NBA: Kevin Durant Wants Out And More Free Agency Thoughts

Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets / NBA

We’re not even 24 hours into NBA Free Agency, and the drama is at an all-time high. Kevin Durant dropped an atomic bomb on the NBA community by requesting a trade out of Brooklyn. The Knicks somehow signed Jalen Brunson a week ago. The Pacers traded Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics for a bag of peanuts.

The NBA is more dramatic than the hallways of a high school. Here are my somewhat organized thoughts on NBA Free Agency so far what has transpired so far.

Kevin Durant Wants Out Of Brooklyn

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller describing the last two seasons for the Brooklyn Nets.

When things go from this…

to this…

in the span of two seasons, the word “roller coaster” does not do it any justice. Circus? Disappointment? The word I’ve settled on is failure. The Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving partnership failed. Both star players pushed for James Harden, and the Nets mortgaged their future to create a “big three.” On paper, it was a genius move. However, Harden wanted out after one season, and now both Kyrie and KD want out.

Is Kyrie the main reason behind both Harden and KD’s exits? Perhaps. Did getting swept by the Celtics make matters worse? I think so. Whatever the reason might be, Owner Joe Tsai and GM Sean Marks did everything in their power to accommodate KD, but now they’re left with their pants on the ground as one of the greatest players to ever play this game wants out with four years remaining on the contract. That, my friends, is not good!

So where does Durant end up? Phoenix is the logical answer because they could send Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and a boatload of draft picks and pick swaps to Brooklyn. You can never count out Pat Riley and the Heat. The man who has been spot-on about every Nets rumor, Brian Windhorst, said teams need to watch out for the Utah Jazz.

I’m interested to see if the Nets move KD or Kyrie first, and then convince the remaining member to stay. This will be an interesting weekend, to say the least.

Jalen Brunson Becomes A Knick

It wouldn’t be a Dan Girolamo article (yes, I referred to myself in the third-person) if I failed to mention the New York Knicks. Jalen Brunson agreed to a 4 year, $104 million contract with the Knicks.

To my Knicks fans, do not take out your frustration with the front office on Jalen Brunson. Make no mistake about it, Brunson is a good player. To save your mental health, I will not include the list of Knicks’ starting point guards over the last 15 years. It’s not good. Brunson will be the best option at point guard for the Knicks for well over a decade. For being only 6’1″, Brunson is very crafty in the lane while shooting over 37% from behind the arc. Now that he’s the true number one point guard, he should be able to average around 20 points and 6 assists.

Brunson is only a piece. The team-friendly deal puts the Knicks in a good situation for the future. They need to make more moves, but Brunson is a nice piece.

Good Moves

– Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics – ROBBERY.

– Kyle Anderson to the Timberwolves – This league! The new rivalry between the Grizzlies and Wolves is getting spicy!

– Joker signs the supermax – Not enough money.

– Zach LaVine re-signs with the Bulls – Personal pick. I can’t quit Lavine.

– Bobby Portis re-signs with the Bucks – Good for morale.

– Victor Oladpio re-signs with the Heat – Take the flyer on the “bet on yourself” player.

Bad Moves

– Royce O’Neale to the Nets for a first-round pick – What the hell?

– PJ Tucker to the Sixers – Good for this year, but how about in two years?

– Mitchell Robinson re-signs with the Knicks – I love Mitch. He earned this deal. However, I’m not crazy about $60 million. Was $48 million not an option?

– Lonnie Walker IV to the Lakers – Your guess is as good as mine.

– Juancho waived by the Jazz – Fuck this.

To Be Determined

– Dejounte to the Hawks while the Spurs openly tank – Only time will tell.

Enjoy the best soap opera on television, the NBA offseason! I’ll leave you with this masterclass segment from Windy.

What is your biggest NBA Free Agency storyline? Leave your answers in the comments below.

Breaking Down What The New York Knicks Should Do In The NBA Draft

RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks.

With the 11th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select…

That’s what we’re going to find out during tonight’s draft. After last summer’s free-agent debacle and a disappointing 37-win season, the Knicks must shake things up. The time to be bold is now. With plenty of future first-round picks and young players, the Knicks have the pieces to make a major move.

Will they? One can only hope.

Here are my best options ahead of tonight’s draft.

