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Sunday , Oct , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade: Miami Heat will be good defensively

Through the first few days of training camp, Dwyane Wade has been impressed with Miami's defensive potential. "I know where we're going to be good, it's going to be defensively," said Wade.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Defense wins championships. It’s a constant in the modern era of the NBA.

The great Chicago Bulls –even with all-world offensive talents like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen – won six titles in eight years because they got stops.

The San Antonio Spurs became a quasi-dynasty because Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and David Robinson took care of their own end.

The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers won the last three championships by playing air-tight ‘D’.

So Dwyane Wade is right: the Miami Heat will win with defense. Not star power.

Fortunately, the Heat has the makings of a strong defensive team: Wade is an above average defender; LeBron James took major steps towards being a lockdown guy in 2010; Chris Bosh was a surprisingly decent banger for Team USA at the Beijing Olympics.

If the Three Kings defend, others will follow. Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, two blue-collar posts, will have no trouble adjusting. Shooters Eddie House and Mike Miller will do their part. Mario Chalmers, an above average defender, and Carlos Arroyo will hold their own at the one-spot.

Forget the glamour. Forget the hype. If Miami collectively commits to playing defense, they will win. History is on their side.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Oct , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Barkley on LeBron’s racism claims: ‘it gets more stupid’

Charles Barkley has been one of LeBron James' biggest critics this summer. He's not stopping now.  "It's like watching a movie," Barkley said during a radio interview Friday. "Just when you think it couldn't get any stupider, it gets more stupid."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I’m not a visible minority. I don’t live in America. So I can’t comment on race relations in another country.

Right or wrong, fair or not, Charles Barkley and Jason Whitlock – two prominent African American media types - criticized Maverick Carter and LeBron James’ claims that race factored into the negative press surrounding The Decision.

Barkley and Whitlock believe The Decision was panned by journalists, fans, and broadcasters because it was a stupid, sorry exercise, and not because of racism.

Perhaps.

While I don’t condone The Decision, the press seems much more lenient on, say, Brett Favre, a white quarterback from Mississippi, for retiring and un-retiring every year.

The gunslinger’s ‘I-can’t-play-anymore-routine’ is more melodramatic than a ‘tweenage’ girl professing her love for Twilight. Like The Decision, it's an act. Worst of all, it's annual affair every summer -like the Fourth of July or Labour Day.   

Why then is Favre more deserving of leeway than James?  

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Sep , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nuggets finally realize they must trade Anthony?

The Nuggets are losing their reluctance to trade Carmelo Anthony, according to sources familiar with the thinking of the front office.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Denver Nuggets have come to their senses. They must cut their losses and trade Carmelo Anthony.

It’s inevitable. They have no other choice.

Anthony won’t sign an extension with Denver. If he doesn’t get a trade, he’ll opt-out of his contract next July, and leave as an unrestricted free agent.

The Nuggets would then suffer the same miserable fate as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, who may never recover from LeBron James and Chris Bosh signing with the Miami Heat.

Getting something is better than nothing. If the Nuggets can’t have Anthony, they might as well get back a combination of draft picks, young players, and expiring contracts.

--Oly Sandor.
 
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Sunday , Sep , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dan Gilbert: no regrets slamming LeBron in ‘The Letter’

In an interview with the Detroit Free-Press, Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert spoke about his controversial open letter released the night LeBron James announced his decision to sign with the Heat. "No, not really," Gilbert said. "I just expressed what the Cleveland people were feeling. Unless you're from Cleveland and experienced what they have experienced since 1964, it's hard for the rest of the country to grasp."

Gilbert was subsequently fined by the NBA for the letter.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Of course, he has no regrets over declaring viral jihad on LeBron James

Dan Gilbert is an Alpha Male. That’s how he built his lending business. That’s how he bought the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Gilbert doesn’t tolerate losing. Not in the boardroom. Not on the basketball court. So James announcing he was ‘taking his talents to South Beach’ had to sting.

After all, the Cavaliers instantly became a lottery team. The franchise’s value dropped dramatically. Cleveland and the state of Ohio were also treated like a losing contestant on a reality television show.

Simply put, filthy rich guys like Gilbert aren’t used to getting treated this way. They aren’t used to getting embarrassed. This prompted Gilbert to publish The Letter, attacking James for The Decision.

