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Thursday , Jul , 01 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Why Joe Johnson is close to re-signing with Atlanta Hawks

Sources close to Je Johnson have told Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski the believe the All-Star guard will soon accept a six-year, $119 million deal the Hawks offered Thursday morning. Hawks GM GM Rick Sund delivered the offer to Johnson in Los Angeles shortly after midnight Thursday.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It would be easy to criticize Joe Johnson's decision to re-sign with the dysfunctional Atlanta Hawks.
 
After all, ownership is thrifty, divided, and indifferent about building a winner. So why would 'JJ' - a guy who supposedly wants to win - re-up with the mediocre Hawks?
 
Well, his style is probably too similar to partner with fellow free agents LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, so The ATL would then be his best available option.
 
Remember, Atlanta can offer the most lucrative contract, and boasts a supporting cast of Mike Bibby, Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Marvin Williams.
 
This is probably a better situation for the All-Star two-guard than joining a LeBron-less New York Knicks or Chicago Bulls.
 
Perhaps Johnson's best move will be the one he doesn't make.
 
Got thoughts on Johnson staying in The ATL? Well, get at O.Sandor and HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.  
The LeBron Free Agency Madness and Reporters’ Sources
Tuesday , Jun , 29 , 2010 J.N.

The LeBron Free Agency Madness and Reporters’ Sources

People involved with the NBA and sports media are really sticking their necks and reputations on the line. I love it! Their true colors are shown. We have never witnessed anything like this before. The entire free agency arms race is 10x more explosive than the Big Network’s extravaganza about Brett Favre and his jeans. Everyone has a hard on for LeBron. Analysts on television, print, and radio are arguing against each other over speculations. Speculations? That’s another word for opinion. Get your popcorn and enjoy the freak show! I have!

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Tuesday , Jun , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Nets save $3 million by trading Yi to Wizards for Ross

The New Jersey Nets traded Yi Jianlian to the Washington Wizards for Quinton Ross on Tuesday.

The Nets sent the Wizards $3 million to complete the deal and also received the Wizards' trade exception, according to league sources.

The move allows the Nets to clear another $3 million in cap space to spend on free agency this summer.

Yi is scheduled to make $4 million next season. Ross is set to make $1.1 million. The Nets should now have roughly $30 million in cap space to spend after the move, according to sources.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: One team's junk is another team's treasure.

Cap space is king for the New Jersey Nets, as the club needs financial flexibility to sign free agents this summer. And trading Yi Jianlian saves the Nets $3 million and puts them on equal footing with the Chicago Bulls.

Instead of conserving cap space to take a run at a big ticket free agent, the Washington Wizards are taking a different approach. The Wizards are acquiring assets on the cheap from teams who need to cut payroll to compete in the Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and/or Dwyane Wade sweepstakes.

For instance, the Wizards scored Kirk Hinrich on draft day. The cost: assuming the combo guard's $9 million per season salary.

Hinrich can back-up both guard spots and mentor first overall pick John Wall, while Yi will fill in for - and hopefully replace - injured four-man Andray Blatche.

Expect a few more of these deals before the July 1st free agent market opens.

Got thoughts?       

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Tuesday , Jun , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Minnesota wants Rudy Gay?

David Kahn says he plans to call two agents at 11 o'clock Wednesday, when the NBA's free-agency negotiation period begins. I hear from a good league source that one of those two guys is Memphis forward Rudy Gay.I texted David Kahn for a confirmation or denial Monday evening and he did not respond.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: This makes sense.

The lowly Minnesota Timberwolves should target Rudy Gay, the athletic swing with the Memphis Grizzlies. While young and talented, Gay has been overlooked because this year`s free agent class features superstars Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Joe Johnson, Amar`e Stoudemire, and Dwyane Wade.

But Gay has the explosiveness to become an All-Star. And the Wolves are desperate for a small forward to complement their bevy of point guards and power forwards.

Best of all, Gay is ripe for the picking because Minnesota - which has just $25 million in committed salary for 2011 - can afford to float a big ticket offer, while small market Memphis may lack the resources to match.

So perhaps the Wolves make a splash in this summer`s free agent market.

Got thoughts?

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Tuesday , Jun , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Raptors offering Bosh and Jack to Lakers for Bynum and Odom?

