carmelo-anthony
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Friday , Jul , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Carmelo, Kobe, and Amar’e to pass on Europe?

With Nets superstar Deron Williams breaking the ice by agreeing to terms to play in Turkey if the NBA lockout lasts for a long time, will Knicks Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony follow suit? Highly doubtful.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There will not be a mass exodus of NBA superstars to Europe.

For a variety of reasons, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and/or Amar’e Stoudemire won’t follow Deron Williams to exotic locations like Turkey, Greece, Spain, and Italy.

This trio may listen to offers. Their people may publicly express interest in Europe. And we -the media and fans- will eat it up because there’s nothing to discuss during the lockout.

Bottom line: few, if any, superstars will join Williams.

These high-profile athletes need insurance against injuries. This isn’t cheap, and would negate much of the salary they earned for playing.

In some cases, the risk is too great. Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, has already said his client head won't risk the remaining $80 million on his NBA contract with the New York Knicks for a few games abroad.  

Italy, Spain, Greece, and/or Portugal are on the verge of bankruptcy, and need economic help from the European Union. Can these countries afford NBA superstars? And will their leveraged owners honor these big-ticket contracts?

Expect Kobe Bryant to instead head east –as in the Far East. Bryant will apparently headline a tour to basketball-mad China, where he'll market his brand, shoes, and everything else Kobe-related.

Superstars will use Europe to gain leverage in negotiations during the lockout. The game's biggest names will be reluctant to follow Williams overseas.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jul , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nets want Dwight Howard?

Williams has made no firm promises about staying in New Jersey but has said he likes the direction of the franchise under new owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The 27-year-old has likewise expressed optimism about the team's scheduled move to Brooklyn starting with the 2012-13 season and his potential role in luring other top players to the Nets. The Nets, sources said, intend to make a hard push for Howard in an attempt to convince Williams to commit long term.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Collective Bargaining Agreement may change, but the NBA will always be a star’s league.

Take Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets. The soon-to-be Brooklyn franchise mortgaged the farm to acquire Williams via trade, even though he can become a free agent in July of 2012.

Right now, Williams has leverage. Before signing a long-term extension with the Nets, he wants a co-star.

Enter Dwight Howard.

The massive five-man can also opt-out of his contract and become a free agent next summer. Howard, on paper, is the perfect running mate for Williams.

The two would form a lethal inside-outside combo, capable of rivalling most eastern foes. Their star power would match Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, who ply their trade with the crosstown New York Knicks.

Unfortunately, the Nets have competition. The Orlando Magic are desperate to keep their franchise face, while the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers have both made plays for Howard.

Getting Howard won't be easy. So re-signing Williams won’t be easy. But both are a must for the Nets.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jun , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Monta Ellis for Dwight Howard?

The Dwight Howard sweepstakes have begun. Golden State offered Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and Ekpe Udoh. Unlikely that'll get it done.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

The Golden State Warriors and Orlando Magic can deny rumors they’re considering swapping Monta Ellis for Dwight Howard. The evidence suggests otherwise, though.

New Warriors owner Joe Lacob, when he bought the club, didn’t give Ellis a ringing endorsement. While GM Larry Riley would only admit the team isn’t shopping their combo guard.

Lacob and rookie coach Mark Jackson want to change the losing culture surrounding the club. Right or wrong, fair or not, they may trade Ellis to achieve this.

Meanwhile, Howard has refused to sign an extension with the Magic. He wants to exercise a player’s option next July and become a free agent.

Howard knows Magic GM Otis Smith can’t let this occur. Not for a second. Smith, contrary to what he publicly claims, can’t risk his franchise face walking and getting nothing back.

So the clock is ticking. Like the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz with Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams, Smith has to cut a deal.  

It’s no shock the Warriors and Magic have talked trade. Here’s the real question: what happens next?

