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Sunday , Feb , 12 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Dwight Howard: ‘I want to become a closer’

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is upset with his diminished role in the fourth quarter of games.Howard told FOX Sports he wants more touches in crunch time, after he had only six possessions in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 99-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks – one coming off an offensive rebound. He scored 11 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the victory.”I do want the ball more in the fourth quarter,” Howard told FOX Sports after the game.”I want to become a closer. The only way you get there is by getting the ball and have coach have the confidence in giving me the ball.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Dwight Howard must shut up and play.

Howard hasn’t handled his pending free agency well, too often commenting on his status with the Orlando Magic to the media.

The end result: Howard, who was once one of the NBA’s most popular players, has taken criticism because his future has become a distraction for the Magic.

After a win against the Milwaukee Bucks, he gripped about not being the club’s closer during crunch time. Well, closers have to make free throws, and Howard is connecting on just 49% of attempts from the line.
So Magic coach Stan Van Gundy should continue running fourth quarter sets through Jason Richardson, Jameer Nelson, and others.

Howard must check his ego, shut up, and play.

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

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Sunday , Feb , 12 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe Bryant supports Lakers signing Gilbert Arenas?

Kobe Bryant would give his approval for the signing of Gilbert Arenas, according to two people familiar with the situation. Bryant reportedly reached out to Arenas recently to let him know he’s on board with Arenas joining the Lakers.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: 'The Man' has given his approval.

Word is Kobe Bryant will support the Los Angeles Lakers if they sign Gilbert Arenas, the controversial shooting guard who was recently released via the amnesty clause by the Orlando Magic.

On the surface, this doesn’t look like a big deal. Arenas is a free agent. The Lakers are struggling. Seems a match, right?

Well, consider the context. Bryant, despite his recent denials, met Dwight Howard this summer to tell the All-Star post he’d be the third option if he joined the Lakers.

Translation: the purple and gold are Bryant’s team until he retires. There will be no passing of the baton under the Black Mamba's watch.

So Bryant likely relayed a similar message to Arenas and his people when he reached out to the former Washington Wizard.

After all, Arenas will see whatever team he signs with as an opportunity to salvage his career and reputation. And such an approach won’t help the Lakers climb the Western Conference standings.

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

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Wednesday , Feb , 08 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Kobe on supposed rift with Dwight Howard: ‘It’s not true’

“omg! I’m not getting mixed up in this kiddy drama spit, bro. too old for that spit,” Bryant responded via email. "How do you think I feel at my age having to chase down this stuff,” I answered. “I understand your position. But if it’s untrue, any of it, and allowed to circulate throughout the league, which already is happening, I would think you’d want to say it’s not.” “It’s not true,” Kobe responded.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It was a no-win situation for Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers’ talented and polarizing shooting guard.

Bryant would only feed the rumor by addressing allegations he told Dwight Howard he’d be the third wheel on the Lakers. So Bryant stayed silent, which, of course, fed the rumor.

Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

After much prodding, Bryant finally denied telling Howard he’d have to be the ‘Tyson Chandler of the Lakers’. In fact, the All-Star went all Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon movies, claiming to be ‘too old’ for this stuff.

Hopefully, no serious damage was done, and the Lakers still have a chance at Howard.

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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.


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.

2012 NBA All-Star Starters Announced
Friday , Feb , 03 , 2012 Paul Eide

2012 NBA All-Star Starters Announced

Of the 10 players to be announced as starters this year, eight of them were starters last season. Amar’e Stoudemire started at forward for the East last season but was replaced this year by teammate Carmelo Anthony. Anthony, who started for the West last season, was replaced by first timer Blake Griffin this year. The retirement of Yao Ming also opened a starting spot which was filled by Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

Read More
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Wednesday , Feb , 01 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Derrick Rose: Who wouldn’t want to play with Dwight Howard?

“Me and Dwight definitely have a relationship, especially because of adidas. I know our market and the city speaks for itself, if someone was interested to come to the Chicago Bulls,” Rose said of the Magic’s All-Star center. “Dwight, he’s a great player. Who wouldn’t want to play with him, but you never know what’s going to happen.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Dwight Howard will have options. All he has to do is take a pay cut.

The All-Star center for the Orlando Magic can opt-out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent July 1st.

Naturally, the rumor mill has been working overtime.