He won’t apologize. Or even admit to being over the top. When Gilbert attacks, there's no retreat.

Such a concession would go against who he is.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Erik Spoelstra undecided on who starts with James, Wade, and Bosh

James, Wade and Chris Bosh are the only set starters. ``I do want to make a point of being open minded going into camp,'' Spoelstra said. ``LeBron and Dwyane will be handling the ball quite often. Mario and Carlos will be handling the ball quite often. Mike Miller has a great skill set to be able to handle the ball. Whether LeBron starts [at point guard] or not, is not a high priority right now. I want to get into training camp and get a better feel for this team.''

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Three Kings run the show. Everybody else gets in where they fit in.

This is Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra’s philosophy before training camp starts in two weeks.  Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade will star; everybody else is interchangeable.

The Heat – after their summer overhaul - is a new team. Chemistry must develop. And teammates must have a chance to forge relationships on and off court.

Why would Spoelstra box himself in by naming his other two starters now?

He, instead, stated the obvious: LeBron and Wade will serve as primary ball handlers. Both will see time at point guard, while Bosh will establish a presence down low.

There are a few other givens. Shooters Eddie House and Mike Miller will figure into the mix to prevent defences from double-teaming Bosh, James, and Wade. A platoon of bigs will man the center spot, allowing ‘CB4’ to play power forward.

Miami will go as far as their Three Kings will take them, but the role players must also perform. And those role players will have to emerge.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Sep , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Minnesota seeking ‘singular move’ for version of Kobe, D-Wade, or Durant

The reality is, we are still lacking a dominant player – our version of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade or Kevin Durant – and that will remain an item at the top of the To-Do list.

It’s possible this player could emerge from within the roster.  Nearly every player on our team has his best days ahead of him.   Some could make an All-Star team during their careers and one has already become an impact player on the USA Men’s National Team in this year’s FIBA World Championships.  We also have eight players currently on the roster who were selected in the top-seven of their respective drafts:  Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Wes Johnson, Jonny Flynn, Darko Milicic, Corey Brewer, Martell Webster and Ricky Rubio.

The average age of those eight players is 22. However, if one of our players fails to emerge, we will be prepared to find more talent for our team – and we will seek a singular move rather than a series of moves, as we did these last 14 months.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The ‘singular move’ Minnesota Timberwolves executive David Kahn mentions isn’t happening in today’s NBA.

Superstars want to play with other superstars. For instance: there’s The Three Kings in Miami; The Big Four suit up for the Boston Celtics; and Kobe Bryant and his star studded supporting cast have won consecutive championships with  the Los Angeles Lakers.

No elite player worthy of Kahn’s ‘singular move’ tag will sign with the Timberwolves, especially as a solo act. Their young supporting cast is irrelevant; superstars still remember Kevin Garnett wasting away in The Frozen Tundra of ‘Sota.

Kahn quickest way to attaining a superstar is through the draft. In fact, he may already have a potential superstar in Ricky Rubio, the club’s 2009 lottery pick.

Of course, it’s not known if Rubio is merely refining his game in Europe or refusing to play for the lowly T-Wolves.

Either way, Kahn’s job is bigger than a ‘singular move’.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Sep , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Cuban believes LeBron embarrassed Cavaliers and NBA with The Decision

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban commented on the LeBron James fiasco for the first time on Wednesday in an appearance on The Dunham and Miller Show on SportsRadio 1310 in Dallas.

"LeBron has every right to go wherever and do whatever, whatever team he wants to," Cuban said. "Going to the Heat was his choice, those guys working together. I don't even have a problem with the three of them working together, as long as they follow all of the NBA rules, which I think they did.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He can’t run. He can’t hide. And he can’t escape the criticism. ‘The Decision’ made LeBron James a target.

Today, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban – who never met a camera he didn’t like – teed off on James, claiming he humiliated the Cavaliers, the city of Cleveland, and the state of Ohio.

Cuban also said it wasn’t what James did, leaving Cleveland, but how he did it – on national television.

This is fair.

However, an owner can’t publicly bash James, the face of the league, and ESPN, the NBA’s broadcast partner. Cuban should expect a stern phone call from Commissioner David Stern.

