The Freezing Cold Take Report

Welcome to the first Outkick Cold Take Report. To steal a phrase from Clay, I hate to brag, but I am the premier Cold Take Dude in this great country (I am not sure any other Cold Take Dudes exist, so I win by default). Every Wednesday, I will post this comprehensive guide highlighting some of the notable unprophetic and wrong predictions, and other observations that are relevant to the previous week’s news.  Let’s begin.

NBA

Ditching Isaiah

On Thursday, the Cavaliers traded almost half their players, including guard Isaiah Thomas, whose short tenure in Cleveland was a failure. After missing the first two and a half months of the season with a hip injury, Thomas only suited up for the Cavs only 15 times and the team struggled to a 7-8 record during those games.

Cleveland’s decision to unload Thomas was, for most, a confirmation that the Celtics “won” its blockbuster trade with Cleveland this past offseason, in which the Cavs acquired Thomas in exchange for Kyrie Irving (and others). The August trade took the NBA community and media by storm, and triggered a bevy of takes, quotes, and comments which continued up until Thursday’s trade. Below is one long paragraph which rehashes, in chronological order, some notable quotes.

Even before the trade, in July, Bartsool Sports’ Celtics blogger Dan Greenberg, who spent the entire summer arguing that Kyrie was not worth acquiring for Isaiah, made it clear in a tweet directly to Thomas that he “does not want to trade [him] for for Kyrie.” The tweet included a fist bump emoji. Around that same time, Boston TV and radio host Michael Holley passionately argued that Thomas is a better player than Irving. At the end of August, right after the trade was announced, TNT’s Kenny Smith said the it put “Cleveland in a better place.” Soon thereafter, Fox Sports 1’s Jason Whitlock opined that the Cavs were a bigger threat to the Warriors because LeBron can rest on defense. During that same time, The Big Lead’s Ryan Phillips wrote that Cleveland won the trade, and it wasn’t close.  In mid-October, after the Cavs beat the Celtics on opening night, Colin Cowherd said on his radio show that the new look Cavs, who also added Jae Crowder, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose (among others) in the offseason, were deeper and better than last year’s team. After Isaiah’s January 2 Cavs debut, where he scored 17 points in a win over Portland, Skip Bayless declared that the “Cavs are now IT’s team.” A few days later, the Cavs were 2-0 since Isaiah’s return, and LeBron sent a tweet  pushing for people to vote for Thomas, his “lil Pit Bull,” for the All-Star Game.  By mid-January, while Cleveland was on a four-game losing streak, Isaiah announced that he looked forward to going back to Boston on February 11 when the Cavs were in town. By February 6, Cleveland had lost 9 out of its previous 13 games. In response. on ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith said that he “sincerely doubt[s]” Cleveland will make a big time move by the end of the trade deadline, and that he “has no doubt” that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert “wants LeBron gone.” Then, the next day Stephen A. suggested that Cleveland might tank in the playoffs to avoid facing Kyrie and Boston.  Last Wednesday, the Cavs tweeted out a Happy Birthday wish to Isaiah.  On Thursday, they traded him to the Lakers.

Best of the Rest

By the end of the day Thursday, the Cavs had traded six players. In return they acquired Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., George Hill, and Rodney Hood.  One of the players the Cavs unloaded was former MVP guard Derrick Rose, whom Cleveland traded to Utah as part of a three-team deal with the Jazz.  The Jazz subsequently released Rose on Saturday.  Rose, who Ric Bucher once preferred over LeBron James, is now an unrestricted free agent. Last January, for some reason, Rose was reportedly seeking a 5-year $150 million-dollar deal at the end of the 2016-17 season.  He will likely seek less money this time around, if he even wants to continue playing.

During the first quarter of the Cavs’ blowout win over the Celtics Sunday, LeBron graciously lent a hand to help up former teammate Kyrie Irving, who had slipped and fell during a fast break.  To most people, it was an innocuous act of kindness.  But to obsessive LeBron critic and troller Skip Bayless, it was akin to a crime.  Bayless sent a tweet expressing his disappointment in LeBron for his gesture, and asserted that “Michael Jordan never helped up any opponent.” Skeptical, yours truly hit the archives and quickly found a clip of Jordan helping up Knicks guard John Starks after a hard foul during the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals.  For good measure, a Twitter follower then sent me a clip from a 1988 Bulls/Trailblazers game where Jordan, after another hard foul, helped up Blazer legend Clyde Drexler.  I’d be willing to bet there are more of these clips out there.

