Garnett try to intimidate the most?14:26: Garnett and Pierce knowing how to get under the skin of opponents.18:13: Garnett’s trash talk against Dwight Howard in the 2009 playoffs.20:18: His ability to play through injuries, particularly the 2008 Finals.22:27: Where does Garnett’s legendary work ethic come from?25:25: The veteran leadership Garnett benefitted from as a rookie in Minnesota.30:34: What role will best suit Garnett in his post-playing days?
Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a wide-ranging and insightful interview, Colangelo discusses everything from the Sixers rebuild to the pressure of his family name to his runs as the Suns and Raptors’ top executive. Here are some key moments:0:48: Getting back into the league after a brief hiatus.2:20: Colangelo’s first priority upon joining the franchise.5:44: The importance of changing the team’s mentality after years of losing.8:43: Joel Embiid’s comeback and his high ceiling.11:00: The challenge of trying to maximize the value of the team’s three big men.16:19: Experimenting with Ben Simmons’ role because of his unique skillset.20:59: The benefits of Brett Brown’s prior relationship with Ben Simmons and his family.22:53: Inheriting Brown as head coach and building a relationship and trust with him.27:46: The team’s offseason pursuit of Manu Ginobili in free agency.29:16: The calls of nepotism after he joined the 76ers.40:39: Did he feel more pressure to prove himself when he joined the Suns than he does now?47:50: Colangelo’s friendship with Masai Ujiri after he was hired to replace Colangelo.51:08: The rush to declare winners and losers in trades and free agency.56:56: What does he want to improve upon as a leader with the 76ers?1:02:56: The process of making Philadelphia a destination for free agents.
Five-time NBA All-Star and actor Marques Johnson joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. Johnson finds context with race and sports in the modern time set against his days at UCLA in the mid-1970’s and experiences in the racially-divided 1980’s NBA. From his All-Star years in Milwaukee, to the indignities of the Donald Sterling Clippers, to personal tragedy with the drowning of his son, Marques Jr., and the embarking of a successful acting career including his iconic role in White Men Can’t Jump, Johnson delivers an entertaining and enlightening visit with Woj. Here are some key moments:1:15: Johnson’s successful acting career that was boosted by his time playing in Los Angeles.3:37: Playing for John Wooden at UCLA and the disappointment of losing in 1974.6:18: The social activism of the UCLA players during the 1970s, led by Bill Walton.13:18: Wooden’s support of the team’s right to express themselves.20:59: Did Johnson feel pressure to speak out on social issues as an elite athlete?23:51: The racial dynamics of the NBA in the 1970s and 1980s.27:12: Deciding not to play for Team USA during the 1976 Olympics.30:08: Nearly wearing a white mask during warmups as a protest to the call for more white faces in the NBA.36:51: Being traded to the Donald Sterling-owned Clippers in 1984.42:20: Was Sterling’s racism well known by players around the league?44:22: His comeback attempt with the Warriors in 1989.48:09: Learning to forgive himself after his son died in a drowning accident.51:37: Johnson’s iconic role in “White Men Can’t Jump.”55:30: Filming “Blue Chips” with multiple NBA players and Bobby Knight.
On the cusp of the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions, Vertical shoe insider Nick DePaula joins Adrian Wojnarowski to explore the sneaker legacies of Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming. The three transcendent stars have fascinating and intertwined legacies in the shoe industry, creating, maintaining and leaving legacies still resounding across the global landscape. Here are some key moments:0:47: Iverson’s continued relevance in the sneaker industry five years after he last played in the league.3:41: Iverson’s role as perhaps the greatest sneaker salesman in the NBA outside of Michael Jordan.5:39: The trust into which Reebok put a large share of Iverson’s earnings.7:05: The two signature moments that Reebok capitalized on the most.8:57: How Iverson’s height and lifestyle made him relatable to the casual fan.10:39: Reebok embracing Iverson’s personality and authenticity.12:57: How Iverson and Kobe Bryant resonated differently in Philadelphia.17:41: Could Iverson have a second wind as an endorser?19:38: O’Neal disproving the idea that big men couldn’t sell shoes.22:12: The financial impact of O’Neal’s move to Los Angeles.23:25: O’Neal designing his own signature logo while in college.26:20: Yao opening the Asian market to NBA stars.29:22: The trend of NBA players signing deals with Chinese shoe companies.32:32: The cumulative impact of this year’s Hall of Fame class on the sneaker industry.
Toronto Raptors All-Star guard Kyle Lowry takes over as the guest host and sits down with his college coach, Villanova's Jay Wright, on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Lowry, a gold medalist for Team USA in the Rio Olympics, visits with Wright on the Villanova campus for a wide-ranging discussion on their relationship, the tumultuous start to Lowry's college career and Lowry's impact with the players on 'Nova's 2016 national championship team. Lowry and Wright engage in an honest, often hilarious conversation that covers over a decade of history together. For Raptors, Villanova and NBA fans, it's a must-listen. Here are some key moments:1:37: Lowry asking Wright for a scholarship while the coach was recruiting other players.4:58: Lowry choosing Villanova and nearly getting kicked off the team before his freshman season.10:20: Lowry skipping rehab and playing pick-up basketball two months after tearing his ACL.16:16: Wright and Lowry’s close relationship and the example Lowry sets for the current Villanova players.23:20: The memorable pick-up games between former and current Villanova players last summer.27:07: The impact Lowry and the pick-up games had on the team before it won the national title.30:46: Wright and Lowry’s Villanova team starting the small-ball trend.34:30: Lowry’s focus on college and not looking ahead to the NBA.37:43: Lowry entering the draft and a draft promise that was broken.43:41: The perseverance Lowry showed after struggling in the playoffs last season.45:51: How Lowry learned about being selected to play for Team USA in Rio.
In his first extended interview since free agent Kevin Durant left for Golden State, Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan sat down with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Donovan goes into detail on the circumstances around Durant’s departure, and Russell Westbrook’s decision to renegotiate his contract and eliminate his 2017 free agency. Donovan discusses the dynamic among Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka throughout the Thunder’s season, and the franchise’s run into the Western Conference finals. Donovan describes how the team will be structured around Westbrook and how he envisions the All-Star guard’s role within the team structure. Donovan talks about his coaching journey, beginning as a Long Island high school guard playing Pearl Washington in New York, a college guard under Rick Pitino at Providence, and Donovan’s own minor league basketball career – as well as the Florida Gators. Donovan goes into detail on transforming from a quiet player into the kind of orator that has made him one of the game’s elite coaches. Here are some key moments:0:38: The Thunder’s two meetings with Durant.2:15: Donovan’s relationship with Durant and his focus on coaching every player on the roster without playing favorites.7:19: How Donovan learned about the relationship between Durant and Westbrook.9:05: The initial conversation with Westbrook after Durant’s departure.13:40: Managing Ibaka’s desire for a larger role last season.16:35: Rebounding from a blowout loss in Game 1 of the conference semifinals against the Spurs.20:43: Losing Game 6 at home in the Western Conference finals against the Warriors.27:13: Rick Pitino becoming Providence’s head coach during Donovan’s sophomore season.44:24: Developing his voice as a head coach.53:37: The differences in his role as an NBA coach compared to being a college coach.57:16: The importance of this coming season to make Oklahoma City a free-agent destination.
