andrew-bynum
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Saturday , Jun , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Should Kobe and Lakers pray for work stoppage?

You're not going to run as fast. You're not going to jump as high. You have to pick your moments. The great example when he picked his moment was the playoff game when he went down the middle and dunked, the one he had agains New Orleans center Emeka Okafor] in Game 5 of the first-round series. That was checkmate. He's a warrior and understands the game. All players have injuries. It's part of it and how he can manage it. He's been doing a good job with that. Nobody is going to run and jump [like] when they were 18 or 19. It's impossible for people to think that. As long as he's enjoying the game and keeps the two seven-footers [Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum], I still think he has three, four or five more years to play at a high level.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: A work stoppage may be best for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Yes, I said it. Sure, a dispute over money between millionaire players and billion owners is disgusting. And sadly, the season may get cancelled.

A work stoppage would allow Kobe Bryant to get some much-needed rest. His arthritic knee needs time. Same will the bumps, bruises, tears, and strains he’s accumulated over his long and distinguished career.

A season off will let Bryant return as the game’s top player, a title he lost after his Lakers disappointing loss to the world champion Mavericks.  And those 'three, four, five years' of great play could become longer. 

There’s a parallel to Bryant’s situation down the road in Orange County, California.

In 2004, NHL star Teemu Selanne was considering ending his career due to a shattered knee. Selanne, who notched a remarkable 70 goals as a rookie, was coming off a 16 goal campaign with the Colorado Avalanche.

Like Bryant, his knee had robbed him of all explosiveness. The grind of being a pro athlete had taken its toll.

Then the NHL lockout hit. The 2004-05 season never happened. Rather than ply his trade in Europe, Selanne took a prolonged break.

He returned better than ever. Selanne has posted impressive scoring numbers ever since and notches clutch goals for the Anaheim Ducks. Most importantly, he won a Stanley Cup. All while pushing 40 years of age.

Perhaps a work stoppage would be best for the Lakers and Bryant.

--Oly Sandor.

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Be real – 2011 Kobe’s Lakers are in trouble even with Mike Brown.
Sunday , May , 29 , 2011 J.N.

Be real – 2011 Kobe’s Lakers are in trouble even with Mike Brown.

Laker haters unite! This is your time. Hate hate hate hate! Did anyone peep Sugar Shane Mosley’s wife during the Pacquiao fight? Johnny Gill’s song was all I heard in my mind “My My My You sure look good tonight.” She sure was. Her name is Bella Gonzalez. She was screaming passionately at Sugar Shane to fight. I know Laker fans were screaming at the Lakers to fight just like her. Oy dios mios! I still haven’t gotten over the sight of her. Wow!

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Sunday , May , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mavericks complete sweep, what’s next for Kobe, Pau, and Lakers?

Jason Terry (32 points) nails nine 3-pointers and his teammates add 11 more as the Mavericks advance to the conference finals with a 122-86 thumping of the Lakers.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Kings are dead. The Kings are dead. Fourth quarter cheap shots aside, they went out with a whimper. Not a bang.

The Dallas Mavericks blew out the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the Western Conference semi-finals, sweeping the two-time defending champions out of the playoffs.

And it wasn’t close. The Mavericks won by 36 points. Team Cuban has to be favoured to emerge from the west.

Back to the soap opera known as the Lakers. This is supposedly Phil Jackson’s final game on the sideline. The Zen-Master is done, and he’ll retreat to his ranch in Montana, cabin in Belize, house boat in Alaska, or some other remote location for 'introspection'.

What about Pau Gasol? The Spanish post has been taking criticism from fans, TMZ, and, worst of all, the infamous and notorious Snoop Dogg. Something has to give.

There are questions about Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, and the Lakers’ bench. Andrew Bynum may be dangled as trade bait to land a certain post from the Orlando Magic, who is set to be a free agent in 2012.

Either way, changes are coming. Only Kobe Bryant is safe.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Sunday , May , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Magic Johnson: Lakers must pick between Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol

"Dr. Buss has a lot of work to do," said Johnson. "He's probably going to have to blow this team up after the season if the Lakers lose this series because you have to come back with some fresh faces. You have to pick between the two big men with which one you keep and then you trade the other one."

