DA's Morning Tip

Morning Tip Mailbag: Your questions on DeMarcus Cousins, the Utah Jazz and more

Morning Tip Mailbag: Your questions on DeMarcus Cousins, the Utah Jazz and more.

David Aldridge

Get Down, Boogie Oogie Oogie, Get Down. From Jordan Taff:

What are the chances Boogie signs somewhere on a 1 yr deal to prove himself? My guess is it would be around 20-25 mil and to a team that could afford to do so. I’m a Bulls fan and feel like they could offer him that given that they need a big but want to maintain financial flexibility for 2019.

I think a short deal is possible, but again: there just aren’t that many teams who have the means or the interest in doing so. Dallas could; the Mavs have long been rumored to have strong interest in Cousins, and their roster and style of play are fits for him. The Bulls have the room but I don’t hear anything indicating they have interest. Robin Lopez has a year left on his deal and I think Chicago is happy with him; the Bulls want to play fast going forward, and that’s not Cousins’ strength. Miami wants to move Hassan Whiteside, but I can’t see New Orleans being interested in a sign-and-trade deal for him involving Cousins.

Down in Utah/The guys and I dig a city called Salt Lake/It’s got the grooviest kids/That’s why we never get tired of Salt Lake. From Landon Leetzow:

Who do you think is a fit for the Jazz in the off season? Obviously Paul George but is he actually smart enough to pick a franchise that will be a contender in the West or does he only care about the glitz and glamour of LA?

Well, Cali is home for PG13, so it’s not so much — or, maybe, not just about — glitz and glamour. But I don’t think Utah is going to make his cut. Could be wrong. The good news for you and other Jazz fans is that Utah doesn’t need to get a “name” free agent this summer, IMHO; it already has Donovan Mitchell, whose ascension to superstar in one year changes everything for the franchise. If the Jazz braintrust remains convinced that Dante Exum can be a legit starting point guard down the road, I’d say Utah’s main need is frontcourt depth; Derrick Favors is unrestricted this summer and will get some strong interest. The Jazz would need to replace him with quality if it can’t re-sign him. A guy like Boston’s Aron Baynes, unrestricted as well this summer, would be a nice plug-and-play option that Utah could probably put off the Celtics’ re-sign range with a strong push.

Like Clarence Clemons, these Big Men could jam in any era. From Tommaso Atzeni:

I grew up watching NBA basketball from the late 80s and in particular during the 90s, the era of the “traditional” big men (Robinson, Ewing, Shaq, Hakeem, Zo, just to name a few). Now this type of player is an endangered species, with only few left (Drummond, Howard) while others that were born for that style of play have added the 3point shooting in order to adapt to the new NBA (Marc Gasol, Cousins…).

So I wonder: how would today’s new type bigs (KAT, AD for example) would have fared in the 90s basketball? On the other hand, would Shaq, the Admiral, the Dream have made the difference in today’s basketball?

But most of all: are there no more dominant traditional big men in the NBA because of the emphasis on running and shooting in today’s league, or has today’s league shifted to running and shooting because there are no more dominant traditional big men?

Great chicken and egg questions, Tommaso. But, as with all variations on this type of question that I receive about different eras, the answer is all about what rules you’re playing under. The NBA of the ‘80s and ‘90s emphasized low-post scoring and big-man play because the rules of the time gave big men primacy over guards. You could hand check then. You could bump and hold cutters who came through the lane. The game was so much more physical then, you had to have a great center or power forward who could handle the pounding and still produce, because it was so relatively hard for guards to control games. That’s why what Isiah Thomas did, at his size, in leading the Pistons to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990 was so remarkable. So, a talented big like AD or KAT would have thrived in those days. There would have been less interest in their developing 3-point range because the three wasn’t emphasized back then. But their combinations of quickness and skill would have translated, I think; guys like KG and David Robinson who had similar body types and games did great. As for your other question, I think the primacy of the 3-pointer today, combined with the rules changes in the NBA over the last 15 years, has completely changed everything about the job description of everyone playing on a pro court. To me there’s no question that the emphasis on running and shooting has made the “traditional” big man of yesteryear a dinosaur. I always say, though, that somewhere out there, the next Shaq is eating and lifting and growing, and that at some point the pendulum will swing back toward that end because of that fact.

I asked for Moonlighting questions, because … I loved Moonlighting. You delivered. From Joe Morris:

In the Moonlighting episode “It’s a Wonderful Job” (a play on the It’s a Wonderful Life trope), Ms DiPesto finds success as a greeting card tycoon (though not a very kind one) in an alternate timeline.

In your alternate timeline, what career do you think your skills would lead you to?

