Rumors about a possible James Harden reunion with his beloved Rockets keep making the NBA headlines, as reports on the potential move are exciting fans from all over. The current Sixers star played his best basketball in Houston during the decade of the 2010s.
However, after years as a sport insider, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst isn’t naive about it, and decided to share his take on the matter during the latest episode of “The Hoop Collective” podcast. The journalist was one of the first to report on the possibility, even declaring a couple of days ago that The Beard might go for a four-year deal.
There is ‘an appetite’ around the NBA for (James) Harden landing a four-year contract worth more than $200M, per Brian Windhorst.
“The two big names out on the [free agent] market this year are James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Both of them, at $48 to $50-something million, seem like very bad bets. But, there is a scarcity [of star talent] there,” Windhorst assured.
Just like the Mavericks star, the ESPN reporter believes that they are simply looking to negotiate a better deal with their current squads. Harden’s return to Texas or Ivring to Los Angeles, are such huge media stories for the fans that they can both profit off it during their negotiations.
“I also think that both of them, Kyrie showing up to Laker games, James Harden being rumored to be attached to the Rockets, I still think/suspect all of that is one giant leverage play,” the journalist explained. “That, what James Harden really wants is to elicit the biggest offer out of the Sixers even if it isn’t a max [contract].
“Whatever the number of money is, for as long as many years as he can get. And that this slow dance for months and these rumors are all sort of tied to that.”
The ESPN analyst believes that Irving will end up doing the same as Harden, as both will stay in their respective teams
As both stars head into free agency, they know how to play the game of negotiating, not just shooting hoops on court. Windhorst suggests that the media circus around the rumors will keep adding more and more fuel throughout the summer.
“And I think that Kyrie could be doing the same exact thing [with the Mavericks],” the ESPN reporter said. “Just doing all of this, and whatever he may do between now and free agency to try to get the juiciest offer he can from the team he’s on. Cause [the Sixers and Mavericks] face the most damage from losing those guys.”
Even if it doesn’t end up happening, just to keep us excited check out The Beard’s Top 10 plays wearing the Rockets jersey:
Windhorst explained that for now this is all trade speculation, even though Harden’s agents are holding conversations with the Texan franchise. In the past, the NBA insider has proven to be right as he was the first to hint at the veteran star’s trade to the Nets.
The Toronto Raptors are currently one of five teams this offseason that is searching for their new head coach. Toronto’s front office is in to rush to find their next head coach. They’ve interviewed “far and wide”, with one interesting candidate landing another chance to be an NBA head coach. He last coached the Brooklyn Nets to start the 2022-23 season but was fired after seven games.
Nash was the head coach of the Nets for three seasons and finished with a 94-67 record in the regular season. He was 7-13 in the postseason with Brooklyn. As a former MVP PG, Nash knows the x’s and o’s of coaching. In his time with the Nets, he dealt with a number of ongoing issues on and off the court with his players.
He had lost the locker room and was fired less than 10 games into the season. Now, Nash is getting a shot at being a head coach once again. The 49-year-old reportedly “impressed” the Raprtors in his formal interview.
Steve Nash has interviewed to be the next head coach of the Toronto Raptors
Reports say that the Raports were impressed with Nash’s preparation, along with his desire to get back on the court as a head coach. Nash is an NBA Hall of Famer and is well respected in Canada. He played for the Men’s National team back in his playing days.
However, his inexperience as a head coach was evident in his time with the Nets and that may hurt his chances with Toronto. The inexperience was most glaring in the postseason. He failed to make the adjustments needed to elevate the team.
The Raptors still have a lot of off-season matters they need to take care of besides finding a head coach. Fred VanVleet is eligible as a free agent this offseason and trade speculation looms around O.G. Anunoby. Brooklyn’s former head coach is on a long list of coaching candidates for the Raptors, but they could decide he’s the man for the job.
Nikola Jokic has not only defeated former MVPs like Kevin Durant’s Phoenix Suns or more recently LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers in the West’s postseason, he’s currently displaying one of the strongest playoff performances in league history. The Serbian star just picked up his eighth postseason triple-double this week, and just guided the Nuggets to their first ever NBA Finals.
Nevertheless, Denver‘s center maintains his modesty even while everyone is showering him with praise and glory. Although most fans and analysts believe now more than ever that the two-time MVP deserved to earn this honor for a third time in a row this campaign, Jokic claimed that Joel Embiid is worthy of the award.
