The Vertical Podcast with Woj

The Vertical Podcast with Woj

United States

Adrian Wojnarowski, the most dominant force in NBA reporting, brings you inside the league with, the “Vertical Podcast.” 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.


Ty Lue joins Woj  

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 Woj  

​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.

NCAA Tournament and NBA Draft with Jonathan Givony  

​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.

The MVP Race  

​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.

Serge Ibaka joins Woj  

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.

NBA Trade Deadline Podcast  

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.

Inside the DeMarcus Cousins trade  

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.

Ettore Messina joins Woj  

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.

Dwyane Wade joins Woj  

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.

Julius Randle joins Woj  

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.

Jerry Krause joins Woj  

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. ​

Joe Dumars joins Woj  

​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.

Isaiah Thomas joins Woj  

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.

Jerry Ferrara joins Woj  

​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?

Nerlens Noel joins Woj  

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.

John Hammond joins Woj  

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 during 47:15: Working with Justin Zanik, who will be his successor with the Bucks.

Adrian Wojnarowski's Year in Podcasts  

​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.

Marc Gasol joins Woj  

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.

David Fizdale joins Woj  

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.

Bobby Marks joins Woj  

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.

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