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Thursday , Mar , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Coach Krzyzewski not interested in coaching Kobe and Lakers?

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he’s not interested in the Lakers job, which will become available if Phil Jackson stays true to his promise to retire at season’s end.

"I've never thought of ever leaving Duke for another school but there were three serious times where I almost left to go to the pros," Krzyzewski said. "One was when Dave Gavitt took over the Celtics [in 1990], another was with the Trailblazers [in 1994] and the one that I took to a really far level was the Lakers situation. They were great with me. I just could not give up what I've done and gotten at Duke. It just wasn't worth it."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Surprisingly, what Kobe Bryant wants, he doesn’t always get.

In 2004, the Los Angeles Lakers offered Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski the keys to the Staples Center. ‘Coach K’ said no, though, turning down a reported five-year, $40 million pact.

Seven years later, history, it seems, is repeating itself. Once again, Krzyzewski has no interest in jumping to the pro ranks with the Lakers –if Coach Phil Jackson actually retires at season’s end.

Why the interest in Krzyzewski?

Well, he is the greatest college coach ever. The Blue Devils, love them or hate them, have had terrific success because of their coach.

Any questions about Krzyzewski's ability to handle pros was put to rest at the 2008 Olympics and 2010 FIBA World Championships. He easily handled the NBA’s biggest names and egos at Beijing, and led a less established squad to glory at Turkey. 

Most importantly, Bryant, the Lakers’ top dog, wants Krzyzewski. Bryant went from high school to the NBA, but would have gone to Duke if he attended college.

Even as a teenager, Bryant felt a connection with Krzyzewski. He respected his work ethic, passion, and dedication to being the best. That respect only grew with their time at USA Basketball.

Give Krzyzewski his due. Getting paid a brinks truck of money to coach the world’s glamour franchise and player isn’t enough to compromise his happiness and leave Duke.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Mar , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kenyon Martin: Nuggets don`t miss Carmelo Anthony

"We all know Melo is a great player, but I don't think one player has ever won a championship in this league," Kenyon Martin told HOOPSWORLD. "He's a great player, but it's all about us playing together right now. That's what we're trying to do."

"We're just going out and playing basketball," he continued. "Everyone here knows how to play and we're competing every single night. When you compete, you put yourself in position to win. It's just playing basketball. Once you know how to play this game the right way, you can really fit into any system."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kenyon Martin is saying what everyone is thinking.

The Denver Nuggets won’t miss Carmelo Anthony. Not now. And not going forward.

Despite the trend towards super teams, basketball is still a sport where chemistry can trump talent. Playing together and playing for each other can go a long, long way to ensuring success –even in the pros.

This is what the Nuggets are doing. They’re defending. They’re moving the ball. And guess what? They’re winning, posting a 10-4 record since trading their former franchise face to the New York Knicks.

Best of all, there’s a sense of together-ness. Nugget players and coaches aren’t dealing with twenty-four hour gossip and trade rumours. Raymond Felton aside, everybody on the roster wants to be in Denver.

Clearly, the Nuggets are having fun. Like the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference, there’s a collectiveness and positive vibe surrounding The Mile High City.

This along with their defense and unselfishness will make the Nuggets a dangerous first round playoff opponent for San Antonio, Los Angeles, Dallas, or Oklahoma City.

Did the Nuggets ever look dangerous with Anthony this year?

Give Martin credit for speaking up. And give Martin credit for speaking the truth.

--Oly Sandor.


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Tuesday , Mar , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant ‘Smushes’ Smush Parker … again

" … I was throwing it to Smush Parker, said Bryant, referring to the wayward point guard who played two seasons with the Lakers. "I shot with three [defenders] on me. That's the difference [with Fisher]. Now I only shoot with one, maybe two."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Once upon a time, Smush Parker made the not so wise decision to mess with a bull named Kobe Bryant.

Yesterday, he got more of Bryant's horns.

Parker had a less than stellar run with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2005-2007. While the journeyman guard posted decent numbers, his heightened sense of self-importance alienated teammates and coaches.

Parker’s greatest mistake was angering Bryant. The two didn’t click. As teammates, Bryant once publicly mocked Parker and didn't like the former street ball star joking to reporters that he'd trade Lamar Odom to the Los Angeles Sparks.

After leaving the Lakers, the 'Sparks' really flew. Parker trashed Bryant in an odd interview and even imitated the MVP's shooting form in an infamous youtube clip.

So it was hardly a surprise Bryant slammed Parker, and praised his longtime teammate, friend, and backcourt mate in Derek Fisher. It didn't matter that Parker is out the league and essentially a non issue.

