mike-brown
The Cleveland Cavaliers Will Win 50 Games This Year
Thursday , Oct , 31 , 2013 Paul Eide

The Cleveland Cavaliers Will Win 50 Games This Year

That statement is not as ridiculous as you may think.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: After having one or two players carry a squad that averaged a meager 21 wins over the last three years post-LeBron, they actually have a quality starting five with a bench that is at least three players deep. And, Mike Brown is back.

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Top 10 Reasons Mike D’Antonio Is A Bad Coach For The Lakers.
Monday , Nov , 12 , 2012 HoopsVibe News

Top 10 Reasons Mike D’Antonio Is A Bad Coach For The Lakers.

Lakers hire Mike D'Antoni has head coach after they can't land Phil Jackson.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: This is a horrible decision that will not end well. I feel like I'm watching the movie John Carter in slow motion. 

#10 Wrong System. D'Antonio's system did not work in New York with the Knicks where he went 121- 167. These are not the kind of numbers the Lakers are aiming for.

#9 Egos. D'Antonio does not handle big ego players well. He never had to deal with this in Phoenix and struggled with it in New York. He will drown in egos in Los Angeles and be fired by the end of the year. 

#8 No Game Plan. It only makes sense to fire Mike Brown after 5 games if you already have a contract in place with Phil Jackson. Since Jackson was not already locked up to coach, this instead looks like Laker management is in a panic. They will really be in a panic when D'Antoni's system takes weeks and months to implement and then realize it's a horrible fit.

#7 Track Recrod. D'Antoni does not have a history of winning big games. He doesn't have any rings nor has he really ever come close. This season will be no different. He failed in Phoenix, he failed in New York, and this season with the most high-powered offense in the league he will fail again.

#6 Horrible Defense. The Lakers have one of the worst defenses in the league right now. This is largely why they are losing. Mike D'Antoni is famous for having teams that guard no one. He is not a defensively minded coach. Be prepared to watch the Lakers give up a lot of 3 diget scoring nights this season.

#5 Jery Sloan. Although I don't think Sloan is a good fit for the Lakers, he is a better fit than D'Antoni. At least Sloan's offense fits the existing Laker personnel and he brings a tough-minded approach to defense the Lakers drastically need. 

#4 Brian Shaw. How is Brian Shaw not getting this coaching gig? If Phil Jackson is your number 1 option, Brain Shaw should logically be your number 2. They believe in the same offensive flow. Shaw coached under Jackson in LA and understands the triangle offense and has the respect of most of the existing players. Shaw should be the Laker's coach not D'Antoni.

#3 No Youth and Quickness. D'Antni's system is based on players that are fast up and down the court and quick on and off the ball. I don't know when anyone ever called Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace quick. 

#2 Wrong Players. Mike D'Antonio has his old point guard back in Steve Nash, but the problem is this is not a fast break team. This is not a run-and-gun team. They have big men that are built more for pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop. Even straight post-ups or some type of triangle offense would be more appropriate for this team. D'Antoni has the wrong group of guys for his system.

#1 Wrong System. Mike D'Antonio's up-tempo style of ball is not conducive to the Laker's personnel. This is a horrible match. His style of offense does not fit the players the Lakers are paying $100 million to have on the floor. This will not end well.

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Friday , Apr , 20 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Sources: Mitch Kupchak to interview with Blazers

Kupchak is one of the Blazers' top targets in their quest to land an executive with experience running a franchise's basketball operations, sources told ESPN.com.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Mitch Kupchak, things are weird with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The owner’s son, Jim Buss, is your boss despite having no experience as a basketball executive. The superstar, Kobe Bryant, is a raging Alpha Male who can’t accept that the team is better with Andrew Bynum as the top option. Speaking of Bynum, his lack of maturity is obvious.

And we haven’t even mentioned Metta World Peace, Matt Barnes, coach Mike Brown‘s offense, the press, or the rapid fan base that demand a championship every year.

Still, the Lakers quirks are nothing when compared to the mayhem of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers lost two of their top three players, Greg Oden and Brandon Roy, to injury. Long-time coach Nate McMillan was recently fired. The club is starting over.

