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Wednesday , Jul , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant to lead undermanned Americans at World Championship

For the NBA's youngest scoring champion, Kevin Durant has displayed some kind of maturity. With Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the rest of the Beijing Olympic team taking the summer off, USA Basketball's roster is wide open for next month's world championships in Turkey. championships.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He will be the leader for USA Basketball at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

Three years into his NBA career, Kevin Durant has impressed. He has helped the Oklahoma City Thunder become the team to watch. He has become an elite player. And he has handled himself with class.

However, the global spotlight will be unlike anything he has ever faced.

The international game is different than the NBA. Other national teams have played together for years, establishing chemistry, while the Americans are making do with a summer training camp.

And stars and stripes are undermanned, with every player on the gold medal winning squad from China passing on Turkey. That's right: No Kobe, LeBron, 'D-Wade', 'Melo, Chris Bosh, or even twelfth man Carlos Boozer.

The entire Redeem Team is out. They all said thanks, but no thanks. 

Whether by default or not, Durant is The Man. He and his teammates will face a significant challenge.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Miami signs Juwan Howard to back-up Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem

The Miami Heat announced today that they have signed free agent forward Juwan Howard.

“This is a great addition for us,” said Heat President Pat Riley. “We feel that Juwan’s ability to play both the four and five spot will be complimentary to what we have put together. He also gives us incredible professionalism and is a perfect fit behind Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: History is repeating itself with Juwan Howard and the Miami Heat.

Only this time, they`ll be a happy ending.

In 1996, Pat Riley nearly signed Howard to a massive seven-year, $100 million contract, hoping he would star in South Beach. However, the deal fell through, and the power forward re-signed with the Washington Bullets/Wizards.

Today, Riley and the Heat officially landed Howard, except the circumstances and context are very different. The former All-Star inked a minimum contract and will back-up starters Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem.

Howard is well equipped for a supporting role. Last year, he filled in admirably for the Portland Trail Blazers after Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla went down with injuries.

Expect him to defend, rebound, and practice hard in Miami. He’ll also provide a veteran sounding board for the Three Kings of Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade when things get rocky.

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

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James slams Cleveland Cavaliers, Delonte West, and Dan Gilbert … Literally

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They are the villains. No doubt about it.

Naturally, wrestling fans are comparing the Miami Heat’s Three Kings of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, or Dwyane Wade to WWE’s New World Order of Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, and Kevin Nash. 

In fact, in this video, James/Hogan is body slamming the Cleveland Cavaliers mascot, former teammate Delonte West, and former owner turned foe Dan Gilbert.

Of course, Commissioner David Stern assumes the role of corrupt referee, which NBA fans - especially supporters of the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings - will find slightly ironic.

Watch the video below and get at us with thoughts on the Three Kings/NWO.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jul , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade: I’ll send Chicago and New York ‘gift baskets or something’

Wade said he will soon take time to thank the teams that interviewed him during free agency. "I'll send them all gift baskets or something," he said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He still has his sense of humour.

Clearly, Dwyane Wade isn’t troubled by the criticism, backlash, and negative publicity about how he handled free agency, or the conspiracy theorists claims that Bosh, James, and Wade had planned for years to play together with the Miami Heat.

Bottom line: this trio will have a giant bulls-eyes on their backs. They will be public enemy number one. They will be the team everybody loves to hate.

Instead of shying away from this, instead of downplaying, instead of worrying, Wade is embracing the situation.

Of course, he’ll be booed by fans of the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. They’ll reign down their frustration on Wade when Miami comes to the United Center or Madison Square Gardens.

Why worry about being the villain? Why not enjoy the situation and just win games?

Heck, send the damn gift baskets.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jul , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jordan on playing with Bird and Magic: ‘there’s no way’

Michael Jordan talked about the decision made by LeBron James to sign with the Heat, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

"There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry (Bird), called up Magic (Johnson) and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,'" Jordan said on Sunday. "But that's ... things are different. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He has finally said his piece.