On the doorstep of Allen Iverson’s enshrinement into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, former Philadelphia 76ers GM Billy King joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast to go inside the legendary guard’s persona and career. King delivers incredible insight and storytelling into the tumultuous and triumphant Sixers run with Iverson. From his battles with coach Larry Brown, the infamous practice press conference, near-trades and scrapes with the commissioner’s office, King has some of the most unique insight into the complexities of Iverson. King offers tremendous perspective on Iverson’s cultural impact, his fierce loyalty and popularity and his ultimate undoing with the Sixers. King helped build an NBA finalist around Iverson and had the ultimate front-row seat for one of the most fascinating players and periods in NBA history. Here are some key moments:0:45: Iverson’s upcoming induction into the Hall of Fame.2:17: How King and Brown reached out to Iverson when they joined the franchise.6:34: The complicated and contentious relationship between Iverson and Brown.9:45: Building a roster around Iverson’s prolific scoring ability.15:07: Iverson’s ability to bounce back from injuries and big hits despite his thin frame.20:35: Nearly trading Iverson to the Pistons in a multi-team trade in 2000.24:08: How the NBA responded to Iverson’s cultural impact.30:45: The never-released Iverson rap album and his meeting with David Stern.33:38: Iverson’s lavish spending and how the team tried to educate him.38:01: The infamous practice rant and King offering his resignation to the team.41:00: The end of the Iverson-Brown partnership in Philadelphia.45:41: Brown coaching Iverson on the disastrous 2004 Olympic team.48:13: How often was Iverson’s name mentioned in trade talks and near deals?51:08: Iverson’s ability to stay out late into the night and then perform during games.53:05: Iverson’s loyalty to those close to him.
The Vertical’s Michael Lee and best-selling author Mark Kriegel join Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. From Rio, Lee discusses the issues surrounding Team USA and it’s uneven performance in these Olympic Games. Lee and Woj discuss why the U.S. team has failed to dominate, and where the blames lies – from coaching staff through the roster. Kriegel joins the podcast to discuss his New York Times best-seller, “Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich,” one of Woj’s favorite basketball biographies. Kriegel goes deep into the psyche of Pistol and his father, Press Maravich, and one of American sports’ most fascinating father-son partnerships. Here are some key moments:Michael Lee0:55: The pressure on Team USA to win the gold.6:19: Which USA players are having the biggest struggles in Rio?8:38: The gap between America’s best players and the next tiers of players, along with the leadership void the team faces this year.12:22: The struggles of the 2004 Olympic team.15:28: Carmelo Anthony’s pursuit of a third gold medal and the importance of USA Basketball to him.19:34: The responsibility of Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Thibodeau in the team’s struggles.26:42: Previewing the quarterfinal round of the Olympic tournament.Mark Kriegel33:10: Kriegel’s move from New York to Los Angeles.34:40: The father-son relationship between Pete and Press Maravich.39:57: The contrast between Press’ defense-first reputation and Pete’s offense-first style of play.43:34: Did Pete actually dribble out of the window while riding in a car?47:57: Pete’s deterioration in the NBA stemming from emptiness and loneliness.52:24: The role of race in Pete’s career.54:55: The research process for “Pistol.”
NBA great Rod Thorn joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical podcast for a wide-open and engaging visit on his 50 years in pro basketball. Thorn tells an array of stories from his days as a tortured All-American in Jerry West’s shadow at West Virginia, to the barnstorming days of the NBA, to competing with Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Thorn tells of the genius of Julius “Dr. Jr” Erving in his days as a coach with the ABA’s Nets, the demons of Marvin “Bad News” Barnes with the St. Louis Spirits and what made Spirits’ radio voice Bob Costas so irritating in two-on-two pick up basketball games. Thorn talks about drafting Michael Jordan in Chicago, trading for Jason Kidd in New Jersey and why he fired Byron Scott after back-to-back NBA Finals appearances. The stories keep coming from Thorn on a terrific edition of The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Here are some key moments:1:39: Thorn’s beginning in the NBA after being the No. 2 pick in 1963.4:30: Growing up in the shadow of West Virginia legends West and Rodney “Hot Rod” Hundley.10:23: The injuries and physical toll of playing in the league.13:47: How many players from the 1960s would be great players today?19:11: Red Auerbach’s greatness as a coach and executive with the Celtics.22:45: Passing on law school to coach the Nets and Dr. J in the ABA.28:00: The fun and madness of the ABA.31:00: Playing pickup basketball with Costas.32:56: Coaching Barnes and the personal battles that derailed Barnes' legendary talent.34:51: The coin flip that cost the Bulls a chance to draft Magic Johnson.37:11: Firing Jerry Sloan as head coach.39:54: Realizing Michael Jordan’s greatness on his first day of practice with the Bulls.42:46: Leaving the league office to lead the Nets and acquiring Jason Kidd.53:06: Firing Byron Scott after back-to-back Finals appearances.57:22: The tumultuous end of Kidd’s tenure with the Nets.1:00:23: Deciding to leave the Nets once Mikhail Prokhorov purchased the team.1:03:00: Joining the 76ers and acquiring Andrew Bynum in the Dwight Howard trade.1:08:26: His current role with the Bucks and how the league has changed.
Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist visits with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. MKG discusses his journey from the No. 1-rated eighth grader in America to top Kentucky basketball recruit to the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, including the loss of his father and a personal battle with stuttering. All this and more with MKG on the Vertical Podcast with Woj.
Los Angeles Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers joined Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a revealing hour, Rivers reaffirms the franchise’s commitment to Blake Griffin, goes inside the franchise’s recruitment of Kevin Durant and lays out the vision for the Clippers’ building out of its front office infrastructure. Rivers goes into great detail on his relationship with Steve Ballmer, and tells the story of how he threatened to quit his job three weeks into his tenure under Donald Sterling. Rivers discusses how close Paul Pierce is to retirement and the franchise’s plans to let Pierce finish his career for one-day elsewhere if he decides to walk away. Rivers goes into detail on his history with Kevin Garnett, his Celtics championships and near-misses and his desire to continue coaching in the NBA.
Five-time NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups joins Adrian Wojnarowski on the The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a candid and far-reaching conversation, Billups discusses why he turned down the top assistant coaching job with the Orlando Magic this spring, his conflicted emotions over Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors, and how his Detroit Pistons’ championship team was the most anti-Super Team of the modern era. Billups discusses how he went about helping Carmelo Anthony to become a leader in Denver, balancing his love for Larry Brown with disillusionment over how Brown was navigating his Pistons departure for New York in the middle of the 2005 NBA Finals series against San Antonio, to the most indelible memories of the Malice at the Palace. Billups also talks about his unique Hall of Fame candidacy as a player who struggled his first several few years in the NBA.
