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Friday , May , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Derrick Williams believes he can replace LeBron in Cleveland

"I think I'm the No. 1 pick because I have more star quality I would think," the small forward said. "I'm just a bigger person. Just trying to fill in for a big star like LeBron like they're missing. That missing piece. I think that's me."

Link

HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call:  Put a check next to confidence.
 
Clearly, Derrick Williams thinks highly of his talent and ability, telling reporters he can replace LeBron James as The Man for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
That`s right: LeBron.
 
Williams can play. No doubt about it. He possesses an enviable combination of athleticism and skill, and certainly had a banner NCAA tournament.
 
He, or Kyrie Irving, is the best player in the draft. But replace LeBron?
 
Not once have I thought Williams is the second-coming of King James. And not once have I thought he`d be the league MVP and best player in the NBA.
 
Now Williams has a problem. He must perform like a superstar or, by his own standard, he`ll be a disappointment. He also appears arrogant.
 
Here`s a question worth considering: where are 'his people' to check these comments?
 
Hopefully, Williams` agent or advisor realizes his client needs media training –and fast. There`s nothing like setting yourself up to fail before playing a single game.
 
--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , May , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

David Kahn embarrasses Timberwolves with claim lottery was rigged

NBA officials are evaluating whether to fine Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn for comments suggesting Tuesday night's draft lottery was rigged, sources told CBSSports.com.

A decision on what to do with Kahn over his latest insensitive and inapropriate public remarks could be delayed because top league executives are traveling and scattered for multiple events, including the pre-draft camp and competition committee meeting Wednesday in Chicago.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Clearly, David Kahn never learned the difference between inner and outer voice.

The inner voice is what you think but don’t say. The outer voice is what you say after you’ve thought about it. There is, essentially, a self-censor process. 
 
Now the Minnesota Timberwolves executive had every right to think something was amiss after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery. The timing was too much.
 
One year ago, they lost their last first overall pick, LeBron James, when he signed with the Miami Heat as a free agent. It wasn’t just that he left. It’s how he left, mainly The Decision.
 
Last night seemed too convenient for the Cavaliers, especially with the owner’s son attending the event. 
 
So Kahn went with his inner voice. He forgot about the self-censor, accused the NBA of an Oliver Stone type conspiracy, and embarrassed the Timberwolves.
 
Correction: he continued to embarrass the Timberwolves. His club was again a disappointment in 2011, even with Kevin Love’s heroics on the glass.
 
Something has to give. Hopefully, owner Glen Taylor will look at who represents him and makes changes.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , May , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron on Cleveland winning lottery: ‘I think it is a good step for them’

"I'm happy for the franchise, I'm happy for the fans," he said. "I think it is a good step for them. "But I've got a lot more things to worry about now than the lottery."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: See Cleveland. LeBron James cares. Well, sort of.

Apparently, the former franchise face and prodigal son is ‘happy’ they won the lottery last night, and have the right to pick first overall in June’s draft.

James, of course, left Cleveland on poor terms last July when he ‘took his talents to South Beach’ to play for the Miami Heat.

Still, he couldn’t resist a subtle shot. James mentioned Cleveland’s draft position wasn’t his concern; he was concerned with game two of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Just another reminder James is still playing basketball, while Cleveland’s season ended, well, a few minutes after The Decision ended.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , May , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Cavaliers want Rudy Gay?

Do the Grizzlies have enough money for Randolph, Gasol, Mike Conley's five-year, $45 million extension that begins next season and Gay, too? Perhaps, but they played awfully well during the postseason without him. Gay averaged 19.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in a season that ended in mid-February to a shoulder injury. He is one of the league's most explosive scorers and just entering the prime of his career, so he won't come cheap.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Will take big tickets from small markets.

This should be the motto for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who, despite the declining economy and pending lockout, are one of the few teams willing to assume lucrative contracts.

After all, Cavaliers` owner Dan Gilbert hates losing, and will spend on veteran talent –if it provides an identity and helps turn the page on The Decision.

The Cavaliers acquired Baron Davis –even though he`s often injured, overweight, and has two years and $29 million remaining on his contract.