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ah Magic, tell us how you really feel.

One of the greatest Los Angeles Lakers ever believes it’s time to dismantle the two-time defending champions. According to Mr. ‘No Look’, the outcome against the Dallas Mavericks doesn’t matter.
 
Johnson believes what was once the Lakers’ strength, their size, is now their weakness. And the twin towers of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol makes them vulnerable against athletic teams that run.
 
He may be right, too.
 
Johnson believes management must pick: Bynum or Gasol? Dealing one would allow the purple-and-gold to get back young, quick players.
 
Such a proposition is risky. For instance, what if the Lakers deal the wrong post?
 
Keeping Bynum would probably make the most sense because he’s younger and performed brilliantly down the stretch; however, he also has a history of injuries.
 
Hanging onto Gasol would seem problematic. His confidence is shot and he’s susceptible to mental breakdowns –like game three against the Mavericks when
 
Zen-Master Phil Jackson made like old school Bobby Knight and beat him.
 
But Gasol has a world class skill-set. When playing well, he’s easily one of the premier posts in the NBA. Those days, however, seem few and far between.
 
There are no easy answers in Laker-land. The former face of the franchise is right, though: something must change.
 
--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Apr , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Chris Paul gives Andrew Bynum the business

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Good defence. Better offense.

This is the only way to describe Chris Paul crossing-up Andrew Bynum and draining a fade-away jump-shot over the 'big' in the fourth quarter.

Watch the video and get at with thoughts in the comment box.


--Oly Sandor.

The 2011 Hoopties
Friday , Apr , 15 , 2011 J.N.

The 2011 Hoopties

It’s that time again for the regular season end awards just like any other television sports show. It is time to pass out the awards. Rather than giving awards for the usual categories such as Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year….you get the picture…..let’s focus on categories that truly need to be highlighted – categories that I make up! Who cares about those other official awards anyway? They’re already locked up.
 

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Are the Lakers Imploding?
Wednesday , Apr , 13 , 2011 Christopher Sells

Are the Lakers Imploding?

I have an admission to make: I've been pretty bored with the NBA 's regular season. It's not that there haven't been plenty of interesting things going on in the league for the last month, I've just been more interested in getting to the 2 1/2 month marathon that is the Playoffs. But in preparation for the postseason, I re-engaged late last week. And as a reward for my rededication, the Lakers decided to make it worth my while. They're still my pick to come out of the Western Conference, but they've definitely added some intrigue to what may have been an otherwise predictable run to the Finals.

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Tuesday , Apr , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e: Pau Gasol ‘is still soft’

 

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Amar’e Stoudemire, tell us how you really feel.

To make matters worse, Stoudemire went on to say that Pau Gasol's finesse game isn’t an issue because Los Angeles Lakers like Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom cover him with their length.

Ouch. Talk about an insult.

Here’s my issue: Stoudemire hasn’t won anything in the NBA. He has no rings. Perhaps he should tone down the rhetoric.

Sure, Gasol has a better supporting cast, running with four All-Star calibre players: Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant, Bynum, and Odom. And sure, Gasol isn't the toughest customer on the low block, either.

However, the purple-and-gold weren’t contenders until they stole the Spanish sensation from the Memphis Grizzlies in a blockbuster trade three years ago.

So he has the upper-hand on Stoudemire. With the Lakers’ soaring, Gasol –soft or not- looks positioned to continue his winning ways this playoffs.

Where will Stoudemire’s New York Knicks finish?

-Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Apr , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Celtics need Shaq, Jermaine O’Neal, and Krstic healthy to win NBA Title?

Krstic left with 2:18 left in the first half of Thursday's game after landing awkwardly on his right leg. His knee became bent out of shape and he immediately felt the pain. With the help of Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte, Krstic limped off the floor. Krstic will return home to Boston where he will undergo an MRI on Friday.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:  Suddenly, the Boston Celtics are thin at center.
 