Howard was initially linked to the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, and New Jersey Nets. Then it was the Boston Celtics. Now it’s the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls are appealing because they have the 2011 Most Valuable Player in Derrick Rose, and currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Problem is, they already have Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, who are slated to earn a combined $27 million per year.

And with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it might be difficult for the Bulls, or any team, to find the cap space to sign Howard or find a taker for Boozer and/or Noah.

Of course, the Magic can offer $30 million more than other teams, so Howard is free to leav Orlando - but he`ll have to take far less money.

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


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Sunday , Jan , 29 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Dwight Howard: Magic lack heart and soul

“Looked like guys didn’t want to play,” he said. “I told them at halftime, if you don’t want to play, just stay in the lockerroom. It doesn’t make sense for a teams we should beat to just demolish us. “You bring everything down,” Howard said, referring to a player who isn’t playing with heart and soul.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: First he said he wouldn’t mind playing for the Boston Celtics. Then, after his Orlando Magic gave-up a 27 point lead and lost to those same Celtics, he questioned his teammates' heart.

Add it up, and this is a problem.

In case you’ve been living in a cave, Dwight Howard can opt-out of his contract at season’s end and ditch the Magic as an unrestricted free agent.

Currently the signs aren’t good that Howard inks another four or five year pact with the Magic. Face it: the signs were never good that he’d stay …

1) Howard wants to win, and the Magic have never found him a legit’ co-star. Instead, GM Otis Smith overpaid mediocre talent, killing the club’s cap space.

2) Howard wants to transition into the entertainment industry, and the small city of Orlando can’t compare to larger markets like New York and/or Los Angeles.

3) The grass is always greener on the other side, especially when the same old, same old (Orlando) isn’t working.

Bottom line: perhaps it's finally time the Magic trade Howard.

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

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Sunday , Jan , 22 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Orlando Magic daring Dwight Howard to leave?

Despite the daily chatter about Dwight Howard's trade demand, the Orlando Magic are seriously exploring the option now of calling his bluff, believing he can't walk away from the extra $28-$30 million in guaranteed money they can pay him — and no one else can — in his next contract.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s quite the haircut.

The Orlando Magic are tired of the rumors Dwight Howard will bolt as a free agent in July, so they’re pointing out the obvious: leaving will cost him $30 million.

The Magic can offer $30 million more in an extension than Howard’s top three choices of the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, and New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets.

Of course, money isn’t everything.

Howard may take a discounted salary with Dallas, L.A., and New Jersey -if he feels those squads improve his chances at a championship.

In L.A. and New Jersey/Brooklyn, he’d maximize sponsorships and transition into the entertainment industry, which would offset his ‘reduced’ salary.

The wildcard is Deron Williams, the soon-to-be free agent with the Nets. More and more, it appears Howard and Williams will follow other superstars' lead and partner-up.

But where?

Perhaps Howard takes less to stay with the Magic, but only if they sign Williams. This would finally give him an elite teammate to battle the rival Miami Heat.

And the rumors would have been for nothing.

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

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Saturday , Jan , 21 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Dwight Howard: Shaq should ‘get on with his life’

Magic center Dwight Howard, responding to Shaquille O’Neal saying that Andrew Bynum is the NBA’s best center, said after Friday’s shootaround that Shaq should ‘just sit down and get on with his life.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Will Dwight Howard ever learn?

For years, the Orlando Magic big man let Shaquille O’Neal have the upper hand by reacting publicly to his rhetoric, jabs, and insults.

(Remember, the ‘real superman’ controversy, which resulted in Howard acting like a rejected teenager?)

At the time, it was somewhat understandable. Howard was still young. O’Neal was still relevant. And Howard idolized O’Neal.

Today, it’s a different story. Howard is one of the game’s great players, while O’Neal is the newest broadcaster on TNT’s Emmy-winning panel.

Unfortunately, this is lost on Howard. He reacted instead of realizing O’Neal is using their old rivalry to gain publicity and profile for his new profession.

Once again, O’Neal has won. And Howard, it seems, will never learn.

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

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Wednesday , Jan , 18 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Dwight Howard to Clippers?

SheridanHoops.com learned exclusively Monday that Howard recently expanded his list of preferred future destinations, adding the Clippers to a list that already included the Nets, the Mavericks and the Lakers. “He’s been watching them a lot. He’s intrigued by the Clippers,” said the source, who is privy to the trade talks that have taken place between all of the aforementioned teams.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Times have changed.

