Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical

  • Vertical Pod with Woj: Bryan Colangelo

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj.

    In a wide-ranging and insightful interview, Colangelo discusses joining the 76ers, the pressure of being a Colangelo, and his tenures as the top executive with the Suns and Raptors.

    0:48: Getting back into the league after a brief hiatus.

    2:20: Colangelo’s first priority upon joining the 76ers.

    5:44: The importance of changing the team’s mentality after years of losing.

    8:43: Joel Embiid’s comeback and his high ceiling.

    11:00: The challenge of trying to maximize the value of the team’s three big men.

    16:19: Experimenting with Ben Simmons’ role because of his unique skill set.

    20:59: The benefits of Brett Brown’s previous relationship with Ben Simmons and his family.

    22:53: Inheriting Brown as the head coach and building a relationship and trust with him.

    27:46: The team’s offseason pursuit of Manu Ginobili in free agency.

    29:16: The calls of nepotism after he joined the 76ers.

    40:39: Does he feel more pressure to prove himself now than when he joined the Suns?

    51:08: The rush to declare winners and losers in trades and free agency.

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  • Vertical Pod with Woj: Marques Johnson

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical 10 days ago

    Five-time NBA All-Star and actor Marques Johnson joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj.

    Johnson finds context with race and sports in the modern time set against his days at UCLA in the mid-1970s and his experiences in the racially divided 1980s NBA.

    Johnson covers his All-Star years in Milwaukee, the indignities of the Donald Sterling Clippers and personal tragedy with the drowning of his son, Marques Jr.

    He also discusses his successful acting career, including his iconic role in "White Men Can’t Jump."

    1:15: Johnson’s successful acting career that was boosted by his time playing in Los Angeles.

    3:37: Playing for John Wooden at UCLA and the disappointment of losing in 1974.

    6:18: The social activism of the UCLA players during the 1970s, led by Bill Walton.

    13:18: Wooden’s support of the team’s right to express themselves.

    20:59: Did Johnson feel pressure to speak out on social issues as an elite athlete?

    23:51: The racial dynamics of the NBA in the 1970s and 1980s.

    27:12: Deciding not to play for Team USA during the 1976 Olympics.

    30:08: Nearly wearing a white mask during warmups as a protest to the call for more white faces in the NBA.

  • OKC coach Billy Donovan on Russell Westbrook: 'He wants to win at the highest level'

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical 29 days ago

    In his first interview of the post-Kevin Durant era, Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan tells Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj about how he envisions Russell Westbrook’s role on the Thunder.

    “The first thing about Russell, being around him, is he wants to win at the highest level,” Donovan said. “I think the second thing about him is amazing, being around him he’s extremely bright and he’s smart and he’s got a great feel. And the third thing is he’s very, very well prepared. I think a lot of times what people can look to or point to is when you have Serge [Ibaka] leaving and obviously Kevin leaving is this idea that maybe Russell now takes over more, and I think that he really understands that he’s got to make everybody around him better.

    The highlights of the discussion with Donovan:

    0:38: The Thunder’s two meetings with Durant.

    2:15: Donovan’s relationship with Durant and his focus on coaching every player on the roster without playing favorites.

    7:19: How Donovan learned about the relationship between Durant and Westbrook.

    9:05: The initial conversation with Westbrook after Durant’s departure.

    13:40: Managing Ibaka’s desire for a larger role last season.

  • Sources: Cavs coach Tyronn Lue agrees to $35M extension

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    After helping to deliver the Cleveland Cavaliers an NBA championship, head coach Ty Lue has agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract extension, league sources told The Vertical.

    The agreement was reached on Monday and a formal announcement is expected in the next 24 hours, league sources told The Vertical.

    After his promotion to head coach following David Blatt's firing in January, Lue gambled on himself and decided against signing a shorter, less lucrative deal as Cavaliers coach – never signing a three-year, $9.5 million contract framework.

    Lue's decision turned out to be prophetic, because the Cavaliers' improbable 3-1 comeback victory in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors allowed for him to become compensated among the NBA's elite head coaches.

    Lue, 39, finished the final 41 games of the Cavaliers' regular season with 27 victories before rolling through Detroit, Atlanta and Toronto to reach the Finals. Lue earned the trust of the Cavaliers' stars, including LeBron James, and his tactical acumen in the Finals helped orchestrate the dramatic championship comeback.

  • Vertical Pod with Woj: Chris Carrino

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical 2 mths ago

    Brooklyn Nets radio play-by-play voice Chris Carrino joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj.

    Carrino discusses the craft of radio play-by-play in the New York market and the evolution of the medium.

    Carrino opens up about his diagnosis of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, neuromuscular disease that has slowly eroded his muscular functions. Carrino talks about hiding the condition for years before finally going public, starting a foundation and raising money for research that has made significant medical advances.

    1:22: The difficulty of entering the sports broadcasting industry.

    2:56: How the role of broadcasters in the New York area is different from other local markets.

    5:18: Striking the right balance of praise and criticism when covering the team. 9:50: Carrino’s FSHD diagnosis during college.

    16:31: Deciding to keep his diagnosis private initially and how he feared it would impact his career.

    26:11: His decision to go public and start his foundation.

    30:50: The breakthrough that resulted from his contributions to research at UMass.

