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Is Pau Gasol Lakers Version of Carlos Boozer?
Tuesday , May , 15 , 2012 Paul Eide

Is Pau Gasol Lakers Version of Carlos Boozer?

Overpaid, underproductive and unmotivated. At points in the 2011-12 season, all three of these words have been used to describe both Pau Gasol and Carlos Boozer.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Who agreed to pay them this much?

 
 
Both are power forwards. Both are amongst the highest paid players in the league; Gasol at $18.7 million ranks seventh while Boozer ranks 25th pocketing $13.55 million this year. Both players should be their team’s #2 scoring threat.
 
Neither player has been asked to carry the load this season- just serve as a complementary, consistent piece that can be relied on when the team’s star (Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant) is hurt or less than productive.
 
Prior to this year, there is no comparing the careers of this two players- Gasol has two rings and the production to surpass Boozer. But what makes them similar this season is how bad their teams have needed them. And at certain points, neither player has delivered.
 
After an underwhelming regular season which saw Boozer set career lows in most major categories, he followed that up with an even worse series against the Sixers. With no Rose, the Bulls needed Boozer to earn his money and produce for the remainder of the series, and he didn’t, contributing three points and one made field goal in a one point loss that ended the Bulls season.  
 
Gasol stepped up in a game seven victory versus the Nuggets in round one with 23 points and 17 rebounds, but in the six games prior he averaged just nine ppg and 6.5 rpg. His lack of production was a huge factor in why the series even went seven games.
 
If you don’t get Gasol involved early, just like with Boozer, you may get nothing out of him that night. And more than any season prior, when Gasol isn’t involved in the low post game he drifts further and further out of the lane, content to settle for shots 15 feet away and beyond. Gasol has the touch to make more of those shots than the average seven footer, but why when he can be a complete beast in the paint, especially alongside Andrew Bynum?  
 
Is Gasol to blame for the game one loss to OKC? Absolutely not. But what happened to the guy who put up 20 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists against the Thunder in a double OT win less than a month ago? The Lakers need him to show up ASAP, or their season is over, just like Carlos Boozer’s.  
 
LeBron James on leading Heat: ‘I have to be who I am’
Thursday , Apr , 26 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James on leading Heat: ‘I have to be who I am’

“I have to be who I am,” James said. “Last year was the biggest teacher. The greatest teacher in life is experience. And I had that last year. I’m back to being the person who can take over games. I have no problem taking over a game now.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The 2011 LeBron James worried what others thought. The 2012 LeBron James only worries about winning, so leading his Miami Heat comes naturally.

James rightfully took a hit following ‘The Decision’ and The Pre-emptive Championship Declaration. The media hounded him, while the public wanted to see him and the Heat fail.

Their every move was captured and critiqued, much of the attention wasn’t positive. So James’ star power and reputation took a hit, resulting in a confrontational press conference following the Heat’s loss to the Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

The process changed James as a different person. A little time away, a little reflection, a nasty lockout, and The King has returned in 2012.

Yes, there are the same questions about James’ supporting cast. And yes, the Heat are again the second seed in the Eastern Conference behind the Chicago Bulls.

There is, however, no doubt the Heat are James’ team. He’s back to leading. He’s back to taking over games. He’s back to being vocal on-court. And this all started when he let go of the past.

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

 

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Tuesday , Apr , 24 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Reggie Evans: Blake Griffin ‘should know how to defend himself’

Blake is 6-10 and what, 240 or something? He’s a big boy. He should know how to defend himself out there,’ Evans said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The NBA has an unwritten rule called ‘Know Your Place’.

This rule is simple: a scrub like Reggie Evans can’t publicly call out a superstar like Blake Griffin.

Did Mike Smrek ever bust Magic Johnson’s chops to the L.A. Times? Did Stacey King ever tell the world that Michael Jordan should stand up to Rick Mahorn, Bill Laimbeer, and the Detroit Pistons? Mark Madsen replied ‘yes sir’ to every request from Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. 

Evans should consider precedence before going on the record with his criticism of Blake-Zilla. Of course, the journeyman is right. Griffin should defend himself. Just like Evans and every other Clipper should defend him, too.

Such a conversation should happen behind closed doors in the the locker room. Instead, it’s gone viral, which is the worst scenario for all involved.