With Bryant, when you mess will the bull you get the horns.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Mar , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Andrew Bynum’s flagrant foul: ‘I’m proud of him’

Not all the Lakers were upset with the league's decision. "I'm proud of him," Kobe Bryant said of Bynum. "He earned his stripes."  Bynum will need to be careful the rest of the regular season if he wants to avoid further discipline. He will be automatically suspended for one game if he commits another flagrant foul, type 2, before the end of the regular season. The Lakers were hoping for leniency from the league. Bynum isn't known as a rough player with an angry demeanor.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If Andrew Bynum was worried about his flagrant foul on the Minnesota Timberwolves' Michael Beasley, he can stop.

Kobe Bryant has Bynum’s back. Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar and one of the game’s premier players, beamed like a proud parent when asked by reporters about Bynum’s foul and suspension.

Now Bryant obviously doesn’t want Beasley to get hurt. Other than that, he’s clearly thrilled with Bynum’s flagrant foul.

Consider the following: opposing teams will be hesitant to drive the lane against the Lakers; Bryant’s squad are finally playing their best with the playoffs fast approaching; Bynum is absolutely dominant in the paint.

It’s interesting to reflect on how far Bryant and Bynum have come. These two weren’t always tight.

In fact, Bynum often found himself on the wrong side of Bryant’s rage. Not long ago, the Black Mamba complained to two strangers outside a strip mall that the club didn't trade the seven-footer to the New Jersey Nets for Jason Kidd.

Two championships have a way of changing things. With Bynum plugging the middle, the Lakers have to be favoured to win a third.

Now wonder Bryant has Bynum’s back.  

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Mar , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Andrew Bynum suspended two games for hard foul on Mike Beasley

The league handed down its verdict this morning, suspending center Andrew Bynum for two games without pay for thumping Michael Beasley to the court during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' victory Friday night over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bynum will sit out tonight's game against the Portland Trail Blazers and Tuesday's contest against the Phoenix Suns. Beasley suffered a bruised left hip when he hit the floor.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers are better when Andrew Bynum is involved physically -even if that comes at the expense of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Michael Beasley.

Yes, Bynun’s foul on Beasley was a bit much. Yes, it deserved a suspension. And yes, the Lakers have to love Bynum’s recent physical play.

The massive seven-footer has been a changed man since having his name bandied about in trade rumours. Like the Lakers, Bynum has stepped up his play following the All-Star break.

With Bynum dominating the middle, the purple-and-gold is unstoppable. After all, they’re too big and too massive for every team in the NBA.

The bad news is the Lakers will make do without Bynum for two games. The good news is he’s playing better than ever, which greatly improves their chances at three-peating.

Watch Bynum’s foul on Beasley and tell HoopsVibe News if his increased physical play is good for the Lakers?


--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Mar , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Blake Griffin concerned with Clippers owner Donald Sterling?

Blake Griffin is concerned with the way Donald Sterling manages the Clippers and is monitoring the situation, according to sources.

Sterling recently testified in Elgin Baylor's lawsuit against the Clippers for wrongful termination and the owner also had a mishap related to an advertisement for Black History Month that was actually scheduled for March and included Griffin's picture.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Good for Blake Griffin. He has recognized the obvious: the Los Angeles Clippers’ greatest weakness is owner Donald Sterling.

After all, The Don has been embroiled in sexual harassment and discrimination suits, refuses to honour contracts of coaches and executives that he fires, and is more concerned with winning making money than winning.

Simply put, he’s a scumbag. And great teams typically have great owners. Not scumbags.

For instance, the San Antonio Spurs have a partnership of first-class businessman. The Boston Celtics owner is all class. And Jerry Buss, despite his idiosyncrasies and poor decisions, is perfect for the glitz and glamour of the Los Angeles Lakers.

So Griffin is right to try to use his skill and star power to initiate change at the top. Championship teams have stability and sanity at the top.

They don’t have an owner who is so cheap he won’t pay his assistant coach’s cancer bills when the team’s medical provider refuses to do so.

The Don must reform his ways if he wants to sign the NBA’s brightest young star to a multi-year extension. Even better, perhaps he has to finally sell the Clippers if his team wants to re-sign Griffin.

And this, not the highlight reel dunks or headlines, would be Griffin’s greatest accomplishment.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Mar , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mitch Kupchak: healthy Andrew Bynum is untouchable

I’d say I get 10 to 15 phone calls a year about Andrew Bynum. I’ve called teams that have young, developing players myself. I don’t think that’s going to change. Certainly if he had played as well as he’s playing now for the last three years, teams would realize that, well, the Lakers would never trade him.And I understand that, and don’t think that’s going to change. But having said all that: when Andrew is healthy, and he plays like he is playing right now, you are hard pressed to look at anybody in this league and say, ‘I would trade him for that person.’