Option 1: Trade Up For Jaden Ivey

This is the home run scenario for the Knicks. It’s also their best option in terms of the direction of the team. The Knicks desperately need an elite guard who can create his shot and get others involved in the offense. Look at how the Celtics could not get into their sets at the end of the games in the NBA Finals. It’s one of the reasons why the Warriors won the title. Take Boston’s offensive inefficiencies at the end of games and multiply it by 10. That will give you the Knick’s late-game offense, which ranked 28th in fourth-quarter points per game.

Ivey solves a lot of the team’s problems. He’s a 6’4″ guard with a 6’9″ wingspan who has an explosive first step and can finish at the rim. The Knicks have never had that. Ivey averaged 17.2 ppg with percentage splits of 46/36/74. I’m calling him “Big Baby Ja Morant.” The Knicks are dying for a point guard after the Kemba Walker disaster. Do whatever it takes to trade up and take Ivey.

So what would it take? If I had to guess, the starting point is No. 11, another first-round pick, a future first-round pick swap, one of Obi/Quickley/Grimes, and one of Noel/Burks/Kemba. I would call that trade into the league office right now. I love Obi, Quickley, and Grimes, but they do not have the dynamic playmaking ability that Ivey possesses. If the Kings don’t select Ivey, then Leon should call the Pistons at No. 5, the Pacers at No. 6, and so on and so forth until he’s drafted. Make the move.

Option 2: Draft AJ Griffin, Mark Williams, Or Johnny Davis

The NBA is dominated by wings. It’s the most highly-coveted position in the league. AJ Griffin is the prototypical 3-and-D wing out of Duke. I watched almost every Duke game this year, and Griffin’s continuously hit big shots from behind the arc in the game’s biggest moments. Griffin shot an impressive 44% from three. Despite the injury history, Griffin is a more than capable defender at 6’6″ with over a 7-foot wingspan. Griffin would fit right in with Thibs.

With Mitchell Robinson hitting free agency, it’s unknown whether the team will resign him or not despite the team leaning towards a reunion according to Marc Stein. I like Mitch, but do I want to give him $15 million per year? Not really. If the team wants to find his replacement or a second center to pair with Mitch, Mark Williams is the right option. In the last game of the 2020-2021 season, Williams put up 23 points and 19 rebounds, which were well above his season averages. That game was the springboard Williams needed as the 7’0″ shined this past season at Duke. Williams is a true rim protector in every sense of the word. He runs the floor well, can hold his own on switches, and shot a respectable 72% from the free-throw line.

Johnny Davis is more of a playmaking wing than he is a 3-and-D (30% from 3). This would be my least favorite selection out of the three, but he still fills a need. The Big Ten Player of the Year can hit tough shots, especially from the midrange area. He was Wisconsin’s only threat on offense so that’s why some of the percentages might be down. However, Davis could step right in and contribute for the Knicks off the bench.

If Bennedict Mathurin somehow falls to 11, then he’s the home run pick.

Option 3: Trade Back

This is the option I don’t want to happen. The Knicks need to clear cap space in order to make a run at a player like Jalen Brunson. I could see where there’s a scenario they trade back in the draft but attach a player like Burks/Noel/Kemba/Fournier to shed salary. I’m all for shedding salary, but the team needs to make this pick at No. 11 if they can’t trade up.

Hopefully, Woj or Shams doesn’t spoil the pick for you! Do the right thing tonight, Knicks. Please.

What are your thoughts on tonight’s draft? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

NBA Playoffs: 3 Biggest Questions Right Now

Luka Doncic flexing in a game for the Dallas Mavericks.

I don’t want to brag, but I’m locked into these NBA Playoffs. My wallet may beg to differ, but I haven’t missed a game. The league is so damn talented right now. There are emerging stars left and right. On any night, so many guys can give you 20 points a game. 

Here are the three biggest questions I have right now. Two of them are fair while one is out of leftfield. That’s baseball, Suzyn.

3. What Happens To Duncan Robinson This Offseason?

I’m fully aware that I’m the only person outside of Miami who cares about this question considering the Heat are going to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, and have a good shot of returning to the NBA Finals. That being said, what happened to Duncan Robinson? Two years ago, the sharpshooting Robinson was the Heat’s starting shooting guard, averaging 13.5 ppg and 44.6% from three. Now, Robinson is glued to the bench as Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Victor Oladipo receive Duncan’s minutes.

Every team would love to have a 6’7″ shooting guard who shoots over 40% from three. However, do teams want Robinson in year two of a 5 year, 90-million-dollar contract? If he’s getting healthy DNP’s in the playoffs, the Heat have to explore trade options for Robinson this offseason.