Last year, they chased Gerald Wallace before the Charlotte Bobcats sent the pogo-stick three-man to the Portland Trail Blazers at the trade deadline. Wallace is owed $22 million through 2013.

Now they want Rudy Gay, who the Memphis Grizzlies have made available because he`s scheduled to make $68 million over the next four years. The Grizzlies just extended Zach Randolph and want to re-up with Marc Gasol.

On the one hand, Gay might be a nice asset. He`s relatively young. He`s talented. He`s athletic. And he can score in a variety of ways.

On the other hand, he`s expensive. Some believe his team was better without him –the Grizzlies were a game from the Western Conference Finals, even though Gay was injured.

So acquiring Gay`s big-ticket would be a risk. Perhaps, it`s a risk worth taking.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , May , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kevin Durant wants The Decision 2.0?

Asked if any inch of him wanted to someday experience his own summer of LeBron, Durant said: "You said an inch, so I'll take that inch. One inch of my mind just wants to experience that, see what it's like, you know. I've been through the recruitment process, of course, going to college, but I want to see how that is. I'm not saying that I want to go to another team or I want to go to a greater market. But just how much it was publicized this summer, I just want to see what that's like. I'm an interested person, I'm a curious person. And once again, I'm not trying to say I want to leave or anything. But I just want to see how that is.

"I'll be 27 when my contract's up. So maybe when I'm 27 … But you never know. Two or three years down the line, I might sign another extension here. So we'll see. We'll see. But right now, I'm happy where I'm at, I'm glad I'm locked in for five years."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kevin Durant, don’t do it. Don’t pull a LeBron and hold ‘The Decision 2.0’ when you become a free agent in a few years.

Don’t announce your future on national television like a raving egomaniac. Don’t pull Jim Gray out the ‘reporter’ scrap heap for a paid gig. And finally, don’t ruin your nice guy persona in an afternoon by acting like a jerk.

Just don’t. Don't even think about it.

In a few years, you’ll be a free agent. You have the right to pick where you play. Nobody can take issue with what you decide. As James learned the hard way, how you decide is everything.

For instance, James had given Cleveland seven years. They couldn’t provide a legit’ co-star, so he left. Fair enough. He had that right.

However, the backlash occurred mostly because James acted like a diva. ‘The Decision’ was unprofessional; his image has yet to recover.

Hopefully, Durant was misquoted. And hopefully, Durant has learned. One bad decision –like 'The Decision'- can change years of goodwill.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Apr , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

The good part of LeBron James’ Decision

Boys & Girls Clubs in Cleveland, Akron and Elyria report receiving a total of more than $480,000, part of about $2 million that James has distributed nationwide since the July broadcast, billed as "The Decision." In Cleveland, clubs in the Mount Pleasant and Slavic Village neighborhoods have received $130,000.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We knocked it –and with good reason.

Nine months ago, LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and signing with the Miami Heat as an unrestricted free agent.
 
If James wanted the sun of Miami instead of the snow of Cleveland, so be it. He had rights as a free agent. Who are we to judge?
 
However, the actual decision wasn’t the problem. The Decision, as in announcing where he would sign on national television, was. This made for ESPN spectacle ruined James’ image.
 
Nothing good came from it –until now. James donated all the advertising dollars to the Boys and Girls Club of America, which ended up being close to a half million dollars.
 
So The Decision wasn’t all about stroking James’ ego. Somebody else benefitted from his hour on television.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
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Saturday , Apr , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Unlike Nelly and Usher, Jay-Z passionate NBA owner

t only does Jigga have more Grammy Awards than any NBA owner, he’s also more involved than these “so-called” celebrity minority owners, according to Nets GM Billy King.

“I think a lot of those so-called guys that have parts of teams, they vanish,” King said. “There was one in Cleveland, what was his name? Usher. They haven’t seen him. I think Nelly in (Charlotte) – haven’t seen him. But Jay-Z, I think players see that it’s more of a passion for him, not just something he’s involved in.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s better than Nelly and Usher. We’re talking minority owners, not music.

Word is Jay-Z, who has a small stake in the New Jersey Nets, is the top celebrity owner in the NBA.  Unlike Nelly, who is linked to the Charlotte Bobcats, and Usher, who has a percentage in the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jay-Z is actively involved.

