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Friday , Jul , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade: ‘LeBron James didn’t quit’ on Cleveland

"He's not a quitter," Wade said. "He didn't quit."

"LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, guys like that understand what Boston's defense was about," Wade said. "Their defense was built on not letting one player beat them. You either settle for the outside shot or you pass to your teammates. LeBron had one bad game in the playoffs. Other than that, he did what he could do with the defense all watching him."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call ... The Miami Heat's three superstars must do exactly this: they must have each others' back.

After their free agent coup, South Beach's basketball team will be public enemy number one, sporting a bulls-eye the size of North America all season on their black, red, and white uniforms.

So Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade have to support each other because the pressure will be intense. Night-in, night-out, the Heat will face a motivated and energetic opponent.

These three will also understand the scrutiny each will face in specific markets. For instance, Bosh and Wade will get the backlash LeBron will experience when Miami is in Cleveland. Both will face - to a small extent - something similar when Miami rolls into Toronto and Chicago.

Bosh, James, and Wade are close friends. They'll need this friendship next year.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Jul , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwayne Wade: ‘everyone’s shooting for’ Lakers, not Heat

Dwyane Wade isn't ready to buy into all the hype about the Heat, who added LeBron James and Chris Bosh last week.

Wade says the Lakers, who have won the NBA's last two championships, are the team to beat.

The Lakers are the champions and we know the Lakers are very good," Wade said Wednesday. "That's the team that everyone's shooting for and they should be. Not the Miami Heat. The Los Angeles Lakers."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Call: You can’t fault Dwyane Wade for trying.

In fact, you have to admire the superstar’s failed attempts at running a little smokescreen interference and deferring public enemy number one status to the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Yes, the purple-and-gold is still the team to beat. After all, to be the champs, you have to beat the champs.

No, the Miami Heat – with the controversial way The Big Three of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade were assembled - is the team everyone will be shooting for.

No doubt about it.

Everyone - your granny, pastor, milkman, and even dog - has an opinion on The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010, culminating in LeBron James breaking up with Dan Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and state of Ohio on national television.

Very quickly, the Heat has become the NBA’s undisputed villain in a plot that’s part Shakespeare, part Vince McMahon WWE. 

If Wade thought the attention was bad in 2007 following their NBA Title win, then he hasn’t seen anything yet.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Zydrunas Ilgauskas following LeBron James to Miami

Zyrdunas Ilgauskas is following LeBron James to the Miami Heat.

The veteran center, who started playing for Cleveland in 1997 and has never suited up for another NBA team, expects to sign a two-year contract with the Heat later this week, agent Herb Rudoy said Tuesday. The two-year deal would come with a player option for the second season, Rudoy said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Today, the Miami Heat added an additional piece around The Big Three of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, signing long-time Cleveland Cavaliers centre Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

(No word on whether Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert will write a letter about Ilgauskas swapping the cold of Ohio for the sun of Florida.) 

This move makes sense for a few reasons:

1) Ilgauskas can still play. He’s massive. He’s skilled. And he can take opposing fives out on the perimeter with his range.

2) With a true centre like ‘Big Z’, Bosh will get significant minutes at the four-spot, his natural position. This will surely please ‘CB4’, who doesn’t want to battle the beasts of the Eastern Conference.

3) Ilgauskas has chemistry with James on-and-off-court. The veteran Euro will help ease the transition to Miami for his younger friend, especially with all the hoopla surrounding his free agency.

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Jul , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Udonis Haslem to Miami: ‘See u next season’

"The gritty power forward told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Monday that he is spurning more lucrative offers to stay with the only team he has played for in a seven-year career.

Shortly after ESPN.com reported Monday that the Denver Nuggets had joined the Dallas Mavericks in the bidding with a strong offer, Haslem sent an e-mail to the Sun-Sentinel reading: "Turned down full mid level from Dallas and Denver. See u next season."
 
 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The blue-collar big is returning to The MIA.
 
After signing Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat were stretched for cap space, so getting Udonis Haslem - and at a discount - is a real positive.