2. Will Hunting Become The New Normal?

If you’re a bad defender in the NBA, then there’s nowhere to hide especially in the NBA Playoffs. If the opposing team is smart, they will run pick and roll with whomever the worst defender is guarding, get the switch, and attack at will. It’s like a shark that smells blood in the water. Look no further than Game 2 between the Suns and Mavericks. Despite just under three minutes of matchup time, Chris Paul scored 9 points against Luka and the Suns scored 18 points. He’s also put Dwight Powell through the wringer, scoring 14 points against the Mavericks’ big man in just under two minutes of matchup time.

No one, and I mean no one, on the Suns can guard Luka. He will score over 30 points again in Game 3. However, Kidd is right when saying Doncic will have to participate more on defense. That can only happen if he’s not exhausted from the offensive burden he carries the entire game. Will the real Jalen Brunson please stand up and help Luka out? If that doesn’t happen, get the broomsticks.

1. Will Giannis Antetokounmpo Become A God And Enter The Top 15?

Giannis Antetokunmpo put on a godlike performance in last year’s NBA Finals, rallying the Bucks from an 0-2 deficit to win the series, 4-2, behind series averages of 35.2 ppg, 13.2 rpb, and 5.0 assists. The cherry on top of a historic run had to be his 50-point performance in the series-clinching victory.

Giannis is already one of the 75 greatest players to play in the NBA. He also happens to be the best player in the NBA. Furthermore, The Athletic had Giannis as the 24th greatest player in NBA history. At this time, top-25 is where the Greek Freak belongs. However, if Giannis can go back-to-back, where will he stand with the all-time greats?

If Giannis wins the title this year, it will be without the Bucks’s second-best player. Khris Middleton, for a portion of the playoffs. I’m also assuming he will win Finals MVP if the Bucks win a title. There will be no Igudola over Curry if the Bucks win. So if those two things happen, here are what Giannis’s accomplishments would look like:

  • 2x NBA Championships and 2x Finals MVPs
  • 2x regular-season MVPs
  • 3x All-NBA First Team (will be four after this season)
  • 2x All-NBA Second Team
  • 1x DPOY
  • 3x All-NBA Defensive First Team (will be four after this season)
  • 1x All-NBA Defensive Second Team
  • 1x NBA MIP
  • Member of the 75th Anniversary team

Giannis will have accomplished all of this by the young age of 27. That is an insane resume. Giannis easily slides into the Top 20 with those numbers, but if it’s another historic final where he dominates, it will be hard to keep him outside of the Top 15.

Here’s to an exciting NBA Playoffs. Hopefully, we get a Game 7 in one of these series.

If you agree or disagree with my assessment, leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet me, @danny_giro.

The New York Giants Finally Did The Right Thing On Draft Night

Kayvon Thibodeaux posing for a picture

Draft night for New York Giants has been a “house of horrors” during the Dave Gettleman regime. After watching Gettleman six feet under, good things have not happened on draft night for the New York Giants. When Gettleman referred to the data analysts as “computer folks,” it was time for him to leave the draft room and head to the golf course.

With the fifth and seventh picks, the Giants were in a prime position to significantly improve at two important positions. In my opinion, the five most important positions are quarterback, offensive tackle, edge rusher, defensive back, and wide receiver. Going into tonight, tackle, edge rusher, and defensive back were a high priority.

I’m in foreign territory. I’m about to compliment the Giants. With their first two selections, the Giants selected DE Kayvon Thibodeaux and OL Evan Neal. Two words: home run.

Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll absolutely crushed the first round. Thibs is a monster on the edge and will be a nice running mate with Azeez Ojulari. Neal will start Day 1 at the right tackle position with Andrew Thomas at left tackle. That’s four promising players at two key positions. This is a smart regime, something that cannot be said about the last few years in New York. I’m so happy right now. I don’t know how to feel because I haven’t felt this positive about the Giants since 2016.

There’s still a lot of work left to do, but fans should enjoy this victory for the night. Now, let’s start the “Malik Willis to the G-Men in Round 2” discussion.

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments or tweet me, @danny_giro.

Ja Morant Continues To Defy Gravity

Ja Morant NBA

The Memphis Grizzlies are currently playing in an NBA basketball game, which means Ja Morant has another chance to prove he’s not human. Once again, the superstar does not disappoint.

