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Friday , Oct , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Andrea Bargnani considering Virtus Roma?

Virtus Roma owner: "We have been talking with Andrea Bargnani. In my opinion, if he decides to play in Italy, he will sign just with us (Bargnani was born and grew up in Roma).

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: European clubs are loving the lockout.

The best squads in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Turkey are free to flirt with the best NBA players who are without jobs.

This means free publicity.

For weeks, executives with Virtus Bologna have been ‘negotiating’ with Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

These executives have no issue discussing negotiations with the press, while Bryant’s representative, Rob Pelinka, has had little to say.

Now the head suit with Virtus Roma is telling anyone who will listen that in his opinion they’ll land Andrea Bargani.

Perhaps they will. Perhaps they won’t.

The media (myself included) is reporting his opinion, though. So Virtus Romas, like every other European club, might as well get the free publicity while they can.

O.Sandor.

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Tuesday , Oct , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: players, owners holding make-or-break meeting on Tuesday?

Monday's smaller scale labor meeting adjourned shortly before 4:00 PM EST after a session that lasted 4.5 hours. David Stern and Adam Silver said that Monday's meeting was to "set the table for (Tuesday's) meeting."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: To quote the MJ bio flick: ‘This Is It’.

NBA players and owners are meeting on Tuesday to discuss a solution to the now three month lockout which has brought the business of basketball to a halt.

Apparently, the players are bringing in the big guns. Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, and Amar’e Stoudemire are expected to attend.

While the owners are talking tough, with Commissioner Stern saying the players need to make further concessions with respect to Basketball Related Income and system issues like the hard cap.

Bottom line: it should be interesting.

--O. Sandor.

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Tuesday , Oct , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Stephen Jackson in ‘What’s a Lockout’

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: NBA players have handled the lockout in different ways.

Heat superstar Dwyane Wade got into a shouting match with Commissioner David Stern at a bargaining session; Nets table-setter Deron Williams is playing in Turkey; Laker great Kobe Bryant has spread his brand and may sign in Italy.

Then there’s Stephen Jackson. The newest edition to the Milwaukee Bucks has released a lockout inspired rap song.

Click the video below, give Captain Jack’s work in the booth a listen, and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 

(By the way, listener discretion is advised.)

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

 

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Sunday , Oct , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Deal or no Deal: Is Kobe really playing in Italy?

Emiliano Carchia: Legabasket president Valentino Renzi is optimistic about the Kobe Bryant's deal. He said that Virtus Bologna will be allowed to play the 1st two games of the season at home despite the rule forbids that. Virtus Bologna won't talk about the deal as asked by Kobe's agent.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Deal or no deal?

Virtus Bologna has been telling anyone and everyone they have signed Kobe Bryant to a shared-risk contract where every team in the Italian league will pay part of his salary.

Bryant, however, has been mostly silent.

Yes, he told the European media of his affinity for Italy, the country he spent much of his childhood in. And yes, he hinted strongly at playing in Italy if the lockout continues.

It’s easy to conclude that Virtus Bologna executives are talking too much for the Bryant camp, soaking up the publicity that comes with being connected to a world class player.

Bryant to Italy could still happen. But it will be inspite of executives at Virtus Bologna and not because of them. 

--O. Sandor

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Friday , Sep , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe slams Shaq for not practicing

Kobe is out on a Nike-fueled tour of Italy right now and in a radio interview he was asked what was his issue with Shaq: “I like players who work out. I used to do that 6-7 hours per day. I cannot stand players who practice for 30 minutes. I need to say something to them”.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It was a shot at on old foe.

Today Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant called out players who don’t practice. Translation: he’s talking about Shaquille O’Neal, also known as The Big Broadcaster.

Of course, Bryant and O’Neal have history.

They were teammates and rivals with the Lakers. Then they parted and were just rivals, slamming each other in the press and at open mic’ night.

Currently, there’s a détente between the two, which results in not-so subtle digs flying back and forth every few months.

Whatever the case, it's nice to see O'Neal, now a retired TNT broadcaster, getting a taste of his own medicine.

In July, he called out Chris Bosh, Recently, he bragged about warning Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge not to trade Kendrick Perkins.

And he made a career of jabbing, poking, and swiping his peers. For once, the shoe is on the other foot.

--O. Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe contemplating $7 million offer from Virtus Bologna?

Kobe Bryant has been offered $6.7 million to play basketball for an Italian team, appealing to his childhood memories of growing up the country. Virtus Bologna general manager Massimo Faraoni tells The Associated Press he's been on conference calls between Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka, Bologna president Claudio Sabatini and main sponsor Canadian Solar, which would provide the cash for such a deal.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant will pass.