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Andrew Bynum’s height, length, and wingspan make the Los Angeles Lakers an almost unstoppable force.

With Bynum healthy, the purple-and-gold has a giant in the middle, which allows Pau Gasol to play his more natural power forward position.

For instance, Bynum played last year’s NBA Finals at far less than full strength. His presence was the difference between the Lakers winning and losing their second consecutive championship.

However, GM Mitch Kupchak is guilty of hyperbole. Bynum is good, but is he really untouchable?

Well, part of this is politics. Remember, Bynum is Kupchak’s guy. Kupchak drafted him. And he also refused to trade him for Jason Kidd a few years back.

Bynum’s success is Kupchak’s success. When one looks good, so does the other. So expect the compliments to continue.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Mar , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Sacramento Kings to become Anaheim Royals?

On March 3rd, the United States Patent and Trademark Office received an application by a Nevada corporation seeking exclusive rights to use the name "Los Angeles Royals." Another application filed the same day reserves the name "Anaheim Royals." The city of Anaheim, which owns the Honda Center, has reportedly insisted that any team playing there carry the city's name.

The web domains losangelesroyals.com and anaheimroyals.com have also been registered within the past three weeks. A name change would help the team avoid confusion with the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They are about to become the NBA team formerly known as the Sacramento Kings.

Recent evidence suggests Sacramento is on the verge of moving to the Anaheim/Los Angeles area, and owners Geoff and Gavin Maloof have officially trademarked the name Royals.

While Sacramento has obvious arena challenges, can Los Angeles really support three professional basketball franchises? Furthermore, is being the third fish in the Anaheim/Los Angeles pond behind the Clippers and Lakers better than being the only fish in the tiny Sacramento pond?

Clearly, the Kings think so. And it seems Sacramento’s NBA team is about to become no more.

--Oly Sandor.


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Friday , Mar , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Bryant shooting jumpers after loss to Heat

More than an hour following the Lakers' loss 94-88 loss to the Heat on Thursday, Kobe Bryant was shooting jumpers on the American Airlines Arena floor, according to various Twitter reports.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He could have hit up South Beach, popped bottles, and had fun. Instead, he’s working on his jump shot.

It doesn’t matter that he has five championship rings. It doesn’t matter that he is the NBA’s premier player. It doesn’t matter that his place as a future first ballot Hall of Famer is all but guaranteed.

Kobe Bryant is great because he’s obsessed with winning and being the best player he can be.

What other player with his stature would punch the clock and practice after logging 39 minutes in a barnburner against the Miami Heat?

What makes Bryant different is also what makes him great.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Feb , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Miami Heat want Mike Bibby and Troy Murphy?

The Heat would like to sign Mike Bibby if the Wizards give him a buyout; Washington called it unlikely but hasn’t ruled it out. The Heat will explore Troy Murphy if he gets a buyout from Golden State (one report has Boston as the front-runner) and perhaps Indiana’s T.J. Ford, but he’s a poor three-point shooter.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Superstar laden teams need shooters to win.

For instance, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Chicago Bulls squads had deep threats like B.J. Armstrong, Jud Buchelor, Craig Hodges, Steve Kerr, and John Paxson.

Kobe Bryant, winner of five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, has played with marksmen like Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Devean George, Ron Harper, Glen Rice, Brian Shaw, and Sasha Vujacic.

Shooters spread the floor and keep defences honest. If a defender helps or helped on Bryant, Jordan, or Pippen, these Hall of Famers find the shooter who usually nails the open look.

It’s basic basketball. It’s also winning basketball.

So expect the Miami Heat to take a run at Mike Bibby and/or Troy Murphy –if they get a buyout from the Washington Wizards and/or Golden State Warriors.

After all, the Heat has their superstars: Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.

Bibby could run the club’s offensive sets. His greatest asset would be playing off-the-ball, spotting-up, and knocking shots when defences helped on Bosh, James, and Wade.

Remember, Bibby was a clutch performer for the Sacramento Kings, giving those championship Laker squads all they could handle in some classic playoff battles.

Murphy is a nice inside-outside four-man. He can help on the glass, while also stretching defenses with his incredible three-point range.

However, the Heat may want to sign Murphy just to thwart their prime competition in the Eastern Conference –the Boston Celtics.

Expect the Heat to be extremely active if Bibby and/or Murphy become available. Their South Beach superstars can always use additional shooters.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Feb , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: ‘You can’t beat me in June’

After practice, Bryant was still reflective not only about the twilight of the regular season but also the twilight of his career and the opportunity to pass on what he has learned to younger players at the All-Star Game. When Bryant was asked how he feels about being an elder statesman he simply laughed. "It doesn't matter to me," he said. "You can't beat me in June. All the other stuff doesn't matter."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He put it out there.