Brooklyn Nets radio play-by-play voice Chris Carrino and founder of the Chris Carrino Foundation for FSHD joined Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. Carrino discusses the craft of radio play by play in the New York market and the evolution of the medium. Carrino goes deep into his diagnosis with FSHD, a form of muscular dystrophy that has slowly eaten away at his muscular functions. Carrino talks about hiding the condition for years before finally going public, starting a foundation and raising money for research that has made real medical advances to find solutions.
In an emotional and nostalgic conversation, Spurs general manager RC Buford joins Adrian Wojnarowski to discuss the life, legacy and retirement of Tim Duncan. In his first interview since the retirement of Duncan on Monday, Buford, one of the architects of five Spurs titles, lays out in magnificent detail his emotion over the retirement of one of the NBA’s true icons. Buford describes the franchise’s coming to terms with his departure, how he impacted daily life in San Antonio and intimate details of a partnership that helped win five NBA titles and over 70 percent of its regular season games over the past two decades. Buford even goes into the process of filing a waiver claim to the league office upon Duncan’s retirement. Buford discusses how close the Spurs came to losing Duncan in free agency to Orlando, how the organization worked together with him on important decisions and how Coach Gregg Popovich and Duncan would managed a complicated, sometimes contentious and always loving relationship. Here are some key segments:1:14: The team’s reaction to Duncan’s retirement.2:48: Finding a way to thank Duncan when he doesn’t want extra attention.4:01: Duncan’s role in creating the Spurs' culture.5:47: How Duncan’s high expectations for himself elevated and empowered those around him.7:35: The responsibility that Buford and the Spurs had to keep the team in contention with Duncan.10:17: The role of Duncan and other players in helping make roster decisions.12:38: Duncan’s work ethic and humility.14:25: Duncan’s role in the locker room and his relationship with Popovich.17:49: How Duncan changed the atmosphere every time he walked in the facility.20:19: The sacrifices Duncan made for other players to take on bigger roles during his career.22:28: Duncan’s free agency in 2000 and its impact on the franchise.30:17: Duncan’s global impact on the Spurs and the entire game.
Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin joined Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. In a wide-ranging discussion, Griffin discussed on the Cavs’ improbable championships comeback, LeBron James’ imprint on the team and the GM’s belief in how the team thrived within crisis. Griffin laid out the process of team building around James, the firing of David Blatt and what he learned about putting together rosters working for a decade and a half with the Phoenix Suns. Griffin talks about his own journey from a PR intern to NBA executive, turning down GM jobs in Memphis and Denver before finally getting the opportunity to run the Cavs. He talked about the community of GM’s, the pressures of the job and the scrutiny on the processes of running teams. Here are some key moments:0:43: The importance and emotion of ending Cleveland’s championship drought.6:27: The email Griffin sent to the entire organization after trailing 3-1 in the Finals.12:21: James’ game-saving block against Andre Iguodala in Game 7.13:13: How signing James changed expectations for coach David Blatt.18:13: The long wait for James’ free-agency decision in 2014.22:29: Turning down general manager jobs in Memphis and Denver.26:06: Griffin's rise from media relations intern to the front office with the Suns.30:14: Lessons learned from Bryan Colangelo.34:48: Accepting the GM job with the Cavs and why the organization has succeeded.37:08: The difficulty of working for the Suns when ownership wouldn’t spend to win a title.43:52: The decision to fire Blatt.48:50: Ty Lue holding players more accountable.51:06: Does James signing one-year deals put pressure on the franchise?56:16: The high level of scrutiny GMs face for each decision they make.
Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni joined Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. D’Antoni goes deep on how he’s using his imagination to maximize James Harden’s talents, what he’s learned is most important in coaching the modern NBA superstar and how the Knicks and Lakers experiences will shape his time with the Rockets. D’Antoni discusses what went wrong with the Knicks and why he ultimately quit the job. D’Antoni goes deep into the Seven Seconds or Less success with the Suns, the emergence of Steve Nash as an MVP and whether he regrets leaving him for New York. D’Antoni talks about his college years at Marshall University, the tragedy that football plan crashed that shaped him and the community and how close he came to accepting the school’s coaching job and returning to his alma mater. D’Antoni talks about failing in the NBA as a player, his rebirth in Europe as coach and the impact of Jerry West as a kid growing up in West Virginia. Here are some key moments:0:58: Duncan’s retirement and the year D’Antoni spent with the Spurs.4:33: How D’Antoni’s Suns prepared to face Duncan in the playoffs.5:57: A revealing story about Duncan’s leadership behind the scenes.7:22: The motivation behind D’Antoni’s return to the NBA as an assistant with the 76ers.10:12: D’Antoni’s hopes and plans for his partnership with Harden.13:56: Lessons learned from working with star players after leaving the Suns.17:38: How much resentment did Knicks teammates have during Jeremy Lin’s breakout stretch in 2012?21:28: The origins of the Seven Seconds or Less offense in Phoenix.26:56: D’Antoni’s wavering confidence as a player before going to Italy.29:04: The start of his head-coaching career in Italy, featuring Bob McAdoo and Darryl Dawkins.33:54: Growing up in West Virginia and admiring Jerry West.36:15: Attending Marshall when the football team’s plane crashed.40:18: Nearly accepting the Marshall head-coaching job before his brother was hired.41:54: The end of his tenure in Phoenix.45:40: D’Antoni’s negotiations with the Bulls before taking over the Knicks.48:29: His goals with the Rockets.
Jeff Van Gundy joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast to discuss the seismic Kevin Durant free agency move to the Golden State Warriors. Van Gundy and Woj talk about the impact on the Warriors, the NBA and the Thunder --- and what it says about Durant and the league. They compare Durant’s move with LeBron James’ to the Miami Heat, and the ramifications for the league to have a powerhouse that likely has no peer. They also talk about what OKC should do next --- consider trading Russell Westbrook or not – and what would be possible destinations and packages. They also talk about the influx of money in summer free agency, and how that’ll impact teams and locker rooms next season. Here are some key moments:2:00: Van Gundy’s reaction to Durant signing with the Warriors.2:30: How the perception of greatness influenced Durant’s decision.4:23: How the Warriors compare to the Miami Heat’s Big Three teams.8:25: The tough position the Thunder are in moving forward.10:46: Draymond Green’s unselfishness in recruiting Durant.13:49: The draw of big markets to star players like Durant.16:16: If he doesn’t commit long term, should the Thunder trade Russell Westbrook?22:05: Van Gundy tells a revealing story of Westbrook’s close relationship with the Oklahoma City community.23:36: Westbrook’s competitive mindset and his small circle.28:38: If Durant returned, would Thunder have been title contenders this season?31:24: The impact of the inflated contracts signed this summer.36:49: The importance of teams showing restraint in free agency.
