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Saturday , Jan , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant in LA?

All of Orlando has seen this haunting movie before. The Magic know what's out there, too. They're aware of the rumbles in circulation that Howard secretly longs to make the same cross-country trek to Los Angeles that Shaquille O`Neal mapped out in 1996, with one source close to the situation insisting that Howard and Lakers star Kobe Bryant are far closer pals than people realize.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We’ve seen this before. Franchise post leaves the Orlando Magic, signs with the Los Angeles Lakers, and wins multiple championships next to Kobe Bryant.

Technically, Dwight Howard is a ways away from pulling a Shaq-Fu and leaving the Magic as a free agent –the big man can exercise an option on his contract in July of 2012.

However, the rumors and rumblings were loud enough for the Magic to initiate two blockbuster trades last month, acquiring Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu.

Will the combo guard formerly known as The Hibachi, J-Rich, and Turkoglu appease Howard?

After all, Howard loves the spotlight. He loves flashing his pearly white teeth for the cameras and busting jokes for reporters. Unfortunately, Orlando is small; so small he can’t maximize endorsements and get another legit superstar to join him.

Without a premier wing-man, Howard has little shot at a championship in Orlando. He needs help; really good help to beat the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in a seven-game, do-or-die series.

Howard knows this, so leaving Orlando for a major market like New York or Los Angeles remains a possibility. Of course, the Knicks have Amar`e Stoudemire, while the Lakers have Kobe Bryant.

For personal and professional reasons, Howard would prefer Los Angeles. He and Bryant are friends, and would form a deadly inside-outside combination. A Howard-Stoudemire pairing sounds enticing, but could be awkward.  

In the coming months, there will be more talk of Howard joining Bryant in Los Angeles. Orlando can quiet the talk and re-sign their superstar by winning a championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jan , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on recent techincal fouls: ‘Expletive it’

On an unrelated note, Bryant expressed not a hint of concern for picking up five technical fouls in last six games: [Expletive] it. Don't care. I can afford it.".

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Forget Kobe Bryant’s choice of words. He has bigger issues than a fine from league head office.

Consider the recent plight of his Los Angeles Lakers: they’ve lost four of their past six games; they haven’t played well for weeks; they, according to Bryant, are ‘skipping steps’; and last night they were booed at home for a terrible effort in a loss to the average Memphis Grizzlies.

Their problems are greater than being bored with the regular season. And their problems are also greater than arrogantly thinking they can hit a switch for the playoffs.

This year, the Lakers have serious competition. In the Western Conference, there’s the San Antonio Spurs and, provided they get past their recent string of injuries, the Dallas Mavericks. Neither team will concede an inch in a best of seven playoff series.

If the Lakers advance to the NBA Finals, they could face the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat, two superb defensive teams. And the Orlando Magic, despite two mid-season trades, is still dangerous.

So the competition is better, while, it appears, the purple-and-gold is worse.

Don’t get it twisted: the Lakers are extremely talented. But something is missing from the two-time defending champions. Perhaps the hunger is gone. Perhaps the motivation is gone.
 
Or perhaps everything will be fine next June, and Bryant and his teammates will be celebrating a three-peat. Right now, this scenario seems unlikely.

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Jan , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Teams talking to Raptors about ‘intriguing’ Stojakovic?

An intriguing player on the market is Raptors sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, who has not played since Nov. 26 because of a knee injury but is close to returning. Stojakovic is earning $14 million this season, and the Raptors also have most of the Bosh trade exception to facilitate a deal.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Let’s clarify. Peja Stojakovic is ‘intriguing’ because of his contract, and not because of his on-court play.

Teams that inquire about Stojakovic are interested in his $14 million dollar expiring contract. They have no illusions about him recreating his Sacramento glory days by moving off the ball, catching, and converting from the outside.

It won’t happen. Injuries and age have taken its toll.

One scenario is worth watching, though. A rebuilding squad could trade for Stojakovic before the deadline and waive or buy him out.

Stojakovic would then become a free agent and, perhaps, ink a pro-rated one-year deal for the minimum with a contender.

In the all-or-nothing world of the NBA, a top team may have interest in renting Stojakovic for a couple of months and the playoffs.

However, the Euro gunner must first prove he can still play before Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, or any other contender takes a flyer on him. This means getting on-court and producing for lowly Toronto.

If Stojakovic can’t contribute to the cellar-dwelling Raptors, how could he contribute to a team with championship aspirations?