Kobe Bryant isn’t worried about the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles. Not one bit. In fact, the MVP of 2011 All-Star game likes his chances against all comers in the playoffs when the Larry O’Brien championship trophy is at stake.

Part of me respects his confidence. And part of me thinks his team deserves greater respect.

After all, many have already buried the purple-and-gold, claiming they’re too everything: too old, too slow, too apathetic, and too Hollywood.

When that gets tiresome, they claim the purple-and gold aren’t enough like the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, or San Antonio Spurs.

Perhaps they have a point, but basketball is the only sport where the two-time defending champion would be written off for dead before the playoffs.

There’s still life in these Lakers, especially if Andrew Bynum stays healthy, Ron Artest regains his old form, and Matt Barnes recovers from injury to bring toughness off the bench.

However, a three-peat begins and ends with Bryant. And this boils down to one question: would you bet against him in June?

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Feb , 19 , 2011 Oly Sandor

Rumor: Howard to join Bryant and Lakers in 2012?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kobe Bryant ‘irritated’ at teammates after Cleveland loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Feb , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

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

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

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

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

This is not a ploy or bargaining strategy.

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Feb , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Why Bynum for Anthony trade won’t happen

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

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

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

And it was.

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

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

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

Contracts aside, this idea was flawed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Feb , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

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

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

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

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

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

If only it were so simple.

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jan , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Jan , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jerry West: ‘I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer’

Jerry West's words -- "The reason you 'can't play defense' is because you can't!" and "I don't think the Lakers will be good for much longer" -- stung the Lakers. Bryant nodded in agreement when informed of the substance of West's criticism and Derek Fisher offered the utmost respect for West, who drafted the veteran guard as a rookie in 1996.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It doesn’t matter that he was an All-Star on-court and in the executive suite for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jerry West, possibly the most influential member of the purple-and-gold clan, believes the two-time defending champions have lost their motivation and are too old to continue their reign atop the NBA standings.

Perhaps he’s right. Now is not the time to make this assessment, though.

The Lakers are currently mired in the grind of the regular season. The games mean little. And because their defence is still solid they can win playoff rounds without home-court advantage.

That’s the positive news. The negative news is that the Lakers have stagnated, while the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and San Antonio have gotten better. Much better.

These teams might not have enough to overthrow the Lakers in the playoffs, but it will be closer than previous years. And some, like West, believe the NBA will crown a new champion.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jan , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Otis Smith on Boston Celtics: ‘They act tough’

After Monday's game between the two teams, Magic general manager Otis Smith questioned the toughness of the Celtics."They act tough," Smith said. "They're not really tough. They act tough."

 
HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: It’s time for Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy to shut up.

All year, the Orlando Magic’s executive and coach have waged a war of words through the media with members of the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. Now they’re declaring jihad against the Boston Celtics. 

Smith and Van Gundy have to realize something: they’re providing bulletin board material for the Celtics. Kevin Garnett and his green posse will take exception to these comments and bring it against the Magic.

Gilbert Arenas, Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu will bear the brunt of Garnett’s rage, while Smith sits comfortably in his fifteen hundred dollar suit in the executive suite.

In short, Smith and Van Gundy aren’t playing. Someone else has to take responsibility for their words.

Perhaps they should simply do their jobs and model professionalism for the employees they’re supposed to lead.  

--Oly Sandor.


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Tuesday , Jan , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Battle of Los Angeles: Blake Griffin vs. Lamar Odom

The Lakers (30-12) were also outrebounded and outmuscled, part of the reason Odom grabbed Griffin's jersey after Griffin bulled into him while getting position after a free throw in the final seconds.

Griffin wasn't pleased with the jersey grab and neither was Baron Davis, who started jawing at Odom, which led to some seriously harsh words between Davis and Odom as four players got ejected (Griffin, Davis, Odom and, curiously, Artest, whose apparent crime was trying to pull Odom away from the fray).

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: A rivalry is brewing.

Yesterday, the lowly Clippers beat the two-time world champion Lakers in the battle for The City of Angeles.

However, the Clippers’ 99-92 win was only one part of the story. Blake Griffin, the runaway favourite for Rookie of the Year, was involved in an end-of-game shoving match with the Lakers' Lamar Odom.

Mr. Khloe Kardashian took exception to Griffin trying to gain position on a missed free-throw when the game was decided. Then all hell broke loose.

Fortunately, the good folks at youtube have the highlight reel for your viewing pleasure. Click the link and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below. 


--Oly Sandor.