It’s an overused phrase, but we’re running out of words to describe Morant. Every time he steps foot on the floor, Morant is poised to do something that will make your jaw drop. If Dominque Wilkins is “The Human Highlight Film,” then Morant is “The Man Who Defies Gravity.”

6’3″ point guards typically don’t posterize centers on a nightly basis. But, those point guards aren’t Morant, the leader of a Memphis team that sits third place in the Western Conference at 43-20. After last year’s first-round exit as an eight seed, making it to a 6-seed this season would have been a vast improvement. Thanks to Morant’s play, the Grizzlies have a legitimate shot at a top-3 seed in the West.

Morant is more than just the flashy highlights. The third-year star is averaging 27.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, and 5.9 rpb with shooting splits of 49/34/75. The assists are down a bit from last year, but Morant’s points have increased by eight. His statistical improvements and team’s success are the reason why Morant is the huge frontrunner to win Most Improved, according to VegasInsider.

Like most NBA awards, it comes down to subjectivity and a narrative. Typically, most improved is awarded to players that make the jump from average to good. Previous winners like Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Pascal Siakam, and Victor Oladipo fit the bill. However, it’s rarely given to a player that makes the leap from good to superstar, which is arguably more difficult. Tracy McGrady is probably the closest example as he jumped from 15 ppg to 26 ppg during his MIP season. Morant should join McGrady in that category.

Morant’s rise to superstardom is unbelievable considering that nearly every basketball mind would have taken Zion Williamson over Ja in the 2019 NBA Draft. Now, Morant is the consensus number one.

Dear Basketball Gods,

Please protect Ja Morant.

From, NBA Fans

If you have any thoughts about Ja Morant, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

The New York Knicks Make Me Sick

The best comedy act in the country occurs when the New York Knicks step on a basketball court. Seriously, I urge you to find something that provides more laughs to the US of A than the Knicks, especially when the team begins the second half of every game.

Just look at tonight when the Knicks faced their crosstown rival, the Brooklyn Nets. In the first half, the Knicks held a TWENTY-EIGHT (28) point lead against a team without its three best players – Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons.

Every single Knicks fan knew it was too good to be true. The fans know this team finds new ways to emotionally devastate us on a nightly basis. A case in point is my tweet below.

As Ramsay Bolton said, you haven’t been paying attention if you thought the Knicks would win this game.

Tom Thibodeau refuses to change his rotations. Without a point guard, the team can’t run any sets late in games. The offense forgets how to score in the fourth quarter. Julius Randle is the only one who wants the ball at the end of games, but he settles for too many tough jump shots. Stupid double teams on defense lead to wide-open threes for the opposition.

In other words, business as usual for the Knicks down the stretch.

Embarrassing, disgraceful, pathetic, sad – we’re running out of words to describe the Knicks. New York invents a new way to lose every single night. This was (in my best LeBron James voice) not the first, not the second, but the third time in 11 days that the Knicks have blown a 20+ point lead.

I believe that only one loss per season can truly break a fan. For me, that loss came against Portland last Saturday. That game broke my spirit and hope in humanity. Because of the loss to the Blazers, I found myself laughing through the pain against the Nets. You can’t “re-break” me, Knicks. As MJ said in Spider-Man: No Way Home, “If you expect disappointment, then you can never really be disappointed.”

At least I can hang my hat on the fact that Thibs continues to play the young guys like Quickley, Obi, Deuce, and Cam Reddish substantial minutes in order to further their development.

HA, good one, Dan.

Thibs even said that “everything is on the table now” in the postgame press conference. Hopefully, playing starters like RJ Barrett in the final minute of a game with the team down double-digits is removed from Thibs’s playbook. But hey, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Enjoy the all-star break. I know I will because the Knicks won’t have a chance to break my heart.

Comment below with your thoughts on the Knicks or tweet me at, @danny_giro.

NBA Trade Deadline: Winners and Losers

Ben Simmons / NBA

Two words: this league! No league is more dramatic than the NBA. If you need drama, look no further than today’s trade deadline. The drama is continuing on TNT as we speak!

You couldn’t script funnier moments. Back to the trade deadline, here are my winners and losers.

Winner: Brian Windhorst

The MVP of the trade deadline is Brian “Windy” Windhorst. Make no mistake about it, Windhorst pulled his sword out and defeated the dragon that is Adrian “Woj” Wojnarowski. Yesterday, Windhorst firmly planted his flag on “James Harden Island,” saying the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers were “absolutely engaged in trade discussions.” He said it with conviction, and never waivered.