Remember, the green-and-white signed the two O’Neals, Jermaine and Shaquille this summer. Depth was one reason executive Danny Ainge felt comfortable sending interior defender Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green at the trade deadline.

Injuries, pending free agency, and a plethora of posts, made Perk’ expendable. Or, so the Celtics thought.

Jermaine O’Neal isn’t healthy. He hasn’t been all year. Shaquille O’Neal’s Achilles has kept him out of the line-up for some time. Whenever he returns, fitness will be an issue.

Knowing this, Ainge prudently acquired Nenad Krstic from Oklahoma City as part of the Green deal. Now Krstic is out for the foreseeable future with his own knee troubles.

Well, what does this mean?

Suppose the Celtics advance to the NBA Finals. They’ll need size at center to counter, say, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, the Dallas Mavericks’ Tyson Chandler, or the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan.
 
Some combination of the O'Neals and Krstic must be available to log heavy minutes. And Garnett must be free to roam and help on defence. He does this best when playing power forward.

Sliding The Big Ticket to center makes the defending Eastern Conference champs smaller and limits Garnett's effectiveness.

Hopefully, the Celtics get healthy down low. Returning to the Finals and having any chance at beating the Lakers, or any other western foe, depends on it.  

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Mar , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq: Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard ’won’t dare play me one-on-one’

Shaquille O'Neal had a lot to say in a little time during a recent Q&A. Q: How much do you look forward to the opportunity to go up against guys like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum in the playoffs? A: Excuse me? Don't ask me a question like that. Q: But that's what people want to know. Those guys are playing so well and everyone wants to see if you can match up with them one-on-one. A: First of all, they won't dare play me one-on-one, even at the tender age of 39. And you know what? Playin' those teams, it ain't gonna be about the [center] matchup, so I don't really worry about that.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: His age doesn’t matter. Neither do his injuries. Shaquille O’Neal, never lacking in confidence, just called out the game’s best centers.

Why the confidence?

O’Neal, even at 39, thinks he can still hold his own against premier fives like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. For one game, he’s fine. In a seven game series, he probably doesn’t get embarrassed.

O’Neal’s wear-and-tear does show during the regular season. He gets nicked up. His lack of fitness and age becomes a problem.

Credit Boston Celtics Coach Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers for limiting O’Neal’s minutes, knowing his size and experience will be needed against, say, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum in the playoffs.

This brings us back to O’Neal comments. Consider the timing: He’s returning from injury and the playoffs are fast approaching.
 
Clearly, the veteran is anticipating a match-up against Howard’s Magic and Bynum’s Lakers. He’s playing the role of angry mentor, and once again trashing both to the media.

There’s a method to his madness. Spouting off to the press has provided O’Neal with a mental advantage in the past, especially when facing Howard.

But Bynum has no reason to take the bait. Not this time around, at least. He’s been brilliant since February’s All-Star game, helping the two-time defending champion Lakers regain their form.

So O’Neal still talks-the-talk. Can he still walk-the-walk on-court? We’ll find out come playoffs.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Mar , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Andrew Bynum’s flagrant foul: ‘I’m proud of him’

Not all the Lakers were upset with the league's decision. "I'm proud of him," Kobe Bryant said of Bynum. "He earned his stripes."  Bynum will need to be careful the rest of the regular season if he wants to avoid further discipline. He will be automatically suspended for one game if he commits another flagrant foul, type 2, before the end of the regular season. The Lakers were hoping for leniency from the league. Bynum isn't known as a rough player with an angry demeanor.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If Andrew Bynum was worried about his flagrant foul on the Minnesota Timberwolves' Michael Beasley, he can stop.

Kobe Bryant has Bynum’s back. Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar and one of the game’s premier players, beamed like a proud parent when asked by reporters about Bynum’s foul and suspension.

Now Bryant obviously doesn’t want Beasley to get hurt. Other than that, he’s clearly thrilled with Bynum’s flagrant foul.

Consider the following: opposing teams will be hesitant to drive the lane against the Lakers; Bryant’s squad are finally playing their best with the playoffs fast approaching; Bynum is absolutely dominant in the paint.

It’s interesting to reflect on how far Bryant and Bynum have come. These two weren’t always tight.

