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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.

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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.


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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.’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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Sunday , Feb , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Best car leap: Blake Griffin or Kobe Bryant?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: By now, you’ve seen it.

You’ve seen Kenny Smith pull a ‘Bundini’ and rep for Blake Griffin like he was former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.

You’ve seen the choir pump up the Los Angeles crowd by belting out the R. Kelly classic ‘I believe I can fly’.

And you’ve seen Griffin leap the hood of a car, catch a Baron Davis alley-oop, and throw down a fierce two-handed jam, which won the Clippers superstar the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest.

However, Griffin didn’t invent the car leap. He simply mastered it.

A few years ago, Lakers great Kobe Bryant made news when he jumped an Aston Martin. ‘The Black Mamba’ didn’t dunk a basketball, but his aerial antics –despite reportedly being aided by special effects- impressed.

Watch the clips and tell us in the comment box below if Griffin or Bryant did the best job hurdling a car.

(Kenny `Bundini` Smith. The choir. And Griffin leaping a car.) 

(Kobe: `I got this.`) 

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Saturday , Feb , 19 , 2011 Oly Sandor

Rumor: Howard to join Bryant and Lakers in 2012?

During media availability on Friday of All-Star Weekend, Dwight Howard was asked about the possibility of becoming a member of the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2012. "As of right now, I’m in Orlando and that’s the only thing on my mind, is getting our team back to the Finals,” responded Howard.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: At some point during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, Dwight Howard will surely say to close confidants: “man, I could get used to this.”

The ‘this’, of course, is the massive market of Los Angeles. And perhaps, these few days convinces Howard to opt-out of his contract in 2012, and sign with the Lakers as a free agent.

And ‘this’, of course, is a problem for Howard’s current team, the Orlando Magic. The massive five-man is their franchise face, resident superstar, and premier player.

If he leaves, the Magic’s championship aspirations go with him. Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy will have a lottery team playing in an empty new arena.

So, how do the executive and coach of the Magic convince Howard to sign a long-term extension?

First, they find him a real co-star. Not Jason Richardson. Not Gilbert Arenas. Not Hedo Turkoglu. This trio combined can’t hold Kobe Bryant, even if The Black Mamba would be in his mid 30s by 2012.

Smith and Van Gundy must remind Howard big markets are no longer the be-all, end-all with respect to marketing. The internet means players can be global superstars in Orlando, as well as Los Angeles.

Finally, they should appeal to his loyalty. The Magic are, and will continue to be Howard’s team, while the Lakers belong to Bryant, a five-time champion.

Smith and Van Gundy would be wise to continue communicating with Howard. Or come 2012, he’ll land in Los Angeles. Except this time it won’t be for a weekend.

--Oly Sandor.
 
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Friday , Feb , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant ‘irritated’ at teammates after Cleveland loss

 On the other hand, Kobe Bryant looked incredibly irritated as he walked off the court, head down, all alone after the latest loss. He then ignored reporters for a second consecutive game, his second mini-boycott of the media this season. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson actually spent a full 2 1/2 minutes with reporters in the wake of Wednesday's debacle after providing five terse seconds of his time in Charlotte.

"I think they took the [All-Star] break before the game," he said, declining to name names though it wouldn't spoil anything to provide some clues (RonArtestLamarOdomAndrewBynum).

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last time they played, they won by 55. This time, they lost.

Yesterday, the two-time defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers were beaten by the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, who recently came within a whisper of setting the NBA record for most consecutive defeats.

Yes, the purple-and-gold has fallen. Yes, superstar Kobe Bryant is miffed. And yes, the world’s best player wants changes.

There’s no other way to interpret Bryant boycotting the media after the loss. Like Coach Phil Jackson, he believes his supporting cast isn’t pulling their weight and are in vacation mode.

Ron Artest’s play has to be particularly worrying for the Lakers’ brass. Last year, the three-man played with desire, despite struggling with Phil Jackson’s triple-post sets.

This year … well, the Lakers are still waiting for Artest to arrive. He’s averaging a career low 8 points per game and hasn’t played with his trademark defensive intensity.

Artest’s poor play has been compounded by Matt Barnes’ injury. Without Barnes' energy, the bench has been up and down, while the steady Derek Fisher continues to show his age.

Expect the Lakers to be buyers at the trade deadline. They have no choice -if they want to compete for a third straight championship.

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Saturday , Feb , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant ‘wouldn’t be opposed to’ playing in Italy in 2012

Then what happens to the NBA? And what would Kobe Bryant do if there is a lockout? He might play in Europe. "I wouldn't be opposed to it," he said Friday. "You know how much I love Italy. I grew up there."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He may say Arrevederci to the NBA and Salve to Italy.

There’s a possibility Kobe Bryant, one of the world’s best players, might bolt America and ply his trade in Italy if the NBA has a prolonged work stoppage in 2011-12.

This is not a ploy or bargaining strategy.