This is hardly a surprise. Jay-Z is comfortable in both the boardroom and studio.

Remember, he was a key cog for Rocafella Records and clothes, and was once the head suit for legendary music label Def Jam Records. Over time, he has amassed a personal fortune of close to $400 million.

And Jay-Z is serious about his Nets. He’s involved in recruiting free agents, the new Brooklyn stadium, and all other aspects of the team. He does far more than show-up and sit courtside.

Expect Jay-Z to be a part of the turnaround with New Jersey.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron: Cleveland wasn’t my city, the Cavaliers weren’t my team

If you tell LeBron James that Cleveland was his city or the Cavaliers were his team, prepare for a quick correction.

The Akron native didn't wait for the end of a question Friday when a reporter referenced Cleveland as "your city." James' message was that he can't disown something that was never his. "It wasn't my city. It wasn't my team either," he said. "I was just a player, you know, I helped get that franchise to leaps and bounds that they haven't seen before.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This looks like LeBron James once again dumping on Cleveland and the Cavaliers.

We’ve seen this before from LeBron. He has an entourage that puts Vinnie Chase to shame and The Decision, last year’s TV event where he announced where he would sign as a free agent, revealed much about his character.

James is from Akron, Ohio. Akron and Cleveland aren’t the same. A a rivalry exists between the two. Cleveland never showed James much love as a prep phenom’.

Then there’s Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers’ owner. The Decision was bad, but so was Gilbert’s response, publishing a letter that was unprofessional and personal.

Perhaps Gilbert’s ego exceeds LeBron’s. Perhaps working for the business mogul wasn’t a walk in the park/Quicken Loans Arena.

And James correctly points out that the Cavs' had several elite players before him: Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, and Mark Price.

So maybe Cleveland was never his city; the Cavaliers never his team. Fair enough. Maybe this wasn’t the match we thought.

Here’s the question: Can we move on?

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dan Gilbert on beating LeBron and Heat: ‘Not in our garage’

Dan Gilbert after his Cavaliers beat the Heat: 'Not in our garage!!'

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Dan Gilbert would have to say something.

The owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers just couldn’t stay silent after last night’s 102-90 win over LeBron James, his former franchise face, and the Miami Heat.

Not after last summer’s shenanigans. Not after LeBron James announced he was taking his talent to South Beach with ‘The Decision’.

Of course, Gilbert did respond last July. His on-line letter to Cavalier fans attacking James is the thing of legends (and not in a good way).

This season, he’s been quiet –and with good reason. His Cavaliers have struggled mightily, flirting with the record for consecutive losses, while James’ Heat, despite some ups-and-downs, are at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Last night was Gilbert’s moment. It was Cleveland’s moment, too. His tweet, while subtle and restrained, hit the mark.

Hopefully, Gilbert and Cleveland got closure on James. Hopefully, they forget the past and focus on rebuilding. Something tells me otherwise, though.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: LeBron skips pre-game introductions in Cleveland

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: First, his entourage was denied access to a stadium they once ran. Then he skipped the pre-game warm-up and introductions to avoid the boo-birds. And finally, his new squad got routed by his old squad.

Despite posting a triple-double in a 102-90 loss, LeBron James’ second trip back to Cleveland has to be considered a bust. Cavalier-nation got revenge on their former hero for leaving them in the lurch with ‘The Decision’.

However, the real story was James going MIA during warm-up and introductions. Click the video below and watch the awkwardness at Quicken Loans Arena. 


--Oly Sandor.

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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.

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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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Friday , Mar , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Rockets would have accepted Baron Davis, lottery pick for Yao Ming?

The Clippers could have traded Baron Davis and their number one pick in the 2011 NBA Draft that was used to acquire Mo Williams and Jamario Moon in a similar deal for the expiring contract of Yao Ming, according to Bill Simmons.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Why was there such a market for Baron Davis?

Sure, he has some talent. When healthy and motivated, Davis has the skill set to still be a decent point guard.

Here’s the problem: he’s rarely healthy and/or motivated. He signed with the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent, but seemed more interested in making films and filling out his physique than winning games.

Davis couldn’t even get motivated when paired with Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, and the young exciting Clippers of 2011.