In fact, Bynum often found himself on the wrong side of Bryant’s rage. Not long ago, the Black Mamba complained to two strangers outside a strip mall that the club didn't trade the seven-footer to the New Jersey Nets for Jason Kidd.

Two championships have a way of changing things. With Bynum plugging the middle, the Lakers have to be favoured to win a third.

Now wonder Bryant has Bynum’s back.  

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Mar , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Andrew Bynum suspended two games for hard foul on Mike Beasley

The league handed down its verdict this morning, suspending center Andrew Bynum for two games without pay for thumping Michael Beasley to the court during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' victory Friday night over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bynum will sit out tonight's game against the Portland Trail Blazers and Tuesday's contest against the Phoenix Suns. Beasley suffered a bruised left hip when he hit the floor.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers are better when Andrew Bynum is involved physically -even if that comes at the expense of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Michael Beasley.

Yes, Bynun’s foul on Beasley was a bit much. Yes, it deserved a suspension. And yes, the Lakers have to love Bynum’s recent physical play.

The massive seven-footer has been a changed man since having his name bandied about in trade rumours. Like the Lakers, Bynum has stepped up his play following the All-Star break.

With Bynum dominating the middle, the purple-and-gold is unstoppable. After all, they’re too big and too massive for every team in the NBA.

The bad news is the Lakers will make do without Bynum for two games. The good news is he’s playing better than ever, which greatly improves their chances at three-peating.

Watch Bynum’s foul on Beasley and tell HoopsVibe News if his increased physical play is good for the Lakers?


--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Mar , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mitch Kupchak: healthy Andrew Bynum is untouchable

I’d say I get 10 to 15 phone calls a year about Andrew Bynum. I’ve called teams that have young, developing players myself. I don’t think that’s going to change. Certainly if he had played as well as he’s playing now for the last three years, teams would realize that, well, the Lakers would never trade him.And I understand that, and don’t think that’s going to change. But having said all that: when Andrew is healthy, and he plays like he is playing right now, you are hard pressed to look at anybody in this league and say, ‘I would trade him for that person.’

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Andrew Bynum’s height, length, and wingspan make the Los Angeles Lakers an almost unstoppable force.

With Bynum healthy, the purple-and-gold has a giant in the middle, which allows Pau Gasol to play his more natural power forward position.

For instance, Bynum played last year’s NBA Finals at far less than full strength. His presence was the difference between the Lakers winning and losing their second consecutive championship.

However, GM Mitch Kupchak is guilty of hyperbole. Bynum is good, but is he really untouchable?

Well, part of this is politics. Remember, Bynum is Kupchak’s guy. Kupchak drafted him. And he also refused to trade him for Jason Kidd a few years back.

Bynum’s success is Kupchak’s success. When one looks good, so does the other. So expect the compliments to continue.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Feb , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: ‘You can’t beat me in June’

After practice, Bryant was still reflective not only about the twilight of the regular season but also the twilight of his career and the opportunity to pass on what he has learned to younger players at the All-Star Game. When Bryant was asked how he feels about being an elder statesman he simply laughed. "It doesn't matter to me," he said. "You can't beat me in June. All the other stuff doesn't matter."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He put it out there.

Kobe Bryant isn’t worried about the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles. Not one bit. In fact, the MVP of 2011 All-Star game likes his chances against all comers in the playoffs when the Larry O’Brien championship trophy is at stake.

Part of me respects his confidence. And part of me thinks his team deserves greater respect.

After all, many have already buried the purple-and-gold, claiming they’re too everything: too old, too slow, too apathetic, and too Hollywood.

When that gets tiresome, they claim the purple-and gold aren’t enough like the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, or San Antonio Spurs.

Perhaps they have a point, but basketball is the only sport where the two-time defending champion would be written off for dead before the playoffs.

There’s still life in these Lakers, especially if Andrew Bynum stays healthy, Ron Artest regains his old form, and Matt Barnes recovers from injury to bring toughness off the bench.

However, a three-peat begins and ends with Bryant. And this boils down to one question: would you bet against him in June?