The former Dancing With the Stars contestant was only warming up. Of course, he took a shot at James for signing with the Miami Heat instead of his Mavericks.

Perhaps this is a case of sour grapes. Perhaps Cuban was venting.

Right now, James has to take the criticism. Fortunately, he can get his revenge when the season starts in a month and a half.  

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Sep , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant and Team USA win FIBA World Championship -without LeBron, D-Wade, or Melo

Kevin Durant scored 28 points to lead Team USA to an 81-64 victory over Turkey to win the gold medal at the World Championships in Istanbul.

It marked the American's first World Championship title since 1994. Durant set a record at the tournament for the most points scored by a U.S. player.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Who needs LeBron? Who needs D-Wade? Who needs `Melo?

Not Team USA.

Mike Krzyzewski’s squad didn’t need the superstars from their gold medal winning team in Beijing –most of whom passed on the FIBA World Championship to rest and relax the summer away.

This version of Stars and Stripes had Kevin Durant, who scored at will. They also had a collectivist, team-first approach that would have made Mao, Che, and Stalin proud.

For their efforts, they also have a gold medal, beating the host Turkish side 81-64 to win America’s first FIBA World Championship since 1994.

Here’s where it gets interesting: will Coach ‘K’ take this squad to the 2012 Olympics or will he take the superstars who decided to skip the World Championship?

Either way, it’s a rather nice problem to have.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Stan Van Gundy on Pat Riley`s complaining: ‘I was kind of amused by it’

``I thought it was pretty typical. I was kind of amused by it, especially reading down through the interview,’’ Van Gundy said. ``He goes into Charles Barkley, me and Otis and then says he doesn’t worry about what people say. Wait, you called the press conference, you went off and everybody and you don’t care what people say? Clearly, he cares a great deal about what people say. I was laughing when I saw that.’’

Van Gundy wasn’t laughing when he read that Riley ripped him and Smith for questioning why James and Bosh would rather team together with Dwyane Wade in Miami rather than trying to win a championship on their own. Riley said the comment was ``an absolutely stupid remark,’’ but several former great players such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Barkley reaffirmed that they would have never jumped ship on their teams simply as a way to chase a championship.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s safe to say the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic don’t like each other. Not one bit.

However, Pat Riley, the Heat’s lead executive, and Stan Van Gundy, the Magic’s coach, don’t just dislike each other –they hate each other.

Passionately.

Van Gundy was once Riley’s lead assistant on Miami’s bench. Back then, these two trusted each other. These two liked each other. And these two enjoyed a student-mentor relationship. 

When Riley retired from coaching, it was Van Gundy he picked as his successor. Of course, The Oil Slick couldn’t stay away from the spotlight, so he fired his former protégé one season after trading for Shaquille O’Neal.

Riley claimed the move was about helping the Heat win an NBA Title –which they did. Van Gundy claimed Riley put a knife in his back.

Whoever’s version you believe, their split was personal.

For a few years, Van Gundy held the edge over Riley because the Magic were Eastern Conference powers, advancing to the Finals in 2009.

The Three Kings changed the balance of power. Riley’s Heat now has momentum. And this, perhaps, prompted Magic GM Otis Smith and Van Gundy to publicly slag Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Riley.

So Riley responded. And Van Gundy, who never met a microphone he didn’t like, fired back.

The players will decide the battle of Florida on-court. Expect Riley and Van Gundy’s grudge match to extend well beyond 2011.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Sep , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Heat to use Wade and/or LeBron at PG

Ira Winderman: Pat Riley says Chalmers likely ready for camp, but not Butler. Hints strongly at casting Wade or LeBron at point guard.(Twitter)

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Of course, the Miami Heat should use LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade at point guard.

After all, James and Wade are two of the NBA’s premier players, meaning the ball will mostly be in their hands to run the offense and make key decisions.

The smart money is on James actually shifting from wing to lead-guard. Now The King can score. In fact, he can score at will. However, James excels when facilitating for teammates.

James has always been more Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan. But his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, needed him to score. So he did.

In South Beach, he’ll involve others. At 6-8 and 260 pounds, he’ll have a size and strength advantage over opposing point guards, creating mismatches on both ends of the floor.  

