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Wednesday , Aug , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Blake Griffin on lockout: ‘My first three seasons, I could play 82 games’

"I haven't stopped working out really since May," Griffin said. "It's been every day, sneaking it in whenever I can." Griffin says it's frustrating for him to think that the NBA games may be interrupted after his first season playing in the league. Griffin missed all of the 2009-10 season with a broken kneecap after he had been the No. 1 draft pick out of Oklahoma. "Now my first three seasons, I could play 82 games," Griffin said. "So, we'll see what happens."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last year was overwhelmingly positive for the NBA.
 
The sporting world was galvanized by Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James joining forces and becoming the ‘Heatles’ in Miami.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd’s hard work was rewarded with an NBA championship, guaranteeing both immediate entry into the Hall of Fame when they retire.

Derrick Rose won the MVP award, leading the Chicago Bulls to the league’s best regular season record and a place in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder took another step winning two playoff series before falling to Nowitzki and Kidd’s Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.

The Memphis Grizzlies made the playoffs and upset the San Antonio Spurs. After years of futility, the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers were relevant and entertaining.

There are other storylines I’m missing.

For instance, high on this list is the emergence of Blake Griffin, whose aerial antics reminded the world there’s a professional basketball squad in Los Angeles not called the Lakers.

(And this squad, the Clippers, can compete and delight despite being owned by the twisted and incompetent Donald Sterling.)

Suppose there’s a lockout. One that wipes out the entire season. Griffin, who missed 2009 with injury, will have played just eighty-two games in his first three seasons.

Fans would have to wait a year to see Griffin assault the rim. Fans would have to wonder what Griffin would do to defend his crown at the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest. And fans, the purists, would have to wait a year to see Griffin’s above average passing and skill-set develop.

This is tragic. And just another thing Commissioner David Stern, the owners, Union Head Billy Hunter, and the players are risking with their posturing and rhetoric.

I hope they know what they’re doing. Griffin missing another year should be a last resort.

--Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Aug , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe Bryant’s silence for Jim Buss, not Mike Brown?

"We’ve talked. We’ve met, we’ve talked several times, met several times," Bryant said. "We have been in dialogue. There has been an open dialogue.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It was the ‘how’.

Kobe Bryant had a problem with how Mike Brown was hired, and not the decision to have the defensive tsar replace Phil Jackson on the Los Angeles Lakers’ bench.

The Black Mamba was, at a minimum, expecting a heads up from management/ownership. Perhaps even the chance to offer input.

This is standard operating procedure between team and superstar in the NBA. Team wants to make a major personnel move. Team asks premier player‘s opinion. Of course, what the team does what that opinion is anybody’s guess. 

But Bryant was never asked about Brown. Not a phone call. Not a text. Not a face-to-face. Not an email. Nothing.

The reason was simple: Brown was Jim Buss’ choice. And Jim Buss, the owner’s son and new lead executive, has a specific agenda for the team.

Long-time assistant Brian Shaw was passed over for Jackson’s job -perhaps with valid reason. After giving twelve years to the organization as a player and assistant coach, Shaw deserved better than to learn he didn’t get the job via ESPN.

And Buss seems determined to promote Andrew Bynum, the talented but injury-prone center, from supporting piece to co-star status with Bryant.

So Bryant probably had nothing nice to say. So he went silent.

Fair enough.

--Oly Sandor.

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

 

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Wednesday , Jul , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Ron Artest to join Dancing with the Stars?

Nothing's official yet -- but sources tell us, both Artest and "Dancing" producers have been in touch to hash out a possible deal ... and Ron's pretty excited about the prospect.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Ron Artest a full-time basketball player, part-time celebrity? Or, is he a full-time celebrity, part-time basketball player?

Since signing with the Los Angeles Lakers two years ago, Artest has become immersed in Hollywood. There have been appearances on late-night TV, rap videos, references to psychiatrists, movies, and now a rumoured appearance on Dancing With The Stars.

This would be fine if Artest handled ‘his’ on-court. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been so; the former Defensive Player of the Year hasn’t consistently performed since joining Laker-nation.