Let me go on the record as saying I hated that episode, painting Agnes in such a horrible (if imaginary) light. But if I turned right instead of left and entered some sort of time portal/wormhole, I’d be a moderately popular high school history teacher, the guy that kids thought was cool and could always be counted on to volunteer for fundraisers and other projects by the faculty. Like a black Mr. Belding.

Send your questions, comments and pickup lines for that cute new premed major who just transferred in to daldridgetnt@gmail.com. If your e-mail is funny, thought-provoking or snarky, we just might publish it!


(Last week’s averages in parenthesis)

1) James Harden (27 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.7 apg, .366 FG, .957 FT): He can shut everyone up starting at 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Central.

2) LeBron James (37.8 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 6.5 apg, .495 FG, .692 FT): Played 94:06 of the possible 96 minutes available for Cleveland in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. At age 33. After playing all 82 regular season games, and leading the league in minutes played (36.9 per game). In his 15th NBA season. And in beating Boston Sunday in Game 7, he made an eighth straight Finals appearance, which only five other men who’ve ever played the game have done — none since 1966, when Bill Russell’s Celtics played in their 10th straight Finals.

3) Anthony Davis: Season complete.

4) Kevin Durant (26.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, .365 FG, .875 FT): The Rockets have stymied what looked like an unbreakable flow from Durant in the first two rounds against the Spurs and Pelicans.

5) Russell Westbrook: Season complete.


1 — Number of times this season the Celtics had scored fewer than 80 points in a game — last April 4, when Boston put up just 78 points in a 96-78 loss to Toronto. But in Boston’s final game of the season, it managed just 79 points in 48 minutes against Cleveland in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday.

$100,000 — Money raised by the Rockets for the Santa Fe High School Memorial Fund by selling 10,000 tickets to a watch party at Toyota Center for Game 6 of the West finals Saturday.

46 — Days since the Orlando Magic fired Frank Vogel, who was dismissed on April 12, the day after Orlando finished its season at 25-57. The Magic have interviewed several coaching candidates, most recently former Hornets coach Steve Clifford.


1) A blessed Memorial Day to all. May we never forget those who served to protect us all and who made the ultimate sacrifice — and those who served, and who have returned home. May they find peace and know how much we thank you for what you’ve done for us.

2) We’ve all been waiting eight months for Warriors-Rockets, Game 7, to decide the West for this season. And, tonight, we get it.

3) Dwane Casey would make all kinds of sense for the Pistons, given his recent history being directly involved in the patient, gradual building of the Raptors into a legit contender. It’s going to take Detroit a while to get out of the hole the franchise is currently in. But one wonders if Casey wants to put himself through that kind of painstaking project when he’s more than established himself as a coach worthy of taking over an already good team and trying to make it great.

4) HINKIE!!!!!!

5) Good luck with the comeback, STAT. Any time I can break out what may be my all-time favorite NBA dunk in tribute is a good day.

6) What I know about hockey can fit in a thimble. But I’m so happy for Alex Ovechkin, who will finally get to play in Stanley Cup finals tonight with the Washington Capitals, after he waited more than a decade to get there for the first time and the franchise waited more than 20 years to get back after its lone appearance in 1998.


1) Hate this for Chris Paul. Hate it. He was playing with so much heart and was on the verge of taking the Dubs out of the playoffs. It just makes you sick to see him go down now.

2) A great, poignant and difficult read by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on the sudden death of Kirk Korver, the 27-year-old brother of Cavs guard Kyle Korver, last March.

3) We — and by “we,” I mean men — can be awfully creepy sometimes. I can’t imagine what a day in Danica Patrick’s life is like.


Just had a great conversation on the phone with Coach Fiz. Man im excited!!!!! Lets gooo!!!

— Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee), Thursday, 1:38 p.m., detailing his contact last week with new head coach David Fizdale.


“It probably killed him more than anything sitting over there with us. So, he’s just getting his taste of ‘I don’t think coaching is for me.’ He wants to be on the floor.”

— Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni, lamenting the state of his star guard Chris Paul, sidelined with a pulled hamstring, and sitting on the bench during Game 6 of the Western Conference finals Saturday against Golden State.

“Kyle Korver can block my shot 10 times and I’m still walking him down in the post and still using my advantage against him. I don’t care if he blocks it 15 times. I know in my mind he can’t guard me. Period.”

— Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, to the Boston Globe, on how he deals with getting a shot blocked, as Korver did to him during the East finals last week.

“I’m sure the same way everybody else here in this room feels: What the hell are you talking about? I think that was my reaction, as is everybody else’s reaction.”

— Kobe Bryant, asked by a high school student what his reaction was to Kanye West’s TMZ interview in which West said that the enslavement of Africans over centuries in the United States “sounds like a choice” made by the Africans.

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Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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