Haslem loyalty is understandable: he was raised in Florida, attended the University of Florida, and has spent his entire career with the Heat.

Look for him to play next to Bosh down-low. He'll bang. He'll rebound. He'll defend. And he'll hit the odd jump shot.
 
With Haslem in the fold, glamorous South Beach has the right touch of grit.
 
-- Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jul , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

No thanks Miami: Fisher expected to re-sign with LA Lakers

Derek Fisher received an offer of the veteran's minimum from the Heat over the weekend, but he is likely to re-sign with the Lakers.

Fisher reportedly received a $2.5 million offer for next season from the Lakers. He has been seeking a two-year contract with a starting salary closer to the $5 million he made last season.

 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Thanks, but no thanks.
 
This will likely be Derek Fisher's response to the star-studded Miami Heat putting the full court press on him over the weekend.
 
After all, oil slick GM and soon-to-be coach Pat Riley showered him with praise in their meeting. And LeBron James, in his first act as a member of the Heat, greeted him at the airport.
 
However, there's a problem: Miami has zero cap space. After their recent spending spree, they could only offer Fisher a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum.
 
Of course, the veteran guard has a pretty nice offer in his backpocket. The two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are offering a two-year, $5 million pact.
 
So why would Fisher leave the purple-and-gold and pass on a chance at three-peating? Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade aside, why would Fisher uproot his family from his home in California for less money and term?
 
Throw in Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom, and you get the sense Fisher will soon be re-upping with the Lakers.
 
Frankly, this is the way it should be, the way it should end for the 36 year old combo guard.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
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Sunday , Jul , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Why Orlando will match Chicago`s offer to Redick

The Bulls have extended an offer sheet to restricted free agent J.J. Redick. A league source said "it would be painful for the Magic to match."

Yahoo! is reporting that Redick's offer sheet would be worth $19 million over three seasons.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Expect the Orlando Magic to match the Chicago Bulls’ offer to JJ Redick – no matter how cumbersome it is for their cap situation.

After all, Magic GM Otis Smith and Coach Stan Van Gundy both like Redick. They like his commitment. They like his outside range. They like his work ethic.

Ideally, Smith and Van Gundy would like to start Redick and trade the underachieving Vince Carter. And this is their opportunity.

The Magic will probably match the Bulls’ offer, while simultaneously exploring ways to move Carter. Let’s be clear: teams would only have interest in VC because he has two years left on his contract, the second year being a team option -which is the equivalent of an expiring deal.

Of course, there’s also this newfound rivalry brewing in Florida.

The Magic are probably feeling a touch threatened by the Miami Heat spending the GDP of Botswana on Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.

Smith and Van Gundy certainly went on the offensive taking public shots at Bosh and James. So the Magic must back-up their trash talk by keeping Redick and remaining active this off-season.

--Oly Sandor.

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The Death of LeBron James’ Legacy as The Chosen One.
Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 J.N.

The Death of LeBron James’ Legacy as The Chosen One.

We all saw LeBron James announce Miami. The moment will always be known as “The Decision.” To basketball purists, we might see this as “The Moment where LeBron threw everything away.” He had the NBA world at the palm of his hand and threw it in the trash. I knew he was going to leave, but LeBron didn’t have to do the state of Ohio dirty like that. Wow! Did this guy just do that? I’m flabbergasted. I am trying to understand this entire free agency period and the Big Network’s exploitation of Ohio.

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Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Bosh, James, and Wade can leave Miami in 2014

Each player took $15 million less over the life of the contract to sign with Miami, but they have an opt out after the fourth year to all potentially become free agents in 2014.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The circus is coming back to town. And sooner than we would like.

Yesterday, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade enjoyed a welcome to Miami party. American Airlines Arena was full; thousands of fans were outside the buildings.

There was smoke, lasers, and players posing on forklifts. The Three Kings laughed, giggled, and talked of winning multiple championships in a Q and A session on stage.

One ‘tiny’ detail wasn’t mentioned: Bosh, James, and Wade`s newest contracts all contain opt-out clauses for the summer of 2014.