Yesterday, Michael Jordan told the world he would never, ever have joined forces with fellow greats like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson because he wanted to beat them.

His feelings are fair, but unrealistic.

Jordan never had the options Chris Bosh, LeBron James, or Dwyane Wade had. After his rookie contract expired, MJ signed an eight year, $25 million contract that negated any chance of partnering with an all-time great.

And when he finally hit unrestricted free agency, Bird and Magic had both retired, so a partnership was impossible.

Jordan was also the game’s undisputed greatest player. There was no parity between superstars like today. In fact, his greatest challenge might have been from teammate, top 50 all time player, and Hall of Fame swing Scottie Pippen.

Then there’s the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The old CBA allowed teams a massive advantage in signing their own free agents. For instance, Chicago inked Jordan to several one-year contracts for upwards of $30 million.

The culture of the NBA was different, too. Teams wanted to win now, and the notion of cutting cap space for three years to sign a trio of superstars was unheard of. In fact, it didn’t happen.   

Of course, Jordan has the right to say what he wants and thinks. It’s not necessarily accurate, though.

-- Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jul , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Has Shaq burnt his bridges in Miami with Riley and D-Wade?

I can’t tell you how ugly it got in Shaq’s final weeks in South Florida. You can’t un-burn those types of bridges. Now, if the Heat was desperate for a man in the middle, it might have been a different story. But, clearly, Pat Riley sees plenty of workable non-Shaq options.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Sometimes, you can’t go home.

Shaquille O’Neal –the free agent Hall of Fame center – is learning this the hard way. The larger than life five-man burned his bridges with the Miami Heat halfway through the 2008 season, which led to him being traded to the Phoenix Suns.

On his way out the door, O’Neal insulted Heat coach and legend Pat Riley. There were also reports of a dispute with resident superstar Dwyane Wade.

So it’s no surprise ‘Riles’ went in a different direction this summer, signing four centers – Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire, and Dexter Pittman – not named O’Neal.

After all, Miami has enough leaders: Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Wade. They don’t need a fading veteran, O’Neal, who will demand first option touches, spotlight, and treatment.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Penny Hardaway wants to join Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade in Miami

Penny Hardaway, the man who inspired original Nike puppet in the late 90s "Lil Penny," announced he is interested in competing for a role with the Miami Heat Thursday on an internet radio show called "The Bottom Line Sports Show."

"Mentally I was retired and physically I was retired. I was playing recreational ball," Hardaway said. "But when the decision happened with Chris Bosh and LeBron, I felt like I could really be good in that system."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: At 39, what does he have left?

Reports indicate Anfernee Hardaway - a former All-Star with the Orlando Magic - is angling for a comeback with Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the revamped Miami Heat.

Sure, 'Penny' could fill a role as a practice player, and assume a permanent seat on Erik Spoelstra/Pat Riley's bench 82 nights a year.

Landing a spot in the rotation will be a challenge, though. After all, Hardaway had his struggles during a short comeback with the Heat in 2007.

And despite working out regularly and running in competitive pick-up games, playing consistent minutes in the NBA after a three year layoff will be tough, especially since he's middle-aged.

Best wishes to Hardaway on his comeback. He'll need it.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade: ‘LeBron James didn’t quit’ on Cleveland

"He's not a quitter," Wade said. "He didn't quit."

"LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, guys like that understand what Boston's defense was about," Wade said. "Their defense was built on not letting one player beat them. You either settle for the outside shot or you pass to your teammates. LeBron had one bad game in the playoffs. Other than that, he did what he could do with the defense all watching him."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call ... The Miami Heat's three superstars must do exactly this: they must have each others' back.

After their free agent coup, South Beach's basketball team will be public enemy number one, sporting a bulls-eye the size of North America all season on their black, red, and white uniforms.

So Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade have to support each other because the pressure will be intense. Night-in, night-out, the Heat will face a motivated and energetic opponent.