Naturally, most people waited for Woj to report on the issue, and Mr. Bomb essentially refuted Windy’s report on NBA Countdown.

In the Battle of the Network Reporters, Windhorst pulled the upset after Woj adjusted his story this morning. Good for Windhorst. It’s nice to see a reporter other than Woj and Shams break a big scoop.

Shams also defeated Woj in the number of trades broken. I expect Woj to head back into the lab and go on a revenge tour come free agency.

Loser: Los Angeles Lakers

In my best Randy Newman voice, “I (don’t) love LA.” The Los Angeles Lakers have LeBron James, who is averaging 29 ppg, 7 rpb, and 6 apg, and Anthony Davis, a top 15 player in the NBA, and yet, the team sits in 9th place in the Western Conference at 26-30. The Russell Westbrook experience has been a disaster. Signing Talen Horton-Tucker and Trevor Ariza over Alex Caruso is the definition of basketball malpractice. The Lakers have a horrible cap situation, but with some creativity, trades could happen.

Spoiler alert: The Lakers made zero trades at the deadline. I’m sure they can secure a buyout player, but I would be shocked if L.A. makes it out of the first round especially if their opponent is Phoenix or Golden State.

Winner: Quitting

Winners never quit, and quitters never win. Today, the saying reads “winners never quit, and quitters can also win.” Ben Simmons refused to play for the Sixers this season after Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid called him out for his poor play against Hawks in last year’s playoffs. James Harden didn’t like Brooklyn so he mailed it in this past week and wanted out.

Kids, if you play in the NBA, refusing to play and mailing it in on the court will get you your way because that’s exactly what happened today. Simmons heads to a good situation in Brooklyn while Harden teams up with Embiid. Both of these players should thrive in their new situations. However, what’s to stop them from asking out if things don’t go haywire a few years down the line?

Loser: New York Knicks

I could spend forever on how the Knicks screwed this up so I’ll keep it brief. Today was a colossal failure for Leon Rose and the entire front office. The Knicks made z-e-r-o trades on a day where they had to make m-u-l-t-i-p-l-e moves. The De’Aaron Fox dream died when the Kings traded Tyrese Haliburton*. Ben Simmons was a long shot. Russell Westbrook was a possibility, but it never materialized.

At that point, all I wanted for the Knicks to do was to trade veterans like Burks, Noel, and Kemba for waivable players and 2nd round picks to clear up rotation spots for the young players. Did that happen? No. My guess is the front office believed the team had tradeable contracts on the roster. As it turns out, the league wouldn’t budge, and that’s an indictment on Leon’s poor off-season where he spent money on the three aforementioned players above as well as Evan Fournier. This is absolutely the worst-case scenario, and I’m very upset.

*If the Knicks did not contact the Kings about Haliburton, I’ll scream.

Quick Hits

  • Whenever I think the Knicks are hopeless, I always say to myself, “It could be worse. We could be the Kings.”
  • The Dallas Mavericks trading Kristaps Porzingis to Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans is puzzling. I understand why the Wizards make that move, but for Dallas, I’m struggling to come up with answers. Dinwiddie and Bertans are not on team-friendly contracts. Perhaps Dallas believes Brunson will leave in the offseason so therefore, Dinwiddie is guard insurance.
  • The San Antonio Spurs made multiple trades This ain’t your Duncan Spurs anymore, Pop.
  • Goran Dragic will be the best buyout option for contenders. Dallas is the frontrunner to sign the Dragon, but after the Dinwiddie trade, that might have changed. The Milwaukee Bucks should make an aggressive play for the Dragon.

Tell us your winners and losers of the NBA trade deadline in the comments below or tweet us at,@unafraidshow.

Buy, Sell, Or Hold: What Each NBA Team Should Do At The Trade Deadline

Erik Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat

Crank up the hot stove and fire up the NBA Trade machine because the deadline is coming. With the NBA Trade Deadline set for Feb. 10, each team will need to decide whether to buy, sell, or hold. As of Jan. 27, here are the current standings in each conference.

For teams at the top and bottom of each conference, the decision to buy or sell is quite easy. The worst place to be in the NBA is the 8-13 range. It’s the heart of mediocrity. It’s here where teams typically made mistakes in free agency and must decide on how to amend those decisions. For some organizations, buying or selling isn’t an option. Because of roster construction and salary cap limitations, the only thing a team can do is hold and play out the season.