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Saturday , Jun , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Isiah Thomas: ‘Never say Never’ on returning to Knicks

Just hours after Donnie Walsh announced he was stepping down as Knicks' president, Isiah Thomas uttered the words that all Knicks fans fear: "Never say never about anything," Thomas said on ESPN's "SportsCenter" Friday night when asked what he would do if Knicks owner James Dolan were to call him about replacing Walsh. "All my doors are open."
 
 
HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: I`m not sure if Isiah Thomas is a Justin Bieber fan.

Thomas surely made the Madison Square Garden faithful shriek when declaring he`d 'Never Say Never' on returning to the New York Knicks.
 
These weren`t shrieks of joy from preteens. These were shrieks of horror from dedicated hoop fans.
 
Knick-nation knew Donnie Walsh, who the club cut ties with yesterday, wasn`t perfect. The veteran spent years clearing cap space to sign LeBron James, but ended up with Amar`e Stoudemire.
 
They respected Dolan for leading the team back to the playoffs. Most importantly, the organization was no longer a laughingstock.
 
There were no lawsuits; there were no curious interviews with the team`s star; there was no letting the coach twist in the wind for months; there were no disgraceful contracts; and the owner wasn`t allowed to wreck his toy.
 
The soap opera had ended. Sanity had returned. Or, so we thought.
 
Owner James Dolan didn`t like the power Walsh had. So he played hardball on an extension. He demanded that Walsh, going forward, would report to him.
 
Dolan knew Walsh would never accept this. And Dolan achieved what many believed was his true objective: he forced Walsh out.
 
This, of course, opens the door for Thomas to return. Officially. Here's the question: did he ever leave?
 
Some claim the Hall of Fame guard was always working to undermine Walsh, taking credit for signing Stoudemire and engineering the Carmelo Anthony trade.
 
Coaching at Florida International University is a sabbatical from his real gig as Dolan's buddy. Thomas reportedly worked out prospects for the Knicks and acted as a consultant, even if this was a violation of NCAA policy.
 
New York should prepare for Thomas' return. Their shrieks will be louder and more painful than preteens at a Bieber concert.

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

 
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Monday , Apr , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Should Knicks consult Carmelo Anthony on roster changes?

“That’s something that as a group, collectively, we have to come together and see what we’re lacking, where we need to get stronger at,” Anthony said when asked what he thinks the Knicks need to add or improve. “I’m pretty sure I’ll be talking to Donnie [Walsh] or [owner James] Dolan and Amar’e [Stoudemire] will be there and Chauncey [Billups] will be there, just trying to figure out some ways where we can become not just a playoff team but a championship-caliber team.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: On the one hand, Carmelo Anthony is the New York Knicks’ co-franchise player. In the NBA, franchise players are consulted on personnel decisions.

On the other hand, Anthony hasn’t won anything since turning pro. Not with the Denver Nuggets; not with the New York Knicks, either.

Perhaps Executive Donnie Walsh, if he returns to Madison Square Gardens, will notify Anthony as a professional courtesy. Perhaps not.
 
Either way, Anthony’s focus should be on his improvment. Nothing else. His conditioning isn't up to par. He's still a mediocre defender, too.
 
Most importantly, he and Amar’e Stoudemire must bond. These two will share the New York spotlight for years to come, and STAT certainly struggled once the Knicks acquired ‘Melo.
 
So Anthony has a laundry list of goals for the summer. The front office shouldn't distract him   
 
--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.  
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Wednesday , Apr , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Swizz Beats, Amar’e, and Melo Perform Go-New York-Go remix

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Gee, think New York is excited about being back in the playoffs?

Well, New York native, rapper, and producer, Swizz Beats has re-done the classic anthem ‘Go New York Go’ to celebrate the Knicks return to the second-season. And he gets help from the team's two superstars.

Watch the clip and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 --Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Apr , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Chris Paul unhappy about rumors he’ll join Jordan’s Bobcats

Paul's comments on Twitter indicated he felt as though his words were taken out of context.