These three will also understand the scrutiny each will face in specific markets. For instance, Bosh and Wade will get the backlash LeBron will experience when Miami is in Cleveland. Both will face - to a small extent - something similar when Miami rolls into Toronto and Chicago.

Bosh, James, and Wade are close friends. They'll need this friendship next year.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jul , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Don`t Believe Hype: Shaq and Knicks flirting, but not serious

The Knicks have reportedly discussed a sign-and-trade with the Cavs for free agent Shaquille O'Neal.

Reports, however, have O'Neal headed to Atlanta for Marvin Williams. A Knicks source said, "I don't think it would work with us on all kinds of levels."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Big Diesel in The Big Apple would be The Big Disaster.

Simply put, Shaquille O’Neal isn’t right for the New York Knicks. And the New York Knicks aren’t right for Shaquille O’Neal.

Both sides can flirt with each other in the media. These antics are self-serving. Player and team are manipulating the headlines for their own purposes.

After all, Shaq wants to play for a contender. Well, the Knicks – after losing out on Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade in free agency – will struggle to make the playoffs in 2010.

Shaq no longer has the Phoenix Suns’ outstanding trainers to keep his weight down and body spry. At 38, girth-filled, and injury prone, he’d struggle in Coach Mike D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less system.

While not disastrous, the O’Neal-Amar’e Stoudemire pairing in Phoenix had challenges. If absolutely necessary, these two could play together.
 
It’s not something even the Knicks would choose to do -although they may be just crazy enough to rehire Isiah Thomas as GM, so who really knows what James Dolan and his lackies are capable of?

Well, why the rumors? 

Shaq is hoping the New York buzz prompts a competitive squad like the Atlanta Hawks and/or San Antonio Spurs to reconsider his services down the middle.
  
The Knicks, of course, must appear busy. They must appear to be doing everything possible to improve in hopes of distracting the masses from their failed attempts to sign Bosh, James, and Wade. In this respect, the publicity O’Neal generates can be useful.

So the rumors serve a purpose. Provided they don’t become reality.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at us in the comment box below.
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Wednesday , Jul , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwayne Wade: ‘everyone’s shooting for’ Lakers, not Heat

Dwyane Wade isn't ready to buy into all the hype about the Heat, who added LeBron James and Chris Bosh last week.

Wade says the Lakers, who have won the NBA's last two championships, are the team to beat.

The Lakers are the champions and we know the Lakers are very good," Wade said Wednesday. "That's the team that everyone's shooting for and they should be. Not the Miami Heat. The Los Angeles Lakers."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Call: You can’t fault Dwyane Wade for trying.

In fact, you have to admire the superstar’s failed attempts at running a little smokescreen interference and deferring public enemy number one status to the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Yes, the purple-and-gold is still the team to beat. After all, to be the champs, you have to beat the champs.

No, the Miami Heat – with the controversial way The Big Three of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade were assembled - is the team everyone will be shooting for.

No doubt about it.

Everyone - your granny, pastor, milkman, and even dog - has an opinion on The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010, culminating in LeBron James breaking up with Dan Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and state of Ohio on national television.

Very quickly, the Heat has become the NBA’s undisputed villain in a plot that’s part Shakespeare, part Vince McMahon WWE. 

If Wade thought the attention was bad in 2007 following their NBA Title win, then he hasn’t seen anything yet.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Tuesday , Jul , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Zydrunas Ilgauskas following LeBron James to Miami

Zyrdunas Ilgauskas is following LeBron James to the Miami Heat.

The veteran center, who started playing for Cleveland in 1997 and has never suited up for another NBA team, expects to sign a two-year contract with the Heat later this week, agent Herb Rudoy said Tuesday. The two-year deal would come with a player option for the second season, Rudoy said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Today, the Miami Heat added an additional piece around The Big Three of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, signing long-time Cleveland Cavaliers centre Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

(No word on whether Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert will write a letter about Ilgauskas swapping the cold of Ohio for the sun of Florida.) 