"The Raptors would like to get something in a sign-and-trade for Bosh, but they likely won’t deal him in the East. The Lakers are expected to offer Andrew Bynum, a legitimate low post center, and Lamar Odom, and take back Jarrett Jack, whom the Raptors would like to move."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: All they can do is make the best of a bad situation.

After all, franchise face Chris Bosh seems destined to leave the Toronto Raptors as a free agent when the market opens July 1st. Executive Bryan Colangelo admitted as much at a recent press conference.

There's no easy way to lose a 26 year old superstar. However, there's an easier way.

For instance, if Chris Bosh joins fellow free agents LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade in Miami or Chicago, he'll likely leave a year and $30 million on the table. And the Raptors will get nothing in return.

If Bosh inks a deal with the Raptors as part of a sign-and-trade, he can get the longest term and most money available. And the club can get something back, which is better than nothing.

Enter the Los Angeles Lakers. The two-time defending champs are offering Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for Bosh and Jarrett Jack.

Such a deal would achieve two things. First, Bynum is a legit five-man. His length, size, and ability to plug the middle would transform the Raptors into a more defensive side. And skilled post Andrea Bargnani could slide to the four-spot, his natural position.

Second, Bosh would be out west. He wouldn't be in the same conference. He wouldn't drop into Air Canada Centre several times a year with his new superstar teammates. He wouldn't win championships with the the Bulls or Heat. And all of this would allow the Raptors to save face.

Of course, the ball is in Bosh's court. As an unrestricted free agent, he holds most of the cards.

All Colangelo can do is offer a sign-and-trade. Joining Kobe Bryant and the NBA's best team may be enough for Bosh to re-consider his plans to partner with James and Wade, especially if he gets the maximum term and money.

This is the Raptors' only card, so Colangelo better do everything to play it.

Got thoughts?       

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Monday , Jun , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Bell to join Bosh, James, and Wade in Miami?

"I’d obviously like to play for a winning team and win something. I got two boys and a wife and our home base is Miami so anywhere up and down this east coast would be a great fit for me."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: There are two reasons Raja Bell - an unrestricted free agent - has interest in suiting up for the Miami Heat.

First, as Bell mentioned South Beach is home. He grew up in Florida. He went to college in Florida. And his family lives in Florida. So there's a sentimental attachment to the area.

Second, Bell is aware of a rumor making the viral rounds: Chris Bosh and LeBron James will join Dwyane Wade and sign with the Miami Heat instead of the Chicago Bulls.

James reportedly has concerns about the Bulls: owner Jerry Reinsdorf is always reluctant to spend on winning; Derrick Rose may struggle off the ball next to The King; there's no three-point gunner to spread the floor and keep opposing defenses honest; and Tom Thibodeau is a rookie coach.

(Of course, this could be conjecture and speculation. Chicago still has much to offer free agents.)

So Bell knows Miami could well become a contender -and surely wants in.

The Heat - after the dust settles with James and Bosh - should add Bell. His defense, intensity, and three-point stroke is perfect for a contending team. And he’d likely give oil-slick GM Pat Riley a hometown discount.

Right now, Miami is looking to make major moves, which could land them a useful veteran in Bell. 

Got thoughts?

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Monday , Jun , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Knick fans accept Johnson and Stoudemire instead of Bosh and James?

Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni are seeking to arrange a meeting with Atlanta free agent Joe Johnson in Los Angeles Wednesday at midnight -- or 9 p.m. California time -- before flying to Ohio for the LeBron James' pow-wow. Even crazier, the Knicks are trying to fit in Amare' Stoudemire that evening, too, in either LA or Phoenix.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Not for a New York second.

Joe Johnson and Amar’e Stoudemire won’t satisfy hungry Knick fans who are thirsting for free agents Chris Bosh and LeBron James to turn Madison Square Garden into a contender starting in October of 2010.

Consider Knick-nation’s plight: former prodigal son Stephon Marbury imploded before their very eyes; GM and coach Isiah Thomas shamed the organization with his dysfunctional ways and irresponsible spending; and for too long owner James Dolan did nothing, content to count his profits.

Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni were hired to turn things around, but - instead of immediately competing for the playoffs – they purged the roster of big ticket salaries, so they could sign James and other free agents this summer.