It wasn't long ago the Los Angeles Clippers weren't in the running for anything except the first pick at the draft much less a superstar center like Dwight Howard.

After all, the Clippers were a laughingstock. Their owner wanted luxury tax rebate cheques, not wins. They drafted Benoit Benjamin, Danny Ferry, and Michael Olowakandi. Worst of all, they played in the shadow of the league's glamour team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sure, there were moments. A few years back, Sam Cassell and Elton Brand pushed the Phoenix Suns to seven games in the Western Conference Semi-finals.

The Clippers have mostly been a disaster.

Everything changed with Blake Griffin. 'Lob Angeles' is must-see television, and people listen when reports link Los Angeles' newest darling to Howard.

But it won't happen. The Magic will want Griffin in return for Howard. The 2011 Slam Dunk Champion is untouchable, as he's made the Clippers trendy, glamorous, and relevant.

Instead, the Magic may ask for newly acquired Chris Paul. Forget that the Clippers paid a pretty-penny for the point guard. And forget that both sides agreed to work together for two seasons.

Paul would likely refuse to sign a long-term extension with the Magic, and simply opt-out at season's end and become a free agent.

Sure, times have changed. The Clippers are a destination-team. Still, they lack the parts to trade for Howard and become his next destination.

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

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Sunday , Jan , 15 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nets want OJ Mayo to appease Deron Williams?

The Grizzlies are again discussing whether to deal reserve guard O.J. Mayo. This time, Memphis has explored at least two trade scenarios with the New Jersey Nets over the past couple of weeks, according to two NBA sources.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This is about appeasement.

The New Jersey Nets are trying to land OJ Mayo from the Memphis Grizzlies to keep franchise face Deron Williams happy.

After all, Williams can opt-out of his contract and leave the Nets and their soon to be built Brooklyn stadium as a free agent in July. Fortunately, club executives can spin a Mayo trade in many ways:

1) They can tell Williams they’ve been active, have upgraded his supporting cast, and are committed to winning now.

2) They can tell Williams they won’t qualify Mayo, and will use the available cap space to sign Dwight Howard -provided the Orlando Magic center opts-out this summer

3) They can tell Williams the Nets won’t wait for the summer for Howard, and that Mayo will be included in sign-and-trade offers for Superman.

There's one certainty: the Nets lose Williams if they do nothing. Expect a move -and soon.

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


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Friday , Jan , 13 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Report: Al Horford out 3-4 months?

The Hawks say Al Horford will miss 3-4 months with a torn pectoral muscle suffered during last night’s 96-84 loss at Indiana.. Horford is to get a second opinion on whether to proceed with the surgery. Under the most most optimistic time frame, Horford would return in mid-April. Atlanta’s final regular-season game is scheduled for April 26.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Whatever slim shot the Atlanta Hawks had at acquiring Dwight Howard is likely gone.

After all, the Hawks were reportedly offering Al Horford and Joe Johnson to the Magic in exchange for Howard. Horford's injured pectoral muscle complicates things.

Of course, Howard, an Atlanta native, wouldn't sign an extension with the Hawks, as he prefers a bigger market to land lucrative sponsors and transition into the entertainment industry.

Think Los Angeles. Think New York. Maybe Dallas, if owner Mark Cuban works his magic. Not Atlanta, especially with Horford on the injured list for an extended period.

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

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Tuesday , Jan , 10 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Dwight Howard: I’ll be with Magic through All-Star break

He told Yahoo! Sports he thinks there’s a “100 percent” chance the Magic won’t trade him before the Feb. 26 All-Star Game at the team’s Amway Center. Team officials still hope to convince Howard to commit to staying with the franchise for the long term. “I don’t think they are going to do anything right now because we’re winning,” Howard said after a 104-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings improved the Magic’s record to 6-3. “Even if this is the last season, let’s go out hard, regardless.”


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Dwight Howard's status with the Orlando Magic seems to change daily.

Howard now thinks he'll stay with the Magic through the All-Star break, despite executive Otis Smith telling reporters that the star hasn't rescinded his trade demand.

So things are in flux.

Usually these types of distractions are a recipe for disaster, however, the Magic have opened the season at 6-3. The more they win, the longer Howard stays.