"Come on now people," Paul tweeted, "I did 3 different interviews about the Jordan Brand Classic this morning and was asked if Michael Jordan had influence on free agent signings and I said at the end of the day guys want to win...they askd would I want to return home and I told them I'm focused here in NO and that's the future and anything can happen...Hate when people try to turn things around just to make it a story.. #slowdown."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: North Carolina’s prodigal son is tired of discussing a possible return home.

Chris Paul isn’t pleased with reporters for speculating he’ll leave the New Orleans Hornets for his hometown Charlotte Bobcats, who are owned by Michael Jordan.

Like most modern day superstars, he voiced his displeasure on what else -twitter.

Paul joining the Bobcats isn’t so far-fetched: he’ll be the prize of the 2012 free agent class, he already has a business relationship with MJ through Brand Jordan; Charlotte is still home.

However, Paul is unhappy with the Hornets because the league-owned franchise lacks the resources and market size to pay and attract co-stars. Of course, Jordan’s Bobcats have the same problem.

Both franchises will be hard pressed to win a championship –even if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement creates greater parity for the league’s have-nots.

So, why would Paul swap the Hornets’ problems for the Bobcats’?

He’ll surely try to partner with friends Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. The New York Knicks would then form the newest super team, and the Paul brand would benefit from such a massive market.

Paul migrating home to Charlotte is unlikely. Instead, expect a migration up north.

-Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Apr , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e: ‘I always play better in the postseason’

"That's the whole goal now," Stoudemire said. "I always play better in the postseason. I want to be 100 percent healthy to keep that trend going. The good news is it's getting better by the second. I'll play sooner than later."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Amar’e Stoudemire has never lacked confidence.

The New York Knicks’ superstar expects to play his best during the playoffs, which may or may not occur.

On the one hand, Stoudemire has always excelled in the second season, posting massive scoring and rebounding numbers with his old squad, the Phoenix Suns.

While the Suns never won the championship or even made the NBA Finals, they did have some inspired runs to the Conference Finals.

On the other hand, the new-look Knicks, despite improved play, are still awkward. The Carmelo Anthony-Stoudemire combo is a work in progress, and poor chemistry is a concern at Madison Square Garden.

However, Stoudemire must first get healthy. He’s currently in a walking boot to speed up his recovery from an ankle sprain.

So confident or not, playing his best basketball or not, Stoudemire and the Knicks will face serious challenges this playoffs.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Carmelo Anthony believes Deron Williams will re-sign with Nets

Williams' contract expires after next season, and the Knicks could have the cap space to sign him. Anthony said. "I haven't seen it but he's going to be in New York too, so you'll see a lot more of that -- the competition thing. We got another Subway Series coming."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Takes one to know one.

New York Knick Carmelo Anthony is in the best position to know the future of New Jersey Net Deron Williams. Both are part of a small clique known as superstars.

And superstars do talk. They travel in the same circle, and often have inside information on fellow superstars before media, agents, or fans.

Anthony believes Williams will re-sign with the Nets next summer, meaning the Knicks may give Chauncey Billups another short-term deal or chase Chris Paul, who will be an unrestricted free agent.

However, there’s another reason Williams may stick with the Nets: the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The league’s financial system will change. The days of the superstar laden team could be over, especially if there’s a hard cap with no loopholes.

The Knicks may have no choice but to pass on adding a superstar floor leader like Williams or Paul. So 'Melo may end up being right. Just not for the reason he thinks.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011
Monday , Apr , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011

The season is almost over. It is time to look back and reflect on the positives and negatives. The hype before tip-off was through the roof. There was a lot of anticipation on new rivalries and storylines to be played out. Will the South Beach trio work out? How will Blake Griffin play? Is Steve Nash’s window closed? Are the Lakers still the team to beat? Kevin Durant got the MVP? The Chicago Bulls are 4th seeders, right?