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Feb , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Is Andrew Bynum unhappy?

He complained about his lack of playing time, his lack of touches and the Lakers' lack of effort. I was out there playing hard, man," Bynum said. "In the second half, I didn't really get in the game."

Bynum played only 23 minutes 8 seconds. He scored nine points, shooting only six times, making three. In the second half, Bynum played 8:07, and not at all in the fourth quarter. He scored one point after halftime, and got only one shot.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: For the Los Angeles Lakers, he’s the difference between mediocrity and greatness.

When Andrew Bynum is injured, struggling, or frustrated, the Lakers are vulnerable against bigger, athletic teams. Like, say, the Charlotte Bobcats.

On Monday, Team Jordan had their way with the purple-and-gold, dominating the paint in a blow out victory over the Lakers. 

While Bynum’s complaints about minutes and touches aren’t reason to panic, Coach Phil Jackson must keep Bynum happy. His well-being, both physical and mental, must be monitored.

After all, Bynum was involved in some viral gossip last week –the Lakers and Denver Nuggets reportedly discussed swapping the seven-footer for Carmelo Anthony. 

When Bynum is relatively healthy and focused, the Lakers are a tough match-up because of his size. Few teams can handle a frontcourt of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Bynum.

For instance, Bynum, even with a wonky knee, was too much for the Boston Celtics to handle in game seven of the NBA Finals. His frame, length, and wingspan were key to the Lakers winning the championship.

To have any chance at a thee-peat, the Lakers need a healthy and happy Bynum. 

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 

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Wednesday , Feb , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Why Bynum for Anthony trade won’t happen

A report from ESPN on Tuesday indicated that the Lakers and Nuggets were holding preliminary discussions about a trade involving Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum.

"What's out there is inaccurate," said a Lakers representative familiar with the negotiations. Denver is also in discussions with the Knicks, the team Anthony is reportedly set on playing for by the 11-12 season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It sounded too good to be true. Glamour franchise gets glamour scorer and only gives up a talented but brittle center.

And it was.

The Los Angeles Lakers have shot down reports they were considering sending Andrew Bynum to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Carmelo Anthony.

The Lakers likely denied these reports because the Nuggets had little interest in Bynum, a massive five-man who has never fulfilled his considerable potential because of injury.

The only thing about an Anthony-for-Bynum swap that made sense was the money: their annual salaries were a rough match under the NBA’s salary cap.

Contracts aside, this idea was flawed.

For instance, the Nuggets would not give up their superstar and franchise face for an injury prone post with two years remaining on his big-ticket contract.

Instead, the Nuggets want expiring contracts, blue-chip prospects, and/or draft picks for Anthony. Bynum is none of these.

The Lakers have struggled of late; however, sacrificing Bynum’s size for Anthony’s scoring is hardly the answer. After all, Anthony is a shot-first, option-A player.

He doesn’t defer. In fact he can’t defer. And last I checked the Lakers already had the ultimate Alpha-Male scorer in Kobe Bryant.

Then there’s the issue of protecting the paint. The Lakers won game seven of last year’s NBA Finals in large part because Bynum, despite being hurt, controlled the glass against the Boston Celtics.

Without their starting five, the purple-and-gold would be vulnerable against bigger, physical squads, especially in a down-and-dirty playoff series.

Finally, Anthony will opt-out at the end of the season and become a free agent. Would Anthony re-sign out west? And would the Lakers offer an extension for the maximum available under the new financial system?

Expect the Nuggets to go in a different direction when trying to move Anthony. Expect the Lakers to also go in a different direction with any trade deadline upgrades.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Dec , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers need healthy Bynum, not ‘pissed off’ Bryant

Now as for the loss to the Spurs, Kobe said, "I'm just pissed." "That doesn't mean you're going to play mad [against New Orleans] does it?" I said with just the right amount of concern. "I don't know," Kobe said. "I've been playing mad as long as you have been writing mad."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers don’t need Kobe Bryant pissed off. They do need Andrew Bynum healthy and playing well.

The giant post missed the first two months of the season recovering from knee surgery, and he has struggled to find his form since returning.