There have been rumblings the Los Angeles Lakers superstar is contemplating a one-year, $7 million dollar offer to suit up for Virtus Bologna in Italy.

Returning to his childhood home of Italy would be nice. And he’d love to spread his brand across international waters into Europe.

But Bryant has greater fish to fry -like getting revenge on the Dallas Mavericks for last year’s playoff defeat and winning a Michael Jordan-esque sixth championship.

Bryant, who is hitting the twilight of his career, won’t risk a championship for a jaunt throughout Europe.

--O. Sandor.

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Sunday , Sep , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe to Virtus Bologna a Union bluff?

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a youth basketball clinic in Singapore that he didn't know if there will be a 2011-12 season and hasn't ruled out playing abroad. "I could," Bryant said Saturday. "I'm playing abroad right now."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Will he stay state-side or go abroad?

This was the dilemma facing Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, who could earn millions of dollars per month playing outside the NBA.

However, the rumours, speculation, and gossip teetered off once the Chinese leagues restricted the escape clauses and talks heated up between the players and owners on a new collective bargaining agreement.

  Currently, the two sides are nowhere near a deal, which means Bryant is again considering his options abroad.

Perhaps he’ll tour Asia. Perhaps he’ll link up with a top squad in Europe. Currently, the owner of a prominent Italian club side is exploring ways to sign Bryant and pay the insurance on his NBA pact.

Or perhaps it’s a massive bluff. Bryant could be trying to pressure the owners, who hold all the cards and leverage in this lockout, by talking about suiting up in another league.

If so, it’s a Hail Mary. It may be the union’s best shot of getting some owners to move off their hard-line stance.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Sep , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mike Brown wants less Kobe, more Bynum and Gasol?

And whether you want to read a lot or a little into it, note this: When talking about the contrasting offensive styles Brown will show from Cleveland to here, the new Lakers’ coach summarized the coming Lakers offense as feeding Gasol and Bynum inside, not being the Kobe show.

“This team is completely different from what I had in Cleveland,” Brown said. “In Cleveland, I had a guy who liked to come off the top of the floor, liked to play in space and play pick-and-roll and make plays for others. Here, I’ve got two guys similar to what we had in San Antonio; you’re able to throw them the ball on the block.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Can a new coach and his new philosophy create new results for the Los Angeles Lakers when the NBA season begins?

It’s been a few months since Phil Jackson, the Hall of Fame coach and undisputed master of all things Zen, was replaced with Brown as sideline boss by the Lakers.

Brown, it seems, isn’t scared to shake things up, and wants to utilize his super-sized front-court.

Translation: less Kobe Bryant, more Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

However, it’s not known how Bryant, the club’s reigning top dog and Alpha Male, will feel about sharing his lofty perch with Bynum and Gasol.

Bynum is attached to Jim Buss, the controversial son of long-time owner Jerry Buss. Many feel the younger Bynum to leave his imprint on the Lakers.

And Gasol’s meltdown in last year’s playoff shocked the mortgage industry, prompted a twitter tirade from Snopp Dogg, and led to a physical confrontation of sorts with Jackson.

So Bryant may or may not buy-in. One thing is certain: the Lakers will be different.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Greatest Slam Dunk Contest Champion Ever- Part Two
Tuesday , Sep , 13 , 2011 Paul Eide

Greatest Slam Dunk Contest Champion Ever- Part Two

Read the first part of this article here. In ranking these champions, I want to completely exclude their overall skill as basketball players, and focus solely on their ability to dunk the basketball. Also, I think era in which they were dunking in is very significant, as is height. With those parameters laid out, let me throw the second five names at you, in no particular order. Of these five, I will rank them by reader comments via Hoopsvibe.com, Facebook and private emails. The player who gets the most vote moves into the “Final Four” of great dunkers, from which a mythical champ will be crowned; open wide, here they come!!

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Sunday , Sep , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe’s First Tweet: ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’

His account even offered up an inaugural Tweet: "Can you hear me now?!?!" A pretty weak inaugural Tweet. The account was shut down after that, but it is expected to resume communication at some time in the future. Whether Bryant can bring enough individual effort and personality to Twitter remains to be seen.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Years ago, Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, tried to rap.

You probably remember it. He was featured on a couple of tracks. He may have even put out an album. It was clear, however, that Bryant shouldn’t quit his day gig as an All-World two-guard.

And he didn’t. Thankfully.