The business of basketball means there’s a market for Stojakovic’s contract. Hopefully, he has something left to offer the game of basketball.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Dec , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers need healthy Bynum, not ‘pissed off’ Bryant

Now as for the loss to the Spurs, Kobe said, "I'm just pissed." "That doesn't mean you're going to play mad [against New Orleans] does it?" I said with just the right amount of concern. "I don't know," Kobe said. "I've been playing mad as long as you have been writing mad."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers don’t need Kobe Bryant pissed off. They do need Andrew Bynum healthy and playing well.

The giant post missed the first two months of the season recovering from knee surgery, and he has struggled to find his form since returning.

Simply put, Bynum, when on his game, makes the Lakers unstoppable. His height (7-1) and wingspan were the difference between winning and losing game-seven of last year’s NBA Finals against the Celtics.

Well, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, as several teams added size to battle Bynum in the playoffs. The Boston Celtics signed Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal; the Dallas Mavericks traded for Tyson Chandler and re-upped with Brendan Haywood; the San Antonio Spurs brought Tiago Splitter from Europe and developed the powerful DeJuan Blair.

Of course, Bryant will be better than yesterday’s game against the Spurs, where he missed 13 straight shots.

However, the purple-and-gold needs a healthy Bynum, not a pissed off Bryant, to win their third consecutive championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Dec , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant to LeBron James: ‘I’m a champ’

The Lakers lost again on Christmas. After being rousted by the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, they have been beaten by the Miami Heat yesterday. They don`t play well and Kobe Bryant is frustrated. At the end of the game, he started trash-talking with LeBron James, saying:``I`m a champ``.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Them be fighting words.

Kobe Bryant took this not-so subtle dig at LeBron James during the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers-Miami Heat Christmas Day match-up.

James’ squad was again routing Bryant’s Lakers. Last year, the Cavaliers had their way with the purple-and-gold on Jesus’ birthday.

So Bryant reminded James while he may win the odd regular season battle, ‘The Black Mamba’ wins the playoff war – and five times he has hoisted the Larry O’Brien championship trophy.

Two thoughts on Bryant talking trash to James. First, he’s right. Until James wins a championship, or two, he can’t be compared to Bryant.

Second, Bryant engaged James in the fourth quarter of yesterday’s game when the result was decided. Then following the game, he criticized his teammates for lacking focus.

Bryant is the game’s greatest player, and has earned the right to do as he likes. Still, with his Lakers looking distracted, perhaps yesterday wasn’t the best time to talk trash with James.

To them, Bryant may seem more focused on his individual battle with James than on righting the ship for his team.

To be fair, this is only the regular season. Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum will improve. The Lakers will likely hit their stride in the playoffs.

If the Lakers don’t turn things around, the shoe may be on the other foot next Christmas. And James could be telling Bryant ‘I’m a champ’.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Dec , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron on Dec 25th game vs. Lakers: I would rather be home with my family

James says any player in the league "would rather be home with their families." He's been in the NBA eight seasons - and his teams have now been chosen to play on the marquee Christmas schedule five times.
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Credit LeBron James for being truthful.
 
James admitted he'd rather be home with family and friends on Christmas than leading the Miami Heat against the Los Angeles Lakers.
 
Fair enough. Too bad, though. James has to play. And he won't get any sympathy from the public.

Superstar athletes, like James, earn millions of dollars and enjoy an amazing lifestyle. With the money come expectations –like the possibility of having to entertain the masses on Jesus’ birthdays.

This is the deal with being an NBA player. And the positives of this deal far outweigh the negatives.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Dec , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers have bigger worries than Kobe’s pinkie finger

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was down to three healthy fingers on his shooting hand Friday in his Philadelphia homecoming but a fourth-quarter surge won it for the Lakers, 93-81.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant will be fine. His finger is nothing to worry about folks. So move along.

Word is the Black Mamba sprained his right pinkie finger after catching a ‘bad pass’ from Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

For Bryant, injuries don’t matter. He has played through knee troubles, broken fingers, and other aliments before.

The purple-and-gold has a bigger issue: boredom. After winning two consecutive NBA championships, the Lakers are cruising through the regular season.

Problem is, the San Antonio Spurs, behind their revitalized big four, are flying with a league-best 22-3 record. And the deep Dallas Mavericks are 21-5. If the Lakers get through the Western Conference, the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat will be waiting.

