JJ Redick on Dillon Brooks signing with the Rockets

Plus: the Suns have been savvy with their FA moves

Welcome to another issue of A Farewell to Takes, our quick trip around the NBA. We took a little hiatus from the newsletter, but we are back with some thoughts around free agency. If you want even more free agency talk, today’s episode of The Old Man and Three Things is all about it. I even did a whole free agency special with DraftKings Sportsbook yesterday. Lots to dig into.

ICYMI: we had some great guests on the show these past few weeks, including the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama; 2-time NBA champ KCP; and projected top pick in next year’s Draft, Matas Buzelis.

And now, what to expect in this week’s A Farewell to Takes:

  • Our Stat of the Week

  • Tommy on the Suns’ free agency masterclass

  • The Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week (in Paris)

  • Our Wine of the Week

Thanks, as always, for reading! —JJ

Stat of the Week: 1,048

Dillon Brooks agreed to a 4-year, $80 million contract with the Houston Rockets over the weekend just a couple months after “poking the bear” and being meme-ified into a non-NBA player. Social media can get caught up in narratives sometimes, and we forget that certain players actually have a lot of value. Brooks, in particular, is a very good individual defender. This past regular season, Brooks guarded 2023 All-Stars on 1,048 half court possessions (5th most in the NBA). On those possessions, 2023 All-Stars had an effective field goal percentage of just 46% — the LOWEST eFG% for all 97 players who defended 100 or more shots against 2023 All-Stars. I gave Brooks some consideration for my All-Defensive teams this past season. He clearly is more than just a trash talking pest or nuisance; he’s capable of being an all-league defender. —JJ

What does Portland owe Dame and should they honor where he wants to go?

In our free agency special with DraftKings Sportsbook, JJ reacted to Dame Lillard requesting to be traded out of Portland to Miami or Philly.

We had two great guests on last week’s episode of The Old Man and the Three: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and projected top 5 draft pick Matas Buzelis. Topics include: KCP on the the differences between this championship and the 2020 NBA Bubble championship, the similarities between Nikola Jokić and LeBron James, why Matas decided to skip college and play for the G League Ignite, his relationship with Scoot Henderson, and why he loved watching JR Smith growing up.

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On the Suns’ free agency masterclass

If we fast-forward to next May, the Suns will almost certainly be playing, and it's not exactly a surprise why. Any team with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and DeAndre Ayton is going to be in every pre-season championship contender conversation. But as we talked about frequently post KD trade last February, the Suns depth was a concern after the trade, and it became a bigger concern when Kevin got hurt. While it wasn't the only reason Phoenix got their doors blown off at home in the playoffs for the 2nd straight year, it was a large factor.

With limited resources, James Jones and the Phoenix front office has addressed this concern in a big way. Everybody knows the potential impact of a 30 PPG scorer like Beal, the potential upside there is incredible. But in the last few days they've reshaped the back of the roster with savvy moves that deserve more credit.

  • Keita Bates-Diop, a 6'8 wing with a 7'3 wingspan, guards multiple positions, shot 39% from 3 (42% on above the break 3's) last year, on 2-year, $5 million deal could be the steal of the offseason for any team.

  • Yuta Watanabe, who seemingly has never missed a corner 3 while playing with KD in Brooklyn, shot 44% from 3 on the year last year, 51.4% on corner threes, and has the size and versatility to both hang in defensively and get his shot off against everybody.

  • Drew Eubanks, who had 88 at-the-rim blocks last year, which, as Ethan Fuller pointed out, would be good for 6th in the league. He's also an effective short term roller, as Kellan Olson pointed out, and an efficient scorer, shooting 75% at the rim and 54% in the short midrange.

  • And of course, Eric Gordon. The wiley vet, whose best shot at a ring was those Harden-Rockets teams, should be an immediate impact fit as either the Suns fifth guy or first off the bench. In Gordon's 15-year career he has shot 37% from 3 and averaged 16 PPG and adding his potential firepower to a lineup like this feels borderline unfair.

At the end of the day, the Suns only need one or two of these guys to hit to really have a chance, as we know what we're gonna get with the big 4. And if all four do, look out. —Tommy

Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week: Sandwich at Chez Alain Miam Miam

I've been in Paris for the last few days, and while there may not be a better food city in the world, I thought it was important to note Miam Miam, a small, make-your-own-sandwich takeout place in the Marais. The ingredients are pretty similar to any other sandwich shop except they use the best bread, meats, and cheeses you will ever have. You won't spend more than 10 euros here, and you won't need to eat for the rest of the day. Trust me, just go. —Tommy

Chez Alain Miam Miam | Instagram | 26 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, France

Wine of the Week: 2015 Soldera Case Basse

I just got back from an incredible golf trip to Bandon Dunes Resort on the coast of Oregon. It was truly a life changing experience. The views, vibes, and golf were all world-class. I traveled with my own wine on the trip and while I brought a bunch of good stuff, my favorite wine of the trip was a 2015 Soldera Case Basse. This is as good as Sangiovese gets! And yes, it’s a splurge/special occasion wine. When in Rome. Or in this case, when in Bandon. —JJ

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