Media and fans will be watching every time an opponent raises a hand to Griffin. And the only thing these young Clipper needs to be worrying about is the playoffs.

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

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Tuesday , Apr , 24 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest: ‘I apologize to the Thunder and to James Harden’

“On that play, I just dunked on Durant and Ibaka, and I got really emotional, really excited. And it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with the unintentional elbow. I hope he’s OK. The Thunder, they’re playing for a championship this year. So I really hope he’s OK, and I apologize to the Thunder and to James Harden. Such a great game, and it was unfortunate so much emotion was going on at that time.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Metta World Peace’s elbow to the dome of James Harden has caught the attention of the suits at NBA head office and will surely result in a forced vacation and/or fine.

But the rapper, philosopher, and part time comedian’s poor judgement should alarm the Staples Center faithful. After all, the old Ron Artest -- the troubled and emotional forward for the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Houston Rockets -- got flagrant foul twos.

The Lakers supposedly got a mellow, friendlier Artest, albeit a less productive one on-court. For the most part, Metta World Peace has been like Barney when compared to the dude who rushed the stands and started the Malice N’ the Palace at Detroit.

That’s why his elbow was so surprising. It was unprovoked. It was intentional -regardless of what he says. And it could have been the difference between the Lakers winning and losing against the Thunder in what will surely be a playoff preview.

Recent reports indicate that Harden has a concussion. And Metta World Peace, to his credit, apologized.

Bottom line: the purple-and-gold aren’t as deep as the squads that captured back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. They can’t win with Metta World Peace on the sideline for any amount of time, so these sorts of slip-ups can’t happen.

Hopefully, it was a one-off. And Metta World Peace doesn’t turn back the clock again and become the old Ron Artest.

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

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Friday , Apr , 20 , 2012 HoopsVibe News

Video: Dwade clocks Hamilton

Miami sends a message to Chicago with physical play.

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Miami getting tough for the playoffs

James Jones gets ejected with a flagrant-2, Dwade gets a flagrant-1, and LeBron James levels John Lucas with a bone crushing pick as Miami lets Chicago know this is a tougher Miami Heat team than last year.

Not much was really on the line in terms of the standings last night as the Heat and Bulls met for their last regular season game, but plenty was on the line as far as builing momentum for the playoffs. Clearly, Miami had an agenda to play more physical and that's exactly what they did. In the process they also dominated the paint, grabbed more boards, and won the game 83-72 as James went off for 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists.

 

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Wednesday , Apr , 18 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Blake Griffin: “I’m definitely sick of taking hard hits.”

“I’m definitely sick of taking hard hits,” Griffin said after the Clippers’ shootaround Monday. “…There’s a point, I can’t remember what game it was, in my mind where I thought this is kind of ridiculous. I’m sick of it, but it’s going to keep on happening.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Yesterday it was Derrick Rose. Today it`s Blake Griffin.

Two of the NBA’s greatest stars have recently gone public with their frustration over the hard fouls they’ve sustained from opponents. Rose took a nasty knock from Charlie Villanueva, while Griffin was head-hunted by Jason Smith.

Both should get used to the rough stuff. After all, superstars who embarrass opponents are targets. That’s the way it has been. And that’s the way it always will be.

Fortunately, there’s a simple answer.

Their teammates must dish out what they’ve been receiving. If Rose or Griffin take a shot then the Bulls and Clippers must give it back at the earliest opportunity possible.

The cheap shots only stop when opponents understand there’s a price to pay for taking liberties on Rose and Griffin. 

The earlier this message is sent, the better.

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

 

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Sunday , Apr , 08 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Stan Van Gundy: I want to coach Orlando next year

“I don’t have a scenario in my head where I wouldn’t,” Van Gundy told the Orlando Sentinel after he was asked whether he wants to return. “They’re going to have to make decisions. But I’m a basketball coach and I know this: I don’t want to go anywhere else. I mean, I love Orlando, and this is where I want to be. And I want to coach.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The superstar is in denial mode. The GM is downplaying everything. And the coach just wants to return next season.

Yes, the Orlando Magic are a mess.

Instead of worrying about the upcoming playoffs, Dwight Howard, Otis Smith, and Stan Van Gundy are pre-occupied with what will happen next.