Look for the Heat to use James and Wade at point guard. The results shouldl impress.

-Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Joakim Noah and Chicago Bulls close on extension?

After chatter kicked up on Thursday that the Bulls could include Joakim Noah in a possible deal for Carmelo Anthony, ESPN.com's Marc Stein provided some updates on Friday morning.

"Be advised that the Bulls are actually working on something else Noah-related: Getting him locked in for the long term with a contract extension," Stein wrote.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s the second coming of super-utility man Horace Grant, so the Chicago Bulls must re-sign Joakim Noah.

Like Grant, Noah does the little things. He rebounds. He defends. He blocks shots. Best of all, he’s nasty.
 
Last year, during a blow-out loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Noah took exception to LeBron James turning Quicken Loans Arena into Soul Train with his celebratory dance moves.

So he stepped up.

From the bench, Noah challenged James for his lack of respect. Words were exchanged. The two had to be separated.

Such guts are rare. James is an elite player; a superstar who sits atop the NBA pyramid. Noah still spoke up, earning the respect of teammates and former coach Vinny Del Negro.

Noah will blossom under defensive guru Tom Thibodeau. The first-year sideline boss will use the power forward as a defensive anchor, while encouraging him to contribute on the offensive end.     

First, however, the Bulls and Noah must agree on an extension. Or, like Grant, he could eventually leave as a free agent.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Sep , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Reggie Miller: Dwyane Wade is Derek Jeter, LeBron James is Alex Rodriguez

Wattage aside, perhaps the Miami Heat’s cast of superheros -- or villains, depending on your point of view -- will not be led by King James. TNT's Reggie Miller said the Heat’s star system is simple: " Dwyane Wade is the Derek Jeter here. LeBron James is the Alex Rodriguez. One of those guys will have to sacrifice, and it will have to be LeBron. This is still Dwyane's team."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
Sorry Reggie, but Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are different than Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

First, Wade and James are boys. They wanted to play together. They’ve been scheming on this longer than you’ve been dead weight on TNT’s broadcast staff.

Jeter and Rodriguez aren’t close. They were forced to play together. They tolerate each other. It’s a professional relationship. Nothing more.

Second, basketball is more of a team sport than baseball. In the NBA, truly great players transcend statistics and bring out the greatness in each other.

LeBron will be a Magic Johnson style distributor for the Miami Heat. His points will decrease, but his assists will skyrocket, propelling the Three Kings deep into the playoffs.

This won’t diminish LeBron’s status. It will do the opposite. In the NBA, great players make those around them better and procure championships. They don’t worry about ‘sacrificing’ regular season scoring numbers.

That’s the difference between basketball and baseball.

To be a crème de la crème talent in the NBA, a player must stack Larry O’Brien trophies. It’s the only currency of greatness. It’s the sole measuring stick. So players are willing to work together.

MLB is a numbers game. It’s more an individual sport. A player can be an all-time great if he has ‘his’ statistics. Team success takes a backseat and is less important. 

Wade and LeBron aren’t Jeter and Rodriguez. They’ll make their partnership work. They’ll win. And that’s all that should matter.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Sep , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaq on his beef with Pat Riley: ‘I wasn`t with five hour practices’

Question: While with the Miami Heat, you appeared to have a strained relationship with former Heat coach Pat Riley. What happened?

Shaquille O’Neal (answer): I wasn’t with the five-hour practices. Some people have different mentalities, but I was just coming off three out of four (NBA Finals MVP awards). With the Lakers, Phil (Jackson) treated us like men with 1 ½ -hour practices. I’m a businessman, and I don’t know how other men view me personally, nor do I care. I know what I do and what I have to do.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Once again, Shaquille O’Neal has stuffed his massive foot into his massive mouth. 

Currently, Pat Riley is the architect/lead executive for the Miami Heat. With Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade on the Heat roster, he may fire Coach Erik Spoelstra and return to the sideline.

As Stan Van Gundy can attest, Riles has `un-retired` from coaching once before.

Whatever Riley’s role with the Heat in 2011, O’Neal’s comments have provided The Oil Slick with extra motivation and incentive to defeat the Boston Celtics.