Instead of spending the off-season working to regain his past form, Artest seems interested in pursuing off-court fame. There’s a movie deal in Europe. Now he’s following Mark Cuban’s footsteps on reality TV.

To be fair, the NBA is in the midst of a lengthy lockout. It could be six months before there’s basketball. Maybe, a year. So he has time.

Still, circumstances shouldn’t matter. Artest would be wise to remember he’s a professional basketball player, not a second-rate celebrity who plays professional basketball.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dwight Howard would ‘Never’ join LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh, and Heat

Seems that a guy like Dwight Howard, nearly 7-feet tall and answering to "Superman," would be a perfect fit at Comic-Con, where he talked about both his budding career as a voice over actor and his basketball future. What about the Lakers? "That's everybody's question," he told the "Kick" audience. "I am wearing purple ... but that's Rock's outfit." The Heat? "Never."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It would be like the Greasers combining forces with the Socs', or the Capulets breaking bread with the Montagues, or Paris Hilton ‘re-friending’ Kim Kardashian.

Or, like a want-to-be-superhero telling the Comic-Con masses he’d never join the villains, the bad guys, the capped-out Miami Heat.

Give Howard credit. He can charm a crowd -even if that crowd spends weekends playing D&D, Call of Duty, and comparing the old Star Wars trilogy to the new Star Wars trilogy.

However, this is bigger than Comic-Con. Howard’s current team, the Orlando Magic, hate the cross-state Heat. They hate Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, known as the 'Three Kings'. And they hate arrogant Heat exec' Pat Riley.

There's little Howard can do. The NBA is locked-out. His Magic will lack the pieces, unless Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu rediscover their past form, to topple the Eastern Conference champion Heat.

Howard will opt-out of his contract next July and likely join another superstar. Perhaps something happens with the Lakers -if Jerry Buss falls out of love with Andrew Bynum. Perhaps he links up with Deron Williams and the Nets.

One thing is certain: Howard would 'never' join Miami.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Phil Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan on all-time scoring list

But not many believed him, including Phil Jackson. When I asked the former Lakers coach last season which player Bryant wants to pass on the scoring list the most, Jackson replied without hesitation, "Michael Jordan."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Pandora’s Box known as Kobe vs. Mike is once again open, courtesy of their former coach Phil Jackson.

'Zen-Master' Phil told the L.A. Times last season that Kobe Bryant, of the Lakers, desperately wants to pass Michael Jordan, the Hall of Fame guard with the Chicago Bulls, on the league's all-time scoring list.

Bryant's reason for setting this goal is obvious: he wants his legacy to be greater than Jordan's.

Forget the all-time scoring list. One statistic proves Bryant can never top Jordan. The 'Black Mamba' has lost twice in the NBA Finals, while 'His Airness' was a perfect 6-0 in the championship series.

When the chips were on-the-line, when it mattered most, nobody was greater than Jordan. This is beyond dispute and outweighs the all-time scoring list. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Russell Westbrook: There’s no beef with Kevin Durant

Westbrook also argued with his coach, Scott Brooks, and his star teammate, Kevin Durant, on the court, leading to speculation that he was feuding with both. And when the Thunder were eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks, Westbrook shouldered most of the blame. In the two months since, Westbrook hasn’t lost much sleep worrying about the criticism.

“I refuse to let myself do that,” Westbrook told Yahoo! Sports. “I’ve been working too hard to get to the position we were in last season to worry about anything somebody else was saying.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Superstars need each other.

In today’s NBA, one superstar isn’t enough to win a title. The crème de la crème of talent know they must partner up to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in late June.

For instance, the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and San Antonio Spurs have a few premier players working towards a collective goal.

(The 2011 world champion Dallas Mavericks were, perhaps, the exception, surrounding their sole superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, with five or six very good players.)  

The Oklahoma City Thunder, if they are to join the ranks of legit contender, need Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook working together. Durant knows this. Westbrook knows this, too.

These two will never tell media or fans if there was tension over Westbrook’s questionable shot selection in the playoffs. They’ll keep it in-house, which shows they’re mature beyond their years.