Now suppose Davis gets in reasonable shape. He won’t be the same player who orchestrated that magical run for the Golden State Warriors.

We Believe was back in 2006-07. That cram on Andrei Kirilenko was a lifetime ago.

Simply put, Davis is not the same player. And he never will be, either. But GMs clearly expect him to regain his form because he has another two years and $29 million remaining on his contract.

They are mistaken. The usualy wise Houston Rockets dodged a bullet. Expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to learn this the hard way.

Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Mar , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dwight Howard: I want to stay in Orlando

“I love Orlando. The city has been very good to me and I would love to finish my career here. I want to win a championship and I want to win it in Orlando,” Howard said on the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning. “That’s all I’ve been thinking about.”

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: You’ve heard rumors Dwight Howard will leave the Orlando Magic as a free agent and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012.

Well, not so fast. According to the massive five-man, this isn’t so.

Howard recently told scribes he wants to finish his career in Orlando, and bring an NBA Title to Disney World. There are a few reasons for these comments:

  • Clearly, the Magic aren’t trading Howard, so he and the team want to avoid the publicity that plagued Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and, most recently, Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets.
  • He may choose to stay in Orlando. Howard is comfortable, the Magic are competitive, and Executive Otis Smith is committed to providing him with a top flight supporting cast.
  • Of course, he may have to stay in Orlando. The league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires July 1st, and owners may prevent superstars from building super squads by allowing teams to apply a ‘franchise’ tag to top players.Translation: Orlando could keep Howard. It may not matter whether he wants to stay or go.

So Howard has to keep all options open. And that’s exactly what he’s doing with his comments.

--Oly Sandor
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Thursday , Mar , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Did Derrick Rose really want to play with LeBron James?

James, who eventually signed with the Heat as a free agent, was being courted by the Bulls, among other teams. In a Sports Illustrated article, Rose revealed that he sent James a text message saying: "I'm just hitting you up to kill all the rumors that I don't want to play with you. I'd like to play with you. I just want to win."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Derrick Rose can claim he was open to playing with LeBron James; however, he didn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat last summer for The King.

If Rose was truly interested in partnering with James he would’ve played a greater role in recruiting the game’s best player.

For example, he would’ve flown to Cleveland and been part of the recruiting mission. Or at a minimum, he would’ve taken the time to speak to James.

Sending a four sentence text message is a cop-out, especially when you consider that James is used to being worshipped, adored, and fawned over.

Then there’s Rose’s choice of words. He used ‘like’, a somewhat indifferent and understated term. Other players and teams would have ‘loved’ to have had James.

In the end, Rose’s efforts wouldn’t have much mattered, though. James was determined to take his 'talent to South Beach'.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Feb , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Clippers trade Baron Davis to Cavaliers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon

The Cavaliers and Clippers have agreed upon a trade of Mo Williams and Jamario Moon for Baron Davis and a first round pick in 2011 (reportedly unprotected), according to sources that spoke with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

Link

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Thursday , Feb , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Will Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony trades force a lockout?

Jazz CEO Greg Miller said he made the move because of a "gut feeling" that he wouldn't be able to sign Williams to a long-term deal after next season. "If you look at what happened with Phoenix, Toronto and Cleveland ... they all lost their marquee player and had very little if anything to show for it," Miller said. "This trade allows us to be competitive now and beyond the 2012 season."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Could this be the trigger that pushes the NBA’s small market owners to demand wholesale changes to the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement and financial system?

Consider the Utah Jazz’s predicament. Their superstar and best player, Deron Williams, longed for bright lights, a big city, and a chance at a championship.

That wasn’t happening in Utah, so Williams likely informed management he was opting-out of his contract in July of 2012.

Translation: he was gone.

The Jazz could’ve spent the next sixteen months convincing Williams to stay. Of course, the end result wouldn’t have changed and the Jazz would’ve lost their prime asset without compensation.

Just like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors with LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Or, the Jazz could’ve spent the next sixteen months negotiating a trade. They’d be daily fodder for pundits and fans on-line and on-air. Maybe Conan O’Brien would get in on the act.

Just like the Denver Nuggets with Carmelo Anthony.

Neither situation was appealing, which led to the Jazz suddenly shipping Williams to the Nets for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, and a pair of first round draft picks.

