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.


Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer  

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 Jeff Weltman  

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.

Paul George  

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 Woj  

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 Draft Express joins Woj  

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.

Bonus Cast:  Paul George  

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.

Bobby Marks joins Woj  

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.

Quin Snyder joins Woj  

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.

Kings VP of Basketball Ops Scott Perry joins Woj  

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.

Ice Cube joins Woj  

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.

Gary Harris joins Woj  

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.

Alvin Gentry joins Woj  

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 Newton 34:43: 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 Woj  

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.

The Vertical's Michael Lee joins Woj on the NBA Playoffs  

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.

Erik Spoelstra joins Woj  

​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.

Karl-Anthony Towns joins Woj  

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.

Brett Brown joins Woj  

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.

CJ McCollum joins Woj  

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.

Dennis Lindsey joins Woj  

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 Jazz 4:07: 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 Woj  

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.

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