That decision was made years ago. And the Knicks have intentionally tanked it ever since.

Management got fans to buy-in by selling hope, specifically the hope that they’d ink James – one of the game’s greatest stars – to a multi-year contract.

Cap space alone won’t secure James’ services. The King wants to win, and rumour has it he likes the Chicago Bulls’ supporting cast of point guard Derrick Rose and big Joakim Noah better than the Knicks’ depleted roster.

Bosh, who also wants to win now, has allegedly decided to follow the two-time MVP and serve as his co-star in The Windy City.

Walsh isn’t stupid. He sees how the free agent dominoes are aligning. He gets that the club will likely have to settle for Johnson and Stoudemire.

This won’t cut it in New York, where some of the NBA’s most educated fans reside. After all, Johnson and Stoudemire are good, but Bosh and James are great.

Unless Walsh and D’Antoni deliver great this July, fans will wonder why they suffered through the pain, torture, and punishment.

Got thoughts?

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Saturday , Jun , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Maverick Carter: LeBron James ‘isn’t going on a tour’

All the elaborate recruiting plans for LeBron James will have to change. James will not go on a recruiting tour, his longtime business manager Maverick Carter told ESPN.com Friday. LeBron is not going on a tour," Carter said. "He never planned to go on a tour and has not been a part of any team's plans for a recruiting trip."

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The King is wisely making his suitors come to his Ohio court.

The LeBron James 24-hour news cycle hasn't helped his image. There has been a backlash because some feel the two-time MVP has milked and encouraged the headlines.

For instance, critics have argued his interview with CNN's Larry King shouldn't have aired during the NBA Finals because it took the spotlight off the league's showcase event.

Another concern was that James was going to make a spectacle of visiting each potential suitor, creating a sort of rock star inspired tour -even if he has little interest in signing with certain teams.

The good news is the New York Knicks' star-studded tour of Manhattan won't matter. Neither will the lure of South Beach. Or, the glamour of Hollywood.

James is focused on one thing: winning an NBA Title. Now to find the best place for that to happen. 

Got thoughts? 

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Friday , Jun , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

World Wide Wes: LeBron James ‘is going to Chicago and Chris Bosh is coming, too’

To listen to World Wide Wes, LeBron will never look back on Cleveland. “He’s up out of there,” is the way he tells it to people, but LeBron’s Akron crew has to tsk-tsk such public talk because they all live in Northeast Ohio, and maybe always will. "We're going to Chicago," WIlliam Wesley tells people," "and Chris Bosh is coming, too." 

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: 'World Wide Wes', one of the NBA's great power brokers, believes the Chicago Bulls are poised for a big off-season. And he's right.

After dealing Kirk Hinrich and their 17th pick in Thursday's draft and getting nothing but cap space back, the Bulls have the financial flexibility to tender two max' contracts.

So The Windy City could sign LeBron James and bring in Chris Bosh, too. 

Other clubs - the Miami Heat and New York Knicks - can also offer a pair of max contracts, but the Bulls distinguish themselves by already having a star point guard in Derrick Rose and an established four-man with Joakim Noah.

Such a supporting cast may be enough for James to turn his back on the Cleveland Cavaliers -even though they can offer the most money, longest term, and he grew up in nearby Akron, Ohio.  

Even if James gets sentimental and re-signs with the Cavaliers, the Bulls could turn to superstar Joe Johnson, which isn't a bad plan-B.

Bottom line: Chicago is the team to watch this summer. 

Got thoughts?

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Monday , Jun , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Does Chris Bosh want to be Jermaine O’Neal or Scottie Pippen?

"I don't want to be mentioned as an addition to a team," Bosh said prior to the season. "I want to be mentioned as the guy that people want to center their team around."

"I'm not an addition. I'm a centerpiece," he said. "I have to have that confidence in myself, and I want people to know that, because I'm not somebody that helps out. I'm the guy you get like, 'Yo, we're going to win a championship, you're gonna take us there.'
 
 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Jermaine O'Neal or Scottie Pippen?
 
ESPN scribe Chris Broussard once said this was the choice Chris Bosh would face when he hit free agency. Broussard reasoned that Bosh would max out as a good, O'Neal type player -if he signed somewhere as the 'centrepiece'.
 