Recently, Bryant dropped his first-ever tweet on the micro-blogging platform known as twitter. ‘Can you hear me know?’ was met with very mixed reviews, and Bryant’s people quickly pulled his twitter account.

Bryant will tweet again. Probably soon. Hopefully, his next effort is a little more inspiring.

--Oly Sandor.


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Tracy McGrady’s NBA Legacy – When was he ever underrated?
Tuesday , Sep , 06 , 2011 J.N.

Tracy McGrady’s NBA Legacy – When was he ever underrated?

I’m laughing at the notion. Actually, everyone should be laughing because when the hell was Tracy McGrady ever underrated? We’re not talking about Mark Aguirre underrated here. Aguirre never made all NBA First teams and never averaged 32.1 points per game for a season. McGrady retired two years ago and the T-Mac today is nothing but a rusty old aging robot for the Detroit Pistons. I’m trying to give the idea a thought – was McGrady underrated at any point in his career? 

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Derrick Rose’s Bulls is not “one player away” from winning it all.
Monday , Sep , 05 , 2011 J.N.

Derrick Rose’s Bulls is not “one player away” from winning it all.

Who said that Derrick Rose’s Chicago Bulls were one player away from winning the title? Anyone saying this over and over again is wrong. What makes you think this? What makes you feel this? The Bulls lack a quality shooting guard. That is true, but that does not make them just one player away. When was the last time this was said about another team? Did LeBron in Cleveland need one more player? What about Dirk’s team or Kobe when the Lakers got Pau?

 

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Lakers guaranteed the 2012 NBA title already? No way!
Saturday , Sep , 03 , 2011 J.N.

Lakers guaranteed the 2012 NBA title already? No way!

Book it. It’s over. There is no need for the 2012 season even if the lockout ended right now. "Win it all," Artest said when asked what will the Lakers do in the 2011-2012 season. "Win the whole thing. That's a guarantee.” Wow. Interesting. And here we go again. Why must you do this? And why must some of Laker Nation have to front run so much? Why? Dallas Mavericks dominating the Lakers was not enough? You were not entertained?

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Thursday , Sep , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Garnett: ‘I was pretty close’ to joining Kobe and Lakers

“I was pretty close, to be honest….Kob[e Bryant] and Phil [Jackson] at the time were at each other pretty bad. The situation was full of uncertainty. It wasn’t something I wanted to get into… It was my choice not to go to the Lakers.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Apparently, Kevin Garnett nearly joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007.

The Big Ticket instead picked the Boston Celtics because he was concerned about the uncertainty of Kobe Bryant’s relationship with former coach Phil Jackson.

Garnett joined the storied green-and-white, beat those same Lakers he passed in 2008 to win a championship, and then lost a championship in 2010 to Kobe and company.

Suppose Garnett did join the purple-and-gold. There are a few points worth considering:

If healthy, Garnett would have teamed with Andrew Bynum to create an absolute fortress in the middle. The Staples Centre would have been on lock-down.

It’s reasonable to assume Garnett would have won at least one championship, as he’s Pau Gasol’s equal.

Bryant and Garnett would have been the most intense and competitive duo in league history. They would have straight bullied teams.

However, it was not to be. Garnett made his decision to join the Celtics, which re-ignited the club's rivalry with the Lakers.  

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Wednesday , Aug , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Brandon Jennings: Kobe Not L.A. enough?

If Bryant decides to play in the Drew League this summer, Jennings would want to see some documentation. "He wasn't born and raised in L.A," Jennings told ESPN the Magazine`s Chris Palmer. "You gotta be from L.A. for Drew. Show me a birth certificate."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Perhaps taking his cue from Donald Trump and President Obama, Brandon Jennings wants to see Kobe Bryant’s birth certificate to establish if the superstar can represent the Los Angeles based Drew League.

Locked out NBA players have taken to suiting up for two street ball organizations: the Goodman League and the Drew League.

Jennings believes you must be born or raised in Los Angeles to play for the west-coast based Drew League. Bryant wasn’t born or raised in Los Angeles, which according to the Milwaukee Bucks’ table-setter makes him ineligible.

To be fair, Bryant has always considered himself a Los Angeles native since getting drafted by the Lakers in the mid-nineties. Other cities, especially Philadelphia, gave him grief for such allegiances.

So Jennings, a resident of Compton, should perhaps cut the five-time world champion a little slack and let him play for the Drew.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Street ball games are not special. Why so much hype?
Wednesday , Aug , 24 , 2011 J.N.

Street ball games are not special. Why so much hype?