Below is a breakdown of which teams should buy, sell, or hold. Playing The Clash while reading the article is optional, but highly suggested.

Buy

If a team sits at the top of either respective conference, then it’s an obvious “go.” Last year proved that anything can happen. The Lakers and Nets were the betting favorites at the beginning of the year, but injuries derailed their seasons as both failed to make the Conference Finals. Teams with superstars like the Bucks or a healthy mix of young talent and veterans like the Suns took advantage of last year to the fullest and expedited their season trajectories.

As a “go,” these teams will need to bring in another player or two via trade or buyout to gear up for the postseason run. Here are the “Go” teams by conference, and suggestions on what each team should seek to acquire.

East

Miami Heat: The Heat need another big man who can rebound (Heat rank 16th in rpg in NBA) to back up Bam Adebayo. Keep in mind that Victor Oladapio could return before the playoffs. Player to consider – Robin Lopez.

Chicago Bulls: The Bulls should pursue size, but injuries to Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball could force them to get a guard. Players to consider – Jerami Grant or Thaddeus Young.

Brooklyn Nets: Two words: Kyrie insurance. Player to consider – Goran Dragic.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks need another center especially if Brook Lopez doesn’t return. Player to consider – Brook’s brother, Robin Lopez.

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs have been such a great surprise. They should not trade away any young pieces, and should only make a move if they can do it at a discount. They are still a year to two away, but it’s a promising start. Players to consider – Caris LeVert or Harrison Barnes.

West

Phoenix Suns: The Suns should add a forward that can guard multiple positions and shoot a three. Players to consider – Robert Covington or Thaddeus Young.

Golden State Warriors: This is a James Wiseman question. If you believe in him, stay put. If you don’t make a big trade to the Indiana Pacers. Players to consider – Domantas Sabonis or Myles Turner.

Memphis Grizzlies: Shooting, shooting, and more shooting. Grizzlies rank 24th in 3PA and 23rd in 3P%. Players to consider – Terrence Ross or Eric Gordon.

Utah Jazz: The Jazz need a veteran who knows how to handle the pressure in the playoffs. I’m being serious, by the way. Player to consider – Harrison Barnes.

Dallas Mavericks: With the injury to Tim Hardaway Jr., the Mavs desperately need another guard. Players to consider – Goran Dragic.

Los Angeles Lakers: If your team has LeBron James, there is no next year. If the Lakers can’t trade Russell Westbrook, then they will need to somehow bring in a “3 and D” guy with a huge emphasis on the defense. Players to consider – Marcus Smart or Goran Dragic.

Sell

Most of these teams sit at the bottom of each conference, but there are a few teams in that 8-13 range that should consider selling as well. I’m looking at you, Portland.

East

Indiana Pacers: The Myles Turner-Domantis Sabonis pairing hasn’t worked. The spacing is off. The team should build around one or the other, and sell the other to a contender.

Detroit Pistons: Go with the complete rebuild around Cade Cunningham and trade Grant.

Orlando Magic: Ross, Lopez, and Gary Harris should all be off this team in February.

Washington Wizards: The Wizards are fading fast. Blowing a 35-point lead to the Clippers should make them sellers. Start preliminary discussions with Bradley Beal about a trade in the offseason.

West

Sacramento Kings: The Kings are such an enigma. On paper, a lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes should be good enough to make the NBA Play-In Tournament. But, the Kings aren’t going anywhere. Do me a favor and trade Fox to the Knicks.

Oklahoma City Thunder: I don’t need to tell Sam Presti about who or how to trade.

Houston Rockets: Do whatever it takes to get Eric Gordon off the roster. Then, turn your attention to John Wall.

New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans have a huge Zion Williamson problem. Because of that, moving Brandon Ingram for picks and young players would be in their best interest.

Portland Trail Blazers: Every player including Damian Lillard should be on the trading block. It’s time to start over.

Hold

Depending on how the next few weeks will determine how these teams will operate.

East

Philadelphia 76ers: Before the Sixers can do anything, they need to figure out what to do with Ben Simmons. If a deal for Simmons can’t be completed by the deadline, expect the Sixers to go with what they have in the playoffs.

Charlotte Hornets: The Hornets are a Play-In team so there aren’t a lot of moves they can make that will improve their chances. Although Terry Rozier has played well as of late, the Hornets should consider trading him as an expiring contract for assets if he’s not part of their plans.

