The four head coaches of the College Football Playoff came blowing into the room like four men in a mighty big hurry, because they were, well, four men in a mighty big hurry. A few days earlier, three of them had won conference championships, and all four of them had celebrated their invitations to college football’s final four. The days between then and Dec. 7, barely an hour away from the start of the College Football Awards in Atlanta, had been spent jetting around the recruiting trail ahead of a new early signing period.
Nick Saban of Alabama, Kirby Smart of Georgia and Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma were corralled into a tiny conference room above the lobby of the College Football Hall of Fame and were told to relax and enjoy some finger foods before they were escorted downstairs to walk the red carpet. They smiled somewhat awkwardly, shook hands and commenced to fumbling around with sliders and shrimp on a stick in a little bit of silence.
How? With one quick question: “Lincoln Riley, congrats on a great year, man! Tell me, how’s my man Ruffin McNeill doing? I used to see him all the time on the road when I was recruiting back in the day. I’m still mad at you guys for stealing a couple from us down there in eastern North Carolina.”
The pick’s origin story traces to the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2012, the Lakers traded two future first-round picks and two future second-round picks to the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade for Steve Nash. L.A. paid Nash $27 million over three years for 65 games of work. Welp.
One of those future firsts that went to Phoenix was protected in the top five in 2015, protected in the top three in 2016 and 2017, and unprotected in 2018. As it turns out, the Lakers have been dreadful over the past four years. So the Lakers kept that pick in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
But the Suns didn’t wait on it to transfer. At the 2015 trade deadline, Phoenix sent the pick to the Sixers in a three-team trade to land Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Brandon Knight, who was months away from being a restricted free agent. The Suns signed Knight to a five-year, $70 million contract that summer. Knight’s in the third year of that deal. He started just five games Wholesale NFL Jerseys last year and hasn’t played a single second this season due to a torn ACL.