The NBA lockout has definitely affected coverage of pro basketball during the summer, which is obvious because there is no basketball to report. People are desperate for NBA action that they have to resort to covering recreational leagues around the nation. Kevin Durant’s street ball exploits, Kobe Bryant dominating, John Lucas III lighting it up, and LeBron James getting dunked on by little Asian kids was just the stuff shown around networks and Internet. Fans are that thirsty for that action.

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Saturday , Aug , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Barkley: Kobe Shouldn’t Risk Playing Overseas

“No I don’t think Kobe Bryant is going to Turkey. Kobe Bryant, I want to get my numbers right, but I think he has three years and 83 million dollars, so could you imagine him going to Turkey or China for a couple of million dollars and blowing an Achilles or knee out? When you have 83 million dollars coming in the next three years, first of all you should already be financially set, but that’s too much to risk. You can’t risk that money playing overseas.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Will Kobe Bryant play in China during the NBA lockout? Or, will he stay state-side?

Everyone has an opinion, including Hall of Fame power forward and TNT broadcaster Charles Barkley, who believes Bryant has 83 million reasons to avoid China and remain in America.

Barkley believes The Black Mamba would be silly to risk injury playing in a foreign league and potentially compromise the remaining three years and $83 million on his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

After all, in China he’d reportedly pull in between $1-2 per month, however, there’s the possibility of tearing an Achilles or blowing out a knee.

Even with insurance such an injury would complicate the term and money on his lucrative pact with the purple-and-gold.

So perhaps Bryant rests until the lockout is settled -whenever that is.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Aug , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe and Laker players help victims of Jim Buss’ purge

Kobe Bryant insisted on giving some of the team's playoff bonus to two members of the Lakers' video department whose contracts were not renewed after the season. Chris Bodaken and Patrick O'Keefe split about $65,000 of the Lakers' playoff bonus.

Bodaken started with the Lakers as a ball boy in 1986 and spent the last 10 seasons as their director of video services. O'Keefe was the Lakers' video coordinator for six seasons.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The owner’s son can learn from the superstar.

Kobe Bryant led teammates in donating part of of their playoff bonus to two Laker employees who had been let go by Jim Buss because of the lockout.

The Lakers are highly profitable, and have made the Buss clan a fortune. They didn’t need to pink-slip anybody when it became clear owners and players wouldn’t agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But Jim Buss saw an opportunity, laying off 20 employees, many of whom he perceived as loyal to former Coach Phil Jackson. So he’s using the current labour strife to settle a personal beef with The Zen-Master.

At least, the players showed class. Once again, Laker-nation should be troubled and disturbed by Jim Buss.

--Oly Sandor.


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Thursday , Aug , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: China says no to Kobe, D-Wade, and Dirk Nowitzki

Just hours after Shanxi Zhongyu announced their deal with Kobe, the Chinese basketball league decided not to allow players who have deals with NBA teams to play in CBA. The league lists 108 players who have no deals with NBA; only them can register in CBA.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwyane Wade won't be playing for a Chinese club come fall.

Today, the Chinese Basketball League banned NBA players from signing with Chinese clubs if they have an NBA contract.

NBA free agents can still sign in China; however, getting an opt-out clause to return to America when the lockout ends may be difficult.

In other words: if you sign in China, you stay in China.

This is fair. The government created the Chinese Basketball League to develop talent for the national team, and not to provide leverage for locked-out, millionaire superstars from America.

And now Billy Hunter and the Players Union have a problem. The game's biggest stars have maintained they'll head to China if the owners prolong the lockout with their hardball negotiating tactics.

Such a threat is now meaningless. The money, lifestyle, and branding opportunities aren't as good in Europe. Greece, Portugal, and Spain are also in poor financial shape, so few roster spots will be available.

Hopefully, this development forces the players back to the bargaining table.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Wednesday , Aug , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kobe Owns James Harden and The Drew League

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Challenge issued. Challenge met.

Yesterday Kobe Bryant dominated Los Angeles' famous Drew League, meeting the request of Dino Smiley, the league's commissioner, that he appear.

After all, Kevin Durant showed. Same with LeBron James. So why not Kobe?

However, Bryant did more than appear. He ran things; the Black Mamba scored 45 points, which included getting mobbed on-court by fans after hitting the game-winning jump shot over Oklahoma City Thunder swing James Harden.

The real excitement might have been outside the gym. Once word spread that Bryant was playing, hundreds looked through the window of the gym because the facility was at capacity for fans

Clearly, Bryant's Drew League appearance was a success. Watch the video of Bryant sinking the game-winning shot over Harden and get at us with thoughs in the comment box below.

--Oly Sandor.