Bryant’s dad played several seasons in Italy. He grew up there. He speaks Italian and has a special affinity and appreciation for the country. Bryant and his family would be comfortable spending a year abroad.

Two years ago, there were rumblings Bryant and the other free agents from the class of 2010 would sign with rich European clubs because their earnings couldn’t be capped by the salary cap.

Of course, the Black Mamba doesn’t need money, but he wouldn't pass on $20-25 million tax free, especially if the NBA is sitting idle.

Finally, Bryant would like the pace of European basketball. There are fewer games and less travel, which reduce the impact on his knee. He'd also stay fit for when the player’s union and owners iron out their differences.

Bottom line: don’t be surprised if Bryant spends 2012 in Italy.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Feb , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Kevin Garnett: ‘He’s a great guy’

Kobe Bryant defended Kevin Garnett prior to Thursday's game against the Celtics. The forward's sportsmanship has been called into question this season after an off-color remark he made about cancer to Detroit's Charlie Villanueva and a below-the-belt hit he had on Phoenix's Channing Frye. "He's a great guy," Bryant said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant may be right. Off the court, Kevin Garnett may be a great guy.

On the court, he’s a talented but chippie post who anchors the Boston Celtics’ defence with some questionable tactics. Elbows, low-blows, and forearms, Garnett has thrown them all.

Some would even argue Garnett’s antics have lessened his standing within the league and taken some shine off his Hall of Fame career.

Of course, the other 29 teams would still take Garnett in a New York second. So perhaps the complaints are actually sour grapes.

--Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Feb , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Why Bynum for Anthony trade won’t happen

A report from ESPN on Tuesday indicated that the Lakers and Nuggets were holding preliminary discussions about a trade involving Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum.

"What's out there is inaccurate," said a Lakers representative familiar with the negotiations. Denver is also in discussions with the Knicks, the team Anthony is reportedly set on playing for by the 11-12 season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It sounded too good to be true. Glamour franchise gets glamour scorer and only gives up a talented but brittle center.

And it was.

The Los Angeles Lakers have shot down reports they were considering sending Andrew Bynum to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Carmelo Anthony.

The Lakers likely denied these reports because the Nuggets had little interest in Bynum, a massive five-man who has never fulfilled his considerable potential because of injury.

The only thing about an Anthony-for-Bynum swap that made sense was the money: their annual salaries were a rough match under the NBA’s salary cap.

Contracts aside, this idea was flawed.

For instance, the Nuggets would not give up their superstar and franchise face for an injury prone post with two years remaining on his big-ticket contract.

Instead, the Nuggets want expiring contracts, blue-chip prospects, and/or draft picks for Anthony. Bynum is none of these.

The Lakers have struggled of late; however, sacrificing Bynum’s size for Anthony’s scoring is hardly the answer. After all, Anthony is a shot-first, option-A player.

He doesn’t defer. In fact he can’t defer. And last I checked the Lakers already had the ultimate Alpha-Male scorer in Kobe Bryant.

Then there’s the issue of protecting the paint. The Lakers won game seven of last year’s NBA Finals in large part because Bynum, despite being hurt, controlled the glass against the Boston Celtics.

Without their starting five, the purple-and-gold would be vulnerable against bigger, physical squads, especially in a down-and-dirty playoff series.

Finally, Anthony will opt-out at the end of the season and become a free agent. Would Anthony re-sign out west? And would the Lakers offer an extension for the maximum available under the new financial system?

Expect the Nuggets to go in a different direction when trying to move Anthony. Expect the Lakers to also go in a different direction with any trade deadline upgrades.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Feb , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lamar Odom: Kobe Bryant wants to be better than Michael Jordan

He wants to be better than Michael Jordan. Most people would be scared to admit that because that guy was that good and did that much. So you have to understand that what Kobe’s trying to get as a basketball player and what it takes to get there, a lot of us don’t even have the gall, the balls, the will.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Put the blame on Lamar Odom.

In a recent interview, the Los Angeles Lakers’ renaissance forward re-opened the Pandora’s Box known as Kobe-versus-Mike.

Odom states that Kobe Bryant’s goal is to be better than Michael Jordan, and the Black Mamba believes he can achieve this by passing His Airness’ total of six championships.

If only it were so simple.

Championships are one measure of a player’s greatness. The other has to be how that player performed during those championship series. In the other words, when the chips were on the line, what did the player do?

In this respect, Jordan has Bryant beat. It’s not even close.

After all, Jordan went six and zero in the NBA Finals. He never lost; nobody could touch him, as he won six Most Valuable Player awards.

Bryant is 5-2 in the NBA Finals. His Lakers have lost to the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics. For his first three championships, Bryant was a co-star next to the ‘Most Dominant Ever’ in Shaquille O’Neal.