However, coach Scott Brooks may want to clarify roles by reminding Westbrook that he is Robin and Durant is Batman. Not the other way around.

Brooks might also want to remind Westbrook he needs to focus on setting-the-table for teammates -as well as getting his own points.

Of course, this could be tricky. Once the lockout is settled, Westbrook and the Thunder will be ironing-out the details on a new, long-term extension.

Such declarations, if handled poorly, would do permanent damage to the Thunder‘s relationship with Westbrook.

All parties must proceed with caution. They need each other.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Bynum’s ego a problem for Lakers?

His conscience is paralyzed. His sense of entitlement is blinding. So, no, actually, I wasn't surprised to see this week's photos of Andrew Bynum leaving his convertible sitting across two handicapped parking spaces while he shopped at an upscale grocery store in Westchester.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Andrew Bynum’s ego a problem for the Los Angeles Lakers?

Well, some think so. Today, Bill Plaschke, a veteran writer with the L.A. Times, alleges that Bynum parking in a handicap spot isn’t a temporary lapse of judgement.

Plaschke thinks Bynum ‘suffers from a disability of maturity’. He reports that this isn’t the first time the seven-footer has been caught in a handicap spot. He also calls him out for delaying surgery to accommodate a trip to South Africa and rehabbing injuries at the Playboy Mansion.

As an outsider, it’s hard to get a read on the Lakers. They’re fractured by power politics, internal dissent, personal agendas, and media bias.

The recent Bynum backlash is no different. Some see him as an ally of Jim Buss, the club’s new lead executive and son of owner Jerry Buss.

Right now, Jim Buss isn’t popular. He gets the blame for pushing out Coach Phil Jackson, hiring his replacement in Mike Brown, and alienating superstar Kobe Bryant.

Bynum, right or wrong, fair or not, is vulnerable due to his relationship with Jim Buss.

Plaschke, however, provides an objective view into the complex world of Laker-nation. He’s been with the L.A. Times for years. He’s won numerous awards. He’s a regular contributor to ESPN. And, while we're at it, he volunteers with Big Brothers.

Plaschke’s criticism seems reasonable. Bynum has been given much by the Lakers -perhaps too much. And he has yet to fulfill expectations on-and-off court.

Now is as good a time as any to start. Bynum is a 23-year old man. Perhaps he should act like it.  

--Oly Sandor.

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Examining Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks back to back title potential. Vol. REPEAT
Thursday , Jul , 21 , 2011 J.N.

Examining Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks back to back title potential. Vol. REPEAT

This can be discussed even during a lockout. Dirk and the Mavs are still riding high from their hard earned 2011 NBA title. They swept Kobe’s Lakers, beat Durant/Westbrook Thunder, and then took out the Miami Heat. The team is battle tested especially with the grand fail against the Golden State Warriors in the 2007 playoffs. The Mavs lost a lot with a solid roster in the past. They overcame all of that in 2011.What’s next? Repeat. Duh. 

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Wednesday , Jul , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Did Andrew Bynum really park in a handicap spot?

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Ah, Andrew you' re not injured, so there's no need to use the handicap spot.

Probasketballtalk.com has a picture of Andrew Bynum, the often-injured center for the Los Angeles Lakers, parking his luxury automobile in a spot reserved for those with a handicap or disability.

Surely, Bynum had a mental lapse. Perhaps he thought he was still injured - who can blame the lumbering seven-footer with all the time he spent on injured reserve – and mistakenly put his 'ride' in the handicap spot.

Or, Bynum could be a real son of a-you-know-what -especially since the parking lot is practically empty.

Click the link (provided courtesy of probaksetballtalk.com), take a look at the picture, and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Jul , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Howard upset Magic didn’t consult him on Arenas trade?

Howard found out when the rest of us did: once the trades were completed. Turns out, Howard had a problem with that.

“I wanted to be more part of the process a little more,” Howard said in a radio interview with 790 The Zone in Atlanta. “I had to step out on the court and I wanted to make sure that the people I played with wanted to go out and play hard every night. My only issue was the fact that I didn’t really have a chance to be involved, but I think with the guys that we brought in we still have an excellent chance of winning, but we all have to be on the same page.”