However, the veteran writer believed Bosh would become a Hall of Fame, second-star like Pippen -if he agreed to sign on as LeBron James or Dwyane Wade's sidekick.
 
He's right. And Bosh's true colors will be revealed with his decision.
 
If he's about the accolades, if he's about getting his and only his, then Bosh signs somewhere as The Man and hits the golf course every May instead of playing meaningful basketball.
 
If he's about winning NBA Titles, if he's about greatness, he drops this 'centrepiece' stuff and partners with a once-in-a-generation-superstar like James or Wade.
 
Frankly, this shouldn't be much of a decision for Bosh.
 
Got thoughts on CB4's future? Get at us in the comment box below.   
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Sunday , Jun , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nets to trade for Chris Paul so they can sign LeBron James?

There have been rumors that the Nets might pursue point guard Chris Paul through a trade. Since they don't seem to be all that high on any of the players they are likely to get with the No. 3 pick, such as Georgia Tech`s Derrick Favors, Kentucky's  DeMarcus Cousins or Syracuse`s Wes Johnson, they could trade the pick to get an established player.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They’ve been making nice.

Since being named coach of the New Jersey Nets, Avery Johnson and Devin Harris have praised each other publicly. Johnson has insisted he’s proud of Harris’ development, while Harris has insisted his development is because of Johnson’s teachings.

Can you feel the love?

Such a dog-and-pony show is necessary because these two had a tumultuous run together with the Dallas Mavericks.

Johnson was coaching a Maverick team that was expected to win a championship. As a former point guard he was particularly hard on Harris, a young table-setter with heaps of potential.

Something was off, though. Johnson quickly lost faith in Harris and signed off on a controversial trade that sent him to, ironically, the Nets for Jason Kidd.

But Kidd couldn’t put Dallas over the top. Johnson was promptly fired. Harris made the All-Star team in 2009, but struggled with injuries in 2010.

Yet, they are back together, insisting fences have been mended and Kumbaya has been sung. For now.

Reports indicate the Nets are dangling their 2010 draft pick in hopes of plucking Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets. CP3 heading to The Swamps of Jersey/Borough of Brooklyn makes sense for three reasons:

First, New Orleans is a struggling market. With second year point guard Darren Collison in the wings, they could swap Paul and his max deal for cheap talent.

Second, New Jersey is now a have-market. New owner Mikhail Prokhorov - also known as Russia’s richest man with a net worth of $18 billion - wants to make headlines this off-season. Acquiring Paul, who is arguably the game’s best point guard when fit and healthy, would achieve this end.

Third, and most importantly, Paul is tight with LeBron James, the jewel of the 2010 free agent class. And Prokhorov would surely use Paul and rapper/minority owner Jay-Z to recruit James to the East Coast.

So the Nets are looking to upgrade the one-spot. If Paul is acquired, Harris would surely be dealt.

Before dismissing this rumor remember that Nets’ senior executive Rod Thorn admitted to reporters that Harris and center Brook Lopez do not have untouchable status and could be moved.

Maybe Harris` lovefest with Johnson shouldn`t be believed. And maybe New Jersey trades him.  

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

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Saturday , Jun , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Cleveland gets Bosh and Calderon from Toronto for Hickson, Jamison, and Williams?

The Cavs happen to have a very attractive package to entice the Raptors with. They could package up Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, and J.J. Hickson for Jose Calderon and Chris Bosh, which would be a hard deal for anyone else in the league to top.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Cleveland would be pulling highway robbery if this rumor became reality.

Acquiring Chris Bosh would provide the Cavaliers with two options. First, with Bosh in the fold they'd be well positioned to re-sign LeBron James, their top priority this summer. Second, if King James did leave they could rebuild and regroup around CB4. 

For Cleveland, it's a no-lose situation. However, it makes little sense for Toronto -other than getting rid of Calderon's considerable contract.

Whatever happens this summer, whether Bosh stays or leaves, the Raptors must find an identity and stick with it.

When Bryan Colangelo first took over in the front office he acquired a skilled Euro from what seemed like every semi-autonomous region on the other side of the Atlantic  Ocean. The goal: become an offensive machine, the Phoenix Suns of the Eastern Conference.

This vision failed. And Colangelo had little choice but to try and make Toronto a more defensive-orientated club. Unfortunately, he had several players on the books - like Andrea Bargnani and Calderon - who were unable to fit the new gets-stops approach.

While Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams are talented, they wouldn't help the Raptors develop an identity. Neither is strong in their own end. And neither can carry a team.

Worst of all, both have long-term deals for big ticket money. Jamison is on the books for two years, $28 million, while Williams has two years plus a player's option for 2012-13 at $27 million. And this cost would neutralize any upside Hickson has.

Don't expect this proposed deal to materialize. Cleveland will likely have to do better if they want to acquire Bosh from Toronto via a sign-and-trade.

Got thoughts on this rumor?    

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Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Game-Seven Prediction: Lakers 95, Celtics 88.

The Lakers have the best player, but Boston's depth of big-time playmakers will prevail in a game like this. I count eight Celtics -- the four current or former All-Stars in their starting lineup, plus Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson’s and little-used Michael Finley, a three-point shooter with the potential to become this game's Steve Kerr -- who have it in them to make the big shot. The absence of Kendrick Perkins may create more offense for the Celtics, and they'll make up for his rebounding with a team effort led by Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Anticipate nothing less than a tightly wound classic played to a tempo that suits Boston.

Click here for Ian Thomsen's official game seven prediction and more analysis from the CNNSI crew.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:
The Boston Celtics are deserving of respect.

Consider their road to the NBA Finals. First, they took out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat -despite some questionable tactics from Kevin Garnett. They made the Cleveland Cavaliers – the NBA’s best team in the regular season – implode, which, unfortunately, gave us an extra month of The LeBron Watch. They then coolly took out the Orlando Magic, the reigning Eastern Conference champions, in six games.

This was a most improbable run for a club that was supposedly dead, gone, and over at mid-season. Clearly, they saved their best for last, though.

The green-and-white have now pushed the defending champion and heavily favoured Lakers to the limit. The secret to Boston’s success: inspired team play on the defensive end.

Look at the NBA Finals: they’ve mostly contained Ron Artest and Lamar Odom; they’ve battled superstar Pau Gasol; and they’ve made the immortal Kobe Bryant look surprisingly mortal.

Doc Rivers’ crew is an all-time great defensive team. They can hang with any of Phil Jackson’s Chicago teams that had notable defenders like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman. And they hold their own against Detroit’s Bad Boys and any of Pat Riley’s squads in Los Angeles or New York.

Offensively, somebody different carries the load each night. For instance, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo have all had moments.

Of course, reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson – also known as Shrek and Donkey - won game four of the NBA Finals. And the defending Sprite Slam Dunk Champion went off in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, too.

That said, the Lakers have the edge in the decisive game-seven. Here’s why:

1) Home-court matters: The purple-and-gold is a different team at home. They’re confident. They’re nasty. And they’re arrogant.     

2) No Perk’: The Celtics will miss Kendrick Perkins. They lack the size to win the paint, and contain Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

3) Kobe Bryant: He’s the best player on either team. He’s the best player in the NBA. And he understands tonight is a legacy game.

Bryant – if he wants to be considered an all-time great – can’t afford a loss. After all, five championships are far better than four. And two losses to the arch rival Celtics in the NBA Finals would be devastating.

Expect Bryant to drop a Jordan-like effort. And HoopsVibe News expects the Lakers to win.

Prediction for game-seven of the 2010 NBA Finals: Lakers 95, Boston 88.

Got thoughts? What is your prediction for game-seven of the NBA Finals?  

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Does Dwyane Wade deserve his own County?

Dwyane Wade is getting his own county.

By unanimous vote, Miami-Dade County commissioners declared Tuesday that the area would be known as "Miami-Wade County" from July 1-7, a week that coincides with the start of NBA free agency.

The resolution was written "in recognition of all that Dwyane Wade has done for the visibility, stature and national image" of the county.

Wade will become a free agent July 1, which means he could leave the Miami Heat. Wade repeatedly has said he hopes to stay in Miami, but only if the Heat's roster is upgraded.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick News: There's no limit. Teams, cities, counties, states, mayors, and even presidents will do almost anything to help their team of choice sign or retain the NBA's top talents.

Take the latest example out of Florida. Miami is renaming its county as homage to superstar Dwyane Wade, who is the game's second biggest free agent behind LeBron James.