For Howard, that means changing the Magic for the 2012-13 season. For Smith and Van Gundy, that means keeping their jobs and continuing to blame Howard.

So much is unknown in Central Florida. However, two things are crystal clear.

First, the Magic have no chance at beating the Chicago Bulls and/or Miami Heat in a best of seven series with Howard’s situation hanging over them like an ominous rain cloud.

Second, Howard opting-in for 2013 was supposed to bring closure to the Magic. Clearly, it hasn’t. The reports and rumours continue to flood the internet, while anonymous sources continue to speak out.

Perhaps all involved would have been better off if Howard was traded last March at the deadline.

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

 

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Friday , Apr , 06 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Otis Smith: ‘Stan Van Gundy is our coach’

“Coaches and players have been doing this for years, you just happened to see this play out in the public,” Smith said. “To the organization’s credit, Stan Van Gundy is still our coach and Dwight Howard is still our player and we’re still trying to win basketball games.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What else can Otis Smith say?

In order to salvage the Orlando Magic’s season, Smith must downplay the rift between coach Stan Van Gundy and superstar Dwight Howard.

It may be too little, too late.

Clearly, Howard has owner Rich Devos’ ear. And if the club wants to sign Howard to an extension then Smith and Van Gundy may get pink-slipped.

For most, such a dynamic would be difficult, but Van Gundy is used to getting knifed in the back. Remember, Pat Riley crossed him with the Miami Heat, coming out of the executive suite to ‘take over’ for Van Gundy.

So expect the Magic to keep chugging along. But beating LeBron James’ Heat and Derrick Rose’s Bulls will be tough, if not impossible, with such a cloud hanging over the organization.

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

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Saturday , Mar , 31 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Is Tom Thibodeau ‘fine’ as lame-duck coach of Bulls?

The Chicago Tribune, quoting team sources, subsequently reported Friday night on its website that “Thibodeau has raised the topic — his lack of an extension — with Bulls players.” Thibodeau, however, tried to downplay any notion of his discontent after the Bulls’ 83-71 home win over the Pistons. “I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Thibodeau said. “I’m not worried about any of that stuff. I’m under contract. I’m fine with everything here.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I call it the ‘thou protest too much’ rule, which, of course, was coined by Shakespeare in one of his many fine plays.

The latest example of this has to be Tom Thibodeau’s situation with the Chicago Bulls. The 2011 Coach of the Year insists he’s just fine continuing on the sideline without an extension beyond this year.

Really?

Thibodeau, of course, has to say such things. The team would fall apart if he complained or whined about not having an extension -even if he’s deserving of one.

After all, Thibodeau’s defensive sets have played a major part in the Bulls becoming an Eastern Conference contender. His work rate is second to none -as the former Celtics assistant lives in the Bulls' training facility and watches game film late into the night.

Bottom line: Thibodeau can’t be happy as a lame-duck coach -no matter what he says.

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

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Sunday , Mar , 25 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Bulls still interested in Dwight Howard?

Which suggests that the Bulls, if they're that high on Pau, are bound to try to trade for him again. Nor have they abandoned hope of courting Dwight Howard via trade, sources said, despite Howard's longstanding coolness toward the idea of relocating to Chicago and the extra season he just committed to Orlando by opting in for the 2012-13 season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick: The Chicago Bulls make the most sense -if Dwight Howard wants a championship.

The Bulls have Derrick Rose, the 2011 regular season MVP and a premier NBA player. And Rose, who is in his early 20s, will get even better.

Bottom line: the athletic point guard is exactly the kind of co-superstar Howard has been searching for.  Yet, he kyboshed any chance of joining the Bulls when he declared he wasn’t interested in a 'Windy City' partnership.

The reason: nobody knows -including Howard, himself.

Initially, there was speculation Adidas, who sponsor Howard and Rose, discouraged a Bulls-Magic trade because they didn’t want their two biggest names in one market. There was also speculation the Bulls couldn’t put together a package that suited the Magic.

However, the most likely scenario is that Howard’s flip-flopping alienated the Bulls and Magic -making a blockbuster deal between these eastern powers impossible.

For a Bulls-Magic trade to occur, Howard has to get past his indecision and decide what he wants.

