Are the Lakers Imploding?
Wednesday , Apr , 13 , 2011 Christopher Sells

Are the Lakers Imploding?

I have an admission to make: I've been pretty bored with the NBA 's regular season. It's not that there haven't been plenty of interesting things going on in the league for the last month, I've just been more interested in getting to the 2 1/2 month marathon that is the Playoffs. But in preparation for the postseason, I re-engaged late last week. And as a reward for my rededication, the Lakers decided to make it worth my while. They're still my pick to come out of the Western Conference, but they've definitely added some intrigue to what may have been an otherwise predictable run to the Finals.

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant wants Brian Shaw to replace Phil Jackson

Bryant told Yahoo! Sports on Friday that he and his teammates will endorse the longtime Lakers assistant as Jackson’s replacement. Shaw is in his sixth full season on Jackson’s coaching staff after serving as an assistant to Frank Hamblen during the second half of the 2004-05 season.

“I feel all of the players believe in coach B-Shaw,” Bryant said the Lakers’ Friday morning shootaround. “We have such a rapport with him. He’s been with us for such a long time. We all have a bit of a bias towards him.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is ‘P-Jax’ done? Is ‘B-Shaw’ sliding down a seat to the big chair on the Staples Centre bench?

After years of speculation and gossip, it appears Phil Jackson’s Zen has run its course with the Los Angeles Lakers. This will be his final year guiding the NBA’s glamour franchise.

Yes, he’s said this for years. And yes, Jackson continually cries wolf on retirement, spouting off to the media only to return for more money.

This time seems different, though. The players are speaking up about having Brian Shaw replace their Hall of Fame sideline boss.

Kobe Bryant and company know Shaw. He’s a former Laker. And currently sits as an assistant on Jackson’s staff.

Would Shaw want the gig, though?

Best case scenario: he wins an NBA championship and is doing what Jackson has always done. Worst case scenario: the Lakers’ run ends and Shaw becomes the scapegoat.

There’s little upside to replacing a legend. However, the NBA only has thirty head coaching jobs, so it may be now or never for Shaw.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Tuesday , Apr , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e: Pau Gasol ‘is still soft’



HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Amar’e Stoudemire, tell us how you really feel.

To make matters worse, Stoudemire went on to say that Pau Gasol's finesse game isn’t an issue because Los Angeles Lakers like Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom cover him with their length.

Ouch. Talk about an insult.

Here’s my issue: Stoudemire hasn’t won anything in the NBA. He has no rings. Perhaps he should tone down the rhetoric.

Sure, Gasol has a better supporting cast, running with four All-Star calibre players: Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant, Bynum, and Odom. And sure, Gasol isn't the toughest customer on the low block, either.

However, the purple-and-gold weren’t contenders until they stole the Spanish sensation from the Memphis Grizzlies in a blockbuster trade three years ago.

So he has the upper-hand on Stoudemire. With the Lakers’ soaring, Gasol –soft or not- looks positioned to continue his winning ways this playoffs.

Where will Stoudemire’s New York Knicks finish?

-Oly Sandor.

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

Why Does Everyone Hate Kobe….Still?
Monday , Apr , 04 , 2011 Paul Eide

Why Does Everyone Hate Kobe….Still?


Is it due to the fact he’s been playing for 14 years already and people are just sick of him? Or is it just because Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA?
Should the NBA MVP award be trashed?
Monday , Apr , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Should the NBA MVP award be trashed?

This is the most ridiculous thing I heard coming out from these arguments. Discrediting Derrick Rose is one thing, but to completely dismiss the award just because people do not agree with your assessments is another. This is flat out stupid. Why did people pick out this year to bring this up again? This was echoed with Steve Nash’s awards and probably with Allen Iverson’s. Is this what it has come down to?

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Basketball hardcore fans hate Derrick Rose as MVP. Why?
Tuesday , Mar , 29 , 2011 J.N.

Basketball hardcore fans hate Derrick Rose as MVP. Why?

What’s going on? Derrick Rose is not officially anointed as the 2010-2011 NBA MVP, but people are coming out from the woodwork to get vocal. They banded together to try to prevent him from getting the award. It just seems that way, which is hilarious. I do not know what the huge deal is. What is the problem? A lot of people are up in arms about this. I have to figure this out. Writers and basketball purists are getting emotional over this. I have to explore the reasoning behind the hate. 

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Tuesday , Mar , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe on Shannon Brown’s switch-hand dunk: ‘I give it a 10, no question’

So, does the dunk have a name? "There’s no name for it," Brown said. "I don’t know. I just switched hands. It happened so quick."
As a former Slam Dunk contest judge, what would Kobe Bryant give it? "I give it a 10, no question," Bryant said. "It was just ridiculous. His explosiveness is out of this world. I don’t know if I could do that. I did a lot of [stuff], but that ..."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant is not easily impressed.