So Bryant’s finger is the least of the Lakers’ worries.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Nov , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Orlando Magic still interested in Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul?

The Magic are still open to making trades, reports Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel.

Schmitz writes that the Magic still like both Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony -- they are partial to Paul -- and they'll trade anyone but Dwight Howard for either All-Star.

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HoopsVibe News: One step back. Two steps forward.

Translation: the Orlando Magic is prepared for short-term struggles if it leads to long-term success, especially if that long-term success includes Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul.

Magic GM Otis Smith realizes his current squad lacks the horses to beat the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, or even the revamped San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series.

He needs another superstar. Dwight Howard aside, Smith will move anybody on his roster for Anthony or Paul. 

Trades mean transition. Players need to adjust. Coaches must alter game plans. Roles must be redefined. And chemistry must develop.

Smith would accept these temporary stumbles because Howard with Anthony or Paul would supposedly give the Magic a better chance at a championship than the status quo.

Of course, there are complications. Anthony seems destined to suit up for the New York Knicks, while Paul appears to have reconciled with the New Orleans Hornets.

However, give the Magic credit. It’s championship or broke for Smith and Howard.

Oly Sandor.


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Thursday , Nov , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: I was mentored by Michael Jackson, not Michael Jordan

“It sounds weird, I guess, but it’s true: I was really mentored by the preparation of Michael Jackson.

We would always talk about how he prepared to make his music, how he prepared for concerts…He would teach me what he did: How to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it. It was all the validation that I needed – to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver. Because what he did – and how he did it – was psychotic. He helped me get to a level where I was able to win three titles playing with Shaq because of my preparation, my study. And it’s only all grown.

“That’s the mentality that I have – it’s not an athletic one. It’s not from [Michael] Jordan. It’s not from other athletes. It’s from Michael Jackson.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant was inspired by MJ. Not that MJ, though.

Turns out the great Los Angeles Lakers two-guard drew inspiration from his relationship with the late Michael Jackson.

These two would chat. These two found common ground. And these two became friends.

This shouldn’t surprise because ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘The King of Pop’ had much in common.

For instance, both were child prodigies. Bryant was a high school sensation in Lower Merion, Philadelphia and as a prep-to-pro lottery pick in 1995. Jackson was a singing and hit-making sensation with his brothers.

(Fair or not, both have been embroiled in controversy. Bryant was engaged in a nasty sex scandal in Colorado, while Jackson went to trial on child molestation charges.)

Both are exceptional talents. Bryant is the best player of his generation and an all-time great. Jackson was a trend-setter. Thriller was a monster; his dance moves and singing is replicated by today’s pop stars.

Fortunately forever Bryant, he seems destined for a better ending than MJ.

Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Nov , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Ron Artest’s NFL career: ‘expletive that’

Bryant also called it “silly” — but in a different tone — when informed teammate Ron Artest was planning an NFL career. Bryant laughed and then said: “Wait till I can’t use him no more, then he can play. Till then, (expletive) that.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What #24 says goes. No ifs. No ands. No buts.

If Ron Artest ‘really’ wants to strap on a helmet and suit up for the National Football league, he’ll have to get permission from Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

After all, Bryant is thinking big picture. He knows Artest’s defense is important in winning additional championships, which would further cement his legacy as an all-time great.

So Ron-Ron better put those pigskin dreams on hold. Or he’ll face the wrath of Bryant.

--Oly Sandor.


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Thursday , Nov , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers interested in Erick Dampier?

The Lakers will talk to the representative for free-agent Erick Dampier, though it might not be a good match for either side. 

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: To be in demand.

For years, Erick Dampier was a bit player. However, the NBA loves size, so Dampier, at 7-0 and 300 pounds, always had a seven-figure job.

Sometimes he played. Most of the time, he sat.

Everything changed last summer, though. The Charlotte Bobcats acquired Dampier in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks, exercised an out-clause, and waived the final year of his $13 million pact.

Charlotte gained cap space. Dampier became, and still is, a free agent.

While the 35-year old hasn’t been making the free agent rounds like LeBron James, he has been connected to several teams.

For instance, Miami, a contending squad, had interest. Houston and Toronto have also been linked to the veteran.

Yesterday, the internet exploded with reports the Los Angeles Lakers were considering Dampier’s services.

It may not be a fit, though. The Lakers need a short term fill-in because Andrew Bynum and Theo Ratliff are injured, while Dampier will want greater security.