This move makes sense for a few reasons:

1) Ilgauskas can still play. He’s massive. He’s skilled. And he can take opposing fives out on the perimeter with his range.

2) With a true centre like ‘Big Z’, Bosh will get significant minutes at the four-spot, his natural position. This will surely please ‘CB4’, who doesn’t want to battle the beasts of the Eastern Conference.

3) Ilgauskas has chemistry with James on-and-off-court. The veteran Euro will help ease the transition to Miami for his younger friend, especially with all the hoopla surrounding his free agency.

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Jul , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Udonis Haslem to Miami: ‘See u next season’

"The gritty power forward told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Monday that he is spurning more lucrative offers to stay with the only team he has played for in a seven-year career.

Shortly after ESPN.com reported Monday that the Denver Nuggets had joined the Dallas Mavericks in the bidding with a strong offer, Haslem sent an e-mail to the Sun-Sentinel reading: "Turned down full mid level from Dallas and Denver. See u next season."
 
 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The blue-collar big is returning to The MIA.
 
After signing Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat were stretched for cap space, so getting Udonis Haslem - and at a discount - is a real positive.

Haslem loyalty is understandable: he was raised in Florida, attended the University of Florida, and has spent his entire career with the Heat.

Look for him to play next to Bosh down-low. He'll bang. He'll rebound. He'll defend. And he'll hit the odd jump shot.
 
With Haslem in the fold, glamorous South Beach has the right touch of grit.
 
-- Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
 
 
 
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Monday , Jul , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

No thanks Miami: Fisher expected to re-sign with LA Lakers

Derek Fisher received an offer of the veteran's minimum from the Heat over the weekend, but he is likely to re-sign with the Lakers.

Fisher reportedly received a $2.5 million offer for next season from the Lakers. He has been seeking a two-year contract with a starting salary closer to the $5 million he made last season.

 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Thanks, but no thanks.
 
This will likely be Derek Fisher's response to the star-studded Miami Heat putting the full court press on him over the weekend.
 
After all, oil slick GM and soon-to-be coach Pat Riley showered him with praise in their meeting. And LeBron James, in his first act as a member of the Heat, greeted him at the airport.
 
However, there's a problem: Miami has zero cap space. After their recent spending spree, they could only offer Fisher a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum.
 
Of course, the veteran guard has a pretty nice offer in his backpocket. The two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are offering a two-year, $5 million pact.
 
So why would Fisher leave the purple-and-gold and pass on a chance at three-peating? Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade aside, why would Fisher uproot his family from his home in California for less money and term?
 
Throw in Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom, and you get the sense Fisher will soon be re-upping with the Lakers.
 
Frankly, this is the way it should be, the way it should end for the 36 year old combo guard.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
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Sunday , Jul , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Why Orlando will match Chicago`s offer to Redick

The Bulls have extended an offer sheet to restricted free agent J.J. Redick. A league source said "it would be painful for the Magic to match."

Yahoo! is reporting that Redick's offer sheet would be worth $19 million over three seasons.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Expect the Orlando Magic to match the Chicago Bulls’ offer to JJ Redick – no matter how cumbersome it is for their cap situation.

After all, Magic GM Otis Smith and Coach Stan Van Gundy both like Redick. They like his commitment. They like his outside range. They like his work ethic.

Ideally, Smith and Van Gundy would like to start Redick and trade the underachieving Vince Carter. And this is their opportunity.

The Magic will probably match the Bulls’ offer, while simultaneously exploring ways to move Carter. Let’s be clear: teams would only have interest in VC because he has two years left on his contract, the second year being a team option -which is the equivalent of an expiring deal.

Of course, there’s also this newfound rivalry brewing in Florida.

The Magic are probably feeling a touch threatened by the Miami Heat spending the GDP of Botswana on Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.