In fact, The Black Mamba is a notoriously tough critic, especially if you play on his Los Angeles Lakers.

So his praise of Shannon Brown’s aerial antics against the New Orleans Hornets is somewhat surprising. Bryant gave Brown a perfect 10-out-of-10 for switching hands in mid-air.

Do you agree with Bryant? Is Brown`s dunk really a dime? Watch the clip and give us your score for the reserve guard`s dunk in the comment box below.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Mar , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mo Williams: Derek Fisher is the ‘Hines Ward of the NBA’

The Lakers defeated the Clippers by a 112-104 final on Friday night. On Saturday, Williams delivered a Tweet about Derek Fisher in obvious reference to the confrontation at the end of the game. "If yall didn't know, D Fish is the Hines Ward of the NBA," wrote Williams. "I don't know if that's a compliment or not. But don't let that nice guy fool u."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Tough guy on the court. Nice guy off it.

This describes Derek Fisher, veteran guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. The same eloquent spokesperson for the Player’s Union used to scrap Kobe Bryant when both were rookies with the purple-and-gold playing one-on-one full court.

Yes, there’s plenty of bark to Fisher’s bite. Always has been, too.

This has helped him win five championships and even mediate the tension between Kobe and Shaq when their World Wars were front page news.

So Chris Kaman and Mo Williams shouldn’t be surprised and show such emotion over an incident in a regular season derby match between the Clippers and Lakers.

A few days back, Kaman felt Fisher led with an elbow on a screen. The seven-footer was ejected, but not before motioning to Fisher to meet him in the parking lot after the game for what can best be described as a ‘discussion’. 

(Kaman and Fisher ... 'Let's get ready to rumble'.)

Williams declared viral jihad on D-Fish, questioning his nice guy persona in a tweet. Perhaps Kaman and Williams were right. Perhaps they were wrong.

Elbows and flops are part of Fisher’s repertoire. It has helped him parlay a decent skill-set into a long and successful career.

Opponents can debate whether Fisher's a nice guy. However, there’s no debate that he's a winner.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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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.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Thursday , Mar , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Coach Krzyzewski not interested in coaching Kobe and Lakers?

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he’s not interested in the Lakers job, which will become available if Phil Jackson stays true to his promise to retire at season’s end.

"I've never thought of ever leaving Duke for another school but there were three serious times where I almost left to go to the pros," Krzyzewski said. "One was when Dave Gavitt took over the Celtics [in 1990], another was with the Trailblazers [in 1994] and the one that I took to a really far level was the Lakers situation. They were great with me. I just could not give up what I've done and gotten at Duke. It just wasn't worth it."

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Surprisingly, what Kobe Bryant wants, he doesn’t always get.

In 2004, the Los Angeles Lakers offered Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski the keys to the Staples Center. ‘Coach K’ said no, though, turning down a reported five-year, $40 million pact.

Seven years later, history, it seems, is repeating itself. Once again, Krzyzewski has no interest in jumping to the pro ranks with the Lakers –if Coach Phil Jackson actually retires at season’s end.

Why the interest in Krzyzewski?

Well, he is the greatest college coach ever. The Blue Devils, love them or hate them, have had terrific success because of their coach.

Any questions about Krzyzewski's ability to handle pros was put to rest at the 2008 Olympics and 2010 FIBA World Championships. He easily handled the NBA’s biggest names and egos at Beijing, and led a less established squad to glory at Turkey. 

Most importantly, Bryant, the Lakers’ top dog, wants Krzyzewski. Bryant went from high school to the NBA, but would have gone to Duke if he attended college.

Even as a teenager, Bryant felt a connection with Krzyzewski. He respected his work ethic, passion, and dedication to being the best. That respect only grew with their time at USA Basketball.

Give Krzyzewski his due. Getting paid a brinks truck of money to coach the world’s glamour franchise and player isn’t enough to compromise his happiness and leave Duke.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Tuesday , Mar , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Al Jefferson praises Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Who says the youth of today don't respect their elders?

The Utah Jazz’s Al Jefferson is a soft-spoken gentleman, and has no problem paying homage to established superstars like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett.

Watch the video and get at us with thoughts on the interview with Jefferson.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Mar , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant ‘Smushes’ Smush Parker … again

" … I was throwing it to Smush Parker, said Bryant, referring to the wayward point guard who played two seasons with the Lakers. "I shot with three [defenders] on me. That's the difference [with Fisher]. Now I only shoot with one, maybe two."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Once upon a time, Smush Parker made the not so wise decision to mess with a bull named Kobe Bryant.