The Jazz did well, especially when considering Williams held all the cards, possessed all the leverage, and was hell-bent on using it. They were also lucky, though, because the Nets were willing to trade after losing out on Carmelo Anthony.

In four months, they –and the other small market owners- will get revenge. Much to the chagrin of the players, they’ll demand a hard cap, revenue sharing, and franchise player tags.

No more Anthony, Bosh, James, and Williams holding them hostage. And the looming lockout will be nasty, bitter, and long.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Feb , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nuggets looking to trade Gallinari, Harrington, and Nene?

More than half the NBA has called Denver about Nene's availability in trades, but the team's first order of business after trading Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks is convincing their offensively talented center to remain with the team. Nene is eligible to opt out of his contract this offseason, despite being owed $11.6 million for the 11-12 season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What’s next in The Mile High City?

Unfortunately, trading Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks has only created more questions and uncertainty for the Denver Nuggets.

For instance, do they trade or extend Nene, their Brazilian post who can also opt-out of his contract at season’s end?

Can management correct last summer’s error and find a taker/sucker to assume the remaining years and money on Al Harrington’s mid-level pact?

Meanwhile, ESPN is reporting that the Nuggets are attempting to flip Danilo Gallinari to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey Nets, or Toronto Raptors.

There is one conclusion: the Nuggets are in overhaul mode. While they received a plethora of good pieces from the Knicks, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Gallinari, and Timofey Mozgov are hardly great.

The hard work is just beginning for rookie GM Masai Ujiri. He must now plot a path for Denver without Anthony, a top-fifteen player and recognizable personality.

The next two days could decide if Denver sinks to the depths of despair ala the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors post LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Or, if Denver stays relevant by developing some pieces and moving others for tangible assets.

Expect Ujiri to burn up the phone lines and explore all options right up to Thursday’s trade deadline. Indeed, Denver’s future is at stake.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Feb , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James: ‘I’m back to playing LeBron James basketball’

"I'm in my zone, in a comfort zone where I've been the last two years," James told Sun Sports. "It took me a little while to get here, but I'm very comfortable with this team. I'm very comfortable with the sets, offensively and defensively. "And I'm back to playing LeBron James basketball."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Things are gelling between the Miami Heat and LeBron James.

After all, the MVP dropped a third-person reference, which is always a sign of comfort for an NBA superstar.

Nobody should be surprised by James’ success. He’s physically blessed and incredibly talented; however, his basketball IQ and passing ability are his true strengths.

The critics will remind James there’s a difference between feeling comfortable in the regular season and winning during the playoffs. The Cavaliers, his former team, imploded for two straight playoffs.

The critics will also contend that Miami’s holes at the one and five spots are too great for Chris Bosh, James, and Dwyane Wade to overcome –especially if the Boston Celtics can stay healthy.

So James will need his comfort zone to prove the critics wrong and win a championship. And then there will be a barrage of third person references.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Feb , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James: No hard feelings Cleveland!

''It didn't matter for me if the Cavs were going to have a successful season or not,'' James said. ''I felt like I was making the right choice for me as an individual and for my career. Like I said, I have nothing bad to say about the players that I left and the team. I wish the organization the best. And I wish the fans, more than anything, the best because we had a lot of great years together.''

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: No hard feelings, really.

This was the message LeBron James had for the Cleveland Cavaliers, his former team of seven years. Of course, James left the Cavaliers to sign with the star-studded Miami Heat last summer.

The Cavaliers have now lost 21 consecutive games after losing to James' Heat on Monday. They also have the league’s worst overall record.

Worst of all, Dan Gilbert’s club seems stuck. Yes, they lost James, and in especially brutal fashion. They must move forward, though. This means developing a plan and establishing a new identity.

Perhaps the Cavaliers trade for veterans and rebuild on the fly. Perhaps the Cavaliers trade their veterans –like Antwan Jamison and Mo Williams- and start over.

Just do something because 21 straight losses is hard to watch.

Meanwhile, James’ Heat are legit’ contenders. If healthy, they’ll compete for the Eastern Conference crown and possibly a championship.

South Beach has been good to James, so why would he have hard feelings towards Cleveland?

--Oly Sandor.

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