Smith and Van Gundy certainly went on the offensive taking public shots at Bosh and James. So the Magic must back-up their trash talk by keeping Redick and remaining active this off-season.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ray Felton and New York Knicks close to deal

Raymond Felton and the Knicks reached an agreement in principle Friday on the broad parameters of a contract. The length of the deal has not yet been agreed upon, but Felton will earn a starting salary in the $7 million range.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s the best of a not so great situation.

Sure, the New York Knicks were hoping for some combination of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and/or Dwyane Wade.

And sure, they ended up with Amar’e Stoudemire and more cap space then they wanted.

However, Raymond Felton would fit. He’s a solid, do-it-all point guard, who would gel in Mike D’Antoni’s run-and-gun, Seven Seconds or Less system.

Best of all, he comes cheap: $7 million per year isn’t much for a starting table-setter -even in today’s point guard heavy NBA.
 
So the Knicks need to make this signing official.

 --Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Bosh, James, and Wade can leave Miami in 2014

Each player took $15 million less over the life of the contract to sign with Miami, but they have an opt out after the fourth year to all potentially become free agents in 2014.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The circus is coming back to town. And sooner than we would like.

Yesterday, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade enjoyed a welcome to Miami party. American Airlines Arena was full; thousands of fans were outside the buildings.

There was smoke, lasers, and players posing on forklifts. The Three Kings laughed, giggled, and talked of winning multiple championships in a Q and A session on stage.

One ‘tiny’ detail wasn’t mentioned: Bosh, James, and Wade`s newest contracts all contain opt-out clauses for the summer of 2014.

That’s right. The nonsense of 2010 isn’t over. In fact, it’s just getting started. Soon, we’ll be hearing the old conspiracy theories, speculation, and nonsense about July of 2014.

And you get the sense Bosh, James, and Wade wouldn’t have it any other way. How wrong this all is.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Video: Miami Heat officially welcome The Three Kings

HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Not everybody is writing Caps Locked letters or burning jerseys. Some are, in fact, cheering.

Yesterday, the Miami Heat officially welcomed LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh by having a little celebration in American Airlines Arena.

Below is video of the Three Kings joking and laughing in front of thousands of Heat fans.


--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Pat Riley and Derek Fisher meeting in Miami on Saturday

Lakers free agent point guard Derek Fisher has a meeting scheduled with Miami Heat president Pat Riley on Saturday, according to a source close to the situation.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call:  Does he join Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the upstart Miami Heat or does he re-sign with Kobe Bryant and the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers?

Yes, Derek Fisher has a dilemma.

However, negotiations between the veteran point guard and the Lakers are progressing because the club raised their initial offer of one-year at $2.5 million.

And Fisher, at 36 years of age, would be hesitant to uproot his young family from LA and bolt on the purple-and-gold.

Of course, Heat GM Pat Riley, also known as the walking oil slick in the front office, is on a roll with his ‘Three Kings’ line-up of Bosh, James, and Wade.

Seriously, it’s like ‘Riles’ has jumped in the Hot Tub Time Machine and turned back the clock to the mid-eighties when he was, coincidentally, the famous coach of the purple-and-gold.

So what would seem a courtesy meeting between Riley and Fisher on Saturday could easily become something more.

--Oly Sandor.


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Friday , Jul , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

The Decision is in: LeBron Will Join Bosh and Wade in Miami

LeBron James put the NBA on notice Thursday night, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

Ending weeks of silence and drama, the two-time MVP said on his ESPN special from Greenwich, Conn. on Thursday night that he's decided to join the Miami Heat and leave the Cleveland Cavaliers after an unsuccessful seven-year quest for the championship he covets.

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Thursday , Jul , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Bill Simmons: Bosh, James, Wade, and Paul had ‘a pact in China to play together’

``A few weeks after the 2008 Summer Olympics, Someone Who Knows Things told me the following rumor: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Chris Paul became such good friends during the 2007 Olympic trials, and then during their 2008 Olympics excursion in Beijing, that they actually made a pact in China to play together. You know, like one of those pacts in a chick flick where two friends agree to get married if both of them are single when they turn 40.``

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--Oly Sandor.

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