On Thursday at 5:33pmET the Atlanta Hawks announced that they acquired guard Sheldon Mac from the Wizards.  On Thursday at 6:23pm ET the Atlanta Hawks announced that they waived guard Sheldon Mac.  Sixers backup guard TJ McConnell logged a triple double Monday night in Philly’s 108-92 win over the Knicks. To this point, McConnell has had a nice NBA career. This is despite the fact that a few years ago, ESPN’s Amin Elhassan inferred that McConnell wasn’t an NBA player and that this past October, Rob Perez (aka @World_Wide_Wob) called him a “YMCA All-Star.” After a win over the Hawks Tuesday night, the Bucks, who according to Rasheed Wallace “deflated all of the air out of the balloon,” when they fired head coach Jason Kidd, are now 9-2 under interim head coach Joe Prunty. In March 2016, Magic Johnson tweeted this:

Since Magic became the Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations in February 2017, the Lakers have traded both DeAngelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.

VAULT IT- On Thursday, Fox Sports 1’s Chris Broussard confidently declared the new look Cavs “the clear favorite in the Eastern Conference. Friday morning, Bill Simmons torched the Cavs for their trade deadline moves in a six-tweet rant that included some strong criticism toward Cleveland’s GM Koby Altman. The rant starts with this tweet:

Monday, a day after the Cavs destroyed the Celtics in their first game since Thursday’s trade deadline frenzy, Colin Cowherd proclaimed that “Cleveland has separated from Boston and closed the gap on Golden State.” ESPN analyst and former Celtics legend Paul Pierce said it’s not too soon to declare the Cavs the favorites in the East. Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Mannix is also on board with Cleveland.  CBS Sports’ Adam Schein declared the Cavs “back” and assured that Sunday’s win over Boston was “not a fluke.” Tuesday night, after the Cavs beat the Thunder in OKC to win its second straight since Thursday’s trades, Stephen A. Smith tweeted that the “East is Over!”

NFL

Kelce’s Got Receipts

Eagles Center Jason Kelce stole the show during the Eagles Super Bowl parade and celebration on Thursday in Philadelphia.  During an epic speech delivered from the steps of Philadelphia’s famed Art Museum, Kelce brought back some Cold Takes about Eagles coach Doug Pederson. His main target:  former NFL general manager, now NFL analyst for The Ringer, Mike Lombardi. Kelce said:

“When Doug Pederson was hired, he was rated as the worst coaching hire by a lot of freaking analysts out there in the media.  This past offseason, some clown, named Mike Lombardi, told him that he was the least qualified head coach in the NFL!”

In his first jab, Kelce was likely referring to this ESPN.com article from January 2016, which ranked Pederson last among the coaching hires that offseason.  Ranked above Doug: Hue Jackson, Chip Kelly, Adam Gase, Dirk Koetter, and Ben McAdoo.

As for Lombardi, he was Pederson’s biggest critic.  In a now infamous September video clip,  Lombardi advised the Eagles “the sooner you admit your mistake, the better off you’ll be.” The “mistake” to which he referred, was hiring Doug Pederson before the 2016 season. Lombardi explained:

“Everyone knows Peterson isn’t a head coach. He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve seen in my 30 plus years in the NFL…When will the eagles admit their mistake? Will they throw away 2017 by stubbornly sticking to the Pederson principle?”

Soon thereafter, when confronted by Philadelphia media about his criticism, Lombardi said “I think I know what a good coach looks like.” Lombardi has since owned his comments, and admitted he was wrong.

Best of the Rest

At 8:32PM ET on Monday night, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora tweeted that he was told that the “Colts will hire Chargers QB coach Shane Steichen as their next offensive coordinator.”  Around 9:52PM ET, NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport reported that the Colts were hiring Chargers WR coach Nick Sirianni as their offensive coordinator.

VAULT IT: During the Eagles Super Bowl Parade in Philadelphia Thursday, tight end Zach Ertz tweeted “this won’t be the last time we party on broad street.” The Indianapolis Star’s Gregg Doyel “absolutely love[s]” the Colts new head coach hire, Frank Reich.  During Monday’s episode of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, co-host Peter Schrager proclaimed that he thinks Kirk Cousins will be better than Jimmy Garoppolo.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

About three weeks ago, St. John’s was 0-9 in the Big East, with a brutal five-game stretch upcoming, Asbury Park (NJ) Press reporter Josh Newman tweeted that “things can get worse.” The Red Storm ended up winning three of those five games, including improbable wins over Duke and Villanova. Check out this horrible call, which was made AFTER replay, during Saturday’s game between Dayton and VCU:

North Carolina topped Duke 82-78 in Chapel Hill Thursday in the latest installment of the storied rivalry. The Tar Heels have won two of their last four games against the Blue Devils.  That is two more wins than 247 Sports’ Duke fan site The Devil’s Den predicted:

On Saturday, Michigan State sophomore forward Miles Bridges hit a deep three pointer to lead the No. 4 Spartans to a 68-65 win over No. 3 Purdue in East Lansing.  Bridges, who according to ESPN’s Dan Dakich “has no game,” finished the game with 20 points on 9 of 14 shooting.  On Sunday, yours truly thought that Michigan giving only four points at Wisconsin was a “trap” bet and that Wisco +4 was the play. Michigan won 83-72.  I was also certain that Virginia would not be ranked No. 1 this week after losing at home to Virginia Tech Saturday.  Sure enough, UVA is ranked No. 1 in the newest AP Poll.  Northwestern, one of Clark Kellogg’s preseason Final Four selections, lost to Rutgers Tuesday night.  The Wildcats are now 6-8 in the Big 10.