Still, Dampier should enjoy being in demand. He may never experience it again.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Nov , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant Makes Cameo in Call of Duty: Black Ops Commercial

As one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet, KB24 has a habit of popping up here, there and everywhere. Still, I can't have been the only one who was surprised to see Kobe Bryant make a cameo in the new Call of Duty: Black Ops commercial. In the one-minute TV spot Kobe appears for just a few seconds, wielding a heavy-duty firearm in the middle of a simulated combat situation alongside various other civilians.

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Tuesday , Nov , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Are ‘The Renegades’ key to Kobe and Lakers Three-peating?

Just one week into the season, Lakers coach Phil Jackson has already coined a nickname for his team's energetic bench: The Renegades.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Never argue with a Zen-Master, especially one with 11 championship rings.

Phil Jackson is right: the Los Angeles Lakers made three subtle moves this summer to solidify their bench, and counter the national headlines made by their eastern rivals.

First, they signed Steve Blake. He’s a feisty, intelligent table-setter, who’ll fill-in and eventually replace veteran Derek Fisher.

Second, they inked giant Theo Ratliff. He’s 7-2. And has a massive wingspan. When the tin-man, Andrew Bynum, is hurt, Ratliff can clog the middle against bigger posts.

Finally, Matt Barnes was brought-in. The former Mohawk can guard and play multiple positions; stretch opposing defenses with his range; and, most importantly, brings grit and toughness.

Blake, Ratliff, and Barnes fit perfectly next to Shannon Brown, a dynamic open-court player, and Sasha ‘The Machine’ Vujacic.

Of course, the piece de resistance is Lamar Odom, a versatile forward who is always a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

Odom has taken his game to another level after spending his summer leading Team USA to the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

So renegades is an interesting moniker for this group. Whatever the nickname, they'll be a big part of the Lakers' quest to three-peat.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: Brandon Roy toughest opponent to guard

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was asked on the John Thompson Show who he feels is the toughest opponent to guard in the NBA. Instead of picking Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Bryant went with Portland's Brandon Roy.

"Roy 365 days, seven days a week. Roy has no weaknesses in his game," Bryant said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: No surprise here.

NBA fans shouldn’t be shocked Kobe Bryant picked perennial All-Star Brandon Roy as his toughest cover over Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.

There’s no agenda here. There’s no subtle slight against the game’s more marketable superstars, either. 

Bryant was simply speaking his mind. Here’s why he was making sense:

1) Roy’s a fundamentally-sound, Tim Duncan-type in a two-man’s body.  He does everything well and uses his mind, not athleticism, to succeed.

2) Bryant is a student of the game. He spends hours in the video room, analyzing where to attack opponents like Durant, James, and Wade.

Bryant has probably spent a day or two watching Roy and has clearly concluded he has no weakness. There’s no Achilles heal to expose.

3) Roy’s Portland Trail Blazers have had some success against the Los Angeles Lakers, especially at home in The Rose Garden.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest: ‘Ì won`t be smoking marijuana’

Then out of nowhere, with his conversation with reporters apparently over, Artest added, "Even if they legalize marijuana (with a California ballot initiative Nov. 3), I won't be smoking marijuana."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s suddenly become a Saint.

After telling reporters he quit drinking alcohol, Ron Artest– without being asked – declared that he wouldn’t be smoking marijuana, even if California legalized the drug in a vote on November 3rd.

Of course, while marijuana could become legal in California, it would still be illegal for NBA players to indulge in.

But we digress.

Most importantly, Artest dropped weight this summer. The lockdown defender is tipping the scales at 250 pounds, which is near his Defensive Player of the Year weight.

So expect Artest to be better in 2011. This is good news for the Los Angeles Lakers. And bad news for the other 29 teams in the NBA.

--Oly Sandor.
  
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Sunday , Oct , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade: Miami Heat will be good defensively

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Sep , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Andrew Bynum to miss start of season?

Andrew Bynum's status for the start of the season is in question as he returns from offseason knee surgery. “We’re hopeful that he’ll be ready for the start of the season,” Lakers spokesman John Black said Wednesday. Black said there is “an outside chance” that Bynum will be able to take part in the team’s final exhibition games Oct. 21 and 22.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Here we go again.

The Los Angeles Lakers could be without star center Andrew Bynum for the start of the regular season, as the massive seven-footer hasn’t recovered from off-season knee surgery.

Without Bynum, the purple-and-gold is great. With him, they’re unstoppable.