Take a look at the big man’s comments on why he believes the Sixers star deserves this recognition:
“People are just mean in saying that Embiid shouldn’t have won it. … I think he was playing … extremely, extremely tough basketball through the whole season.”
“I don’t think about MVPs anymore,” Jokic explained. “I mean, I think it’s — people are just mean in saying that Embiid shouldn’t have won it. I think he should have won it. I think he was playing, if you watch it, extremely, extremely tough basketball through whole season … He was really amazing in 82 games or how many games he played.”
After being the frontrunner for the Kia MVP race during most of the season, once the Nuggets had assured their claim for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the team relaxed and in a way took their foot off the gas pedal.
So while Denver lost 1o out of their last 18 matches of regular season, Embiid was growing in confidence and playing some of the best basketball of his career. The 76ers were slowly crawling to the top spots of the Eastern Conference and in the final week of the campaign, beat the Celtics with a powerful 52-point exhibition from the Sixers center.
Coach Michael Malone believes that the negativity around the MVP race affected Jokic
Throughout the Serbian’s career he’s always been hesitant to talk about individual awards, but this year in particular he seemed more ambivalent than usual.
His coach Michael Malone suspects that all the pressure around the MVP race finally took a toll on the Nuggets’ big man. “You know, this is the first year where I think — I don’t know this for a fact,” he said.
“He never told me this. But in my opinion, I think the negativity around the MVP race I think did get to him. I can’t blame him. The guy goes out there and does his job every night and he is being criticized,” Malone expressed.
Either way, after beating the Lakers in Game 4, the star center just recieved the 2023 Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP award:
The fact that Jokic had a limited postseason resume was one of the main points that critics blamed him for. Now that Denver are on their way to their franchise’s first NBA Finals, the big man is relieved of all the pressure that has been mounted on his back ever since he started thriving in the NBA.
About Embiid’s MVP award, Jokic is realistic. The accolade goes to the player who played best during the first 82 contests of the campaign, and he is the first to acknowledge his opponent’s worthy regular season.
Miami Heat forward Kevin Love (lower left leg strain) was downgraded to questionable on Monday, and now the 15-year veteran has been upgraded to probable for Tuesday night’s Game 4 matchup against the Boston Celtics of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals.
Love exited Game 3 with 7:13 remaining in the first quarter after he suffered an ankle injury. After a trip to the locker room, he returned to the bench area later before halftime. Though, Love was sidelined for the rest of the game.
Per a few NBA betting sites, Kevin Love and the Heat have second-shortest odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are still giving the Denver Nuggets the best odds to win their first title in franchise history.
Through 14 appearances of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Kevin Love is averaging 7.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 18.8 minutes per game. The five-time All-Star is also shooting 37.8% from the field and 36.5% beyond the arc.
Love has made 12 starts this postseason. In Miami’s 130-117 first-round win in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks, the two-time All-NBA member scored 18 points in 23 minutes off the bench.
The 6-foot-8 forward made the NBA Finals every year his team has qualified for the playoffs. Other players listed on Miami’s injury report include Tyler Herro (hand) and Victor Oladipo (knee). Herro remains out indefinitely, whereas Oladipo is out for the season.
Heat forward Kevin Love (lower left leg strain) has been upgraded to probable for Tuesday night’s Game 4 matchup against Celtics of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals
Entering Game 4 of the ECF, the Boston Celtics are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games. The point total has gone over in 11 of Boston’s past 14 contests. Additionally, the C’s are 0-5 ATS and 0-5 overall in their previous five matchups versus Miami.
Moreover, the Celtics have covered the spread in their past six games when playing as the underdog. But Boston is also 1-4 in its last five contests played on a Tuesday. At the moment, the Miami Heat have a 3-0 series lead over Boston. Of course, Kevin Love is one win away from making his fifth NBA Finals appearance.
Furthermore, the Miami Heat are 6-1 in their previous seven games. They’ve also won their last seven straight home games. The Heat could become the second team this postseason to sweep their conference finals opponent, joining the Nuggets. Not to mention, Miami is 10-2 in its past 12 meetings versus Eastern Conference opponents.
According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Celtics have a 66.1% chance of defeating Miami away in Game 4. However, sportsbooks show the Heat as a 1.5-point favorite. Not one NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit in a seven-game series to win it. Teams are 0-149 when facing a 3-0 series deficit.