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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Izzo staying at MSU, Cleveland interested in Scott and Woodson?

Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, turning down a chance to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and and perhaps LeBron James.

"I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State," Izzo said in a statement released by the school on Tuesday night.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Tom Izzo made the right decision -not just for himself, but also for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The NBA is an adjustment. The game is different; the players are millionaire businessmen not teenagers. And many great college coaches have failed in the pros: John Calipari, Mike Montgomery, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian.

Then there was the tiny issue of LeBron James' pending free agency. Izzo would be in quite the quagmire if he accepted the Cavaliers job and James signed elsewhere. 

In the end, the risk was too great. So Izzo decided to stay with Michigan State and become an all-time great in the college ranks.

Meanwhile, Cleveland will continue searching for a sideline boss. Byron Scott is the frontrunner; however, the former Hornets coach wants to replace Phil Jackson in LA -if the Zen-Master leaves.

Mike Woodson, who was recently fired by the Atlanta Hawks, is also under consideration. And this is where the musical chairs could occur. Suppose Cleveland hires Woodson and James leaves. The Cavaliers could replace James with Joe Johnson, another superstar free agent who Woodson coached in Atlanta.

The next few months will be interesting in Ohio and throughout the NBA.

Got thoughts on this?

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Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Hornets trading Collison to the Pacers for Jones, Rush, and/or Hansbrough?

"Speaking of Collison, the Pacers have reached out to New Orleans about the former UCLA point guard."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Indiana and New Orleans are two of the NBA’s smallest markets. Both have limited budgets. Yet, both are desperate to upgrade their roster.

And this is Corporal/Commissioner David Stern’s post recession problem: his league has become increasingly fractured and polarized into have and have-not franchises.

The have franchises – think Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and New York – will spend their summer trying to land big-ticket free agents.

No expense will be spared. Mayors, politicians, celebrities, rap icons and even a president have tried wooing the game’s elite player to their club of choice 

The have-not franchises – think Indiana, Minnesota, New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Memphis – will spend their summer scheming up creative and cost-effective ways to compete.

With this in mind, a Darren Collison deal would make some sense for the Pacers and Hornets.

Larry Bird’s club has to get better at point guard. TJ Ford – and his $8 million dollar salary – isn’t the answer. And Jamaal Tinsley’s $5 million pact is still on the books, even though he was released years ago.

Collison, a lightning quick table-setter, filled in admirably for injured superstar Chris Paul. Best of all, the UCLA alum has three years remaining on his rookie pact.

Meanwhile, reports that the Hornets and Paul were considering parting ways are false. Team and player are apparently committed to each other and sticking together.

However, New Orleans was always a poorer NBA market. Then Hurricane Katrina hit. Then The Great Recession came. And now there’s the Gulf Coast oil spill.

All contributed to the city’s struggling economy, which means there’s less disposable income for citizens to spend on disposable goods –like NBA tickets and luxury boxes.            
 
So the Hornets can't generate the revenue to sign high or even medium priced free agents. Their best and only option this summer is trading the young and inexpensive Collison for other young, and inexpensive players.

Enter Indiana.

They've got lockdown defender Dahntay Jones, athletic swing Brandon Rush, and blue-collar bruiser Tyler Hansbrough.

All are young. All are cheap. And all could play a role in The Bayou. Perhaps, Bird, Indiana's head suit, lets New Orleans pick two of these three players.

That said, nothing is imminent between the Pacers and Hornets. Expect them to keep talking. As mentioned, in today’s NBA, their options are limited.      
           
Get at us with thoughts on this deal?

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Thursday , Jun , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Tom Izzo scare LeBron James from Cleveland?

Tom Izzo is apparently closer to saying yes to the Cleveland Cavaliers than previously thought, a source told ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Thursday.

That source discussed Izzo's future with a close confidant of Izzo, who is coaching in the NBA. The source told Katz that Izzo, who talked to his team earlier this week about his interest in the Cavaliers, is leaning toward taking the job if it is offered.

"Three weeks ago that wasn't the case, but it has changed,'' said the source.

Izzo is meeting with Cleveland to discuss the team's coaching vacancy on Thursday.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Right now, Tom Izzo is wrong for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Izzo is a great college coach. In time, he may defy the NCAA-to-pro curse and develop into a great NBA coach. With LeBron James' pending free agency, now isn't appropriate for the Cavaliers to gamble on a sideline boss who has never coached an NBA game.