Bynum’s frame and wingspan gives his team an edge down the middle over almost every squad in the NBA. For instance, the Celtics – even if Kendrick Perkins was healthy – would have no answer for a hobbling Bynum in the Finals.

So expect the Lakers’ trainers to do everything possible to get Bynum ready. His status could be the difference between winning and losing a third championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Sep , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Adam Morrison gets tryout with Washington Wizards?

Adam Morrison, whom Jordan selected with the third pick in 2006, has accepted a training camp invitation on a make-good contract with the Wizards, according to two league sources.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Forget the ‘Three Kings’ joining forces with the Miami Heat. Forget the Boston Celtics inking Shaquille O’Neal. And forget Amar’e Stoudemire signing with the New York Knicks.

Here’s the real news: Brian Cardinal and Adam Morrison have received training camp invites from the Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards.

Cardinal may or may not make the Mavericks; however, Morrison – while he will never live up to the hype of being the third overall pick in the 2006 Draft - can still salvage his career. He's hoping to start over with the Washington Wizards.

The Moustache was a pure scorer in college. He also went against Kobe Bryant in practice. Anything is possible. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e Stoudemire wanted Steve Nash not ‘selfish’ Kobe

“The question ownership asked to me was, ‘Who do I want – Jason Kidd, Steve Nash or Kobe Bryant?’ I said Steve. Over Kobe. At the time, Kobe had a reputation for being selfish and Steve was the ultimate point guard. I felt like that’s what we needed. We had Joe Johnson and Shawn Marion. We just didn’t have a PG to control tempo. Kidd was banged up after microfracture (knee surgery).”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Point guards are important, but damn.

In a recent interview, Amar’e Stoudemire claimed he told the Phoenix Suns to sign pass-first table-setter Steve Nash instead of the world’s best player in Kobe Bryant.

Yes, Nash not Kobe. After all, Kobe had a ‘reputation for being selfish’.

Let me disclose my bias: I’m a huge Kid Canada fan. He’s a two-time MVP, a Hall of Fame playmaker (yeah, I went there), and a terrific person. Oh, and those vitamin spots are pretty funny, too

He has limitations, though. While willing to mix it up in his own end, Nash’s size hinders his ability to defend. And his offensive numbers are inflated by the Suns’ run-and-gun system.

Whatever your view on Nash, he isn’t Kobe Bryant. It’s not close. It’s not debateable. Black Mamba is the premier player in the NBA, winning consecutive championships for a career total of five Larry O’Brien trophies.

Sure, Nash’s passing makes those around him better; however, Bryant’s competitiveness and work ethic forces teammates to ratchet up their production. Call it peer pressure for the millionaire baller.

For instance, Luke Walton recently mentioned he was rehabbing his many injuries at the Lakers’ practice facility. Guess what player is first to show every morning at 7am? That’s right: Kobe.        

Now Bryant could have scaled things back this summer or simply hung a ‘gone fishing sign’ until training camp. No coach, executive, journalist, or fan would have said a word.

Of course, he didn’t go on vacation. Instead of slacking, Bryant is punching the clock and working harder than, perhaps, any player in the league. Such single-mindedness is Bryant’s trademark.

To be fair, Bryant probably wouldn’t have turned his back on the Lakers and signed with the Suns. It doesn’t change that Stoudemire’s analysis was, and still is, wrong.    

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Aug , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant:I`m ‘99.99 percent sure I’m finishing with Lakers‘

And KB24 finally said he’s “definitely” not playing for another team, or “99.99 percent sure I’m finishing my career with the Los Angeles Lakers.”

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Not long ago, it seemed 99.9% sure that Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers would part ways.

Remember, he requested a trade. Twice. The first time he bared his soul to Stephen A, Smith on radio. The second time he met soccer star Ronaldinho in Europe, and then told vacationing Lakers owner Jerry Buss he wanted out.   

Along the way, he badmouthed Andrew Bynum to a pair of random dudes outside an Orange County strip mall, who happened to record the entire incident on cell phone.

Of course, this led to the organization getting extorted in a salacious story that belonged on TMZ. And Bryant was even booed by the Staples Center faithful during the 2008 home opener.

However, winning solves everything. The Lakers, through shrewd trades and astute free agent signings, have established a potential dynasty. They’ve won consecutive championships. A three-peat third could happen.

So Bryant is happy and will end his career a Laker. This is the way it should be. The best player of this generation embodies the purple-and-gold.

--Oly Sandor.

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