Yesterday, he got more of Bryant's horns.

Parker had a less than stellar run with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2005-2007. While the journeyman guard posted decent numbers, his heightened sense of self-importance alienated teammates and coaches.

Parker’s greatest mistake was angering Bryant. The two didn’t click. As teammates, Bryant once publicly mocked Parker and didn't like the former street ball star joking to reporters that he'd trade Lamar Odom to the Los Angeles Sparks.

After leaving the Lakers, the 'Sparks' really flew. Parker trashed Bryant in an odd interview and even imitated the MVP's shooting form in an infamous youtube clip.

So it was hardly a surprise Bryant slammed Parker, and praised his longtime teammate, friend, and backcourt mate in Derek Fisher. It didn't matter that Parker is out the league and essentially a non issue.

With Bryant, when you mess will the bull you get the horns.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , Mar , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Andrew Bynum’s flagrant foul: ‘I’m proud of him’

Not all the Lakers were upset with the league's decision. "I'm proud of him," Kobe Bryant said of Bynum. "He earned his stripes."  Bynum will need to be careful the rest of the regular season if he wants to avoid further discipline. He will be automatically suspended for one game if he commits another flagrant foul, type 2, before the end of the regular season. The Lakers were hoping for leniency from the league. Bynum isn't known as a rough player with an angry demeanor.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If Andrew Bynum was worried about his flagrant foul on the Minnesota Timberwolves' Michael Beasley, he can stop.

Kobe Bryant has Bynum’s back. Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar and one of the game’s premier players, beamed like a proud parent when asked by reporters about Bynum’s foul and suspension.

Now Bryant obviously doesn’t want Beasley to get hurt. Other than that, he’s clearly thrilled with Bynum’s flagrant foul.

Consider the following: opposing teams will be hesitant to drive the lane against the Lakers; Bryant’s squad are finally playing their best with the playoffs fast approaching; Bynum is absolutely dominant in the paint.

It’s interesting to reflect on how far Bryant and Bynum have come. These two weren’t always tight.

In fact, Bynum often found himself on the wrong side of Bryant’s rage. Not long ago, the Black Mamba complained to two strangers outside a strip mall that the club didn't trade the seven-footer to the New Jersey Nets for Jason Kidd.

Two championships have a way of changing things. With Bynum plugging the middle, the Lakers have to be favoured to win a third.

Now wonder Bryant has Bynum’s back.  

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Mar , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mitch Kupchak: healthy Andrew Bynum is untouchable

I’d say I get 10 to 15 phone calls a year about Andrew Bynum. I’ve called teams that have young, developing players myself. I don’t think that’s going to change. Certainly if he had played as well as he’s playing now for the last three years, teams would realize that, well, the Lakers would never trade him.And I understand that, and don’t think that’s going to change. But having said all that: when Andrew is healthy, and he plays like he is playing right now, you are hard pressed to look at anybody in this league and say, ‘I would trade him for that person.’


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Andrew Bynum’s height, length, and wingspan make the Los Angeles Lakers an almost unstoppable force.

With Bynum healthy, the purple-and-gold has a giant in the middle, which allows Pau Gasol to play his more natural power forward position.

For instance, Bynum played last year’s NBA Finals at far less than full strength. His presence was the difference between the Lakers winning and losing their second consecutive championship.

However, GM Mitch Kupchak is guilty of hyperbole. Bynum is good, but is he really untouchable?

Well, part of this is politics. Remember, Bynum is Kupchak’s guy. Kupchak drafted him. And he also refused to trade him for Jason Kidd a few years back.

Bynum’s success is Kupchak’s success. When one looks good, so does the other. So expect the compliments to continue.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Mar , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Bryant shooting jumpers after loss to Heat

More than an hour following the Lakers' loss 94-88 loss to the Heat on Thursday, Kobe Bryant was shooting jumpers on the American Airlines Arena floor, according to various Twitter reports.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He could have hit up South Beach, popped bottles, and had fun. Instead, he’s working on his jump shot.

It doesn’t matter that he has five championship rings. It doesn’t matter that he is the NBA’s premier player. It doesn’t matter that his place as a future first ballot Hall of Famer is all but guaranteed.

Kobe Bryant is great because he’s obsessed with winning and being the best player he can be.

What other player with his stature would punch the clock and practice after logging 39 minutes in a barnburner against the Miami Heat?

What makes Bryant different is also what makes him great.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts on Bryant, the Heat, or the Lakers? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

$H*# just got real.
Friday , Mar , 04 , 2011 J.N.