The Vertical staff goes inside the Kevin Durant free agency process on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Adrian Wojnarowski visits with The Vertical’s Michael Lee, Bobby Marks and Nick DePaula to explore the Oklahoma City superstar’s free agency process. Michael and Woj discuss why the hometown Washington Wizards were never serious candidates to lure Durant, and how the Durant-Russell Westbrook relationship factors into Durant’s decision. Bobby, the Vertical’s front office insider, talks about his days in the Nets front office and helping to prepare presentations for stars such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and how NBA teams go about preparing pitches for players like Durant. DePaula discusses the impact of Durant’s Nike partnership on free agency, and how much of a difference playing in a bigger market would make his endorser. DePaula discusses the impact on Golden State MVP Steph Curry and his shoe brand if Durant were to join him with the Warriors. Here are some key moments:Michael Lee0:58: Why Kevin Durant won’t sign with his hometown Wizards.4:12: The pressure that comes with playing games in Washington and trying to please everyone.8:52: Durant criticizing Wizards fans for cheering for him while he played against them.10:59: Durant’s deft handling of his free agency during the season.14:03: His serious approach to meeting with teams that can win immediately.16:19: The relationship between Durant and Russell Westbrook.19:45: Durant’s approval of the Serge Ibaka trade.21:20: Previewing Durant’s meetings, including how the Spurs recruited LaMarcus Aldridge last year.23:45: The Warriors’ season-long recruitment of Durant.29:08: The likelihood of Durant re-signing with the Thunder on a 1+1 deal.Bobby Marks33:15: Marks’ experience meeting with high-level free agents with the Nets.35:18: The importance of knowing what is important to a player before a meeting.38:12: The financial advantage for Durant to re-enter free agency again in 2017.40:37: How Thunder GM Sam Presti should approach their meeting with Durant.Nick DePaula45:00: Why Nike launched Durant’s new sneaker at an event in Austin, Texas.46:40: How Durant’s market impacts his marketing value, particularly with Nike.48:57: Would Nike prefer Durant to win titles in Oklahoma City or be on a mediocre team in a bigger market?51:08: Under Armour’s 2014 pitch emphasizing his hometown.53:47: How his free agency might have played out differently if he had signed with Under Armour.
Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough joins The Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski. McDonough discusses the behind-the-scenes of the draft-day trade that brought Dragan Bender and Marquise Chriss to the Suns, how he can sell the Suns as a free agent destination with their burgeoning young core of talent and the frustration of dealing with inaccurate trade reports as a GM. For the first time, McDonough discusses his pursuit of Brad Stevens to coach the Suns prior to Stevens’ leaving Butler for the Boston Celtics. He goes into great detail on growing up the son of legendary journalist Will McDonough, how his father’s relationship with Bill Parcells has yielded him sage front office advice and how a young generation of NBA GM’s keep a particularly close relationship. Here are some key moments:1:00: When did McDonough decide to try and get both Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss in the draft?4:45: How McDonough filters information before and during the draft.11:17: The youth and talent on the roster in Phoenix.15:22: Being a young general manager and learning on the job.19:46: Nearly signing LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency last year.25:39: Trying to hire Brad Stevens before he left Butler for the Celtics.27:21: Growing up the son of legendary journalist Will McDonough.33:45: The relationship between Bill Parcells and the McDonough family.37:32: McDonough’s friendships with other young NBA general managers.42:25: What McDonough learned from Danny Ainge in Boston.44:26: The 2007 negotiations to acquire Kevin Garnett from the Timberwolves.49:07: The process of building up a team to attract superstar talent.54:23: The importance of showing restraint during the coming free agency period.
Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of the Vertical discuss the breaking news surrounding the Chicago Bulls trade of Derrick Rose the New York Knicks. Woj and Shams break down the impact of the Rose era in Chicago, and discuss whether the Knicks paid to steep of a price for Rose, who has had marginal value on the trade market. The two Vertical insiders discuss free agent possibilities to replace Robin Lopez at center in New York, including Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. Nick DePaula, The Vertical’s shoe insider, joins Woj in another segment to discuss the impact on Rose’s shoe value and Adidas with the move from Chicago to New York.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast to breakdown Thursday’s NBA Draft. Givony and Woj discuss possible trade scenarios and draft picks as they could unfold Thursday night in Brooklyn – from the lottery through the late first-round. Woj gives insight into draft strategies of teams throughout the lottery – and possible player targets of teams looking to trade out picks for veteran stars. Givony and Woj discuss The Vertical’s live draft show on Thursday night and how they’ll be bringing the latest draft information to viewers in real time. Here are some key segments:1:14: The uncertainty among teams entering the draft.3:27: How the draft starts at No. 3 and No. 4. with Boston and Phoenix hoping to trade for veteran players.5:57: Philadelphia’s interest in trading up for Kris Dunn or acquiring another point guard.8:11: Likely landing spots for Dunn, Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray.11:41: Why there will likely be many draft-night trades.18:00: The mid-lottery prospects with the most star potential, including Dragan Bender and Jaylen Brown.19:18: Skal Labissiere’s impressive pre-draft workouts after his disappointing season at Kentucky.21:13: The possibility of two-way contracts between NBA and D-League teams in the next CBA.23:50: Which countries have the next great groups of young players?26:05: The successful job USA Basketball has done to develop players.27:35: What Ben Simmons need to show during his rookie season.30:27: Breaking down the tiers of this year’s draft.34:51: The dwindling amount of lucrative overseas deals for American players.37:04: The impact of agents limiting information to teams.39:11: Previewing Thursday night’s live draft show.
Providence guard Kris Dunn – one of the top picks in the 2016 NBA Draft – joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. Dunn and Woj discuss Dunn’s harrowing journey from a young child conspiring with his brother to evade child services and live alone together while their mother was incarcerated. With great emotion and excruciating detail, Dunn lays out how he had to gamble on pick-up basketball games and play cards to earn money around his housing project – all until his father finally located his kids and brought them to live with him. From that horrific start in life, Dunn transformed himself into an All-American player, a college graduate and now the No. 1-rated point guard in the June 23 NBA Draft. Here are some key moments:0:55: How his real life adversity makes the draft process less stressful.1:43: The importance of graduating from college to Dunn and his family.2:51: A day in the life living alone with his older brother when their mother was incarcerated in fourth grade.6:57: How gambling on pickup games honed his scouting abilities.8:02: Missing school and falling behind academically.9:13: His older brother, John, playing a father figure role in his life.11:23: Being reunited with his father and moving to Connecticut.15:48: When Dunn realized basketball could take him somewhere in life.17:18: His on-again, off-again relationship with his mother after he moved in with his father.18:22: Ed Cooley recruiting Dunn to Providence.21:32: Battling injuries during his first two college seasons.25:07: Dunn’s breakout junior season and emerging as an NBA prospect.26:49: Snapping Providence’s NCAA tournament drought and lifting up a struggling program.28:40: Deciding to return for his senior season.33:45: The NBA point guards that he models his game off.35:02: Hoping to be drafted by a team that fits his style of play and will let him play right away.36:29: The lessons in leadership he has learned through his life and playing career.38:03: Growing from being shy, quiet to comfortable and confident.
Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti joins Adrian Wojnarowski in studio for an illuminating visit on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In perhaps the most in-depth interview of Presti’s executive career, he discusses the Thunder’s vision and hopes for re-signing superstar Kevin Durant, the construction of the franchise’s culture and the significant franchise success in the Durant-Russell Westbrook era. Presti goes into great detail on his own journey to becoming the second youngest GM in NBA history, including his musical career at Emerson College, his chance meeting of Spurs GM R.C. Buford and details of his apprenticeship in San Antonio that spawned his career.Here are some key moments:1:34: Presti reflects on the Thunder’s season and loss to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals.3:32: The Thunder’s poise to overcome a 2-1 deficit against the Spurs in the second round.6:14: The difficulty of competing against the elite teams in the Western Conference.8:23: How the franchise avoided Kevin Durant’s pending free agency becoming a distraction.12:17: Growing up near Boston and the impact the Thunder have had on Oklahoma City and the state.15:06: Presti's first interaction with professional athletes as a 12-year-old with a group of barnstorming former Boston Red Sox players.18:20: Growing up playing against Chris Herren.21:24: Presti’s lifelong passion for drumming.23:29: The influence that Emerson College had on Presti’s music and basketball careers.25:02: The small connection that brought him to Spurs GM R.C. Buford.32:02: How the Spurs find and develop front-office talent.35:45: Convincing Gregg Popovich to draft Tony Parker.40:42: Traveling to Lithuania to get a qualifying offer to a second-round draft pick.44:38: Establishing himself as a young GM when he took over with the Sonics.52:58: Being the face of the franchise when it moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City.55:00: Drafting Russell Westbrook at No. 4 when no other teams had him ranked that high.58:50: Trading James Harden.1:04:15: Applying the same standards to all players and not creating a star culture.1:10:09: Having a successful team to sell to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in free agency.1:15:33: The possibility of Durant and Westbrook being free agents in 2017.
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Morey discusses the hiring of Mike D’Antoni and the reason Jeff Van Gundy never received a formal interview for the coaching job, the future of the Dwight Howard-James Harden partnership, and the Sam Hinkie-era in Philadelphia. Morey discusses what promises to be a wild summer of free agency with the rising salary cap, and why he still believes the Rockets are a prime free agent destination. Here are some key moments:0:50: Morey’s childhood fandom of the Cavaliers.1:50: The head-coach search and hiring Mike D’Antoni.5:15: Why Jeff Van Gundy didn’t get an interview with the Rockets.7:22: Working with D’Antoni to build the roster around his style of play.9:20: James Harden’s input in the coaching search.13:02: Dwight Howard’s future with the Rockets and his relationship with Harden.19:00: The criticism that Morey doesn’t value chemistry.21:21: Reshaping the roster without bottoming out for a high draft pick.25:00: How Morey’s use of analytics has impacted his perception around the league.31:37: Former Rockets assistant GM Sam Hinkie’s tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers.37:32: The upcoming free-agency period with the skyrocketing salary cap.41:34: Morey’s success with high-profile free agents and Houston being a destination for stars.44:46: The different approaches to marketing and working with star players.47:07: The evolution of the GM job in the NBA.51:16: Morey’s preparation for the fast-moving free-agency period.
Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers joins Adrian Wojnarowski on the the Vertical Podcast with Woj. In the aftermath of the Warriors historic comeback in the Western Conference Finals. Myers discusses the inner-workings of the franchise’s dramatic series victory over Oklahoma City, including a lengthy conversation on the uniqueness of Stephen Curry as a franchise player and the behind-the-scenes detail on how he leads the organization. Myers talks about the forging of his bond with coach Steve Kerr, and how they navigated Kerr’s back injury that caused him to miss a significant portion of the regular season. Myers talks about his reaction to owner Joe Lacob’s comments that the Warriors are “light-years” ahead of the rest of the NBA, how his front-office peers league-wide reacted to it. Myers discusses the impact of the Warriors record-breaking 73 victory regular season, and the pressure it put onto the team in the playoffs. Here are some key moments:1:02: Reaction to the Game 7 victory against the Thunder.2:54: What Myers learned about his team after falling into a 3-1 hole.5:15: Curry’s unwavering confidence and leadership.9:16: The importance of Curry making sure to give credit to Klay Thompson during the season and playoffs.12:08: Curry never making an issue about being underpaid.16:26: The uncertainty surrounding Curry’s knee after his injury in the first round.20:40: Did the Warriors keep an eye on the Cavaliers during the season?23:13: The added pressure that 73 wins placed on the team during the playoffs.29:00: His strong relationship with Kerr.33:55: Lacob’s comments about the franchise being “light-years” ahead of the rest of the NBA.
Chris Herren joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a moving and compelling interview, Herren details how basketball stardom – including three years in the NBA – spiraled into a drug addiction that thrust him and his family close to homelessness. Herren lays out horrific details of a junkies life in and out of basketball, and how sobriety has turned him into one of America’s most compelling speakers on addiction. Here are some key moments:2:00: How Chris’ drug addiction impacted his college career and the roots of his struggles.4:43: The environment at Fresno, which enabled his behavior.7:37: His rookie season in Denver and the veterans that tried helping him9:02: Would his issues have spiraled out of control if he hadn’t been on his hometown Boston Celtics?11:25: Playing overseas and his addiction getting worse18:42: The end of his basketball career and returning to Fall River22:38: Overdosing, crashing his car, going to rehab and relapsing.29:26: His wife’s role in keeping their children away during his struggles.35:07: His profound impact on high school and college students from his speaking appearances.41:20: Keeping the sincerity in his speech each time.44:27: Breaking the ice at the NFL rookie symposium.47:26: His no-nonsense approach during his speeches.50:03: The Herren Project helping people afford rehab.53:36: His son’s burgeoning basketball career and the pressure he will face.58:41: How the people that saw him at his lowest view his recovery.1:02:22: The pressure of trying to help as many people as he can.
Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. Atkinson details the challenge of taking over the rebuilding Nets and the emotion of retuning to his New York roots for his first head coaching opportunity in the NBA. Atkinson and Woj discuss Atkinson’s long-winding road from Long Island to the University of Richmond to the old Continental Basketball Association to a decade and a half of playing in far-flung European cities and towns until becoming a coach. Atkinson discusses his career crossroads, leaving the New York Knicks bench to go to the Atlanta Hawks where his head coaching candidacy started to take shape. Atkinson grew up one of eight boys in a competitive sports family, sharpening his survival instincts and teaching him the value of relentlessness and tenacity. Atkinson goes into detail on learning about coaching through time spent with Yao Ming, Carmelo Anthony and Al Horford in the NBA. Here are some specific moments to listen for: 1:12: The emotion of becoming an NBA head coach in his home state.3:33: Building his staff as a first-time head coach and reaching out to players.6:43: The importance of international players and creativity in the team’s future with a lack of draft picks.8:39: Atkinson’s reputation for player development helping to attract players in free agency.12:07: Working with superstars and what he learned from Yao Ming with the Rockets.16:04: His international playing career after graduating from Richmond.23:10: The start of his coaching career with Paris Racing and making the jump to the NBA.27:41: Joining Mike D’Antoni’s staff with the Knicks as a player-development coach.29:40: The difficult decision to leave the Knicks for an assistant-coaching job with the Hawks.31:16: Learning from Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and being exposed to the San Antonio Spurs’ culture.38:57: Growing up in a basketball family and his father’s relentless work ethic.
