Just in time for spring break, Zak Kolesar, Marlowe Alter and Chris Manning are back at it again to discuss unique and interesting topics surrounding the NBA. After a jam packed All-Star episode two weeks ago, the Speakeasy Sports trio is ready to tackle the final stretch of the season before things really start heating up. Like we saw on Tuesday night in the Indiana Pacers-Golden State Warriors contest, tempers are hot and emotions are high. In this installment of the Speakeasy Sports: NBA Podcast, Kolesar, Alter and Manning pick up from where they left off by discussing Kenneth Faried’s alliance with Athlete Ally. After that the three will then finish off the show by debating the NBA trade deadline, the urgency to get Derrick Rose back on the court, the NBA’s best closer and playoff seeding predictions. Make sure to tune in below, check out the 3-on-3 discussion and another Cavaliers Conversation video presentation.
1. What are your thoughts on LeBron James’ dunk contest-like slams that he has been performing in pregame warm-ups?
Marlowe Alter: He’s been doing it pretty much his whole career. It loosens him up before games and gives the fans who come early something to watch. I don’t really understand all the hoopla. Keep doing ya thang, ‘Bron.
Zak Kolesar: #LetLeBronDunk. But seriously, the guy has to know that he’s being a tease at this point. Marlowe’s right in saying that he’s been doing it his whole career to get ready for games, and there is not reason to be mad about this. As much as fans want him to enter a Dunk Contest in the near future, he simply won’t. He’s past that now, so let’s just sit back and enjoy these sick novelty jams.
Chris Manning: I think it’s fine that he does it. I know it irritates the fans because they want to see him in the Dunk Contest, but let him do whatever he wants pre-game. It’s his routine, it’s one that makes him comfortable and he has every right to do whatever routine he wants. Fans being irritated over LeBron dunking pre-game should be the least of anyone’s concerns. Maybe if the NBA put a big cash prize up or got others to do the contest, LeBron would participate.
2. Following the Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors scuffle, what was your reaction to what happened on Tuesday, Feb. 26?
MA: It’s unfortunate, but that stuff happens from time to time, especially as we creep toward playoff time. It’s a physical game. Guys are battling for position, but when you blatantly shove someone, as David Lee did to Roy Hibbert, then I have no issue with Hibbert’s reaction. He stood up for himself and didn’t let Lee push him around. Obviously you never want to see it escalate like it did, but this stuff happens in sports.
ZK: The coaches and refs did an excellent job at keeping the situation from getting out of hand. It looked like the tussle was going to pour over into the stands, and we know what happens when fans become a part of the game or altercation. The refs did their job by keeping the fight from pushing into the audience. The coaches did a great job at getting their players back to their respective benches. We don’t want another ugly moment like the Malice at the Palace breaking out again, so kudos to those involved in keeping the situation from getting extremely heated.
CM: When they almost ended up in the stands, all I could think of was the Malice at the Palace and how bad it would have been for version 2.0 to occur. I thought more suspensions should have been handed out. Off the top of my head, I think the Warriors Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson should have been given at least a game for escalating the situation. It was almost under control until that swarm of players entered the fray. It should have been treated as such.
3. What team’s uniform will Josh Smith be in for the 2013-14 season?
MA: I’m going with Milwaukee. Brandon Jennings will be a restricted free agent and Monta Ellis has a player option for $11 million, which he’ll likely opt out of, leaving the Bucks with enough cap space to possibly sign two guys to max deals. Milwaukee’s ownership has shown they are committed to winning, making deals for Ellis at last year’s trade deadline and acquiring J.J. Redick last week to help stretch the floor. The frontcourt duo of Smith and Larry Sanders, who leads the league with 3.1 blocks in just 26 minutes per game, would arguably be the most athletic in the NBA.
ZK: If Smith wants out of his situation in Atlanta — a situation that other stars would flourish in — then I don’t see teams with a lot of money to spend in the offseason and not with a win-now mentality (like the Phoenix Suns) as realistic landing places. The Brooklyn Nets are still a starting piece away from becoming a threat to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference, but his quasi three-four position wouldn’t be favorable with the scorers that surround him. A team like the Dallas Mavericks could nab him with the money they will have this offseason, but Dallas is trending downward. I have a gut feeling, however, that he will be in Celtic Green. If nothing happens soon, I think a few players will have to go to the uniform store custom sports uniforms section and print out their retirement jersey.
CM: Not Atlanta’s. With how many pieces could shift this offseason, it’s hard to think of one team he’ll end up with. Boston could make sense, but can they pay him? Same goes for Brooklyn. A team like Milwaukee would be a nice fit, but will they have Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings and J.J. Redick next year? With so much to be determined and a few teams with the money to give him a big deal, it’s difficult to find a team perfect for Smith. One team to watch, though, is the Houston Rockets. If they can pay him, a tandem of James Harden and Smith would be a good addition.