Sadly, the on-court mess wouldn’t be the biggest challenge. That would be eccentric owner Paul Allen.

Remember, Allen fired executive Kevin Pritchard moments before the draft and casually told his former executive to stick around for the team's pick. The club spent months searching for Pritchard’s replacement. They supposedly had their man in Richie Cho, but fired him a year later for being too quiet.

There's a reason the Blazers haven't hired a replacement: no decent executive will take the gig. They don't want the mess, melodrama, and headache.

So Mitch, stick with the Lakers. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

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

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Sunday , Apr , 15 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Is Ramon Sessions risking future with Lakers by opting-out?

“These fans really believe in me in this place and they really know basketball. They’ve seen the greatest of greats come through here,” he said. “It’s unreal. In my whole career, it’s never been like this, being noticed. You’re on ESPN every night or TNT. You’re with Kobe Bryant out there in the backcourt. I want to be here. I don’t know what that means or how that’s going to happen. It ain’t no secret. I’ll tell anybody that. I tell [Lakers General Manager] Mitch Kupchak. I tell my agent. I want to be here. Period. For a long time.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ramon Sessions will probably be back in Los Angeles Lakers next season.

After all, Sessions likes the Lakers. And the Lakers like Sessions, the dynamic point guard they acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers at the trade deadline.

Why would Sessions, who claims to be living a dream playing next to Kobe Bryant, decline a player’s option for next year? Why risk a good thing?

Well, money. Sessions wants a raise on the $4.6 million he’s due in 2013 and greater security with a long-term pact. Things can change and twelve months from now he may not have the same leverage.

The Lakers will pay Sessions this summer -if his demands are fair. His ability to attack the hoop and lightning-quick feet have provided another dimension to coach Mike Brown`s system.

That said, things are always somewhat fluid at Staples Center. Executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are constantly trying to improve, which may include chasing free agent Deron Williams this summer.

It’s unlikely Williams ends up in Los Angeles. Dallas is home. And Team Cuban has been hoarding cap space in hopes of signing the perennial All-Star to a max’ money pact.

Stranger things have happened, though. For instance, nobody thought the Lakers had the assets to acquire Chris Paul. And they did. Twice.

Commissioner David Stern stepped in to nix the trade and appease militant email writing owners like Cleveland’s Dan Gilbert. Paul was then shuttled off to the Los Angeles Clippers for a sub par package.

So Sessions is taking a risk, albeit a small one, by refusing to opt-in. The impossible -- like the Lakers signing Williams -- has a way of becoming reality with the NBA`s glamour team.

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

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Friday , Apr , 13 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Metta World Peace: I nearly retired this summer

"I just thought my body was maybe messed up," World Peace said. "I was like, 'Yeah, 15 years is a lot of years. I got two more years on my contract and I could potentially be done.'" World Peace was having trouble getting lift, even on wide-open layup attempts. "It controls your foot, the downward motion," World Peace said. "So, if L4 and L5 is not working, or is compressed or inflamed, you might try to jump, but your foot, it's not going to move. It's not going to react."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s funny that Ron Artest was considering retirement because he looked retired earlier this year with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The former Defensive Player of the Year was out of shape, couldn’t click with Mike Brown’s offense, and seemed uninterested in basketball.

His body was on-court. His mind was else.

Of course, Artest had a lower back injury and couldn’t perform as expected, especially on defense where he typically guards the other team’s top swing.

There`s another interesting development: Artest has assumed part of the leadership void after Derek Fisher was sent to Houston at the trade deadline.

Who would have though this was a possibility six years ago when Artest walked on the Indiana Pacers and forced a trade to the Sacramento Kings?

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


 

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Saturday , Apr , 07 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Mike Brown: ‘I’m disappointed’ with Andrew Bynum

Bynum exited the game with 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in 31 minutes. The Rockets built a seven-point lead in Bynum’s absence and went on to winby five. It was eerily similar to the last time the Lakers played the Rockets, in Houston last month, when Bynum was ejected late in the third quarter for picking up his second T and the Lakers went on to lose 107-104.