Read More
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Sunday , Apr , 03 , 2011 Andrew Flint

Rumor: Amar’e and Ciara?

Knicks star Amare Stoudemire has set his sights on Grammy-winning singer and model Ciara. New York's hottest sports hero has been spotted dining out with the stunning songbird in recent weeks, and on Monday night, the pair shared dinner at STK with a group of 15, including fellow Knick Carmelo Anthon and his wife, LaLa Vazquez. Link HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:  It’s nice to know Amar’e Stoudemire’s on-court struggles haven’t impacted his off-court game. Not one bit, in fact. Standing Tall and Talented is no longer with Amber Rose, the model famous for being with Kanye West, and is reportedly wooing Ciara, the R&B singer who many also describe as easy on the eyes. Stoudemire apparently met his newest love interest through LaLa Vasquez, Carmelo Anthony’s wife and the best friend of Ciara. Clearly, Stoudemire and Anthony work well off-court, helping each other with the females. If only they could recreate this chemistry on-court for the inconsistent New York Knicks. Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Thursday , Mar , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Isiah liked ‘helping the Knicks’ sign ‘Melo and Amar’e

Which brings us to whether Isiah, on behalf of his good friend, Knicks owner James Dolan, was instrumental in helping New York land 'Melo and Amar'e. So I ask him: Was that you? He takes a long time to answer. "I do have a lot of friends," he says carefully. "And I am asked to advise in a lot of different scenarios. Players, coaches, and ..." A very long pause. "I won't comment on the Knicks situation, but I do like helping the Knicks, and I do want them to do well."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Are the New York Knicks for real? Are they really having disgraced coach and executive Isiah Thomas talk to players?

The answer is yes.

Yes, Knicks owner James Dolan still consults Thomas – the financial mismanagement, poor trades, Stephon Marbury fiasco, Larry Brown disaster, sexual harassment suit, and other indiscretions don’t matter.

Yes, Dolan overlooks Thomas’ flaws and failures. Just like Dolan overlooks Donnie Walsh bringing the Knicks back to respectability.

Here’s a scarier thought: Thomas could be 'helping' the Knicks full time next season. Walsh doesn't have a guaranteed deal for 2012. Thomas, of course, is available, and would be willing to lead 'his' signings of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Dolan may let Walsh go and say yes to Thomas, giving one of the game’s most tarnished individuals a second chance at running this classic franchise.

Thomas leading the Knicks was a nightmare. Somehow, Dolan believes a sequel will be better. And yes, this is 'for real'.

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Knicks to replace D’Antoni and/or Billups?

The way the Knicks have struggled with Chauncey Billups running Mike D'Antoni's offense has rival executives wondering whether one of them -- or both -- won't be back next season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The coach and coach on-the-floor could soon be out of work.

There are rumors the New York Knicks will cut ties with sideline boss Mike D’Antoni and point guard Chauncey Billups at season’s end.

Like all things New York Knicks, it’s complicated.

D’Antoni’s future is linked to executive Donnie Walsh. Unbelievably, Walsh, who brought the Knicks back to respectability after years of dysfunction under Isiah Thomas, may be pushed out at year’s end.

This would trickle down to the bench. D’Antoni was Walsh’s choice. And the 'Seven Seconds or Less' guru is protected with Walsh in the executive suite.

Walsh wasn’t the choice of owner James Dolan, though. He was the choice of Commissioner David Stern, who ‘suggested’ Dolan hire the veteran executive after Thomas’ shenanigans and tomfoolery became too great a black eye for league head office to ignore.

Dolan, who resents being told what to do, may re-hire his buddy Thomas. And ‘Zeke’ would then replace D’Antoni with his guy on the sideline.

This brings us to Billups. He has struggled to appease the club’s two scorers, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.