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: How much input should a top employee get from management? Well, some –if you're an NBA superstar.
 
Dwight Howard, the All-World center for Orlando, is frustrated Magic GM Otis Smith didn't consult him before swapping Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, and Rashard Lewis for Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu in separate trades.

Perhaps Howard has a point. Perhaps he should have received a heads-up from Smith. After his comments, he and the team are both at fault.

Smith knows better. He knows the culture of the NBA. And he knows he must appease his superstar and make the required phone call to Howard before changing the make-up of the team.

Howard knows better, too. Phone call or not, he gains nothing by commenting publicly on a situation that is done. It sounds like he isn't pleased with his new teammates. And it sounds like he wants a say in personnel matters.

Of course, looming over Orlando like an ominous rain cloud is Howard's free agency. Next July he can opt-out of his contract, hit free agency, and sign where he likes.
 
Smith's failure to provide a supporting cast may well lead to Howard leaving Disney World and partnering with a superstar in a major market. Like Deron Williams and the soon-to-be-Brooklyn Nets.
 
No doubt about it, this complicates everything.

It will take years for the Magic to recover if Howard leaves. Their shiny stadium will no longer be full and, similair to when Shaquille O`Neal left for the Lakers, the Magic will become a have-not franchise.

So the supporting cast is a touchy subject.  And Howard's comments won't help.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in comment box below. 
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Monday , Jul , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Did Brian Shaw deserve better from Jim Buss and Lakers?

“I wasn’t really told anything,” said Shaw, who had the public backing of players Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, among others, to take over for Jackson. “Unfortunately, I found about not getting the job and who was hired for the job on ESPN. I didn’t really talk to anyone for about three weeks after that.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not that he was passed over to replace Phil Jackson as head coach. And it’s not that his contract as an assistant coach wasn’t renewed.

It’s how the Los Angeles Lakers passed over and decided against renewing Brian Shaw, who won five championships in twelve seasons with the NBA’s glamour club.

Shaw discovered his fate from the media -while watching ESPN. No courtesy call.  No email. No facebook poke. No myspace message.

Nothing at all; in fact, Shaw didn't hear from the purple-and-gold for three weeks after the Brown hiring.

To review: last month, the Lakers hired Mike Brown, a former Coach of the Year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, to take over for Zen-Master Phil.

Fair enough.

Management/ownership felt the need to switch things up after the team’s mixed regular season and disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs.

Management/ownership also felt Brown should get to pick his assistant coaches. Brown, for any number of reasons, decided against keeping Shaw.

Again, fair enough.

There is, however, no justification for not telling Shaw in a timely manner. This reflects on one person: Jim Buss.

The owner’s son always had personal issues with Jackson and his allies within the organization –which includes Jim Buss’ own sister Jeanie, Shaw, and even superstar Kobe Bryant.

Of course, Jim Buss is now running the Lakers and wants to put his stamp on things. So Shaw –Jackson's loyal right hand and Robert Duvall like consigliore – was mistreated due to personal politics.

Such pettiness is never good. And such pettiness reflects on the sad-state of the Lakers. Perhaps there's reason to worry in Hollywood.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Robert Horry: Derek Fisher too old to start for Lakers

"No disrespect to Derek Fisher. Derek is alone. I've been there, done that. They need a point guard who can distribute the ball, get everyone in order and not be afraid to tell Kobe no," Horry said. "You can't outrun age. I think age has caught up to him. There's some things he can do, but there are some things he can't do."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: As a player, Robert Horry was known for taking big shots. Now retired, Horry has taken a big shot at former teammate Derek Fisher.

Recently, Horry told the LA Times that Fisher was too old and the Lakers needed a newer, younger point guard to contend for a championship.

This is hardly a revelation. 'Father Time' has caught Fisher.

Fisher, in his mid-to-late thirties, can’t stay in front of quicker table-setters and struggles with consistentcy on offense. Bottom line: he's no longer a starter.

