Chris Paul knew what he was doing. Everyone, don’t forget. Chris Paul always knows what he’s doing.
So when the recently traded future Hall of Famer went out of his way to pull the curtain on the Phoenix Suns’ new tactics on Monday, in multiple interviews, which are part of his interview, Isaiah criticized the Bradley Beal trade. Emphasized the (unofficial) role of Thomas. Reading the book tour, I didn’t have to start investigating the league to figure out what he was trying to achieve. The 38-year-old is as smart and calculating off the floor as he’s been on the field for decades, and this was probably no exception.
“I think[Suns owners]Matt[Ishbia]and Isaiah just wanted to go in different directions,” says Paul, the former president of the National Basketball Players Association. told the New York Times During the interview, he mentioned Thomas’ influence three times.
Paul has always been a smooth political operator within the association and this is definitely his way of letting the world know who’s fingerprints are in the whole deal and whose fingerprints aren’t. was. Never mind that the head of the Suns front office is James Jones, president of basketball operations. He once served on the NBPA board with Paul, and was largely responsible (along with Paul himself) for the trade that brought him to town from Oklahoma. City in November 2020. According to Paul, they had been talking the day before and there was no talk of the trade happening any time soon.
No, this move was all by Ishubia. Ishbia is a 43-year-old businessman who bought the team for $4 billion in February and has been shopping for superstars ever since. And more importantly, as Paul makes clear, it was Thomas.
But Paul’s choice to reveal Thomas’ actual level of influence may make it harder for Sands to continue to avoid the uncomfortable questions that come with his involvement. Mr. Thomas looks back 17 years after the sordid Knicks scandal that ultimately fined then-Knicks executive Anucha Brown-Sanders. $11.6 million settlement He was fired from Madison Square Garden after he accused Thomas, then head of the front office, of sexual harassment.
His work as a broadcast analyst for TNT and NBA TV has recently made him very well known within the league, but he has not held a job within the NBA organization since leaving the Knicks in 2008. Former owner Robert Thurber found guilty of sexist and racist misconduct by league, sentenced to one-year suspension, $10 million fine, and eventual sale of team and optics A year has passed since the harmful workplace disturbance, such as being ordered to The circumstances of this particular organization facilitating Thomas’ return to the NBA couldn’t be worse.
sands Denied reports that Thomas joined the front office in early February, but it was no secret that the Hall of Famer-turned-broadcaster was a trusted advisor to Ishbia. Anyone who’s seen Thomas sitting next to Ishbia during the playoffs knows that. In retrospect, public denial of Thomas’ involvement was clearly a ruse to get out of any trouble. unwelcome headline It was bound to last. For better or worse, it’s been a long time since Ishbia recognized the role Thomas plays within her circle.
As for where Paul goes next, if a trade or the Wizards decide to fire him, I’d be stunned if it wasn’t for any of the teams in Los Angeles. Not only does there seem to be a great deal of interest (more or less) from both the Clippers and the Lakers, but for Paul, the allure of playing in the same city where his family lives for the first time in five years is known. there is also a big factor. There is no bad storyline between the two options. Either Paul reunites with the Clippers franchise where he spent six of his prime years, or he finally joins the Lakers after being denied a trade by the late David Stern in 2011 (perhaps his first best friend, LeBron James). will play with).
Chris Paul to the Clippers? Why LA is interested and how to trade
Superteam strategy lives on
So much for the Nuggets’ championship, which marks the end of the superteam era. This has never been easy as teams always try different ways to reach the top of the league.
Still, less than a week after Denver’s star lifted the trophy, seeing the Suns go all in on a Beal move is a reminder that perseverance isn’t for everyone. It will be And of course Ishbia is not. The new core of Beale, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and DeAndre Ayton have a combined $719 million in debt over the life of their respective contracts (with a huge luxury tax impact when the new CBA takes effect). still remains).
For the Nuggets’ purposes, the combination of elite talent (Nicola Jokic, Jamal Murray), depth, continuity, and the chemistry that comes with it simply sets it apart from teams like the Suns who simply don’t have that connection. should serve as a striking contrast. Any team can build up that key element over time, but in the early stages of this kind of whoop experimentation, most of the time it’s missing.
As Denver approached its first title in franchise history, I spoke with the person with the most qualified perspective, Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, about these two diametrically opposed strategic approaches.
“It’s fine to have one or two[star players]in the team, but everyone else has to fit them, and have to fit the organization’s team plan,” Caldwell-Pope said. Told.
In case you forgot, Caldwell-Pope won’t be in 2020 (his third year with the team) until he’s sent to Washington to play with Beale for Russell in the summer of 2021. He was a key member of the winning Lakers team. contract with Westbrook. The Lakers’ impatient star chase will ultimately pay a big price, but Caldwell-Pope is back with the Nuggets after being sent to Denver with Ish Smith last summer in exchanges for Monte Morris and Will Burton. You will continue to prove your worth.
In the meantime, though, he’s been part of the Wizards’ plan to provide Beal with a role player that could bring them back to the playoff stage.
“I was a little hurt when[the Lakers trade]happened, but it definitely is,” Caldwell-Pope said. “But I had to move on. I thought I was going to be[with the Lakers]for a while, especially after the championship. , I felt that business is business.
“My best friend Brad[Biel, the day before the trade went through]called me and asked me how I felt about playing with him. I’ve known him since I was 15, And one of the things we always talked about was playing with each other, and the next morning it happened.”
Twenty-two months later, the Wizards finished 12th in the East in 2021-22 and 11th last season, and now Beal is on the move. finally.
Inside the Nuggets’ championship roster and how it was built to win it all
Will Biel finally have the best basketball life?
By all accounts, Beal is the best man the league has ever seen. I haven’t been with him consistently, but that’s the feedback from reporters, executives, coaches, fellow players, etc. Just weeks before his 30th birthday, at this stage after 11 seasons, it’s only natural that the basketball gods decided to see him get a real chance to win. I felt it.
The incredible money these star players make is a big part of their NBA experience, and Beal certainly has a lot of it. But competition and legacy are still very important. And while he’s been to the playoffs five times, dropping twice in the first round and three times in the second, he’s never had an opportunity like this. The question here is which version of his Beal will appear.
Health concerns over the past few seasons are well-founded, but it’s only recently that he’s scored a career high in all 82 appearances in consecutive campaigns (2017-18 and 2018-19). It is recent. In the 2019-20 season he averaged 30.5 points (57 games during the coronavirus curtailment), and in the 2020-21 season he averaged 31.3 points (60 games), scoring two goals. . 20 seasons in which a player averaged 30 or more points since 2009-10. According to Stathead.com, the other list includes Stephen Curry, Durant, Westbrook, James Harden, Damian Lillard, LeBron, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Jason Tatum and Shai Gilgeous. = Alexander.
Nothing helps the Suns find a way to slow down Jokic, but they’re not alone in this regard. Good luck to Ayton and, if he’s still there, and anyone else they’ve recruited to take charge of that enviable task. But the all-or-nothing Suns would be even stronger offensively than before, and Beal was (another) bet Ishbia decided was worth taking.
Of course, with Isaiah’s assist.
(Photo of Isiah Thomas and Sands owner Matt Ishbia by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)