This isn’t wise. A rivalry is already brewing between the Heat and Celtics. And O’Neal is giving the green-and-white’s opponents extra clippings to put on their bulletin board.

So, why is Shaq re-hashing old wounds from his time with Riley in Miami?

If O’Neal really wants to help the Celtics, if he really wants to make an impact, he’ll button his big mouth and focus on filling-in effectively while Kendrick Perkins recovers from injury.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Sep , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Isiah believes LeBron should have signed with Knicks

"I think -- and I honestly believe this -- it would've been interesting to see if he could have [won a title with the Knicks]," Thomas said. "The curiosity factor, the whole world would've been drawn to watch and see if he could do it. The whole LeBron Knick thing would've piqued everyone's curiosity.
 
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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Signing with the New York Knicks would have been a good business decision.

New York is the media capital of the world, so calling Madison Square Garden home would have allowed LeBron James to maximize his brand.

Each day, he could’ve spent a few hours on basketball. After practice or games, he could’ve jumped in his limo, rubbed shoulders with Fortune 500 CEOS, and furthered his business empire.

However, signing with the Miami Heat was a good basketball decision.

The Heat could, and did, attract three superstars because they had the cap space to offer three max contracts. The Knicks could only attract two superstars because they only had the cap space to offer two max contracts.

And that’s why James picked Miami over the New York. He wanted to play with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami. Not Bosh or Wade in New York.

More specifically: he wanted to win multiple championships with Bosh and Wade in Miami. Not contend for multiple championships with Bosh or Wade in New York.

Whatever your thoughts on how James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, you can’t fault him for signing with Miami and ignoring New York.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jon Barry: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade less great together

I hate to see two great, great players -- in my mind, two of the top three in the league with he and Wade -- join up. I like seeing them go against each other. We're not going to see the greatness of each player on a nightly basis like we're accustomed to seeing. That's disappointing. But I can't blame LeBron because you're ultimately judged by the number of NBA rings on your finger, and that team is going to be one of the favorites.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s stature won’t decrease because they’re together with the Miami Heat.

If anything, it’s the opposite. Their greatness will increase.

Instead of being a one-man show, instead of making-do with sub-par co-stars, instead of bowing out prematurely in the playoffs year-after-year, James and Wade will play relevant basketball in May and June.

Great players need each other. And great players should bring out the best in each other.

Consider the past. Magic Johnson had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Larry Bird had Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish. Isiah Thomas had Joe Dumars. Or vice-versa. And Tim Duncan had David Robinson.

There’s a misconception a great player is only great if he’s leading ‘His Team’. One superstar is the general with eleven other players following.

What a crock.

Even the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, had considerable help. During their championship run, Scottie Pippen was arguably the second best player in the NBA.

Pippen is a top fifty player of all-time. He’s in the Hall of Fame. He could pass, score, rebound, and finish in the open-court. His athleticism and ability to defend all five positions made him invaluable.

Expect James and Wade to excel together. They’re friends. They engineered this situation. And they’ll bring out the greatness in each other.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Aug , 31 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

‘Bromance’ saved: Mo Williams wishes LeBron ‘the best’

"Part of me is still sour ... but I wish him the best," Williams said. "He's got enough people rooting against him, he doesn't need one more."

Hours after James announced he was leaving the Cavaliers, Williams tweeted: "We were so damn close. So damn close now we have taken leaps and bounds backwards."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: ‘The Bromance’ is over, but they’re amicable.

For years, LeBron James and Mo Williams were partners-in-crime with the Cleveland Cavaliers. They enjoyed regular season success, but fell short during the playoffs.

Then The Decision hit: James announced he was leaving the Cavaliers for the Heat –on national television. ‘The Bromance’ became strained because Williams, like the city of Cleveland, felt betrayed.

The former backcourt mates and boys are apparently cool. They recently met during a chance encounter at the Cleveland airport. They cleared the air. Williams now accepts and understands ‘Bron’s choice.

The dynamic may change when Miami travels to Cleveland for a game in early December. According to Williams, fans and Cavalier players will be ‘emotional’.

Well, sort of.

James’ old teammates will be ‘emotional’. Fans, however, will be angry. The two-time MVP and Ohio native will face the wrath of Cavalier-nation. And the fallout won’t be pretty.