VAULT IT: On Saturday, former Michigan and Purdue guard Spike Albrecht tweeted that “Virginia will get bounced early in the NCAA Tourney. Guaranteed.”  Also on Saturday, ESPN’s College Gameday, commentator Jay Williams made a dramatic proclamation that he’s picking UVA to “win it all.”

OTHER SPORTS

With Tottenham Hotspur down 2-1 late in the first leg of its European Champions League knockout matchup at Juventus, soccer blogger Henry Harris tweeted “it’s 2008 and people still think [Tottenham midfielder] Christian Eriksen is good at free kicks.” Approximately one minute later, Eriksen scored the equalizer on a free kick. The match ended at 2-2.

During the 3rd period of Tuesday night’s Blues/Predators game in Nashville, SB Nation’s Blues Fan Blog St Louis Game Time tweeted that “the crowd singing the goalie’s name down 3-1 seems more ironic than anything.” Nashville came back and won 4-3 in overtime. An NHL Eastern Conference standings update:  The Capitals, who Montreal defenseman Karl Alzner said back in July would be “a step below the Canadiens” this season, are currently 20 points ahead of Montreal in the standings.

VAULT IT: Tuesday morning on Barstool Sports’ Barstool Breakfast, New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway declared that the Mets are “going to have one of the best starting staffs in all of baseball” and that he’s “never seen talent like this in one spot.” Tuesday, on his MLB Network show High Heat, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo said that “there is no way you can’t think that the Yankees are the team to beat in the American League.” In response to people thinking that the Marlins will lose 95-100 games this season, Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said  “good. Let them doubt us.”

TAKE-AVERSARIES

  • On February 11, 1990, 42-1 underdog James “Buster” Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson in the tenth round of a heavyweight championship fight in Tokyo.  It is considered by many to be one of the biggest upsets in sports history.  Prior to the fight, an Atlanta-Journal Constitution article contained a quote from HBO Sports executive producer Ross Greenburg: “We’re traveling 12 hours for an event that possibly could last only 90 seconds.” Also, from Newsday’s fight preview: “Most boxing people agree that it should be a short fight, but with Douglas being vanquished with the dispatch of a villain in a Bruce Lee movie.”
  • On February 11, 1992, the Green Bay Packers traded a first-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for backup quarterback Brett Favre.  June Jones, then Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, said (via USA TODAY) “we would have liked to keep Brett, but we want to get to the Super Bowl as fast as we can.”
  • On February 11, 2016, this tweet was published:

  • On February 12, 2015, ESPN’s Dick Vitale tweeted that newly hired Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl “finally will give HOPE to Kings fans” and that “he is a WINNER.”
  • On February 12, 2015, pitcher James Shields, who just signed a four-year deal with the San Diego Padres, said that his biggest reason for choosing to sign with San Diego over the Chicago Cubs was “winning.” In 2015, the Padres finished under .500 while the Cubs made the playoffs and won the World Series the following season. After a disappointing tenure in San Diego, Shields was traded to the White Sox in June 2016.

KUDOS

  • Kudos to ESPN analytics writer Seth Walder. He must have taken a ton of heat for this article where he predicted that the Oklahoma Sooners basketball team, which was 14-2 at the time, and ranked No. 4, was a “one man team” led by freshman sensation Trae Young, and that its “slide back to reality is coming.”  Since that article, the Sooners have lost seven of their last nine games.
  • Kudos to ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell for correctly predicting the winner of Tuesday’s Westminster Dog Show:

Just as Darren thought, out of the 3,000 dogs that participated in the show, Flynn took the prize.  If you think Rovell’s prediction was a result of blind luck, guess again. Check out the research book Darren used to prepare to make his final selection.

That’s all for this week.

Fred Segal is an attorney from West Palm Beach, FL. He operates the popular Freezing Cold Takes twitter account (@OldTakesExposed) which highlights, among other things, hilarious unprophetic and inaccurate takes and predictions. He also hosts a podcast, “Freezing Cold Take Spotlights with Fred Segal,” which you can find on iTunes 

Written by Fred Segal