“I’m disappointed because we told him, ‘You got one technical; don’t pick up your second,’ and he acknowledged us, and he went out and picked up his second when I thought he could have helped us win the ballgame,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said. Bynum did not speak to reporters after the game. “He acknowledged us, and it happened anyway,” Brown said. “When you have that, that is concerning. … Call it whatever you want to call it. It’s not right.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Andrew Bynum has to be smarter than this.

The Los Angeles Lakers star center can’t showboat and/or trash talk at the expense of his team. Bynum must realize doing so and getting ejected hurts his team.

After all, the massive seven-footer anchors the middle on both ends of the floor. When an older Kobe Bryant struggles to score, Bynum becomes the first option.

So Bynum getting two technical fouls yesterday against the Houston Rockets was selfish. Without the star center, the Lakers lost 107-104 and fell further behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference standings.

Bynum has a history of such acts. He once jostled with Shaquille O’Neal.  When supposedly injured he was pictured partying at the Playboy mansion. And last summer he got busted parking in a handicap spot.

The Lakers will need more from Bynum if he is to become their superstar and franchise face.

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

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Saturday , Feb , 25 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Wallace in, Gasol (perhaps) out for Lakers?

CSNNE.com has learned that the former Boston Celtic forward plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Wallace hasn't played in an NBA game since Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, alerting the C's shortly before the game that he planned to retire. Although he had two years remaining on his contract, Wallace and the Celtics came to terms on a buy-out of the remaining years believed to be worth about $1 million.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Signing Rasheed Wallace works on many levels for the Los Angeles Lakers.

First, if in shape, the former All-Star provides depth down-low, giving the purple-and-gold three massive posts in Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Wallace.

Second, coach Mike Brown will love Wallace’s defense, specifically his ability to help and communicate with teammates.

Third, Wallace, most importantly,  can serve as a short-term stop-gap if the Lakers trade Gasol before the trade deadline.

Make no mistake about it, the Lakers will move the Spanish four if they can land a point guard to run Brown’s offensive sets. The club isn’t getting enough from the inconsistent Steve Blake and aging Derek Fisher.

So Wallace is, reportedly, the Lakers` latest move. He won’t be the last -as they attempt to rebuild on the fly.

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

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Saturday , Feb , 25 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers interested in Ray Felton?

Portland is making a change — Jamal Crawford, not Raymond Felton, will be the starting point guard for the Trail Blazers when they face off against the Spurs tonight, reports the Oregonian. So here’s your starting job, Mr. Crawford, enjoy trying to stop the hottest player in the league in Tony Parker. But the move isn’t a surprise. Felton is shooting a career low 37.1 percent so far this season, 22.9 percent from three, his assists are at a career low while his turnovers are at a career high, his PER is 10.5 (that of of a third-string guard) and he helped lead the Trail Blazers to a franchise low 7 points in the first quarter against the Lakers Monday night. Portland is struggling, Felton is struggling and coach Nate McMillan decided to shake things up.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Their make-over probably won’t stop with Rasheed Wallace.

Reports indicate the Los Angeles Lakers are speaking to the Portland Trail Blazers about Ray Felton, who is upset after losing his starting spot.

Face it: Derek Fisher is old and Steve Blake has struggled since signing with the purple-and-gold.

Coach Mike Brown would surely run Felton through pick-and-rolls like Mike D’Antoni did in New York last year. And the veteran table-setter would also fit Brown’s get-stops mentality on defense.

Best of all, Felton has the tenacity to stand up to Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant -without creating a Smush Parker type standoff.

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

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Saturday , Jan , 14 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Will the Lakers say goodbye to ‘World Peace’?

“I don’t have any issues … it’s not even an issue,” World Peace said. “The issue is that we won. We won, so it doesn’t even matter. It’s one team that’s working on winning and that’s all that matters.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ron Artest, also known as Metta World Peace, is saying the right things. Problem is, he’s doing the wrong things on-court.

Artest deserves credit for accepting his recent benching against the Cleveland Cavaliers with dignity. The former Defensive Player of the Year didn’t complain to reporters about sitting the entire game.

Yes, Artest watched all 48 minutes, earning his first Did Not Play-Coach’s Decision.

To be blunt, the forward is a shadow of his former self. He doesn't defend. He’s uncomfortable down-low, where new coach Mike Brown plays him. And his intensity from the 2010 championship is gone.
 