Toronto Raptors: The Raptors aren’t going anywhere, but they’re building something. I was wrong about Fred VanVleet when I said the Knicks should not overpay him. That looks stupid as the Knicks are down 30 to the Miami Heat.

Boston Celtics: Brad Stevens and the rest of the management team must finally answer the question they’ve been dreading for two years. Are Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown the right duo of the future?

New York Knicks: I’ll keep this short. If the Knicks are around 10th or 11th place at the trade deadline, they should make a deal for a player like Fox, Sabonis, or LeVert. If they continue to slide, they should trade all of their veterans and try again next year.

Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks just need to get healthy. The talent is there. If the Hawks make the NBA Play-In tournament, I would not want to see Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs.

West

Denver Nuggets: The best move thing the Nuggets can do is pray that Jamal Murray comes back healthy.

Minnesota Timberwolves: The Timberwolves should do whatever it takes to make the playoffs. Not sure what move there is to make, but they should consider a D’Angelo Russell for Ben Simmons package.

Los Angeles Clippers: Like the Nuggets, the best moves the Clippers can make are non-moves aka hope Paul George and Kawhi Leonard come back.

San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs will have to build in the draft and free agency per usual. However, Dejounte Murray is playing like an all-star.

What should your NBA team do at the deadline? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

New York Knicks: Is The Season Over?

Julius Randle of the New York Knicks

If you’ve ever rented a beach house, then you’re bound to see what I call “white suburban mom quotes” scattered throughout the house. Quotes like “Live Laugh Love,” “Life is better at the beach,” or “Salt life” might hang from the walls. If Madison Square Garden is the beach house and the New York Knicks are the residents, then the picture on the locker room wall might read “Things will get worse before they get better.”

Will they?

The Knicks lost to the New Orleans Pelicans (17-28 record) last night, 102-91. That’s three straight losses for the Knicks, all at MSG, and all against teams with a similar talent level.

So I bring in (my friend) Zac Efron to ask the all-important question. With a 22-24 record, are we [the knicks] ever going to be better than this?

The loss against the Pelicans followed the same script we’ve seen when the Knicks play poorly. Slow start, comeback in the second quarter, atrocious third quarter, and a tiny run to make it a respectable loss in the fourth. Julius Randle had 4 points on 1-9 shooting with a +/- of -26. That’s simply unacceptable from Randle. Bad games happen, but what’s even more disappointing is the team’s refusal to let him speak after games.

Many fans are at a crossroads with Randle. The MOP from 2021 is one of the three biggest reasons (Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau as the other two) as to why the team made the playoffs as a four-seed a season ago. However, Randle has struggled to live up to last season’s greatness as his points and shooting percentage have significantly decreased. That deserves criticism.

The thumbs-down controversy and inability to step in front of the mic especially after losses is a bad look for the supposed leader of the team. I have no defense for those decisions. However, the Knicks would not be two games under .500 if Randle was out of the lineup. I’d venture to say they’d be seven to eight games under .500. As long as Randle is a Knick, the team needs him to play and produce. His production does not grow on trees.

Once again, Randle deserves criticism, but fans have to keep that same energy when criticizing other aspects of the team. The Knicks’ struggles do not fall solely on Randle’s back. Most fans including myself believe Randle would be a good second player or great third-best player on a team. He needs help. The Knicks brought in Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier to help bolster the offense, which ranks 27th in the NBA. Both players have been extremely inconsistent (Fournier and Kemba combined for 11 points against the Pelicans), and neither guy has shown they can stay in front of another player on defense.

Upon arrival, Thibs installed a toughness that the Knicks so desperately needed. With his style comes concessions especially in the rotation. If you’re not “his guy,” then Thibs won’t give you big minutes. Younger players get shorter leashes. Just ask Obi Toppin, who has the third-highest PER (17.25) on the roster, but plays less than 16 minutes a game.

It’s becoming a reoccurring theme to post the +/- of the Knicks roster after a game and laugh at how the bench typically outplays the starters, which happened against the Pelicans.

Take it with a grain of salt. Younger players like Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, and Cameron Grimes deserve more minutes. But let’s not forget when Randle missed two games because of Covid in Dec. The Knicks lost two-straight games and scored 80 points against the Thunder and 105 points against the Raptors. Benching Randle is not necessarily the answer when the team fumbled two opportunities to win games without their star player.

