Even Kevin Durant’s great request to be shipped out of Brooklyn failed to mediate the New York Knickerbockers, nor did it save the team suits from Stephen A. Smith’s wrath.
Smith’s ESPN (NBA Today) analysis of Durant’s movement on Thursday should have sucked all the oxygen out of his Rage Cage, but SAS, recovering from recent shoulder surgery, was still suffering from heat during a performance on 98.7’s “The Michael Kay.” Show.” Yes, this was SAS using the team’s flagship as a platform to verbally attack Knicks’ prez Leon Rose.
Now that’s chutzpa. Among other things, Smith questioned the circumstances surrounding the Jalen Brunson takeover (questioning whether Mavs boss Mark Cuban had any problems with it). Smith also said that Knick’s prez Leon Rose “hides like a thief, never seen by anyone.”
Near the end of an interview with Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg, which featured Durant and Kyrie Irving, Rosenberg asked Smith if he “felt right” about Brunson’s signing. Smith was quick to say “no,” but admitted Brunson would be a “good fit” for the Knicks. Then he dropped the hammer on Rose, a man he’s “knew for many years.”
“I cannot put into words how disappointed I am with the work he is doing at the moment,” said SAS. “You’re the president of basketball operations. You spoke to the media in September [then] no one will see you again until April. And if you do that interview, it was for Dolan’s internal media organization [MSG Network with Mike Breen conducting the session]† You don’t know what’s going on with Leon Rose… Who’s in charge? What is the direction?”
Smith said he would ask Rose about the circumstances surrounding the Brunson acquisition; as the deck was stacked in favor of the Knicks. SAS went to the tangled web theory and mentioned how Rose’s son, Sam, represents Jalen Brunson. Leon Rose represented Brunson when he was an agent. Brunson’s father Rick, a former Knick, was also recently added to Tom Thibodeau’s staff.
“Why Didn’t You Hire Him” [Rick Brunson] last season? Or two years ago? Why would you rent him a month before his son comes here?’ asked Smith. ‘Do you have any idea what that looks like? There’s a little family affair going on, but is it a good basketball decision? Because what we see is a bunch of guys taking care of each other.”
It is unlikely that Smith, or anyone else, will get his questions answered. Rose seems to prefer printed, number-painted missives, which don’t answer questions, like the one he issued after Knicks’ decision to collect draft picks rather than make a roster during the recent NBA Draft.
“…Leon Rose, the president of basketball operations, hiding like a thief, never seen by anyone, never around to answer questions. Never around to give us any responsibility over the New York Knicks,” SAS said. “That’s why I’m not so happy.”
Smith did have a solution for Rose, albeit an unlikely one.
“Talk to us. Tell us what you’re doing,” Smith said. “Get up and validate. Show us that you’re willing to be accountable. Because if you don’t, do you know who you are? James Dolan.”
Do we really need another one?
THE PROMO GAME
The Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network can lead the NBA in ditching promos designed to hype big, sure-fire rating magnets. First it was Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Now it will likely be Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving who will be sanitized from YES’ highlight ward. Which leads us to ask: how will YES promote the nets for 2022-23? “Meat or famine? Tune in to see who we’ve got in the big trade – just to YES?” And how will YES votes treat Irving (whether he leaves or stays)? Will they call him out for his laissez-faire attitude? Or give him a pass like they did for most of last season?
EVAN DUNKS IN TSAIA
WFAN’s Evan Roberts, on Nets’ flagship, blamed owner Joseph Tsai for Nets’ malfunctioning and the mess they’re in. Roberts (did you know he’s a Nets fan?) was emotional and may have gone a bit too far when he said, “The owner is broke.” Unless Roberts can prove it, that’s quite a strong accusation. Still, the rhythm continued. Roberts continued to hammer at Tsai, saying, “I would do anything to get Joe Tsai out of the basketball business.” Can we safely say that Roberts does not place much value on Mr. Tsai’s acclaimed business acumen?
SPOTLIGHT ON KEITH
For those enjoying SNY’s documentary, “He’s Keith Hernandez,” more original Mex content is on the horizon. SNY’s cameras will track Hernandez on July 9, the day his number 17 retires. The intention is to produce a half-hour show on what will be an emotional day for Hernandez, his family and the fans who have supported him over the years. And all those years were recorded with a lot of soul and emotion in “He’s Keith Hernandez.” The producers crammed a lot into 45 minutes. A highlight was a rare interview with 90-year-old former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, who claimed he didn’t want to trade Hernandez to the Mets. Hernandez has claimed that Herzog wanted him out of St. Looie. The doc gained credibility by reporting on the 1985 Pittsburgh Grand Jury investigation into cocaine use by major league players. Hernandez testified during that investigation.
AROUND THE DIAL
Tiki Barber flew solo on FAN last week. With plenty of time to fill, Barber covered some interesting areas, such as broadcasting. The former Giants running back had his share of ups and downs in the biz, but still felt the urge to share his views with listeners. About ESPN’s Troy Aikman/Joe Buck: “When I listen to Buck and Aikman, I get lost in their rhetoric.” About Tom Brady: “I’ll be surprised if Tom Brady is good at it” [the Fox NFL analyst gig]† To me, he’s not a talker.” On new YES voice Cameron Maybin: “He’s outspoken and doesn’t try to sound like an announcer.”…After Christopher (Mad Dog) Russo was previously beaten by JJ Redick on ESPN’s “First Take” “He ran into Anthony (Booger) McFarland, a very smooth operator. McFarland had clearly scouted Russo. “If you can’t win a fight, you try to switch to another. I know. I’ve been watching you. ” McFarland also chided Doggie for not doing his homework on whether Dak Prescott is in the upper echelon of the NFL quarterbacks. McFarland: “You’re in New York, maybe the internet isn’t working.” … Among YES’ New York Emmy Award nominations in the sports analyst category are Nets analysts Sarah Kustok, Frank Isola and reporter Michael Grady. If they win, will they tell Durant/Irving “because they’re so cooperative?”
DUDE OF THE WEEK: ADAM (PACMAN) JONES
He had a turbulent NFL career, with many problems off the field, but to watch Jones adopt late teammate Chris Henry’s two sons and Chris Henry Jr. on a university tour, underlining how people can change and adapt.
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: DRAYMOND GREEN
For relying on using expletives during his podcasts “The Draymond Green Show”. The content of Green’s opinion and insight is original enough. He doesn’t have to curse. Green recently directed a racist slur on ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins. He apologized. Has Green seen the light?
What Aaron Boone he said [Joey Gallo] always have to grind through it. It has certainly been a challenge.”
What Aaron Boone meant to say, “Joey is willing to try anything. Suggestions?”