The Woj Pod

The Woj Pod

United States

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.

Episodes

Zach Lowe joins The Woj Pod  

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  

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  

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  

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.

Patrick Beverley  

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.

D'Angelo Russell  

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.

Gordon Hayward  

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.

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. 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.

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. 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.

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.

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