That’s right. The nonsense of 2010 isn’t over. In fact, it’s just getting started. Soon, we’ll be hearing the old conspiracy theories, speculation, and nonsense about July of 2014.

And you get the sense Bosh, James, and Wade wouldn’t have it any other way. How wrong this all is.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Video: Miami Heat officially welcome The Three Kings

HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Not everybody is writing Caps Locked letters or burning jerseys. Some are, in fact, cheering.

Yesterday, the Miami Heat officially welcomed LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh by having a little celebration in American Airlines Arena.

Below is video of the Three Kings joking and laughing in front of thousands of Heat fans.


--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Pat Riley and Derek Fisher meeting in Miami on Saturday

Lakers free agent point guard Derek Fisher has a meeting scheduled with Miami Heat president Pat Riley on Saturday, according to a source close to the situation.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call:  Does he join Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the upstart Miami Heat or does he re-sign with Kobe Bryant and the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers?

Yes, Derek Fisher has a dilemma.

However, negotiations between the veteran point guard and the Lakers are progressing because the club raised their initial offer of one-year at $2.5 million.

And Fisher, at 36 years of age, would be hesitant to uproot his young family from LA and bolt on the purple-and-gold.

Of course, Heat GM Pat Riley, also known as the walking oil slick in the front office, is on a roll with his ‘Three Kings’ line-up of Bosh, James, and Wade.

Seriously, it’s like ‘Riles’ has jumped in the Hot Tub Time Machine and turned back the clock to the mid-eighties when he was, coincidentally, the famous coach of the purple-and-gold.

So what would seem a courtesy meeting between Riley and Fisher on Saturday could easily become something more.

--Oly Sandor.


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Friday , Jul , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dan Gilbert: LeBron ‘quit’ during playoffs

He has gotten a free pass," Gilbert said in a phone interview with The AP. "People have covered up for [James] for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is."

"He quit," Gilbert said. "Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar."

"It's not about him leaving," Gilbert said. "It's the disrespect. It's time for people to hold these athletes accountable for their actions. Is this the way you raise your children? I've been holding this all in for a long time."

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: I’m certain Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert will be receiving a phone call from Commissioner David Stern telling him to cool it.

Sure, LeBron James showed zero class by announcing he was leaving Cleveland for Miami on national television, embarrassing an owner, organization, city, and, state that has showered him with adulation and love for seven years.

And sure, James mailed it in against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 playoffs and was pretty mediocre against the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.

So Gilbert has a point, a very good one, in fact.

However, owners don’t do this. Owners don’t act like jilted lovers when things don’t go their way. Owners don’t write nasty letters to fans, essentially hexing the face of the league –even if it’s totally justified.

Owners are supposed to model professionalism for fans, players, front office staff and, heck, even the guy pouring pints at Quicken Loans Arena.

By doing this, by stooping to James and Maverick Carter’s level of nonsense, Gilbert has made it harder to attract a star(s) to replace The King.

After all, players talk. And James and his posse will put out the word to the fraternity of ballers that Gilbert is a micromanager, tyrant, and jerk.

This may or may not be true. The NBA is like life, though. Perception is reality. And the gossip will overshadow Gilbert’s desire to win championships and his willingness to write multi-million dollar luxury tax cheques to achieve this end.

Right now, Gilbert, an Alpha Male billionaire, must do something out of character. He must turn the other cheek. He must take the high road.

If he can’t stay somewhat silent, if he can’t stay mum, then the businessman must immediately tone down the rhetoric and describe his frustration in a more appropriate and reasonable manner.

Gilbert is right: the people of Cleveland and Ohio deserved far better from James. Those same people also deserve far better from Gilbert, too.

-- Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

The Decision is in: LeBron Will Join Bosh and Wade in Miami

LeBron James put the NBA on notice Thursday night, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

Ending weeks of silence and drama, the two-time MVP said on his ESPN special from Greenwich, Conn. on Thursday night that he's decided to join the Miami Heat and leave the Cleveland Cavaliers after an unsuccessful seven-year quest for the championship he covets.

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Thursday , Jul , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Mike Miller to join Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and maybe LeBron James in Miami?