Kenyon Martin – 15 year NBA pro and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft – joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj for a brutally honest and wildly entertaining hour. Martin holds back nothing on his career in the NBA – including famous scrapes, feuds and rivalries. Martin speaks in great detail and candor on growing up with a stuttering problem and how that influenced the confrontational nature of his personality and NBA career. From Tim Thomas to Bruce Ratner to David Stern, Martin speaks openly about a career of never-backing down and never playing it safe. From catastrophic injuries as a college and NBA star, to two NBA Finals appearances to the most improbable draft workout a No. 1 pick ever had, Martin holds back nothing with Woj. Here are some specific moments to listen for:0:55: Martin talks about the current NBA, players he enjoys watching and why he thinks the game has become soft 3:53: Martin discusses his battle with injuries, including his famously brief pre-draft workout for the Net 9:00: How his childhood battle with stuttering led to his on-court demeanor 11:05: His journey from Dallas to New Jersey for the ABCD Camp on a Greyhound bus 13:26: Playing for Bob Huggins at Cincinnati 19:45: Playing with Stephon Marbury on the Nets 23:40: The Jason Kidd trade and their chemistry 26:21: His feud with Tim Thomas and the offseason meeting that nearly turned violent 32:02: Nets ownership change and his resulting free agency 38:35: Joining the Nuggets 45:07: Curbing his intensity and being called into David Stern’s office
An emotional and candid Austin Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Rivers details his dramatic performance with an swollen and bloody eye in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinal against Portland, including the sudden reversal of how the public and league perceives him. Rivers goes into great detail on the process of joining his father, Doc, with the Clippers, and the stress and complications that put on him and his family. He talks about the process of separating family and business, and how the years apart from his father while Doc coached in Boston impacted their relationship. Austin Rivers goes into detail about his frustrations as a lottery pick in New Orleans who failed to live up to expectations and was essentially given away for nothing. He talks about family tragedy as a young man living in San Antonio, when the Rivers’ home was burned down by arsonists and how that impacted them moving forward. Rivers talks about finding a sense of belonging with his Clippers teammates and his future in summer free agency.
Detroit general manager Jeff Bower joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Bower discusses the Pistons resurgence and return to the playoffs, executing the vision of coach and president Stan Van Gundy and the franchise’s determination to correct the free throw shooting issues of young star Andre Drummond. Bower lays out the details on the implementation of one of the NBA’s most elaborate scouting departments in Detroit, and how it dramatically differs from the Mom and Pop operation that he ran in New Orleans. Bower also discusses in detail his time as New Orleans GM, when Hurricane Katrina forced the franchise to spend two seasons in Oklahoma City before returning to New Orleans. Bower talks about his own personal journey, from a rural Pennsylvania kid who wanted to be a high school coach and history teacher to an NBA coach, GM and college head coach.
Best-selling author and New York Times writer Harvey Araton joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Araton discusses the his long-standing relationship and perspective on Knicks president Phil Jackson and his evolution into the role of running the Knicks. Araton talks about his history covering several incarnations of the Knicks franchise, including Riley-Ewing Knicks, and his best-selling book, ‘When the Garden was Eden,” on the 1970 and ’73 NBA championship teams and how those groups famously integrated themselves into the fabric and community of New York City. Araton is illuminating on the evolution of covering the NBA, including his 1990’s book, “The Selling of The Green,” on the components of race and the Boston Celtics. From Gregg Popovich and the Spurs as legitimate heirs in the tradition of Knicks legendary coach Red Holzman.
Terry Porter, the new men’s basketball coach at the University of Portland and a 17-year NBA guard, joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Porter discusses the challenge of taking on a college coaching job in the West Coast Conference this spring – after two head coaching jobs in the NBA. Porter talks about the impact of getting fired in Milwaukee after only two seasons, and why he struggled to win over the post-Mike D’Antoni Suns with Steve Nash as the head coach. Porter talks about his tremendous run with the Portland Trail Blazers, which reached the NBA Finals twice. From the closeness of the team to the Finals losses to the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls. Porter talks about his long journey from an unrecruited high school player to an NAIA school in Wisconsin to making it to the final cut of the 1984 USA Olympic Basketball trials with Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Bob Knight.
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio visits with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Rubio talks about life as a teenage phenom in the Spanish professional leagues, the influence of Pistol Pete Maravich on his game, the struggles of injuries in Minnesota and Spain’s chances against Team USA in the Rio Olympics this summer. Rubio discusses his future with the Timberwolves and the starry modern age of the point guard in the NBA.
Australian journeyman Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz joins Adrian Wojnarowski on the Vertical Podcast with Woj. Ingles is one of the NBA’s most entertaining characters, an everyman from Down Under who beat long odds to find staying power in the NBA. Ingles discusses the nuances of life as an NBA role player, the brotherhood of Aussie players in the league, his time playing for David Blatt in Israel and his impressions of Aussie phenom Ben Simmons.
Hall of Fame center and Charlotte Hornets associate head coach Patrick Ewing joins Adrian Wojnarowski for a revealing sit-down interview on The Vertical Podcast. Ewing makes his case for his preparedness to become a head coach in the NBA, an opportunity that he’s been pursuing for 13 years on the coaching staffs of Doug Collins, Jeff and Stan Van Gundy and Steve Clifford. From Ewing’s move into the racial unrest of Boston from Jamaica at 11 years old, to enduring the taunts and epithets that accompanied his meteoric rise to stardom in high school, to the pick-up game with Michael Jordan on a recruiting trip to the University of North Carolina that couldn’t convince him to turn down Georgetown’s offer, Ewing goes into tremendous depth on one of a generation’s most public and scrutinized basketball lives. Ewing discusses his New York Knicks career, the 1994 NBA Finals loss to Houston and goes into detail on why he pushed for a trade at the end of his Knicks career --- and how he feels about that decision now. Ewing lays out a vision for how he would build an assistant coaching staff, lead a team and employ a culture based upon his coaching influences and value system.
Legendary NBA referee Joey Crawford sits down for an illuminating and emotional visit with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Crawford, who is retiring after 39 seasons, discusses how counseling saved his professional career and chased away personal demons that sometimes led to his volatility on the court. Crawford goes into detail on life as a major league baseball umpire’s son, working his through the Continental Basketball Association to the NBA, the IRS investigation that led to Crawford and several NBA refs temporarily losing their jobs and the fallout of the Tim Duncan-inspired suspension in 2007. In the Vertical Podcast Insider's Segment, Vertical sneaker insider Nick DePaula joins Woj to discuss Steph Curry's impact on Under Armour, summer shoe free agency for New York's Kristaps Porzingis and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan and how much money did LSU's Ben Simmons cost himself with a disappointing freshman season?