    35:47: How Carrino deals with the uncertainty of how long he’ll be able to do his job.

  • Vertical Pod with Woj: David Griffin

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Cleveland general manager David Griffin joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss the Cavaliers' improbable NBA championship run.

    In a wide-ranging discussion, Griffin talks about LeBron James’ imprint on the team, why the club thrived in crisis and the decision to make an in-season coaching change.

    Griffin also talks about his own journey from PR intern to NBA executive, turning down GM jobs in Memphis and Denver before finally getting the opportunity to run the Cavs.

    0:43: The importance and emotion of ending Cleveland’s championship drought.

    6:27: The email Griffin sent to the entire organization after trailing 3-1 in the Finals.

    12:21: James’ game-saving block against Andre Iguodala in Game 7.

    13:13: How signing James changed expectations for coach David Blatt.

    18:13: The long wait for James’ free-agency decision in 2014.

    22:29: Turning down general manager jobs in Memphis and Denver.

    26:06: Griffin's rise from media relations intern to the front office with the Suns.

    30:14: Lessons learned from Bryan Colangelo.

    34:48: Accepting the GM job with the Cavs and why the organization has succeeded.

    43:52: The decision to fire Blatt.

    48:50: Ty Lue holding players more accountable.

  • Jeff Teague's dream finally coming true

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    When Jeff Teague walked into the Indiana Pacers practice facility recently, there was a singular moment that it washed over him that he had truly come home in the NBA.

    "It didn't really hit me until I met Larry Bird," Teague told The Vertical on Sunday night.

    Everything changes for him now, the Pacers turning a trade on the eve of the NBA draft into securing the franchise's long-term solution as point guard. He was raised in Indianapolis, reveres the history and lore of Hoosiers basketball and forever imagined the chance to play pro ball in Bankers Life Field House. After seven seasons in Atlanta – including a 60-victory regular season, a trip to the Eastern Conference finals and an All-Star berth – Teague gets everything he ever wanted now: the Pacers and a superstar teammate, Paul George.

    "I've always wanted to play for the Pacers, and thought they were going to pick me 13th when I came out in the draft. But they picked Tyler Hansbrough instead," Teague told The Vertical.

     

  • Sources: Nets signing Greivis Vasquez

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    After losing out on two restricted free-agent guards, the Brooklyn Nets moved swiftly to secure a one-year deal with Greivis Vasquez on Sunday, league sources told The Vertical.

    The Nets lost out on Portland's Allen Crabbe and Miami's Tyler Johnson when those players had offer sheets matched on Sunday.

    Vasquez will join free-agent guard Jeremy Lin as two additions to coach Kenny Atkinson's backcourt. The Nets drafted Seton Hall guard Isaiah Whitehead in the second round.

    Vasquez, 29, has constructed a strong NBA career for himself as a versatile, mature and poised combination guard. His season with the Milwaukee Bucks was cut short after right ankle surgery to remove bones spurs. In six NBA seasons – with Memphis, New Orleans, Sacramento, Toronto and Milwaukee – Vasquez has averaged nine points and 4.8 assists per game.

  • Sources: Heat match Tyler Johnson offer sheet

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    The Miami Heat are matching the four-year, $50 million offer sheet to restricted free-agent guard Tyler Johnson, thwarting the Brooklyn Nets’ bid to acquire him, league sources told The Vertical.

    The Heat’s decision to retain Johnson was the second blow to the Nets on Sunday, a decision made within hours after the Portland Trail Blazers matched the Nets’ $75 million offer sheet on restricted free-agent guard Allen Crabbe.

    Johnson’s contract included $18 million-plus and $19 million-plus “poison pill” provisions in years three and four of the deal. They were designed to severely puncture the Heat’s salary cap and dissuade president Pat Riley from retaining Johnson. Nevertheless, Miami was determined to hold on to a young guard that it had plucked out of the NBA Development League and continued to develop in the Heat system.

    For Johnson, the contract represents one of the most rapid financial ascensions in recent league history: From an undrafted D-League guard in 2015, to participating in only 68 games over parts of the past two seasons, to a staggering market deal.

     

  • Sources: Blazers match Allen Crabbe offer sheet

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    The Portland Trail Blazers have matched the Brooklyn Nets’ four-year, $75 million offer sheet to restricted free-agent guard Allen Crabbe, clearing the way for his return to the Blazers’ roster, league sources told The Vertical.

    The offer sheet was a daring play by the Nets for a 24-year-old reserve guard, and the Blazers’ match speaks to Portland ownership and management’s commitment to build upon the franchise’s Western Conference semifinal berth in 2016.

    The Blazers have constructed a deep, versatile and talented team to try to make another move up in the Western Conference.

    The deal includes a fourth-year player option and a trade kicker that could make the contract ultimately worth $83 million, league sources said.

    Crabbe has played behind 2016 NBA Most Improved Player C.J. McCollum in the Blazers’ star backcourt that includes All-Star Damian Lillard. Crabbe’s ability to shoot and defend his position were the primary reasons why the Blazers were unwilling to lose him for nothing.

    Portland’s matching of the Crabbe offer sheet came within hours of restricted free agent Meyers Leonard signing a four-year, $41 million contract extension with the franchise, sources said.