Simply put, Bynum, when on his game, makes the Lakers unstoppable. His height (7-1) and wingspan were the difference between winning and losing game-seven of last year’s NBA Finals against the Celtics.

Well, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, as several teams added size to battle Bynum in the playoffs. The Boston Celtics signed Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal; the Dallas Mavericks traded for Tyson Chandler and re-upped with Brendan Haywood; the San Antonio Spurs brought Tiago Splitter from Europe and developed the powerful DeJuan Blair.

Of course, Bryant will be better than yesterday’s game against the Spurs, where he missed 13 straight shots.

However, the purple-and-gold needs a healthy Bynum, not a pissed off Bryant, to win their third consecutive championship.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Thursday , Nov , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers interested in Erick Dampier?

The Lakers will talk to the representative for free-agent Erick Dampier, though it might not be a good match for either side. 

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: To be in demand.

For years, Erick Dampier was a bit player. However, the NBA loves size, so Dampier, at 7-0 and 300 pounds, always had a seven-figure job.

Sometimes he played. Most of the time, he sat.

Everything changed last summer, though. The Charlotte Bobcats acquired Dampier in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks, exercised an out-clause, and waived the final year of his $13 million pact.

Charlotte gained cap space. Dampier became, and still is, a free agent.

While the 35-year old hasn’t been making the free agent rounds like LeBron James, he has been connected to several teams.

For instance, Miami, a contending squad, had interest. Houston and Toronto have also been linked to the veteran.

Yesterday, the internet exploded with reports the Los Angeles Lakers were considering Dampier’s services.

It may not be a fit, though. The Lakers need a short term fill-in because Andrew Bynum and Theo Ratliff are injured, while Dampier will want greater security.

Still, Dampier should enjoy being in demand. He may never experience it again.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Nov , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Are ‘The Renegades’ key to Kobe and Lakers Three-peating?

Just one week into the season, Lakers coach Phil Jackson has already coined a nickname for his team's energetic bench: The Renegades.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Never argue with a Zen-Master, especially one with 11 championship rings.

Phil Jackson is right: the Los Angeles Lakers made three subtle moves this summer to solidify their bench, and counter the national headlines made by their eastern rivals.

First, they signed Steve Blake. He’s a feisty, intelligent table-setter, who’ll fill-in and eventually replace veteran Derek Fisher.

Second, they inked giant Theo Ratliff. He’s 7-2. And has a massive wingspan. When the tin-man, Andrew Bynum, is hurt, Ratliff can clog the middle against bigger posts.

Finally, Matt Barnes was brought-in. The former Mohawk can guard and play multiple positions; stretch opposing defenses with his range; and, most importantly, brings grit and toughness.

Blake, Ratliff, and Barnes fit perfectly next to Shannon Brown, a dynamic open-court player, and Sasha ‘The Machine’ Vujacic.

Of course, the piece de resistance is Lamar Odom, a versatile forward who is always a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

Odom has taken his game to another level after spending his summer leading Team USA to the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

So renegades is an interesting moniker for this group. Whatever the nickname, they'll be a big part of the Lakers' quest to three-peat.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Sep , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Andrew Bynum to miss start of season?

Andrew Bynum's status for the start of the season is in question as he returns from offseason knee surgery. “We’re hopeful that he’ll be ready for the start of the season,” Lakers spokesman John Black said Wednesday. Black said there is “an outside chance” that Bynum will be able to take part in the team’s final exhibition games Oct. 21 and 22.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Here we go again.

The Los Angeles Lakers could be without star center Andrew Bynum for the start of the regular season, as the massive seven-footer hasn’t recovered from off-season knee surgery.

Without Bynum, the purple-and-gold is great. With him, they’re unstoppable.

Bynum’s frame and wingspan gives his team an edge down the middle over almost every squad in the NBA. For instance, the Celtics – even if Kendrick Perkins was healthy – would have no answer for a hobbling Bynum in the Finals.

So expect the Lakers’ trainers to do everything possible to get Bynum ready. His status could be the difference between winning and losing a third championship.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.