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

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Monday , Mar , 19 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Heat have edge over Bulls, Thunder in Derek Fisher sweepstakes?

Fisher is said to be strongly interested in joining the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat, according to one source close to the situation. The San Antonio Spurs, sources told Stein, have not yet ruled out pursuing Fisher because their planned signing of former Portland Trail Blazers guard Patty Mills has been held up by the fact that Portland has not yet renounced rights to Mills.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Can a 38-year old guard averaging less than six points per game be the difference between winning and losing an NBA championship?

Well, the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, and Oklahoma City Thunder think so. All are chasing Derek Fisher, an unrestricted free agent after receiving a buy-out courtesy of the Houston Rockets.

Fisher, of course, won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers before getting dealt to Houston at the trade deadline.

Chicago, Miami, and Oklahoma City want Fisher to play limited minutes and serve as a mentor in the locker room.

Miami, perhaps, has a slight edge over Chicago and Oklahoma City. Remember, the Heat nearly signed the veteran two summers ago before he re-upped with the then defending world champion Lakers.

Fisher won’t forget that James, the game’s greatest star, met him at Miami's airport and tried to convince him to migrate east to South Beach.

And perhaps James’ lobbying will pay dividends this time around.

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

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Wednesday , Mar , 14 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Bulls want Pau Gasol?

The Chicago Bulls are exploring avenues to acquire Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol before Thursday's trade deadline, according to sources close to the situation.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Years ago, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies and then went on to win consecutive championships.

Perhaps the Spanish post will be the missing piece for the impressive Chicago Bulls. The Bulls reportedly want the skilled Gasol to complement 2011 MVP Derrick Rose.

And they’d be willing to sacrifice Carlos Boozer to get the perennial All-Star. But what’s in this trade for the Lakers?

Well, the Lakers aren’t interested in a straight Gasol for Boozer swap, so the Bulls are calling the league trying to find a third team to involve.

Of course, the clock is ticking. Thursday at noon eastern is the trade deadline.

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

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Saturday , Feb , 25 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Derrick Rose gets $185 million from Adidas

Y! Source: Derrick Rose, Adidas agree on 13 year deal that could pay the NBA's MVP over $200 million.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not bad work -if you can get it.

Earlier this year, Derrick Rose, the franchise face of the Chicago Bulls and 2011 MVP, signed a multi-year extension for $95 million,

Now reports are surfacing that Adidas will pay Rose $185 million to be their lead spokesperson over the next 13 years. Yes, one company will pay the exciting table-setter $14 million per annum.

Again, not bad work if you can get it.

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

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Friday , Feb , 24 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Derrick Rose: I never told Bulls to acquire Pau Gasol

He also dismissed the circulated rumors of him privately urging management to pursue trading Carlos Boozer for Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol. “I heard it after the game [on Monday] and that’s something that I wouldn’t say to anyone,” said Rose. “It was all false and that’s something I’ll never do. I’m good with the teammates that I have. I’ve always been saying that. We’ve been winning games and we’re not in the position to look to trade anyone right now. “I talked to [Boozer] a little bit, but I think he already knew that [the rumor] was false,” continued Rose. “It’s something that I wouldn’t do to anyone. It was all false.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Perception is reality.

And the perception outside the Chicago Bulls’ locker room is that 2011 MVP and franchise face Derrick Rose quietly, or not so quietly, asked management to acquire Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol.

Gasol, if acquired, would help. He’d provide scoring and passing down-low -something Carlos Boozer has failed to do since signing with the Bulls.

Here’s the problem: the Bulls would have to give-up Boozer to get Gasol.

Rose and Boozer know this. And these two know they must work together.

So, Rose has to cover himself by publicly denying the rumour to reporters and saying he’s good with his current teammates like Boozer.

Privately, something different could have been said between Rose and Bulls management.

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

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Sunday , Feb , 05 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Did Kobe’s ego hurt the Lakers’ chances of getting Dwight Howard?