Remember, Artest struggled mightily last year, and isn’t even worth the discounted mid-level exception salary he signed for in 2009.

Bottom line: Artest’s play improves or the capped-out Lakers will likely cut him via the amnesty clause to gain financial flexibility.

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

 

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Friday , Jan , 13 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Mike Brown: Kobe more ‘serious-minded’ than LeBron

"LeBron is a guy who is still learning and still growing, and the reality of it is that being down there with Dwyane Wade has helped him," Brown said. "They're different personalities. LeBron, he's a guy who likes to laugh and joke. He knows obviously there's a time to be serious, but he's youthful.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: This is true.

Kobe Bryant is more serious-minded than LeBron James, however, The Black Mamba is perhaps the most serious-minded player to ever hit an NBA floor.

Bryant eats, sleeps, and lives basketball. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year. Regardless of successes or failures, he's working on his craft.

Technically, Brown is right: Bryant is more 'serious-minded' than James. But the Miami Heat swing is more focused than in 2011; 'The Decision' and 'The Backlash' are no longer an issue.

However, to be in Kobe-territory, to earn All-Time great respect, James must hoist the Larry O'Brien championship in June. And he must do it more than once.

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

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Sunday , Dec , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jim Buss: Lakers won’t trade Bynum and Gasol for Howard

"I don't understand the thinking that we need saving as a franchise," Buss says. "We have three All-Stars, and we need saving?" There's an Internet report suggesting Orlando was willing to trade Howard for Bynum and Pau Gasol, but now he's shaking his head as if in pain."Where does this stuff come from?" he says. "You'd have to be kind of silly to give up two All-Stars like that for Howard. Zero truth to it. We have never been asked for Andrew and Pau and we've never offered them. I think they know we'd either say no or they would sound crazy for asking."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Publicly, Jim Buss has to downplay the Los Angeles Lakers’ interest in Orlando Magic post Dwight Howard.

Privately, the owner’s son should know the team that gets the best player wins the trade, so Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak must be open swapping Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol for Howard.

Here’s the complication: the Lakers are a fractured bunch, as most things in the world of purple-and-gold is political.

Like Bynum. For instance, Jim Buss is reluctant to trade, or even criticize, Bynum because he likes to take credit for drafting and developing the seven-foot center.

And the better Bynum plays, the more Buss can justify his role as a basketball executive within the organization.

Instead of trading Bynum, Buss has empowered him, hiring a coach, Mike Brown, who will feature his skills, and even declaring him Kobe Bryant’s equal.

So Buss' agenda and Laker politics could complicate doing what is right: swapping Bynum and Gasol for Howard.

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

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Monday , Dec , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: I want to stay with Lakers

Q: Do you see yourself retiring with the Lakers? There’s been speculation you might want a change.

Bryant: “I don’t know where that comes from. I don’t have any feeling about [leaving] whatsoever.”

Q: So you definitely want to stay a Laker?

Bryant: “Of course. No question. Why not? I’ve been here for 16 years. I’m going to up and leave now?”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Black Mamba isn’t going anywhere. Unless he wants to.

Yesterday Kobe Bryant, the superstar guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, told Yahoo Sports he would not be asking management for a trade.

Bryant has perhaps the best contract in sports. He earns between $25-30 million per annum; holds a no trade clause; and receives a large portion of his salary early in the season, which can then be invested.

Translation: Bryant isn’t upset about the changes in Laker-land.

He will work with new coach Mike Brown -even though he’s not Brian Shaw. He accepts that Andrew Bynum will have a greater role. And he has forgiven management for tying Lamar Odom in a bow and giving him as a gift to the world champion Dallas Mavericks.

All is good between Bryant and the team he has spent sixteen years with. For now.

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

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Sunday , Nov , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers want Baron Davis and Rashard Lewis?

The Lakers are curious to see if veteran point guard Baron Davis gets cut by Cleveland. He has two years and $28.7 million left on his contract, though he can be signed for substantially less than that. The Lakers also want a shooter and are monitoring whether forward Rashard Lewis (two years, $43.8 million remaining) gets waived by Washington.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s official name was the ‘amnesty clause’. It’s unofficial name was ‘team screwed up, overpaid said player, and now gets out of jail/contract free’.