Hall of Fame center Bill Walton joined The Vertical Podcast with Woj in a wide-ranging discussion on his life and basketball career. Walton, who recently authored his memoir, “Back From The Dead,” discusses how close he came to committing suicide because of years of agony over a collapsed spine. Walton goes into entertaining detail on playing for a crusty military colonel coaching on the U.S. National team at 17 years old in Europe, getting offered part-ownership of an ABA franchise out of UCLA, refusing to accept trying out for the 1972 U.S. Olympic team, Maurice Lucas kicking Daryl Dawkins ass in the 1977 NBA Finals. Walton explains why the FBI pounded on his hotel door as part of the Patty Hearst kidnapping investigation, how he extracted himself from Donald Sterling and the decisions Boston Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach made in a hospital to allow Walton a chance to play with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.
Michele Roberts, the National Basketball Players Association Executive Director, joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Roberts discusses her role leading the Players Association in talks with the NBA on a new collective bargaining agreement, the impact of superstars Chris Paul and LeBron James on the NBPA executive committee and the economic value of the franchise league star and the rebuilding of the union after the corrupt tenure of Billy Hunter. Roberts poignantly details her own personal journey, from poverty in the Bronx to isolation at a prestigious prep school to eventually becoming a relentless public defender in Washington D.C., and renowned trial lawyer.
San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili joins Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical Podcast with Woj for a candid and emotional conversation about his historic basketball career. In nearly an hour of riveting conversation, Ginobili offers a moving and detailed window into his historic career, including his four NBA championships with the Spurs and unprecedented international success with Argentina on the global stage. He discusses his choppy beginnings with the Spurs, his elevation into a star and the details the devastating 2013 NBA Finals loss to Miami – and the Spurs’ triumphant rise to a title again. Ginobili discusses the intimate details of the close partnership among Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich.
Golden State Warriors All-Star guard Klay Thompson and joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Thompson discusses everything from his partnership with MVP Steph Curry, the culture of character and work within the Warriors, the circus-like existence that comes with the franchise’s success and growing up in a family of four professional athletes. In the Insider’s Segment, Woj talks to Big 10 Coach of the Year Tom Crean of Indiana University about developing players for the NBA, the processes that turned Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo into the lottery picks and the importance of his relationships with NBA coaches and executives in running a championship program.
Terry Stotts, coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Stotts, the Western Conference coach of the month for February, discusses everything from the Blazers improbable season, to his journey through the basketball minor leagues, to coaching against Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry. Stotts goes deep into his background, including his NCAA Tournament showdown against Larry Bird and Indiana State in the 1979 NCAA Tournament, working under George Karl in the CBA and NBA, to how dramatically the intricacies of the pro coaching profession have changed in his career.
In his first extended interview as the new Brooklyn Nets general manager, Sean Marks sits down with Adrian Wojnarowski on the Vertical Podcast with Woj. Marks lays out his vision for the monumental challenge awaiting him with the fledgling Nets. Marks details his years as a San Antonio Spurs executive, and how the system created by Gregg Popovich and RC Buford will shape the franchise that he tries to build with the Nets. Marks goes into details on his childhood in New Zealand, his experience at Cal-Berkeley and how his playing stop in Miami under Pat Riley influenced what will be important to him as Nets GM. The NBA’s Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum joins the Vertical Podcast Insider’s Segment to go on record about the growing frustration in the league for African-American candidates in pursuit of general manager jobs. Tatum talks with Woj about new NBA investments and programs in identifying and training African-American candidates, including ex-players, to move into front offices. Tatum answers questions about the impact of new ownership groups in the NBA, and how they view diversity in hiring.
It wasn’t the wild trade deadline many hoped for, but there were still plenty of deals to talk about, and a few that didn’t happen to dissect. Join Woj, Chris Mannix, Bobby Marks and Brian Scalabrine for The Vertical NBA Trade Deadline Special.
Three NBA front office executives join Adrian Wojnarowski for a trade deadline discussion on the Vertical Podcast with Woj. Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Kirk Lacob, Houston Rockets Vice President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas and Utah Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik gathered with Woj on All-Star Weekend in Toronto to discuss how deals get done in the NBA, how front offices have evolved and how the process of free agency and the NBA draft are handled with the sport’s decision makers.
Legendary shoe executive and basketball business trailblazer Sonny Vaccaro sat down with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Over his career at Nike and Adidas, Vaccaro is responsible for creating the modern shoe endorsement deal, delivering Michael Jordan to Nike and Kobe Bryant to Adidas. Vaccaro discusses everything from the evolution of the shoe industry in the NBA, how star player marketing has changed in the global climate and the role he played in discovering Tracy McGrady. Vaccaro discusses why he believes he hasn’t been nominated for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and much, much more.
Yao Ming, one of the seminal figures in modern basketball history, joins Adrian Wojnarowski for a fascinating interview on the Vertical Podcast with Woj. Yao’s agent, Bill Duffy, joins the conversation to share context on Yao’s complicated and historic journey into the NBA and global stardom. On the afternoon that Yao was named one of the finalists for the 2016 NBA Hall of Fame class, Yao is reflective on his nine-plus year career in the NBA with the Houston Rockets that included several All-Star appearances and ultimately several injuries that cut his career short. Yao discusses the toll that playing for the Chinese National team took on his body, the mental anguish of fighting to return from his injuries and what it was like to compete against Shaquille O’Neal.
Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey joins Adrian Wojnarowski for an All-Star Weekend edition of the The Vertical Podcast with Woj . In a wide-ranging and candid interview, Casey discusses everything from coaching the contending Raptors to growing up in the segregated south to the scandal at Kentucky that nearly cost him his career and good name.
Ex-Houston Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj this week. Van Gundy talks candidly about his potential interest in returning to the NBA as a head coach again, including the kinds of jobs that would interest him and the primary area that he believes he needs to evolve in today’s league. Van Gundy talks in depth about growing up in a coaching family, his history with Pat Riley as an assistant and later a rival, and how dramatically the coaching profession has changed in recent years. Van Gundy also discusses a summer expedition to Africa that led him to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Brian Scalabrine visits with Adrian Wojnarowski in the New York studio for the The Vertical Podcast with Woj. With a lot of laughs, Scalabrine discusses the details around Golden State coach Mark Jackson dismissing him as an assistant coach, thinking he was going to die on a D-League roadtrip, the great Alonzo Mourning-Kenyon Martin practice fracas in a Nets practice and how Nets executive Rod Thorn responded to Scal’s $15M free agent offer from the Boston Celtics. In the Vertical Insider Segment, Vertical contributor Nick DePaula – the preeminent sneaker reporter in the industry – joins Woj in studio to discuss the impact of the shoe industry on the NBA transactions. DePaula discusses the signature shoe deals of Kobe Bryant, James Harden and several league stars.
Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick joins Adrian Wojnarowski on the Vertical Podcast in New York. Redick has a candid conversation with Woj, touching on the routines that have turned him into an elite NBA shooter, Stan Van Gundy’s impact on his career and turbulent times with Dwight Howard in Orlando. The podcast was taped before the Blake Griffin incident in Toronto with a staff member that led to a broken hand. The end of the podcast cast brings a special announcement by Redick. Chris Mannix joins Woj for the Insider Segment, discussing the Griffin incident and impact on the Clippers, as well as wide-ranging talk on possible trade scenarios with the February 18 trade deadline approaching.
Former Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro sits down with Adrian Wojnarowski in studio on the Vertical Podcast. Del Negro and Woj cover fertile territory, including Del Negro’s contentious relationship with Bulls management that included a physical confrontation in the coach’s office with Chicago executive John Paxson, coaching Derrick Rose and Chris Paul into the playoffs and the complexities of dealing with former Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Del Negro discusses his childhood growing up in the bar owned by his father, a legendary New England player whose career was cut short after leaving the legendary Adolph Rupp and the University of Kentucky.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown spends an engaging hour in studio with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. Brown speaks with tremendous candor on his most trying times overseeing the Sixers tanking and rebuilding process and offers rare insight into life as a member of Gregg Popovich’s assistant coaching staff in San Antonio. Brown talks about the arduous task of playing under a young Rick Pitino at Boston University and the anguish of his roommate collapsing on the basketball court and eventually losing his life. In the midst of a renaissance season with the Denver Nuggets, forward Danilo Gallinari joins Woj in the Insider Segment.
In his most revealing interview since breaking his kneecap in Game 1 of the NBA Finals in June, the Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star guard Kyrie Irving sits down with Adrian Wojnarowski for a telling conversation on The Vertical Podcast. Across nearly 40 minutes on the pod, Irving talks openly about everything from his frustrating early seasons in Cleveland as a teenage franchise savior, to his growth and maturity, and moving into NBA championship contention.
Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey drops into the Vertical Podcast to visit with Adrian Wojnarowski for an illuminating, wide-ranging conversation. Olshey, one of the NBA’s elite front office executives, discusses everything from the Blazers rebuilding process, his construction of the Los Angeles Clippers roster to his brief, first career as an actor in afternoon soaps and commercials. Olshey discusses his beliefs on player development, running an NBA organization and the importance of building relationships in the information gathering aspects of the front office. In the Insider Segment, The Vertical’s front office insider Bobby Marks discusses the state of the Brooklyn Nets and the telltale choices facing the franchise as it looks for a new GM and coach. Marks spent two decades in the Nets front office.
Toronto Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast in the New York City studios. Ujiri, the 2013 NBA Executive of the Year, engages with Woj in a candid, wide-ranging conversation that includes details of making the Carmelo Anthony trade as the Denver Nuggets GM, his own journey as the first African-raised man to run a major North American sports franchise, to his burden of trying to turn the Raptors into a championship franchise.
The Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas, one of the NBA’s most charismatic and talented young guards, joins Adrian Wojnarowski in studio on the Vertical Podcast. In a candid, wide-ranging interview Thomas delves into the drive it took to reach the NBA as a 5-foot-9 player, the revelatory conversation he had with his idol Kobe Bryant this season, his early days with the dysfunctional Sacramento Kings and DeMarcus Cousins, why the Goran Dragic-Eric Bledsoe-Thomas partnership didn’t last a full season in Phoenix and what the elder Isiah Thomas told his young namesake upon the Suns trading of Isaiah to the Boston Celtics. In the Insider Segment, DraftExpress.com’s Jonathan Givony of The Vertical, operator of the preeminent player evaluation website, joins Woj to discuss everything from potential No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons of LSU, to the painstaking process of evaluating and projecting young players to their professional futures.In this Episode you will hear:From Isaiah Thomas: 1:19 - Coming to NYC on train to visit Jamal Crawford as home sick kid at New England Prep school, roots as a young Seattle player. 3:39 - On trade to Celtics and what Isaiah Thomas told him would happen to his career in Boston. 4:48 – Danny Ainge’s impact on his arrival with Celtics. 6:37 - Playing for Celtics coach Brad Stevens 9:09 – Isaiah’s heart-to-heart talk with Kobe Bryant on his idol’s last visit to Boston. 13:49 – Impact playing against Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson as young kid in Seattle. 16:08 – What the Seattle SuperSonics and its stars meant to the region’s burgeoning players. 17:53 – On the weekend train rides to Oregon to play with Kevin Love and staying at his family’s home. 19:15 – Why he left Washington for the NBA as a junior. 21:14 – How he went from the last pick of the NBA draft to beating out lottery pick Jimmer Fredette with Kings. 23:38 – The dynamic of DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento. 26:40 – Thomas’ arrival in Phoenix, and why the three-guard lineup caused implosion of Suns. 28:12 – The 2015 trade deadline in Phoenix. 34:42 – Thomas’ goal: Becoming the best little man in NBA history. 36:25 - Jason Terry's impact on his life/career 39:05 - Mike Conley is the NBA’s most under-appreciated point guard. 39:50 – Why Isaiah spend the summer working on Steve Nash’s floater. 42:23 – Uniqueness of playing for Celtics organization.From Jonathan Givony: 44:49 – The harsh realities attending the D-League Showcase this week. 48:39 - Broad-base of factors determining which talent makes it in the NBA – and who falls by wayside. 48:52 – Beginnings of scouting LSU star Ben Simmons as a 15 year old in global tournament. 52:44 - Are smaller players, such as Isaiah Thomas and Oakland University’s Kay Felder, tougher to evaluate? 53:53 – Self-questioning what constitutes an NBA player in scouting process. 56:44 – The earliest stages Jonathan begins to build scouting file on players.
Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson joins the Vertical Podcast and talks candidly about everything from his arrival as an $80 million cornerstone player to the what if’s of a Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook-James Harden dynasty that never materialized in his days in Oklahoma City. In the Vertical Insider Segment, Houston Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff discusses the challenge of rejuvenating his team, his philosophies on building relationships and holding his players accountable and admits that “Early, I leaned on (James Harden) too much.”
Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers, the 2015 NBA Executive of the year and architect of the defending champions, joins Vertical editor Adrian Wojnarowski on the Vertical Podcast. The Vertical website, the web hub for NBA news, information and storytelling, will launch in early 2016 on Yahoo Sports. In a candid, wide-ranging interview, Myers discusses the construction of the Warriors championship core, his own improbable path from a UCLA walk-on and NBA player agent to the top basketball executive of the Warriors. Myers details the role and life of the modern GM, how relationships and deals are struck between rival executives and how he wishes there was more camaraderie between organizations in the sometimes ruthless engagement of front office work. In the Vertical Podcast’s Insider Segment, Bobby Marks joins Woj to discuss his transition from 20-year front office executive with the Brooklyn Nets to the new front office insider for The Vertical. Marks and Woj will also detail the issues surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joins Woj in the inaugural podcast to discuss the latest drama surrounding Rajon Rondo.
The Vertical Podcast launches the week of 12/13