Howard stated that there was "no way" he would give up everything he has in Orlando to go to the Lakers and be the third option, a source close to the situation said. Howard certainly wouldn’t mind being a third piece on a star-studded team, similar to the situations in Miami and Boston. However, he was turned off by Bryant's presentation as it suggested something totally different.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Dwight Howard isn’t interested in being the Third Wheel for the Los Angeles Lakers behind Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

After all, Howard is the current franchise face and superstar for the Orlando Magic. Being the third amigo, the ‘Tyson Chandler’ of the purple-and-gold, wasn’t a selling point for the NBA‘s best center.

Howard was expecting co-star status when meeting Bryant this summer to discuss joining the Lakers. Instead Bryant told Howard he’d have to wait until he retired, which wasn’t especially appealing.

So Howard has turned his attention elsewhere. His initial wish list -which started with the Nets, Mavericks as well as the Lakers - has expanded to include the Bulls and Celtics.

And if Howard ends up elsewhere, Laker-nation may blame Bryant.

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

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Monday , Jan , 30 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Video: LeBron James hurdles John Lucas III on an alley-oop

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Always call screens or you might end up like John Lucas III.

Lucas III, a reserve guard for the Chicago Bulls, didn`t communicate on a backdoor pick and ended up getting victimized by LeBron James. Click the video and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 

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Thursday , Jan , 19 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Michael Jordan believes only Kobe Bryant is worthy

Kobe's ultimate competition is MJ. That's why MJ watches him. MJ made people think what he was doing wasn't human. Ditto the Kobester.I never said Kobe was better than MJ. MJ just told me Kobe's the only one to have done the work, to deserve comparison.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Michael Jordan thinks Kobe Bryant is worthy. Well, sort of.

Jordan, 'The Greatest of All-Time', thinks Bryant, a legendary scorer, can challenge his legacy because of his work ethic.

This is fair. Bryant is already one of the greatest players in NBA history, but he's not better than Jordan.

Jordan has six championships to Bryant's five. Jordan never lost an NBA Finals, while Bryant lost twice. And Jordan would never have chased Shaquille O'Neal out of town like Bryant did.

Of course, Jordan didn't call Bryant his equal. He said he can be compared -and that's it.

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Sunday , Jan , 15 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh: Heat still NBA’s best team

ChrisBosh-“We’re still the best team in the league You’re going to have to go through things like this Things aren’t always going to go well.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Chris Bosh is right. Well, sort of.

His Miami Heat are the NBA’s best team, but aren’t playing like it. The Chicago Bulls, the Heat’s rivals in the competitive Eastern Conference, are.

To be fair, the Heat are 8-4 because they went through a brutal west coast swing without All-World guard and closer Dwyane Wade. A little rest, a healthy Wade, and the Heat climb the standings.

Meanwhile, the Bulls sit atop the entire league with a 12-2 record because of stellar defense and continued fine play from reigning MVP Derrick Rose.

Right now, the Bulls have the edge. Here’s the question: could the Bulls beat the Heat, provided The Big Three are healthy, in a best-of-seven playoff series?

The answer: probably not.

The Heat are virtually unbeatable -if Bosh, LeBron James, and Wade are at their best.

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

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Saturday , Jan , 14 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Rasheed Wallace ‘real interested’ in Bulls?

Former #Celtics F Rasheed Wallace is "real interested" in the #Bulls, source close to Wallace tells #CSNNE.com. Chi has some reservations.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Rasheed Wallace has interest in the Chicago Bulls, however, the feeling may not be mutual.

Wallace, once a premier power forward in the NBA, is looking to come out of retirement and join a contender for a title run.

On paper, the Bulls could use Wallace. He defends, has championship experience, and would provide another option on the block and perimeter.

The reality would be more complicated. The Bulls are a young, impressionable bunch, and Wallace's temperament and affinity for collecting technical fouls (see video) might not be the best influence.

For instance, Wallace excelled on experienced teams like Boston and Detroit, where Celtic and Piston veterans like Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace kept him in line.

The younger Bulls, even though they recently signed Hamilton, lack veterans. So expect them to pass on ‘Sheed.

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Thursday , Jan , 05 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Video: Luol Deng, not Derrick Rose, scores winner against Hawks

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The world thought Derrick Rose was getting the ball. After all, it was late in the fourth quarter and the game was close.

Well, they were wrong.

Instead the Chicago Bulls turned to Luol Deng on a smart back-door play against those pesky  Atlanta Hawks.

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