Imagine James' position on July 1st when he hits free agency. Think of his choices on the bench: the New York Knicks have former Coach of the Year and Team USA assistant Mike D'Antoni; the New Jersey Nets just landed former Coach of the Year Avery Johnson; the Miami Heat - if need be - will bring Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley out of the executive suite; the Chicago Bulls recently hired defensive guru Tom Thibodeau; and the L.A. Clippers will even let James pick his coach and GM.

With these options available, why would James re-sign with Cleveland and a green Izzo? These two aren't buddies like James and University of Kentucky coach John Calipari. And Izzo, while talented, isn't Duke's Mike Krzyzkewski.

King James wants to win now. A rookie NBA coach, even one with Izzo's resume at Michigan State, may be just enough for him to leave the Cavaliers and sign elsewhere.

Will Izzo scare away LeBron? 

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Wednesday , Jun , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Miami Heat considering Bosh, Boozer, Stoudemire, and then Williams?

I think that could be more of an after-the-fact type of trade, once the Heat and Cavaliers are done with free agency. If LeBron leaves Cleveland and doesn’t come to Miami, then perhaps there could be something to Beasley-for-Mo. But I can’t see the Heat, or any space team, making a play for before playing the free-agent market.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They'll go big. Then small.

The Miami Heat will first try to pair superstar Dwyane Wade with a co-star in the post. Options include free agents Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Bosh, for many reasons, would work best. He's bigger than Boozer and unlike Stoudemire plays defense. Also, CB4 has a relationship with Wade through their agent, Henry Thomas, and TEAM USA.

After years in Toronto, Bosh is hungry. He'd gladly defer to Wade -if it meant competing for a championship.

Once the Heat has their inside-outside combo settled, they'll look to upgrade supporting pieces. And the Cleveland Cavaliers have made it known Mo Williams is available.

Williams might be a fit. His smooth stroke would punish opposing defenses when they doubled-up on Wade and/or Bosh. Best of all, the combo point guard will have a giant chip on his shoulder after being effectively blamed for the Cavaliers' playoff failures.

One thing is certain: Miami has plans for the off-season. And it will be interesting to see how things unfold.

What should the Heat do this summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.   

 

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Tom Izzo wrong for Cleveland Cavaliers

Tom Izzo insisted recently that he has no interest in coaching in the NBA until he wins at least one more NCAA title at Michigan State.

But that stance might not stop the Cleveland Cavaliers from trying to hire Izzo as their next coach.

The Cavaliers -- fresh off dismissing coach Mike Brown and parting ways with general manager Danny Ferry -- have formally extended an offer to Izzo to replace Brown, sources confirmed to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard on Monday.

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HoopsVibe`s Quick Call ...  There`s no mistaking the obvious: owner Dan Gilbert is running the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Gilbert fired former Coach of the Year Mike Brown. Gilbert pushed GM Danny Ferry out the door. Gilbert is the one appeasing superstar free agent LeBron James. And Gilbert, because of his Spartan ties, is chasing Michigan State coach Tom Izzo

Izzo is a fine coach, but no tier-one free agent will sign, or re-sign, with the Cavaliers if they have an NCAA guy on the sideline -unless it`s Duke`s Mike Krzyzewski.  

And few college coaches have successfully transitioned to the pro game. For instance, John Calipari, Lon Kruger, Mike Montgomery, Rick Pitino, and Jerry Tarkanian all failed miserably in the NBA.

Gilbert should rethink Izzo. He should also rethink if he wants to run his NBA team without help.

Is Izzo right for the Cavaliers? Why? Why not?

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Mo Williams for Jose Calderon?

-- If the Cavs decide to trade Mo Williams, one possible destination could be Toronto in exchange for Jose Calderon. Williams is a more dynamic scorer and Calderon is more of a distributor. Both are great free-throw shooters, but neither player is a good defender.

Their contracts are similar in amount and length. The Raptors would like to move Calderon and swingman Hedo Turkoglu.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It would be an exchange of problems. Nothing more.

Calderon with his porous defense, fragile frame, and expensive contract has fallen out of favor in Toronto, while Williams' statue-like 'D', score-first mentality, and big ticket  is expendable in Cleveland.

But Williams wouldn't be much of an upgrade for the Raptors; same with Calderon joining the Cavaliers.

The only thing that works are the contracts: Williams and Calderon make similar money and the term matches, too.

Both teams are probably putting the feelers out and testing the trade market before Chris Bosh and LeBron James hit free agency on July 1st.

Expect all kinds of changes in Toronto and Cleveland this summer. Only it won't be Calderon for Williams. 

Got thoughts on Calderon for Williams?

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Dan Gilbert let LeBron replace Ferry as Cleveland’s de facto GM?