The Heat have offered Mike Miller a five-year deal, worth approximately $27 million-$30 million. Miami has given Miller a deadline of Thursday night to decide. Miller has been told by the Heat that they are 'confident' LeBron James will be joining the Heat.

 
HoopsVibe's very Quick Call: Catch and shoot. That's all he'd have to do.
 
With or without James, Mike Miller would be ideal for the Miami Heat. The former Rookie of the Year would feast off the open looks he'd get playing next to a plethora of superstars. And his jumper would keep opposing defenses relatively honest.
 
Best of all, Miller - who spent years losing with the Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Washington Wizards - would surely appreciate the opportunity to be on a contender.
 
-- Oly Sandor.
 
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Thursday , Jul , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kleiza offer sheet latest example of Colangelo and Raptors’ flawed vision

The Raptors have signed Nuggets restricted free agent forward Linas Kleiza to a four-year, $20 million offer sheet, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Gee, get the impression Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is desperate?

The former golden boy of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will either get nothing or Mario Chalmers and a trade exception - which is pretty close to nothing - from the Miami Heat for superstar Chris Bosh.

Instead of regrouping and developing a cohesive plan, instead of laying out a clear vision going forward for the Raptors, Colangelo is doing the opposite. He’s reacting.

Case in point: today’s news the organization is tendering a pretty fair contract to restricted free agent Linas Kleiza, a skilled Euro’ scorer, who believes he is above getting down-and-dirty on defense.

Haven’t the Raptors seen this song and dance before? Don’t they already have a couple of finesse swings who believe getting-stops is for the hired help?

So what’s Colangelo thinking? Simply put, he's not.

For years, there’s been a serious disconnect between the style the Raptors want to play and the skill-set their players have. And this is the two-time Executive of the Year’s fault.

For instance, the club has talked publicly of wanting to be a get-stops, defensive-minded club. This was Sam Mitchell’s mandate. Ditto for Jay Triano.

However, Colangelo too often drafts, signs, or trades for soft foreigners, who simply can’t get it done in their own end. His go-to is the skilled Euro from a tiny, unpronounceable republic across the Atlantic Ocean.

Last year, the club started Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, and Hedo Turkoglu. All are skilled Europeans. All are below average defenders.

Kleiza is a nice player, but more of the same for Toronto, which is a problem.

It’s time for Colangelo to start thinking clearly. Or it’s time for him to follow Bosh out the door.   
 
--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jul , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: LeBron to join Wade and Bosh in Miami

LeBron James has decided to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, according to multiple sources that spoke with Newsday.

"Multiple sources are telling Newsday that LeBron James has decided to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami," wrote Hahn on his original Tweet, posted shortly after midnight Eastern. "The new Big Three is here."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If true, it would instantly change the balance of power and landscape in both the Eastern Conference and NBA.

Together, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade have the talent to dominate the league for years to come, and challenge the two-time champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Some kinks would need to be ironed out, though.

For instance, some have questions about James and Wade, who both dominate the ball, playing with each other.

The Heat would be tight on cap space and hard pressed to add key role players that are necessary to winning a championship.

Then there’s the little matter of the coach. Does Erik Spoelstra stay? Or does Hall of Fame bench-boss Pat Riley once again swap the executive suite for the sideline?
 
Even with these issues, Bosh, Wade, and (possibly) James would make Miami the early favourite in 2011.

--Oly Sandor.


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Thursday , Jul , 08 , 2010 Christopher Sells

Witness the Decision

I'm pretty sure I like LeBron James a lot less today than I did about two months ago. Back then, he was a player who everyone was sure could lead his team to a title and was probably the unquestioned best basketball player on Earth.

Today, he's an attention whore who wants us all to anxiously await the moment he "decides" what team he's going to suit up for next season.

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Wednesday , Jul , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Surprise, Surprise: Bosh and Wade reportedly pick Miami over Chicago

Wade and Bosh are expected to announce their decision on Wednesday, according to the source, and continue to lobby James, along with Heat president Pat Riley, to join them in Miami, despite the financial complexities involved for the Heat to make room for all three.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: I know it. You know it. Most importantly, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade know it, too.