Leon Rose is not free of blame as well. Rose has won almost every trade he’s made including the most recent acquisition of Cam Reddish. However, Rose signed:

  • Fournier – 4 years, $73m
  • Derrick Rose – 3 years, $43m
  • Alec Burks – 3 years, $30m
  • Nerlens Noel – 3 years, $27m
  • Kemba Walker – 2 years, $17m

All of these contracts have team options in the final year of the deals so it’s not a total disaster. However, Rose, who was the most deserving of a contract, and Noel are both injury-prone players who are hurt once again. Kemba is a limited asset. Fournier is allergic to defense. Burks is a nice, not great, player. The Knicks were blown out by the Hawks because of their lack of talent. Are any of those signings better than the Hawks starting five? How about their top 7? Rose can say he is, but the others can’t.

I once again return to Mr. Efron and ask if things will get better. With nine out of the next ten games coming against teams that currently sit in playoff contention, the season might get a lot worse.

The Knicks are a Play-In team at best this year, which means every single player besides Reddish (since he was just acquired) should be on the block with the trade deadline three weeks away. Yes, that means Randle and RJ Barrett, who has improved dramatically over the last month, can be traded. This team needs star players, and Leon Rose knows that. The Knicks should be calling teams like the Kings and the Sixers to check on the availability of De’Aaron Fox and Ben Simmons. If upgrading the roster isn’t possible before the trade deadline, at least call teams to set up future relationships for the off-season.

Technically, the season is not over. A trade could spark a winning streak as it did with D-Rose in 2021. But if this 10-game stretch turns into a 10-game losing streak, then the Knicks are in for a long offseason.

If you have thoughts about the Knicks, leave them in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

New York Giants Fire Joe Judge

Joe Judge of the New York Giants

Joe Judge is no longer the coach of the New York Giants. Judge was relieved of his duties as head coach late Tuesday afternoon.

As someone who has criticized Judge on this website ad nauseam, I can honestly say I’m shocked with this decision because for the first time in a while, the Giants did the right thing. The Giants did not take a half measure. Somewhere, the ghost of Mike Ehrmantraut is smiling.

Judge compiled a 10-23 record over two seasons as head coach. After making strides with the team last season and building something that resembled a culture, Judge took seven steps back in year two. The Giants ranked 31st in the NFL in both points and yards per game. For those who are not good at math, there are only 32 teams in the league. On the defensive side of the ball, which was the team’s strength in 2020, the Giants dropped from 9th in team defense all the way to 23rd according to Pro Football Reference.

It’s not what you want to see out of your second-year coach.

I drank the kool-aid last season. I wanted to run through a brick wall after Judge’s press conference. He said all the right things, which won me over instantly. Perhaps the disciplinarian was exactly who the Giants needed to run the ship.

I learned this year, Week 2 against the WFT to be exact, that the “hardo schtick” only works when you win games. The loss to the WFT on the final play of the game was my heel turn. For a recent reference, it was my red pill moment.

Much to my dismay, Adam Schefter reported the Giants were bringing back Judge and Daniel Jones in 2022 in late December.

After defeating the Eagles on Nov. 28, the Giants had six games remaining on their schedule. It’s unfair to grade this team strictly on wins and losses because of the injuries and talent disparity. However, that’s no excuse to get embarrassed.

Make no mistake, the Giants were embarrassed in six straight games to end the season.

This is solely my opinion, but if Judge just took his lumps and made no excuses, the team would have brought him back for the third year. The press conference after the Chicago loss sealed his fate.

Excuse after excuse after excuse. Who wants to play for the Giants that’s not here? Seriously. Even if that is true, and I don’t believe it to be, it’s so outlandish that it should be kept to oneself.

If the press conference didn’t do him in, then this play was the icing on the cake.

This wasn’t all Judge’s fault. It starts at the top with John Mara, who hired Dave Gettleman to build a winning team. Under Gettleman’s regime, the team went 19–46 which was good enough for the worst record in the NFL. Gettleman also put the team in cap hell for 2022.

Thank you, Dave.

But, the Giants did the right thing. They forced Gettleman to retire, fired Judge, and requested to interview some really smart guys outside of the organization. This is the right way to build a team. Get the GM and coach on the same page. Then, get your QB and build the rest of the team.

Brian Flores, Jim Harbaugh, and Doug Pederson would be my top 3 candidates. If the Giants land one of those coaches, I’ll be a happy fan for the first time in years.

The Giants have a long way to go, but today was finally a step in the right direction.

Do you agree with firing Joe Judge? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.