Danny Ferry is out as general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, choosing not to re-sign his contract that was set to expire in June. The decision comes as a surprise but was made days ago, and complicates the most important offseason in team history.

Ferry's departure Friday after five seasons occurred two weeks after the club fired coach Mike Brown following the team's second-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. It also comes as the team is making plans to try to re-sign two-time MVP LeBron James, who will be a free agent next month.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: It's official. The inmate, LeBron James, is running the asylum -even if he has a foot out the free agent door.

Ferry's firing comes as a surprise because days ago reports indicated the retired forward and owner Dan Gilbert had essentially agreed on an extension.

Apparently, the stumbling block was authority. Ferry rightfully thought a GM needed control over basketball operations. He wasn't prepared to deal with Gilbert or James meddling in personnel decisions.

So he left.

Assistant GM Chris Grant will slide into the big chair in the executive suite. However, it remains to be seen how much authority Grant will have as the new GM.

Expect Gilbert to be very involved this summer. If James resigns, Gilbert and Grant will likely let the superstar pick the new coach and have a large say in all basketball related decisions.

This isn't the way to run a winning organization. For instance, Tim Duncan always defers to coach Gregg Popovich and executive R.C. Buford. The Los Angeles Lakers started winning when Kobe Bryant quit commenting to random fans outside of strip malls about swapping Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd and focused on basketball. And even the great Michael Jordan had little say in the happenings of the Chicago Bulls.

So Gilbert, who doesn't have James' name on a new deal, is taking a risk in re-structuring his entire organization to suit his free agent superstar.

Got thoughts on Ferry leaving the Cavaliers? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Jun , 01 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James: ‘Cleveland Cavaliers have an edge’

LeBron Jame told CNN's Larry King that the Cleveland Cavaliers "have an edge" when it comes to signing him when the free agency period begins on July 1.

James answered "absolutely" when asked by King if Cleveland has an edge to re-sign him due to his familiarity with the team. The interview was taped Tuesday and will air Friday on CNN's "Larry King Live," capping the program's 25th anniversary celebration on the network.

"Absolutely. Because, you know, this city, these fans, I mean, have given me a lot in these seven years. And, you know, for me, it's comfortable. So I've got a lot of memories here. And -- and so it does have an edge," James told King.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Surprise, surprise.

Apparently, the old man behind the mic' got a little scoop from LeBron James. Word is the most coveted free agent in pro sports history told Larry King the Cleveland Cavaliers have the inside track on re-signing him. 

There are two reasons for this. First, Cleveland, specifically Ohio, is home. Whatever your opion of James, he is loyal. This was made clear in James' bio flick More Than a Game and autobiography Shooting Stars. His relationship with the franchise, city, and state will be a factor.

Second, the Cavaliers - because of the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement - can offer the longest term and most money. And money always matters.

Again, the Czar of CNN and 'Bron are scheduled to have their little sitdown on Friday, so check it out in between game one and two of the NBA Finals.   

Do you believe James? Does Cleveland have an edge? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Sunday , May , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Can Danny Ferry get LeBron James to re-sign with Cleveland Cavaliers?

Danny Ferry's contract expires in 30 days, but if it is his last month as the Cavaliers general manager, no one within the organization seems to be worrying about it.

Since last summer, Ferry has firmly declined to talk about his future in any setting. Owner Dan Gilbert has declined several interview requests on the matter.

The signs are there, however, that Ferry plans on staying and that Gilbert wants him back. It is possible one of the reasons for the silence is that the two sides are talking about a new contract.

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HoopsVibe's Call: Is Danny Ferry the guy? Is the former Duke sharpshooter the guy to convince superstar LeBron James to shun the bright lights of New York and beaches of Miami to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Well, Dan Gilbert apparently thinks so because reports indicate the Cleveland owner will soon give Ferry a new multi-year contract.

Ferry's record as GM is mixed. He's not gun shy and has made several blockbuster trades. Problem is, even with Gilbert's significant resources, he failed to find the right supporting cast for James to excel when it mattered the most in the playoffs.

For Ferry, it's a case of quantity over quality. And it's one more thing James must consider when July 1st hits.  

Can Ferry get James to stay in Cleveland? Why? Why not? Get at us in the comment box below.

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Monday , May , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Cleveland Cavaliers had tuned Mike Brown out

Mike Brown won everything in five years coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers. Everything, that is, except an NBA title.

Brown, the most successful coach in franchise history, was fired after failing to win a championship with superstar -- and soon-to-be free agent -- LeBron James.