LeBron James probably isn’t leaving his home of Cleveland, Ohio to join the NBA’s newest dynamic duo, Bosh and Wade, in Miami.

Simply put, James is The King. While he’s a rule-by-consensus, constitutional monarchy type of king, he still has to be the undisputed first option.

He’s the lead dog. He’s the Alpha Male. And he’s the Michael Jackson of whatever group he`s in -minus the white glove, interviews with Martin Banshear, and threats of dropping a child over the balcony.

It’s always been this way. Always will be, too. So James probably won`t ink a deal with the Heat, where he would have to share the rock with another ball dominating guard in Wade.

Bosh and Wade knew this, but still, reportedly, signed in Miami. Now they must win with a limited supporting cast, which isn`t easy in a competitive Eastern Conference.

Instead of gambling on James, they should have, perhaps, hedged their bets and signed with the Chicago Bulls.

After all, young Derrick Rose is one of the NBA’s best point guards, while Joakim Noah is a nasty, blue-collar post. And Taj Gibson had a promising rookie campaign.

Best of all, the parts –unlike a Miami team with or without James – would fit together. So why didn`t Bosh and Wade give greater consideration to The Windy City?

And it may be a decision they regret.

-- Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaquille O’Neal would be ‘The Big Problem’ with Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have offered Shaquille O'Neal a two-year contract that starts at $5.8 million per season, according to NBA sources close to both the team and the player.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Is The Big Aristotle about to become The Big ATL?

Reports indicate Shaquille O'Neal is considering the Hawks' multi-year deal; however, it remains to be seen if this would be a fit for both player and team.

Shaq is desperate for another NBA Title. Unfortunately, good but not great Atlanta is hardly the spot for him to taste championship glory for the fifth time in his illustrious career.

Even if the Hawks signed the massive post, they wouldn't be better than the past two Eastern Conference champions: the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic. And they'd struggle with the Cleveland Cavaliers -provided Lebron James does the expected and re-signs later this week.

Meanwhile, Atlanta needs bench help, and not an aging five-man who spends a minimum of twenty games per season on the bench rocking designer suits.

When O'Neal is fit, he would demand minutes and touches, which would likely alienate a young, talented, and temperamental frontline of Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Marvin Williams.

However, the biggest potential issue would be with rookie coach Larry Drew because O'Neal has clashed with almost every sideline boss he ever had.

For instance, after leaving the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, he publicly slammed Phil Jackson and Pat Riley -both of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

This brings us back to Drew. The former back-up point guard is a career assistant, who got the head gig in Atlanta for one reason: he was cheap.  

So Drew has less credibility than former Phoenix Suns head coach Terry Porter, who O'Neal sabotaged, undercut, and compromised before he was replaced at mid-season by Alvin Gentry.

What would happen when Drew tells O'Neal to lose weight or defend the pick-and-roll?

Simply put, he can't. Frankly, Drew lacks the pedigree to truly hold O'Neal accountable. And this would surely become a problem for an impressionable team.

On the surface, this partnership sounds nice. Both O'Neal and Atlanta should take a pass, though. It's for the best.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jul , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade to the Knicks: ‘get me one player and I’ll get you a ring’

A source with direct knowledge of the meeting said that when the Knicks told Wade they would build their team around him, he responded, "Just get me one player and I'll get you a ring."

 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: What's up with Dwyane Wade?
 
Initially, he told reporters he was staying with the Miami Heat. Then he was reportedly enamoured with the Chicago Bulls. And now he's making promises to the New York Knicks -who will need much more than two superstars to win an NBA Title.
 
There's an explanation making the rounds. And it's not good.
 
Some have speculated Wade is hyping the process for a documentary he's producing about his free agency. If true, this shows poor taste, especially when compared to fellow free agent LeBron James, who invited teams to his home in Akron instead of touring the United States like a darn rock star.
 
Wade has now met with will all suitors. No more excuses or shenanigans. It's time for a decision.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
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