Billups is slated to earn $14 million in 2012; however, he can be bought out for $3.7 million. Expect the Knicks to exercise this clause –especially if the muscular table-setter can’t become Mr. Big Shot down the stretch or in the playoffs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean Billups won’t be back. The club could buy him out and re-sign him for considerably less money. Or, player and team could simply part ways. Nothing is set in stone.

There’s a famous saying ‘Only in New York’. Perhaps this should be revised to ‘Only in New York with the Knicks’.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Tuesday , Mar , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Howard for Anthony or Stoudemire?

It wouldn’t be shocking at all if the New York Knicks make a play for Dwight Howard next season, perhaps offering either Amare Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony at trade deadline.

 Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Did you enjoy Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire battling Dwight Howard last night?

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the main characters in yesterday’s epic battle between the Knicks and Magic could switch places. Reports indicate the Magic would consider sending Howard to the Knicks for Anthony or Stoudemire.

A few thoughts:

1) The Howard rumors will continue to fly because he can opt-out of his contract at the end of 2012 and become an unrestricted free agent.

No matter how much Howard tries to defuse rumors, the feeling is he wants to bolt Orlando for a larger market. Like Los Angeles. Or New York.

The Magic have a dilemma. They could try re-signing Howard and risk having their top player as an unrestricted free agent without compensation.

(This would decimate the franchise. See the Cleveland Cavaliers. See the Toronto Raptors.)  

Or the Magic could concede that re-signing Howard would be tough in today’s era of super-teams and move him. Cutting their losses would bring back some assets.

(See the Denver Nuggets. See the Utah Jazz.)   

2) Anthony and Stoudemire are an awkward pairing. Their partnership doesn’t seem natural. Given time, things will improve. The supporting cast will be upgraded; a training camp together will make a difference.

Here’s the question for Knick fans: would Howard with Anthony or Stoudemire be superior to Anthony and Stoudemire?

3) The new Collective Bargaining Agreement to be negotiated between players and owners this summer could sideswipe all plans.

Small market owners may try to eliminate the super-team trend that’s permeating the NBA. They could gain the ability to keep star players by using an NFL-style franchise tag.

So the Magic could hang onto Howard –whether he likes it or not- by slapping him with the franchise player tag.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Nuggets vs. Knicks; Post Carmelo Trade Who Is “Winning”?
Monday , Mar , 28 , 2011 Paul Eide

Nuggets vs. Knicks; Post Carmelo Trade Who Is “Winning”?

 

Charlie Sheen will always be “Winning” depending on whose opinion you value, but the Knicks and Nuggets success or lack thereof can easily be gauged by glancing at wins and losses.
 
We’ve been hearing about it for weeks since the trade went down. But detached from any emotional response and based on cold, heartless raw data who really got the better of this deal?
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Sunday , Mar , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron and Wade developing chemistry with pick-and-roll play

Wade is controlling the ball late in games, which lets LeBron James be used in a simple pick-and-roll. James has been accustomed to playing with the ball in his hands in crunch time, but it appears Wade and Erik Spoelstra have convinced him to try something new. “I think he's starting to see that this can open up his overall game, and he's going to want to do it more," Wade said last week.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Talent isn’t enough in the NBA. Teams must also have chemistry.

Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat learned this the hard way, with their up-and-down year.

So have the New York Knicks, who broke up a squad with established chemistry to acquire the talented but sometimes difficult Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.

Credit the Heat for trying new things, though. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, James acted as a screener and ran several pick-and-rolls with Wade.

This is a welcome change from the Heat’s steady diet of predictable ‘iso’ plays and one-on-one attempts at the basket.

Doug Collins, the coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, is right: this option will work. James as a four-man setting picks will be tough to prevent from rolling to the basket or slipping the screen.

Opposing defenses will be helpless. If defenders try to switch on the screen, James and/or Wade will have a clear mismatch, which should lead to a scoring opportunity.

If defenders try to show and adjust to the screen, James and/or Wade will have an advantage, which should also lead to a scoring opportunity.