However, Horry -despite prefacing his comments with ‘no disrespect’ and being correct in his analysis- should have given Fisher greater respect. Fisher has a stellar reputation -even when leading the Players’ Union through a nasty lockout.

New Laker coach Mike Brown will surely address Fisher’s role when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed. Brown knows to tread softly.

Why would Horry, a friend and long-time teammate, not do the same? Why would he give his opinion before the cameras at the ESPY Awards?

Well, ‘Big Shot Bob’ was known for honesty. Sometimes grace is the best policy. This seems like something Horry, not Fisher, must learn.  

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jul , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Metta World Peace on Ron Artest: ‘He’s a expletive’

"I changed my name because I got tired of Ron Artest, he's a [expletive]," said Metta World Peace. "And when fans get mad at me, they can't say, 'I hate World Peace."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Metta World Peace is tired of Ron Artest. Well, Laker-nation is tiring of 'Hollywood Ron' and wants more 'Ron-Ron'.

It's impossible to knock Artest for being a happier, healthier person. And it's equally difficult to knock his work as an advocate for mental health. More people, not just athletes, should follow Artest and get involved with causes in their community.

Let's be clear: Artest’s health should always be priority one.

However, the rap videos, stand-up act, and appearances on late-night talk shows seem to have neutralized his edge on-court. And the Lakers need Artest’s edge.

Again, let`s be clear: the Lakers do not need the Artest who leaped into the stands, smashed cameras, got suspended for various infractions, and ultimately walked on the Indiana Pacers.

They do need the former Defensive Player of the Year. They do need the two-guard who stood up to Kobe Bryant in the 2009 playoffs. And they do need his energy and intensity.

The Lakers need less World Peace and more 'Ron-Ron'.  The sooner World Peace accepts this, the better he and his team will be,

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jul , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe wants Pietrus on Lakers?

Mickael Pietrus: "A lot of teams are interested in me, like the Lakers or the Celtics. This came from the best player in the world: Kobe Bryant. He told me two months ago that he would like to see me with the Lakers."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What Kobe Bryant wants, he typically gets.

Reports indicate Bryant, a first ballot Hall of Fame guard, wants athletic swing Mickael Pietrus to join his Los Angeles Lakers.

At least, that’s what Pietrus claims. This makes sense, though.

The Frenchman’s size, range, and ability to get up the floor would benefit the Lakers, who seemed lumbering and slow in 2011.

Pietrus could also play many roles. If necessary, he could start. But he'd most likely bolster an inconsistent, shaky, and disappointing bench.

Best of all, Pietrus would keep Ron Artest focused. Too often, Artest, now known as Meta World Peace, has been distracted by the L.A. spotlight.

If Artest isn’t at his best for new coach Mike Brown, he’ll sit and watch Pietrus do the things he’s supposed to do. Point blank: Pietrus would remind Artest he’s a basketball player, not a celebrity.

Of course, the ideal situation would see Pietrus, Artest, Matt Barnes, and Bryant working together to make the Lakers a nastier defensive team, especially on the perimeter and open court.

This is what Bryant wants. He knows his Lakers were soft in 2011. And he believes Pietrus can change things.

--Oly Sandor.

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

 

 

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Thursday , Jul , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Stephen Curry on Monta Ellis: ‘We Want Him With Our Team’

“I don’t know about the talks he had with the front office or where they ended before the lockout, but as of right now, he’s still a Warrior,” Curry said of Ellis. “We want him with our team. He makes us better. And I think with a fresh start and all the new faces with the organization that will help him forget about the past and not really affect what is going on right now.

“I know there has been a lot of turmoil with him and the organization in the past. I can’t speak for him, but I think the new look of our organization will help him make a difference.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It would have been easy for Stephen Curry. Very easy.

Nearly two years ago, Monta Ellis ‘welcomed’ Curry to his first pro' training camp by telling reporters the two couldn’t form a backcourt for the Golden State Warriors.

Today, the Warriors have a new owner and coach. And today, they’re also shopping Ellis around the league.