This isn't a long-term solution, as the giant can opt-out of his contract at year's end and become a free agent.

Howard only signs an extension with the Magic if Smith pulls off the impossible and acquires Deron Williams from the New Jersey Nets. 

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

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Sunday , Jan , 08 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Dwight Howard to stay in Orlando … with Deron Williams?

Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore has learned that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard may be rethinking his trade request. In December, Howard told the Magic he would want to be traded to either the New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks or Los Angeles Lakers.Multiple NBA sources confirmed to Pingalore that Howard has been heavily recruiting New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams to play with him in Orlando. Pingalore has also learned the Magic are trying to trade for Williams. Pingalore's sources confirmed that Howard would rather stay in Orlando, and the sources said that it's an "80 percent" chance Howard stays.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Will he stay? Will he go?

The Dwight Howard merry-go-round has again taken another turn, as the All-Star post is reconsidering his trade request and may sign a long-term extension with the Orlando Magic.

Forget the rumors involving the Lakers and Andrew Bynum and/or Pau Gasol.

Forget the gossip about the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets.

And forget the speculation about Howard’s rift with Magic executive Otis Smith.

In the end, it may not matter because the former Slam Dunk champion is seriously considering staying in Orlando.

There’s a catch: Howard wants Deron Williams to join him. The muscular table-setter is unhappy with the Nets and, like Howard, can become a free agent in July.

This is a surprise. Most of us knew Howard and Williams had interest in partnering up, however, we assumed it would happen in a major market like Brooklyn, not Orlando.

After all, Brooklyn would allow both superstars to maximize marketing and business opportunities in New York, while Orlando is a smaller city tucked away in Florida.

So, Howard’s future remains up in the air. And the debate over whether he stays or goes will continue for some time.

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

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Sunday , Jan , 01 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Joe Johnson and Al Horford for Dwight Howard?

Atlanta engaged Orlando in Dwight Howard trade talks this month, as well as the notion that the Magic would surely want Horford as part of any swap if the talks ever go anywhere. "Wow," Horford said. "I guess I'm heading back to Florida. ... I don't know, that's interesting, I know that Dwight is from here, but as far as I know, this is the first I've heard of it. But it'll be interesting."


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Dwight Howard isn't getting traded to the Atlanta Hawks because Dwight Howard won't re-sign with the Atlanta Hawks.

Howard, who can opt-out of his contract in July of 2012 with the Orlando Magic and become a free agent, wants to play in a major market.

Think New York, specifically Brooklyn. Think Los Angeles. Maybe Dallas.

For a couple of reasons, Atlanta, despite being Howard's hometown, doesn't stand a chance at getting the world`s top center to sign an extension.

1) The Hawks`owners, the LLC Spirit group, are highly dysfunctional. They once sued each other. They gave away a professional hockey team. And, most importantly, they won`t spend on a winner. Sure, they`ll float a few big-tickets, but they lack the resources and market size to underwrite a championship contender. And Howard knows this.

2) Atlanta won`t provide Howard with opportunities to leverage his brand. For instance, he wants a career in entertainment, and New York and Los Angeles are the best places for this to occur.

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


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Thursday , Dec , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Josh Smith and Joe Johnson for Dwight Howard?

Sources told ESPN.com that the aforementioned Hawks, meanwhile, engaged Orlando in trade talks for Howard earlier this month with an offer believed to be headlined by $124 million guard Joe Johnson and swingman Josh Smith. You have to figure that the Magic, though, would insist on Al Horford if such discussions ever got serious.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Rebuilding isn’t an option for the Orlando Magic, so they’re reluctant to trade franchise face Dwight Howard for prospects, draft picks, and expiring contracts.

The powers that be in Orlando want established professionals -like, say, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks.

This is interesting, as both are big-ticket pieces, especially Johnson who is due to earn $107 million over the next five years. Smith is due $25.5 million through 2013.

Here’s the question: is Johnson and Smith superior to the Lakers reported offer of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol?

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

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Thursday , Dec , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Deron Williams wants ‘top-tier’ guys (Dwight Howard) to stay with Nets?

“We need some more pieces,” he said. “There’s no secret about that. There’s not many starters on our team right now. We have a lot of great role players, a lot of guys who know their job, but in this league you need some top-tier guys so you can get the job done.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Deron Williams has leverage over the New Jersey Nets and isn’t afraid to use it.