It’s nice that Williams and James have moved past The Decision. The city of Cleveland won’t follow their point guard’s lead.

--Oly Sandor.

  
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Sunday , Aug , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Team USA remains undefeated after thrashing Slovenia

The United States beat Slovenia 99-77 for its second lopsided victory in two games and Lithuania also went 2-0, while Angola and China bounced back from opening-day losses to win their first games at the basketball World Championship on Sunday.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There’s some surprise at how Team USA has fared in international play so far.

After all, Stars and Stripes’ biggest names –Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and others- all said thanks, but no thanks to the FIBA World Championship.

However, this group of youngsters defend, play together, and work hard. They also have budding superstar Kevin Durant, who could soon emerge as the world’s premier player.

On Sunday morning, USA’s air-tight defense got them through a few rough moments, as they cruised to an easy victory over Slovenia. Durant had 22 points before sitting the entire fourth quarter.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Aug , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Miami Heat out of Rudy Fernandez and JR Smith sweepstakes

The Heat are unlikely to swing any trades from now until the start of the season, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  J.R. Smith and Rudy Fernandez are available on the NBA trade market. Winderman writes that the Heat don't have many trade chips.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: After a busy summer, the Miami Heat is catching their breath. Translation: Heat executive Pat Riley won’t be swinging a trade anytime soon for Rudy Fernandez or J.R. Smith.

The majority of Heat players are newly signed free agents, who can’t be moved until December 15th. Only Mario Chalmers and Dexter Pittman can be traded.

This could be a positive, though. After a summer of change, the Heat can build chemistry. They can block out rumour and speculation. They know where they`re playing.

For now, The Three Kings and their supporting have cast only have to focus on beating the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Aug , 27 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Derrick Rose on Chicago playing Miami: ‘my team is ready’

"Fear them (the Heat)? No. If anything, you want to play them. As a ballplayer, you want to play against the best. I know my team is ready to play."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Too often, the NBA resembles a friendly, afternoon pick-up run. Players hug before games. Players exchange pounds. And players laugh and smile.

It seems their union brotherhood takes precedence over winning the game, series, or championship, and it’s enough to make the league’s older generations burn their Chuck Taylors and Converse Weapons in disgust.

Bottom line: the NBA, like sports, needs rivalries, conflict, and heroes and villains.

So, point guard Derrick Rose’s comments are refreshing. He wants the Miami Heat. He wants Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. He wants ‘the best’.

Perhaps, he’s offended The Three Kings passed on signing with the Chicago Bulls this off-season as free agents. Perhaps, he’s competitive. Perhaps, it’s a bit of both.

Chicago-Miami was already must-see television this year. And Rose’s comments are only adding fuel to the fire. Chances are, there won’t be too many hugs, pounds, or smiles when these powers finally meet.

And the NBA will be better for it.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Aug , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Eddie House on Miami: ‘This is going to be Boston on steroids’

"I compare it to the year I went to Boston when the Big 3 got together in 2007," House said. "But this is going to be even bigger. This is going to be Boston on steroids."

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HoopsVibe's Very QUick Call: Eddie House, sharpshooter for hire, is in a unique position.

Three years ago, around this time, House signed a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics. His role was simple: hit jump-shots and punish opposing defenses for double-teaming superstars Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.

Of course, the charismatic journeyman also witnessed the hoopla surrounding the green-and-white’s Big Three. Expectations were high; night-in, night-out, opponents got up for the Celtics.

House is right: the Miami Heat will face even greater pressure in 2010-11 than the Celtics of 2007-08. After all, South Beach pulled off the all-time free agent coup, re-signing superstar Dwyane Wade, while adding Chris Bosh and LeBron James.

Wade and James are two of the NBA’s top four players. Bosh is a perennial All-Star and legit’ 20-10 guy down low.

However, it’s not what they did, but how they did it. Resentment lingers at Miami’s Three Kings for how they handled free agency, especially James for turning ‘The Decision’ into a spectacle.

Now the Heat is public enemy number one. They’re controversial rock stars. Their every move will be chronicled. And many are hoping they fail.

So House’s steroid analogy works. This year should be awfully interesting.  

--Oly Sandor.
 
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