While most of the NBA world is consumed by Kevin Durant’s trade request, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is keeping a watchful eye on the Utah Jazz. Windhorst might have more questions than answers, but his explanation was fascinating to watch.

With Stephen A. Smith off from First Take this week, it’s given others more room to speak, and that was never more evident than when Windhorst had his opportunity to shine Friday morning.

Around the same time that Durant’s trade request was reported, the Nets also completed a trade with the Utah Jazz, acquiring Royce O’Neale in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick. The deal was met with some confusion. Are the Jazz hinting at the start of a rebuild? And why would the Nets acquire a 29-year-old perimeter defender if they’re about to blow up their roster with a Durant trade?

In terms of a First Take topic during the heart of the NBA free agency, Royce O’Neale would never make it to the air with Stephen A. Smith running the show. But with Smith on vacation, Windhorst put his thinking cap on and explained every angle of the trade in detail for two minutes, captivating the audience in a manner I didn’t know he was capable of.

Did I just watch the greatest performance in the history of NBA free agency? The start of a one-man show on Broadway? Insight into what it would be like to have Windhorst read during story time at a local elementary school?

“So, you’re going, what do you care about Royce O’Neale? Why does that matter?” Windhorst asks, followed by a pause to increase the anticipation. “Why would the Jazz, who have two stars on their roster, take a player who’s one of their starters and best defensive players, and trade him in a salary dumping move? Why would they do that?”

First Take’s Freddie Coleman and Courtney Cronin were on the edge of their seats as Windhorst broke down the transaction by providing more questions than answers. But surely, Windhorst had a whopper of an explanation for what the heck is going on with the Nets and Jazz.

Despite keeping First Take and its audience eager with anticipation for more than two minutes, Windhorst’s investigative prowess may have left everyone even more confused than when he started. Entertaining? Yes. Informative? Eh. It took more than two minutes for Windhorst to offer the conclusion of, “I don’t know what they’re doing.”


So we still don’t know what’s going on with the future of the NBA rosters in Utah or Brooklyn. But one thing we do know is that Windhorst is on the case. Danny Ainge, Sean Marks, Kevin Durant, it doesn’t matter. No one is going to pull a fast one on Windy and NBA Twitter should be grateful.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com