$H*# just got real.

Here are the final five studs. You have to pick one because this list will not change. Take one, only one, and roll with him all the way to the finish line. Let’s hope that the MVP race is not effed up like LeBron’s Decision over the summer where insiders knew he was going to Miami all along. Game by game analysis is a horrible way to determine this. People should do a bi-weekly thing. One game at a time causes too much overreaction. Let the games add up, okay?

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Sunday , Feb , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Miami Heat want Mike Bibby and Troy Murphy?

The Heat would like to sign Mike Bibby if the Wizards give him a buyout; Washington called it unlikely but hasn’t ruled it out. The Heat will explore Troy Murphy if he gets a buyout from Golden State (one report has Boston as the front-runner) and perhaps Indiana’s T.J. Ford, but he’s a poor three-point shooter.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Superstar laden teams need shooters to win.

For instance, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Chicago Bulls squads had deep threats like B.J. Armstrong, Jud Buchelor, Craig Hodges, Steve Kerr, and John Paxson.

Kobe Bryant, winner of five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, has played with marksmen like Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Devean George, Ron Harper, Glen Rice, Brian Shaw, and Sasha Vujacic.

Shooters spread the floor and keep defences honest. If a defender helps or helped on Bryant, Jordan, or Pippen, these Hall of Famers find the shooter who usually nails the open look.

It’s basic basketball. It’s also winning basketball.

So expect the Miami Heat to take a run at Mike Bibby and/or Troy Murphy –if they get a buyout from the Washington Wizards and/or Golden State Warriors.

After all, the Heat has their superstars: Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.

Bibby could run the club’s offensive sets. His greatest asset would be playing off-the-ball, spotting-up, and knocking shots when defences helped on Bosh, James, and Wade.

Remember, Bibby was a clutch performer for the Sacramento Kings, giving those championship Laker squads all they could handle in some classic playoff battles.

Murphy is a nice inside-outside four-man. He can help on the glass, while also stretching defenses with his incredible three-point range.

However, the Heat may want to sign Murphy just to thwart their prime competition in the Eastern Conference –the Boston Celtics.

Expect the Heat to be extremely active if Bibby and/or Murphy become available. Their South Beach superstars can always use additional shooters.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
2011 MVP Race – Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron, Wade, Rose, Nowitzki, Howard, Durant
Thursday , Feb , 24 , 2011 J.N.

2011 MVP Race – Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron, Wade, Rose, Nowitzki, Howard, Durant

The newly minted 2011 All Star game MVP worked his way to be the star of stars. 37 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 steals are great numbers. Props to Kobe. It is back to business since All Star weekend is over. Where is Kobe in the league MVP race? Remember, this isn’t the legacy award  like the All Star spots. Everyone has to put in serious work. That includes Bryant who is usually penciled in before the season started. Every great player's time fades away, too. It sucks, but that's life.

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Wednesday , Feb , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: ‘You can’t beat me in June’

After practice, Bryant was still reflective not only about the twilight of the regular season but also the twilight of his career and the opportunity to pass on what he has learned to younger players at the All-Star Game. When Bryant was asked how he feels about being an elder statesman he simply laughed. "It doesn't matter to me," he said. "You can't beat me in June. All the other stuff doesn't matter."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He put it out there.

Kobe Bryant isn’t worried about the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles. Not one bit. In fact, the MVP of 2011 All-Star game likes his chances against all comers in the playoffs when the Larry O’Brien championship trophy is at stake.

Part of me respects his confidence. And part of me thinks his team deserves greater respect.

After all, many have already buried the purple-and-gold, claiming they’re too everything: too old, too slow, too apathetic, and too Hollywood.

When that gets tiresome, they claim the purple-and gold aren’t enough like the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, or San Antonio Spurs.

Perhaps they have a point, but basketball is the only sport where the two-time defending champion would be written off for dead before the playoffs.

There’s still life in these Lakers, especially if Andrew Bynum stays healthy, Ron Artest regains his old form, and Matt Barnes recovers from injury to bring toughness off the bench.

However, a three-peat begins and ends with Bryant. And this boils down to one question: would you bet against him in June?

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , Feb , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kobe Bryant wins 4th MVP as West beats East

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This year, David Stern’s mid-season classic wasn’t half bad.

Like every All-Star game, there was no defense, highlight reel jams, classy dimes, and enough turnovers to kill a coach’s hairline.

For the record, the Western Conference squeaked out a narrow victory. Kobe Bryant won his fourth MVP on his homecourt in Los Angeles, while LeBron James recorded a triple-double.

Click the video clip, watch the highlights, and get at us with your thoughts on the 2011 All-Star game. 

--Oly Sandor.

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