Of course, these politicians aren't stupid. Wade generates significant revenue for local businesses and they want him in South Beach.   

However, Wade deserves credit. Unlike his free agent peers, 'Flash' has publicly expressed a desire to re-sign with the Heat and wants to recruit others to help him win multiple championships.

Perhaps, such loyalty is deserving of a county -even if it's just for a week.

Got thoughts on Wade-County? 

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Izzo staying at MSU, Cleveland interested in Scott and Woodson?

Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, turning down a chance to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and and perhaps LeBron James.

"I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State," Izzo said in a statement released by the school on Tuesday night.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Tom Izzo made the right decision -not just for himself, but also for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The NBA is an adjustment. The game is different; the players are millionaire businessmen not teenagers. And many great college coaches have failed in the pros: John Calipari, Mike Montgomery, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian.

Then there was the tiny issue of LeBron James' pending free agency. Izzo would be in quite the quagmire if he accepted the Cavaliers job and James signed elsewhere. 

In the end, the risk was too great. So Izzo decided to stay with Michigan State and become an all-time great in the college ranks.

Meanwhile, Cleveland will continue searching for a sideline boss. Byron Scott is the frontrunner; however, the former Hornets coach wants to replace Phil Jackson in LA -if the Zen-Master leaves.

Mike Woodson, who was recently fired by the Atlanta Hawks, is also under consideration. And this is where the musical chairs could occur. Suppose Cleveland hires Woodson and James leaves. The Cavaliers could replace James with Joe Johnson, another superstar free agent who Woodson coached in Atlanta.

The next few months will be interesting in Ohio and throughout the NBA.

Got thoughts on this?

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Sunday , Jun , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Tyson Chandler seriously opting-out?

We knew a few veteran players with big contracts and opt-out clauses would be entering free agency this July in order to avoid relying on the power of the union in its collective bargaining negotiations over the next year. Despite that, a few opt-out declarations have come as surprises.

Count Bobcats center Tyson Chandler among them. Chandler, a 27-year-old scheduled to make $12.6 million next season, is strongly considering opting out of his deal, reports ESPN's Chad Ford.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Only a tier-one, creme de la creme player should opt-out, leave eight-figures on the table, and become a free agent.

Translation: unless you're Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, or LeBron James, stay put. Average players - sorry, but that's you Chandler - should enjoy the obscene contract they signed when times were good in the NBA because the free agent landscape has changed.

For the most part, free agency now favors the buyer. Teams dictate money. Teams dictate term. And average players no longer command obscene, Enron-inflated contracts. 

Chandler, an injury-prone center, won't get the money or a security he covets in free agency. His best option: not opting out and staying another year in Charlotte.

Should Chandler opt-out or stay with the Bobcats? 

 

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Thursday , Jun , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Tom Izzo scare LeBron James from Cleveland?

Tom Izzo is apparently closer to saying yes to the Cleveland Cavaliers than previously thought, a source told ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Thursday.

That source discussed Izzo's future with a close confidant of Izzo, who is coaching in the NBA. The source told Katz that Izzo, who talked to his team earlier this week about his interest in the Cavaliers, is leaning toward taking the job if it is offered.

"Three weeks ago that wasn't the case, but it has changed,'' said the source.

Izzo is meeting with Cleveland to discuss the team's coaching vacancy on Thursday.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Right now, Tom Izzo is wrong for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Izzo is a great college coach. In time, he may defy the NCAA-to-pro curse and develop into a great NBA coach. With LeBron James' pending free agency, now isn't appropriate for the Cavaliers to gamble on a sideline boss who has never coached an NBA game.

Imagine James' position on July 1st when he hits free agency. Think of his choices on the bench: the New York Knicks have former Coach of the Year and Team USA assistant Mike D'Antoni; the New Jersey Nets just landed former Coach of the Year Avery Johnson; the Miami Heat - if need be - will bring Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley out of the executive suite; the Chicago Bulls recently hired defensive guru Tom Thibodeau; and the L.A. Clippers will even let James pick his coach and GM.

With these options available, why would James re-sign with Cleveland and a green Izzo? These two aren't buddies like James and University of Kentucky coach John Calipari. And Izzo, while talented, isn't Duke's Mike Krzyzkewski.

King James wants to win now. A rookie NBA coach, even one with Izzo's resume at Michigan State, may be just enough for him to leave the Cavaliers and sign elsewhere.