Bryant wants to be better than Jordan; however, he can’t touch The Greatest of All Time. Not now; not ever.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , Jan , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Shaq wearing Celtic green: ‘I don’t think it’s too weird’

"I don't think it's too weird," said guard Kobe Bryant, who had a contentious relationship with Shaq during the center's time with the Lakers from 1996 to 2004. "I don't really hold too much significance to the fact that he's playing with the Celtics. I don't think Laker fans as a whole are. I don't think it's that big of a deal."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not weird. Really, it’s not.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant doesn’t believe there’s anything unusual about former teammate and partner-in-crime Shaquille O’Neal being a member of the Boston Celtics.

Bryant and O’Neal won three consecutive championships with the purple-and-gold. And O’Neal was the face of the Lakers before their feuds forced him east to the Miami Heat.

I’m not buying Bryant’s no-comment. Neither should you.

Bryant and O’Neal are still rivals. Tension still exists from the World Wars. It’s just under the surface and can manifest itself at any moment.

For instance, right after winning his fifth championship last spring, Bryant boasted to the throngs of reporters that ‘he now had one more than Shaq’.

Perhaps that comment drove O’Neal to sign a two-year deal with the Celtics last summer, even though it meant accepting less minutes, shots, and spotlight.

O’Neal probably believes he could’ve been the difference in last year’s NBA Finals when the Lakers needed seven-games to beat, you guessed it, the Celtics.

So Bryant and O’Neal are rivals. These Lakers and Celtics are rivals. And historically, the Lakers and Celtics have always been great rivals.

But hey, Shaq on the Celtics isn’t weird. Really, it’s not.

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Friday , Jan , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade named 2011 All-Star starters

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Today, the NBA announced their starting line-up for the February 20th All-Star game in Los Angeles.

Of course, the fans vote in the starters. And the Western and Eastern Conference’s line-ups are filled with the usual suspects. Check out the list below and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.

Western Conference:

G Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

G Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

F Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

F Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

C Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

Eastern Conference:

G Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

G Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

F LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

F Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

C Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

 --Oly Sandor

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

 

 

 

2011 All-Star Starters Announced
Friday , Jan , 28 , 2011 Christopher Sells

2011 All-Star Starters Announced

 Your 2011 NBA All-Star Game starters, as voted by the fans and announced by the NBA are below. The game will be played in Los Angeles on February 20.

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Sunday , Jan , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Deron Williams on free agency: ‘I won’t be doing The Decision’

"What I've learned is, you don't go on TV and do The Decision." Williams said the other night in Newark, after the Jazz lost to the Nets. "So I won't be doing 'The Decision."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Add Deron Williams to the list of NBA superstars who have learned from LeBron James’ free agent follies.

There will be no soap opera, world tour, or sequel to The Decision. Williams is a top table-setter, and where he decides to spend the next portion of his career will be dramatic enough. ( For the record: Williams can become a free agent in July of 2012.)

Just a hunch: he won't stay with the Utah Jazz.

Williams is as competitive as Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant. He hates losing and the Jazz, while usually competitive, never have the pieces to win a championship.

Unfortunately, the small market Jazz will always the lack the resources to add premier talent, especially when compared to larger markets like the New York Knicks or L.A. Lakers.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement may level the playing field for small market clubs like Utah, but then there’s Salt Lake City. Superstars typically prefer bigger, sexier locations to maximize endorsements.

This will be too much for the Jazz to overcome. So it's how, not if, Williams leaves.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Jan , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant in LA?

All of Orlando has seen this haunting movie before. The Magic know what's out there, too. They're aware of the rumbles in circulation that Howard secretly longs to make the same cross-country trek to Los Angeles that Shaquille O`Neal mapped out in 1996, with one source close to the situation insisting that Howard and Lakers star Kobe Bryant are far closer pals than people realize.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We’ve seen this before. Franchise post leaves the Orlando Magic, signs with the Los Angeles Lakers, and wins multiple championships next to Kobe Bryant.

Technically, Dwight Howard is a ways away from pulling a Shaq-Fu and leaving the Magic as a free agent –the big man can exercise an option on his contract in July of 2012.

However, the rumors and rumblings were loud enough for the Magic to initiate two blockbuster trades last month, acquiring Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu.

Will the combo guard formerly known as The Hibachi, J-Rich, and Turkoglu appease Howard?

After all, Howard loves the spotlight. He loves flashing his pearly white teeth for the cameras and busting jokes for reporters. Unfortunately, Orlando is small; so small he can’t maximize endorsements and get another legit superstar to join him.

Without a premier wing-man, Howard has little shot at a championship in Orlando. He needs help; really good help to beat the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in a seven-game, do-or-die series.

Howard knows this, so leaving Orlando for a major market like New York or Los Angeles remains a possibility. Of course, the Knicks have Amar`e Stoudemire, while the Lakers have Kobe Bryant.

For personal and professional reasons, Howard would prefer Los Angeles. He and Bryant are friends, and would form a deadly inside-outside combination. A Howard-Stoudemire pairing sounds enticing, but could be awkward.  

In the coming months, there will be more talk of Howard joining Bryant in Los Angeles. Orlando can quiet the talk and re-sign their superstar by winning a championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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