ESPN’s Zach Lowe (and host of The Lowe Post podcast) joins Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck and Jordan Brenner to recap the first-ever NBA Awards Show and preview free agency. Lowe talks about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ options this offseason, the futures of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, as well as how teams are approaching this summer with the Golden State Warriors in mind.
Afterward, Beck and Brenner hit the red carpet to talk dunking on everyone with Vince Carter, running for president with Charles Barkley and MVP vs. Player of the Year with ESPN’s Rachel Nicholls.
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On the first-ever NBA awards show
I thought it was good. It was well-produced, it was fast, and there were a lot of big-name players there. The speeches were good, Russell Westbrook got pretty real with us, Bill Russell saying “I’ll kick your ass” to all the great centers was awesome. … They just need to have more players there.
On changing anything?
If anything I wonder if they could cut some stuff because I wanted the video of Bill Russell to be longer. … Give me an eight-minute mini-documentary about Bill Russell …”
On viewing free agency/summer transactions through a Warriors prism
I think there’s definitely some real Warriors chilling effect going on. I think you’ve seen it with Boston kind of trying to bank all of its assets instead of cashing in, and I think you’ll see some other teams maybe not do all-in stuff that they would do.
… I think it’s a real thing. I think there are some deals that—like, Kevin Love should maybe have more trade value than he has. Kevin Love’s really good, and they’re not finding great deals for him. So I think it’s a real thing to some degree.
On teams that could make 1 move and present a realistic challenge to Warriors
I think Cleveland is really good already; I think they have to be very careful about trading Kevin Love. If you get Paul George, you get Paul George—you should do that. But Cleveland is already really good and if they can find one move … if LeBron’s healthy and the team is healthy, they can challenge the Warriors …
... I don’t know that there’s anyone in the Western Conference. I don’t have faith in the Clippers to do it this summer, and they obviously have a ton of questions.
On Spurs potentially adding Chris Paul to compete with Golden State
If you’re subtracting Danny Green or LaMarcus Aldridge, I don’t think so. … Chris Paul plus Kawhi Leonard plus whatever’s left over plus a mid-level free agent, I’m not sure they’re any better or any closer to the Warriors than the current team is.
On players most likely to move this summer (list provided by Beck, insta-ranked by Lowe)
10. Kristaps Porzingis
9. LaMarcus Aldridge
8. Kyle Lowry
7/6 (tie). Chris Paul, Blake Griffin
5. Gordon Hayward
4. Kevin Love
3. Paul Millsap
2. Carmelo Anthony
1. Paul George