Will Izzo scare away LeBron? 

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Wednesday , Jun , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

New Jersey Nets get ‘credible’ with Coach Avery Johnson

The New Jersey Nets and ESPN analyst Avery Johnson have reached a verbal agreement to hire Johnson as the Nets' new coach.

Johnson is expected to be introduced on Thursday, said a person who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on the condition of anonymity because the team has yet to announce the deal.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: For a coach, credibility is everything.

Most NBA players earn more money than their coach. And player contracts are usually guaranteed for several years, while the typical coach's contract has a far shorter term.

So, players, especially stars, hold leverage over the man who, in theory, is their boss. With such a dysfunctional arrangement, players won't follow a coach they don't respect or believe in.

Fortunately, for the New Jersey Nets, Johnson has credibility to burn. He holds the all time best winning percentage for a sideline boss and led the Dallas Mavericks to the sixth game of the 2006 NBA Finals. 

The current ESPN analyst will have the attention of the Nets' young core mostly because of his run with the San Antonio Spurs. Johnson may have been a role player, but The Little General's enthusiasm and leadership was key to the Spurs winning two NBA Titles.

Of course, this will be attractive to the summer's free agent class. Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Joe Johnson, and Dwyane Wade know of - and appreciate - Johnson's championship pedigree. So do second tier free agents like Carlos Boozer and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Expect the Nets to improve in 2010. And Johnson's credibility will be a big part of the turnaround.  

Is Johnson the right hire for New Jersey?

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Wednesday , Jun , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Miami Heat considering Bosh, Boozer, Stoudemire, and then Williams?

I think that could be more of an after-the-fact type of trade, once the Heat and Cavaliers are done with free agency. If LeBron leaves Cleveland and doesn’t come to Miami, then perhaps there could be something to Beasley-for-Mo. But I can’t see the Heat, or any space team, making a play for before playing the free-agent market.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They'll go big. Then small.

The Miami Heat will first try to pair superstar Dwyane Wade with a co-star in the post. Options include free agents Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Bosh, for many reasons, would work best. He's bigger than Boozer and unlike Stoudemire plays defense. Also, CB4 has a relationship with Wade through their agent, Henry Thomas, and TEAM USA.

After years in Toronto, Bosh is hungry. He'd gladly defer to Wade -if it meant competing for a championship.

Once the Heat has their inside-outside combo settled, they'll look to upgrade supporting pieces. And the Cleveland Cavaliers have made it known Mo Williams is available.

Williams might be a fit. His smooth stroke would punish opposing defenses when they doubled-up on Wade and/or Bosh. Best of all, the combo point guard will have a giant chip on his shoulder after being effectively blamed for the Cavaliers' playoff failures.

One thing is certain: Miami has plans for the off-season. And it will be interesting to see how things unfold.

What should the Heat do this summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.   

 

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Tom Izzo wrong for Cleveland Cavaliers

Tom Izzo insisted recently that he has no interest in coaching in the NBA until he wins at least one more NCAA title at Michigan State.

But that stance might not stop the Cleveland Cavaliers from trying to hire Izzo as their next coach.

The Cavaliers -- fresh off dismissing coach Mike Brown and parting ways with general manager Danny Ferry -- have formally extended an offer to Izzo to replace Brown, sources confirmed to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard on Monday.

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HoopsVibe`s Quick Call ...  There`s no mistaking the obvious: owner Dan Gilbert is running the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Gilbert fired former Coach of the Year Mike Brown. Gilbert pushed GM Danny Ferry out the door. Gilbert is the one appeasing superstar free agent LeBron James. And Gilbert, because of his Spartan ties, is chasing Michigan State coach Tom Izzo

Izzo is a fine coach, but no tier-one free agent will sign, or re-sign, with the Cavaliers if they have an NCAA guy on the sideline -unless it`s Duke`s Mike Krzyzewski.  

And few college coaches have successfully transitioned to the pro game. For instance, John Calipari, Lon Kruger, Mike Montgomery, Rick Pitino, and Jerry Tarkanian all failed miserably in the NBA.

Gilbert should rethink Izzo. He should also rethink if he wants to run his NBA team without help.

Is Izzo right for the Cavaliers? Why? Why not?