Ellis has been linked to Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, Andre Iguodala and the Philadelphia 76ers, and Lamar Odom and the Los Angeles Lakers.

He recently grew tired of the rumors and requested a trade.

Now Curry could have extracted a little revenge and kicked Ellis when he’s down. Or, he could have offered a terse 'no comment' when asked about the situation

Instead, Curry had Ellis’ back. He explained how the Warriors’ core want him to return and are inviting him to training sessions during the lockout.

Such maturity is the difference between Curry and Ellis. And such maturity is the reason the Warriors prefer Curry over Ellis.

--Oly Sandor.

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

 

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Wednesday , Jul , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Is Kobe more arrogant than LeBron?

“Kobe is super arrogant but everybody loves him. To me, Kobe is more arrogant (than LeBron James).”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: You got to love today’s NBA.

Only in this era could a third stringer win a championship and feel he has the ‘juice’ to call out an all-time great.

Isn’t that right Ian Mahinmi?

The Frenchman, who played behind Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood on the 2011 world champion Dallas Mavericks, recently declared that Kobe Bryant is the most arrogant player in the NBA.

Forget LeBron. Forget D-Wade. Forget the Three Kings. Forget Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. According to Mahinmi, it’s Kobe.

This is hardly a surprise. Bryant is supremely confident. Always has been, too.

He was this way when plying his craft as a prep-to-pro star at Lower Merion in Philadelphia.

He was this way when Del Harris sat him as a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers.

And he was this way when jostling with Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson for lead dog status with the champion Lakers.

Confidence, or arrogance, has made Bryant who he is. He won’t change, either.

Something that has changed: a part-time player on a championship squad calling out a once-in-a-generation superstar.

Scott Hastings never said a thing about Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, or Magic Johnson when his Detroit Pistons won back-to-back titles. Same with Eric Riley when the Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks in the 1994 finals. And Sean Marks was silent when the San Antonio Spurs captured the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2006.

Even Josh Powell, a reserve with the glamorous L.A. Lakers, knew to stay silent when the purple-and-gold were champions in 2009 and 2010.

They knew their role. They knew their place. Mahinmi does not.

To be fair, Mahinmi had a slightly greater impact than the above players, serving as an energy reserve for Rick Carlisle and the Mavs’.

Still, Mahinmi should stay silent. Right now, he, not Bryant, looks arrogant.   

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Jul , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nets want Dwight Howard?

Williams has made no firm promises about staying in New Jersey but has said he likes the direction of the franchise under new owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The 27-year-old has likewise expressed optimism about the team's scheduled move to Brooklyn starting with the 2012-13 season and his potential role in luring other top players to the Nets. The Nets, sources said, intend to make a hard push for Howard in an attempt to convince Williams to commit long term.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Collective Bargaining Agreement may change, but the NBA will always be a star’s league.

Take Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets. The soon-to-be Brooklyn franchise mortgaged the farm to acquire Williams via trade, even though he can become a free agent in July of 2012.

Right now, Williams has leverage. Before signing a long-term extension with the Nets, he wants a co-star.

Enter Dwight Howard.

The massive five-man can also opt-out of his contract and become a free agent next summer. Howard, on paper, is the perfect running mate for Williams.

The two would form a lethal inside-outside combo, capable of rivalling most eastern foes. Their star power would match Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, who ply their trade with the crosstown New York Knicks.

Unfortunately, the Nets have competition. The Orlando Magic are desperate to keep their franchise face, while the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers have both made plays for Howard.

Getting Howard won't be easy. So re-signing Williams won’t be easy. But both are a must for the Nets.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , Jun , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers need Ron Artest, not Metta World Peace

Say goodbye to Ron Artest and HELLOOOO to Metta World Peace ... Mr. Metta World Peace to you. Yes, Ron is going the way of Cassius Clay, Lew Alcindor and Chad Johnson.  Ron's filed a petition in L.A. County Superior Court to change his name to -- World Peace.

