Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless tries to defend against against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City.

PBT Podcast: Talking Rudy Gay trade, angry Westbrook, Celtics without Rondo, and Lakers without Dwight

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In this edition of the podcast, Kurt Helin and I sit down to review the Thursday night TNT games. We discuss the Grizzlies without Rudy Gay, and whether or not the team has a chance to actually improve before the end of the season once Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis get acclimated to life in Memphis.

We also discuss Russell Westbrook’s very visible frustration during what was an easy win for his team, and after witnessing the uncomfortable interview he had with Craig Sager postgame, we wonder if he owes the media an explanation when he lets his emotions get the best of him.

We then review the Warriors’ win over the Mavericks, and discuss the officiating that Dallas has been on the wrong side of for two straight games.

After that, we look at the Celtics without Rajon Rondo, and what that might mean in terms of a trade before the deadline involving the likes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. And finally, we look at the Lakers without Dwight Howard, and wonder how far out of the playoff picture the team needs to fall before this season is officially a lost cause.

Click the link below to listen in your browser, or right-click to download to listen at your convenience.

PBT Podcast 2-1-13

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.