Williams, a top point guard who can opt-out of his contract this summer and become an unrestricted free agent, will only re-sign with the Nets if they supply him with 'top-tier guys'.

Translation: he wants Dwight Howard, the NBA’s best center.

(Howard is in a similar predicament with the Orlando Magic. He too can opt-out of his contract this summer and walk on the Magic as an unrestricted free agent. And he also wants a superstar teammate.)

Howard reportedly has interest in joining a Williams led Nets squad, especially since they’re leaving the marshy swamps of Jersey for the borough of Brooklyn.

Howard, a magnanimous personality, loves the lights, stars, and marketing opportunities available in The Big Apple.

So, on paper, it all works. Williams is simply providing the Nets will a little urgency to make it happen.

He might as well. After all, he has leverage.

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

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Sunday , Dec , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jim Buss: Lakers won’t trade Bynum and Gasol for Howard

"I don't understand the thinking that we need saving as a franchise," Buss says. "We have three All-Stars, and we need saving?" There's an Internet report suggesting Orlando was willing to trade Howard for Bynum and Pau Gasol, but now he's shaking his head as if in pain."Where does this stuff come from?" he says. "You'd have to be kind of silly to give up two All-Stars like that for Howard. Zero truth to it. We have never been asked for Andrew and Pau and we've never offered them. I think they know we'd either say no or they would sound crazy for asking."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Publicly, Jim Buss has to downplay the Los Angeles Lakers’ interest in Orlando Magic post Dwight Howard.

Privately, the owner’s son should know the team that gets the best player wins the trade, so Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak must be open swapping Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol for Howard.

Here’s the complication: the Lakers are a fractured bunch, as most things in the world of purple-and-gold is political.

Like Bynum. For instance, Jim Buss is reluctant to trade, or even criticize, Bynum because he likes to take credit for drafting and developing the seven-foot center.

And the better Bynum plays, the more Buss can justify his role as a basketball executive within the organization.

Instead of trading Bynum, Buss has empowered him, hiring a coach, Mike Brown, who will feature his skills, and even declaring him Kobe Bryant’s equal.

So Buss' agenda and Laker politics could complicate doing what is right: swapping Bynum and Gasol for Howard.

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

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Tuesday , Dec , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Andrei Kirilenko returns to ‘Motherland’ Nets?

Source confirms that Andrei Kirilenko is on his way to leave CSKA Moscow and join New Jersey Nets where he will sign a multi-year deal.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s back from the motherland. And will play for the NBA's version of the motherland.

Word is the New Jersey Nets, who are owned by Russia’s richest man and presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov, have signed Andrei Kirilenko, Russia’s best basketball player, to a multi-year contract.

This is hardly a surprise. During the lockout, Kirilenko played for CSKA Moscow, a Russian club side owned by (surprise, surprise) Prokhorov.

Here’s the question: how much?

As in how much cap space did the Nets use. Remember, the soon-to-be Brooklyn franchise must save cap space to trade for Orlando Magic post Dwight Howard, which may also mean taking the remaining years of Hedo Turkoglu’s toxic pact.

So today the Nets are better after signing Kirilenko. However, it’s the next move everyone is watching.

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

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Sunday , Dec , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dwight Howard on Orlando: ‘I love this city’

During the player introductions Saturday, Howard received a standing ovation. He said that moment was special for him.

“It was emotional,” he said. “It was great to see their reaction. And like I’ve told you guys from day one, I love this city. … When I came here, everybody called our team the Orlando Tragic. I wanted to change it. Nobody says tragic anymore.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Perhaps there is hope.

Perhaps the fan support will influence Dwight Howard to rescind his trade demand, avoid opting-out of his contract next July, and sign a long-term extension with the Orlando Magic.

Such a scenario is unlikely.

Howard wants a larger market, superstar teammates, and a chance at winning a championship each year.

This means he must take flight for one of the NBA’s major markets. Think Los Angeles, but only if the Lakers give up Andrew Bynum, the golden boy in the organization. Think New Jersey, but only if the Nets re-sign point guard Deron Williams. Think Dallas, but only if the Mavericks can clear the necessary cap space.

Yesterday was positive. So there is hope for Orlando fans. Just not much of it.

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