The Heat would be wise to run more of these sets. Variety is important in basketball, and a two-man game involving their best players will upgrade their mediocre half-court offense.

After all, chemistry, not talent, is the key to winning in the NBA. It seems James and Wade are learning.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Saturday , Mar , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron empathizing with Melo, Knicks is a problem

For LeBron James, the signs are all familiar. The initial discomfort in a new system. The frustrating losses. The growing pains. The private bickering, questioning and second-guessing. The attitude issues. Even the turbulence during particularly heated timeouts. James knows that script all too well. He's lived it during the honeymoon period with the Miami Heat, the one that sent the team into a brief stretch of disarray following a difficult 9-8 start.

"I know exactly what he's going through right now," James said of his friend Carmelo Anthony's more-difficult-than-expected indoctrination with the Knicks. "And it's going to take time. Everybody knows we were 9-8. We had to figure things out. And we're still figuring things out.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: LeBron James can relate to Carmelo Anthony’s recent struggles with the New York Knicks.

Like Anthony, James left his old team in less than perfect fashion. Like Anthony, James predicted greatness for his new team before playing a single game. And like Anthony, James experienced a backlash when things didn’t instantly go to plan.

King James feels ‘Melo’s pain. He relates to the hardship, the expectations, and the criticism. He knows the trials and tribulations of an NBA superstar.

What nonsense James speaks.

It’s hard to knock James and/or Anthony for using the system to play for the team they like. They both gave seven years to the team that drafted them. If they want to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets, fair enough.

It’s, however, easy to knock James and/or Anthony for how they left the Cavaliers and/or Nuggets.  We won’t, though. This is old news. What’s done is done.

Here’s the point: James and Anthony got exactly what the wanted. James joined pals Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in South Beach, while Anthony returned home to The Big Apple.

And both received big money from their new team; James inked a $100 million max deal, Anthony signed a three-year, $65 million extension.

They’re playing for the team of their choice. They’re also playing in the cities of their choice. Key word: choice.

It’s hard to feel sympathy for superstars who get everything they ask for, and feel frustrated when things aren’t instantly a bed of roses.

Perhaps this is what separates the greats like Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan from the very good like James and Anthony. The greats don’t expect, want, or need sympathy.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Mar , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kenyon Martin: Nuggets don`t miss Carmelo Anthony

"We all know Melo is a great player, but I don't think one player has ever won a championship in this league," Kenyon Martin told HOOPSWORLD. "He's a great player, but it's all about us playing together right now. That's what we're trying to do."

"We're just going out and playing basketball," he continued. "Everyone here knows how to play and we're competing every single night. When you compete, you put yourself in position to win. It's just playing basketball. Once you know how to play this game the right way, you can really fit into any system."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kenyon Martin is saying what everyone is thinking.

The Denver Nuggets won’t miss Carmelo Anthony. Not now. And not going forward.

Despite the trend towards super teams, basketball is still a sport where chemistry can trump talent. Playing together and playing for each other can go a long, long way to ensuring success –even in the pros.

This is what the Nuggets are doing. They’re defending. They’re moving the ball. And guess what? They’re winning, posting a 10-4 record since trading their former franchise face to the New York Knicks.

Best of all, there’s a sense of together-ness. Nugget players and coaches aren’t dealing with twenty-four hour gossip and trade rumours. Raymond Felton aside, everybody on the roster wants to be in Denver.

Clearly, the Nuggets are having fun. Like the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference, there’s a collectiveness and positive vibe surrounding The Mile High City.

This along with their defense and unselfishness will make the Nuggets a dangerous first round playoff opponent for San Antonio, Los Angeles, Dallas, or Oklahoma City.

Did the Nuggets ever look dangerous with Anthony this year?