The Cavaliers had a midnight deadline Sunday night to fire the head coach or pay him his full $4.5 million salary for next season.

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HoopsVibe's Call: Believe it or not, this wasn't about LeBron James' pending free agency.

The Cleveland Cavaliers - whether James re-signs or heads elsewhere this summer - had tuned Brown out. 

For consecutive seasons, the team fell short of expectations in the playoffs. Two years ago, against Orlando, their offensive sets were too basic; they also lacked the personnel to stop the Magic's stretch four-man Rashard Lewis.

This year they had supposedly made adjustments, but still folded against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.  

Perhaps, Brown ran too loose a ship, allowing the sideline to resemble something of a dance show during games. Perhaps, Brown delegated too much to James. Perhaps, Brown had too many weapons at his disposal. And perhaps, the end of season gossip, whether true or not, took its toll.

One thing, however, was clear: the players needed a new, different voice. So Brown had to go. And this had nothing to do with James' uncertain status.

Had the Cavaliers tuned Brown out? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.  

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Friday , May , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Should Mark Cuban tamper to get LeBron James?

In an interview this week posted on CNNMoney.com, parts of which were also posted on ESPNDallas.com, Cuban expressed his interest in James as a free agent. By commenting on James before he officially becomes a free agent on July 1 -- provided he does not reach an agreement with the Cavaliers before then -- Cuban could be accused of tampering.

Said Cuban in the interview: "Come July 1st, yeah, of course, anybody would be interested in LeBron James, and if he leaves via free agency, then it's going to be tough. If he does like I'm guessing, hoping he will, which is say, 'I'm not going to leave the Cavs high and dry,' if he decides to leave -- there's still a better chance he stays -- then he'll try to force a sign-and-trade, and that gives us a chance. . . . What I do know about LeBron in the minimal time I've spent talking to him is he just wants to win. Money's not his issue. He needs to be someplace where he trusts the organization.

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HoopsVibe's Call: Mark Cuban is up to his old tricks -doing anything and everything to give the Dallas Mavericks an opportunity at LeBron James, the most hyped free agent in the history of professional sport.

The league's renegade owner is putting the feelers out, letting James know he'd do a sign-and-trade if the superstar decides not to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Of course, this is tampering. And, of course, Cuban could well be fined by league head office, but forking over a six figure cheque to the suits in New York would be a small price to pay for James.

Should Cuban tamper to get James? Let us know in the comment box below.  

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Thursday , May , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Should LeBron James have a say in trades?

LeBron James has had a lot of power in Cleveland, according to ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher.

Sources told Bucher that James vetoed trades he didn't like for the Cavaliers, while pushing other deals through that he thought would help the team.

Any team that signs LeBron will likely have to set a basis for how much power he'll have in the front office.

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf never gave that type of power to Michael Jordan, so it's doubtful he'd give it to James.

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After all, this creates an uncomfortable dynamic in the locker room. There's a fine line between the two-time MVP having a say in personnel matters and ushering out teammates he doesn't jive with -like former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Drew Gooden.
 
It's also a distraction. James, who again collapsed in the playoffs, should focus on basketball. Nothing else. The sooner this happens, the better off the two-time MVP and his team will be.
 
Finally, there's a reason Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and even Michael Jordan have/had little say in front office matters. Why should James, who hasn't yet won an NBA Title, be different?
 
Should James have a say in trades? Why? Why not?
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Tuesday , May , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Cleveland fire Mike Brown to re-sign LeBron James?

"Decision day hasn't arrived yet but it appears everyone is preparing for it.

The Cavaliers had not performed or scheduled exit interviews with players or coaches as of Monday. Once some or all of those take place, there will be a verdict on coach Mike Brown. But if that decision is a parting of ways, the sides are getting ready for it."

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HoopsVibe’s Call: Their bags are packed. They’ve said their goodbyes.

Right now, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown and his assistants are waiting for one thing: their pink slip. That rosy little slip of paper is necessary if the Cavaliers are to have any shot, hope, or prayer at re-signing superstar LeBron James.

After all, Cleveland has fallen short two seasons in a row in the playoffs. This year, their second season failure was epic; the NBA’s best regular season team simply quit against a rejuvenated Boston squad.

So change is inevitable. James wants it. What James, the most highly coveted free agent in the history of professional sports, wants, he gets.

Perhaps, Brown, a defensive wizard and stand up guy, deserves better. Problem is, he, like much of the NBA, is a pawn in the coming free agent frenzy. And number 23, The King, is controlling the board.

Does Brown have to get fired for the Cavaliers to re-sign James? 