FYI, metta means loving, kindness, happiness and all that jazz. We're told Ron wants to put the new last name -- Peace -- on the back of his L.A. Lakers' jersey. These name changes are typically granted by a judge unless it would result in confusion or fraud. Hey, give Peace a chance.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I have no issue with Ron Artest changing his name. It is, after all, his name.

I have no issue with Artest being happy off-court. I applaud him for seeking help, conquering his demons, and giving back.

I, however, take issue with Artest’s play in 2011. The lockdown defender was a shade of his former self, getting lost in Phil Jackson’s Triple Post system, and not contributing on defense, either.

To be frank: Artest looked distracted. The hoopla and glitz of Los Angeles seemed to come first; basketball seemed to come a distant second.

His priorities must change if the Lakers are to contend for the championship in 2012. The purple-and-gold need Artest to shed weight, regain his status as a premier defender, and score more for new coach Mike Brown.

Artest should enjoy living in LA. This enjoyment should stem from team and individual success on-court.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Tuesday , Jun , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Fear not Laker-nation: Mike Brown and Kobe Bryant are cool

Despite Kobe Bryant's silence, people close to both sides say Coach Mike Brown has won over his new star in two face-to-face meetings. Their first was May 31 at Bryant's home in Newport Beach, on Brown's way to his news conference in downtown Los Angeles . . . more or less.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: In this edition of How The Purple-and Gold Turn, Laker-nation is overreacting to Kobe Bryant's supposed refusal to endorse Mike Brown as coach. 

There are many ludicrous theories floating around Hollywood. Like ...

What does Bryant's silence mean? Does Bryant not like Brown? Does he feel long-time coach Phil Jackson was forced out? Or, does he feel disrespected because ownership didn’t consult him on hiring Brown?

Well, Laker-nation would be better off considering the facts: Bryant and Brown have met. Twice, in fact.

Sure, Bryant might have preferred veteran assistant Brian Shaw, who he knows and has a relationship with. And sure, he probably feels slighted by management not asking his opinion on the process.

However, tension will always exist between Bryant and ownership because of his 2007 trade demands.

Brown will win Bryant over.  He’ll hold players accountable, especially on the defensive end. This was lost in 2011 under Zen-Master Phil.

Bryant’s silence might stem from embarrassment. His Lakers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. He probably prefers to focus on the upcoming season rather than fuel-the-fire on Brown.

So Laker-nation should relax. All is well between superstar and new coach. For now.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , Jun , 19 , 2011 Anderson Johns

Rumor: Pau Gasol for Kevin Love?

The topic of Pau Gasol and the Minnesota Timberwolves was discussed last week based on the word of ESPN's Chad Ford that the Wolves had interest in the Los Angeles Laker All-Star forward/center. Further research revealed that the Wolves do indeed have interest in Gasol, notably because of his relationship with guard Ricky Rubio. Link
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: From the toast of Hollywood to potentially plying his trade in Minnesota.Oh, how the mighty Pau Gasol has fallen. Last year, the Spanish post was integral to the Los Angeles Lakers winning consecutive championships. This year, it went south: his play faltered; he got the Bobby Knight treatment from former coach Phil Jackson: Laker-nation turned on him; he broke up with his girl; teammate Shannon Brown had to deny reports about getting between Gasol and his girl. Not surprisingly, the Lakers lost in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. And Gasol seems primed for a change of scenery. But Minnesota? Sure, they'd have young pieces in Mike Beasley and Ricky Rubio. And sure, Gasol would mentor Rubio, who he knows from the Spanish national team. The Timberwolves are a mess. It starts from the top. Owner Glen Taylor has no class. Lead executive David Kahn routinely shoots his mouth off. For example, these two have left coach Kurt Rambis hanging for months. They haven’t fired him. They haven't endorsed him, either. They instead made him hand in ‘homework’. Yes, Rambis, who won several championships as a player and assistant coach, must submit a report on improving the team, and then Taylor and Kahn will decide his future. Good organizations don't do this. They don't degrade. They treat people, all people, with respect -even a below average head coach like Rambis. Last year was bad for Gasol. Things would be worse in Minnesota, though.
--Oly Sandor. Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.