Give Martin credit for speaking up. And give Martin credit for speaking the truth.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
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Tuesday , Mar , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Carmelo Anthony: ‘There’s no need to panic’

After the buzzer, (Carmelo) Anthony sat alone on the Knicks bench long after his teammates left the court. Asked what he was thinking, the Brooklyn native said, "This ship is going to turn right."  For now, the ship be sinking -- to borrow Micheal Ray Richardson's famous Knicks quotation.

"We just got to a point where I thought we panicked," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "This is a work in progress and we have a month to get this thing figured out. If we can figure out fourth quarters, we can get a lot smoother. With two scorers on the floor like Carmelo and Amar'e, we just have to figure it out." We're going to get it right," Anthony said. "There's no need to panic."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There's no need to panic, but the New York Knicks should be concerned.

Last night, they crumbled in the fourth quarter against a steely, calm Boston Celtics team, who took particular pleasure in beating up and exposing the Knicks’ many flaws.

The Knicks’ problems have nothing to do with talent. Their problems have everything to do with chemistry.

Mike D’Antoni’s crew spent two-thirds of a season establishing familiarity. Amar’e Stoudemire was the undisputed top dog, and everybody else had a supporting role.

That arrangement is out the window with Carmelo Anthony in the fold. Knick players seem confused as to whether Stoudemire or Anthony gets the ball in the decisive fourth quarter.

Before the Anthony trade, the Knicks could always get a good shot by running a pick-and-roll between Ray Felton and Stoudemire. This, in fact, was their bread and butter play.

Well, Felton was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Anthony. And come crunch time the ball goes in to Anthony or Stoudemire on an ‘iso’ play. Good defensive teams - like the Celtics did last night - will take that option away.

Finally, Anthony is a mixed bag. While he’s a talented offensive player, Melo has many bad habits. He doesn’t move the ball; he switches too often on screens defensively; he’s mentally weak.

This won’t change overnight. Neither will the Knicks. They are not a championship contender. They are a decent team with two supremely talented scorers. Nothing more, nothing less.

The sooner the faithful at Madison Square Gardens accept this, the better.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Sunday , Mar , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Is Carmelo Anthony the problem in New York?

Nevertheless Anthony's pouty behavior in Friday night's 99-95 loss to the Pistons, his bad oncourt body language, his failure to join a timeout huddle when not in the game has raised red flags about his readiness to handle the pressure for being a basketball star in New York.

The honeymoon is officially over. Anthony, coming off an historically awful 6-point, 2-of-12 outing in the terrible loss, will resume talking and playing today when the Knicks face the Bucks at Bradley Center, with the club having fallen into seventh place.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Carmelo Anthony wanted and got New York. Now he must deal with the good and bad that comes with being the high profile star of the Knicks.

At a minimum, this means facing the music and answering reporters’ questions when he has a poor shooting night and doesn’t get the call on a potential game winning basket against the lowly Detroit Pistons.

Slinking out the back door is unacceptable, especially after signing a three-year, $65 million extension.

Worst of all, Anthony can’t use the excuse of avoiding a fine. He’s a professional. And as such, he must exercise appropriate discretion when dealing with reporters.

And who cares if he does incur a fine? Anthony can easily afford it. 

Anthony’s behaviour with teammates is also worrying. Too often, his body language leaves much to be desired. Too often, he appears to blame others instead of leading.

For instance, against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, he reportedly lectured youngster Toney Douglas and ignored giving good guy Ronny Turiaf a high five.

Remember, Anthony held both the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks hostage for months with his trade demands. Players on both teams put up with endless rumors and gossip.

Perhaps, his new teammates have a right to be frustrated with him. Not the other way around. So Anthony can at least try to be pleasant and fit in.

A team first approach would also help the Knicks become consistent, and start beating up on the league’s also-rans (since acquiring Anthony, the Knicks have lost six times to teams with losing records).

Bottom line: the Knicks success starts and ends with Anthony. The sooner he accepts this and starts being accountable, the better. 

--Oly Sandor.

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