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Saturday , May , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James Skips Exit Interview with Cavaliers

James was a no-show at the Cavaliers' practice facility yesterday. His formal exit interview with president Danny Ferry has been postponed. And there already was an erroneous report Mike Brown was fired.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert denied the report, but Brown did not speak to the media, a telling sign. Gilbert said something could come down in "seven to 10 days" as they "evaluate" the situation. Rumblings are James and Brown had a run-in earlier in the series.

More signs. Sonny Vaccaro, the sneaker-king whose friends with James' entourage, expects James to leave -- for Chicago. The entourage seems to be split between New York, Chicago and Cleveland, and an aide of President Obama said the noted Bulls fan is hoping James comes to the Windy City.
 
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Saturday , May , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Nets a Possibility for Shaq?

Cavaliers free agent center Shaquille O'Neal, a Newark native, told The Post he would consider the Nets as a destination this summer -- intrigued because they now reside in his hometown.

O'Neal, the Cavs "other" free agent, praised the new Prudential Center as being an NBA hotspot and said he would rather them not move to Brooklyn in 2013.
"I think it's better than most arenas, I think it's one of the best arenas in the country," O'Neal told The Post following the Cavaliers' stunning second-round elimination against Boston on Thursday night. "Hopefully they can stay there forever. I don't know what's going on with the Brooklyn situation, but it says a lot for the city of Newark."

O'Neal has real-estate investments in Newark and is also intrigued in one day being a part-owner of the Nets because they now are in Newark. But he would want them to stay there. Shaq had long wondered why it took so long for the club to move to his hometown. Last season, while with Phoenix, he attended a Devils game at Prudential Center and got a grand tour by the owners. 

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Saturday , May , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaq: I Want to Keep Playing

So, what does happen now? O'Neal is a free agent now and wants to keep playing.

"Of course," he said. "I missed 360 games because of injury in my career, so by my calculations I still have 3.7 years left. That means I'm going to play until I'm 41. I've been here 17 years but I've missed a lot of games, so I still feel I can play this game."

He has said he really enjoyed his experience in Cleveland, so he'd consider returning, although many things are undecided at this point, including the status of LeBron James and coach Mike Brown.

"There are a lot of free agents on the team," he said. "We just have to sit back and I'm sure everybody's going to do what's best for them." 

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OoB VI: So Many Sweeps, Elbowgate, Editing the Sports Guy Awards, and Barkley’s Latest Blunder
Thursday , May , 13 , 2010 Marija Kero, The Knicks Chick

OoB VI: So Many Sweeps, Elbowgate, Editing the Sports Guy Awards, and Barkley’s Latest Blunder

In episode VI of Out of Bounds, Marija Kero dissects LeBron's situation, edits the Sports Guy's list, recaps some draft duds and takes a friendly jab or two at Charles Barkley. There's also a cameo by Stephon Marbury's "Vaseline-eating ass". Let us know your thoughts on the topics, and ask Marija a question by leaving a comment below.

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Elbowgate Continues: Does LeBron Have a Torn Ligament in his Elbow?
Wednesday , May , 12 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Elbowgate Continues: Does LeBron Have a Torn Ligament in his Elbow?

Just when I think I'm out, this story pulls me back in. After reading that LeBron's injury situation was more serious than reported, King James blew up in game three and temporarily put those rumours to rest. Game four saw a slight drop-off for the Akron Hammer (I'm still rooting for that nickname), but there was nothing in his near-triple-double performance to suggest severe damage to his shooting arm.

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Wednesday , May , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

What’s Wrong with LeBron James?

First off, he's undermined his coach by acting lax after losses when Brown has been sounding alarm bells. It is James' personality not to be too worried about anything and it was not expected that he'd be throwing people into lockers and such. But his "we'll get 'em next game" philosophy has clearly backfired. With the exception of Game 3, despite all the handshakes and nonsense, the Cavs have been knocked on their heels in every game.

It has further become problematic that James has been disengaged during the games. Not only has he fallen into the trap of "letting the game come to him," but he's been increasingly distant. In huddles he's looking at the ceiling or into the distance. It is not the James anyone on the team knows and his teammates and coaches have seen it. More problematic, they can't explain it and that is making the entire locker room uneasy. 

On Tuesday it was Zydrunas Ilgauskas and O'Neal that actually were more proactive. They were showing more leadership than James both on the floor and off the floor.

There were two skirmishes on the court. One was with Kendrick Perkins and O'Neal and the other was with Mo Williams and Rajon Rondo. James showed no such fire and then didn't get get involved in the exchanges, staying off to the side. 

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