Well, nothing is completely free.

As part of the 2004-05 CBA negotiations, teams could waive one player and his salary did not count against the cap. The team had to cover the contract, but increased financial flexibility and/or saved on luxury tax payments.

Remember, the Dallas Mavericks cut ties with Michael Finley‘s mammoth big-ticket, but the swing joined the rival San Antonio Spurs and won a championship.

So things can backfire.

Word is the new CBA has an amnesty clause. The Los Angeles Lakers are eyeing a couple of veterans, Baron Davis and Rashard Lewis, who are on the chopping block.

Davis is owed $30 million through 2014, which may be too much for the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers, especially with youngster Kyrie Irving in the fold.

Now Davis’ drive-and-kick style might suit Mike Brown’s system, however, the portly point guard was distracted during his time in Los Angeles with the Clippers.

Lewis is far more interesting. The Wizards are also starting over and have little interest in doling out more than $40 million over the next two seasons.

It’s quite possible the stretch-four gets waived and signs with a contender like the Lakers for the Mid Level Exception or a bargain salary.

All Lewis would have to do with the purple-and-gold is spot up, catch, and shoot. The burden of fulfilling a ridiculous contract would be gone.

So the Lakers could re-tool on the fly. And it may just happen because of the new CBA.

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

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Sunday , Nov , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq: Pat Riley and I nearly fought in Miami

I start taking a couple of steps towards Pat. Udonis Haslem steps in and I shove him out of the way. Then Zo tries to grab me. I threw him aside like he was a rag doll.Now it's me and Riley face-to-face, jaw to jaw. I'm poking him in the chest and he keeps slapping my finger away and it's getting nasty. Noisy, too. He's yelling "F--- you!" and I'm yelling back, "No, f--- you!" Zo is trying to calm us both down and he has this kind of singsong panic in his voice. He keeps saying, "Big fella, no big fella, big fella!" I finally turn around and tell him, "Don't worry. I'm not going to hit the man. Do you think I'm crazy?"

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Shaquille O’Neal’s tell-all tour continues. No player, coach, man, or woman will be spared.

The future Hall of Fame center has a spill-the-beans book coming out, so he and his people have leaked excerpts to create a buzz.

Like O’Neal’s World Wars with Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. Like O`Neal`s take on LeBron James ignoring Coach Mike Brown in Cleveland. Like O`Neal`s lack of a relationship with iconic center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The latest: O’Neal nearly fought Pat Riley, also known as the oil slick, during practice with Miami. Of course, O’Neal says he was heroically sticking up for teammate Jason Williams.

This may or may not be true. There’s no disputing O’Neal has had problems with coaches.

There was the fallout with Riley. There were problems with Phil Jackson, another all-time great on the sideline. And he undermined Terry Porter in Phoenix.

So before blaming others, O’Neal should perhaps look inward first. This, however, is unlikely.

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

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Saturday , Sep , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mike Brown wants less Kobe, more Bynum and Gasol?

And whether you want to read a lot or a little into it, note this: When talking about the contrasting offensive styles Brown will show from Cleveland to here, the new Lakers’ coach summarized the coming Lakers offense as feeding Gasol and Bynum inside, not being the Kobe show.

“This team is completely different from what I had in Cleveland,” Brown said. “In Cleveland, I had a guy who liked to come off the top of the floor, liked to play in space and play pick-and-roll and make plays for others. Here, I’ve got two guys similar to what we had in San Antonio; you’re able to throw them the ball on the block.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Can a new coach and his new philosophy create new results for the Los Angeles Lakers when the NBA season begins?

It’s been a few months since Phil Jackson, the Hall of Fame coach and undisputed master of all things Zen, was replaced with Brown as sideline boss by the Lakers.

Brown, it seems, isn’t scared to shake things up, and wants to utilize his super-sized front-court.

Translation: less Kobe Bryant, more Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

However, it’s not known how Bryant, the club’s reigning top dog and Alpha Male, will feel about sharing his lofty perch with Bynum and Gasol.

Bynum is attached to Jim Buss, the controversial son of long-time owner Jerry Buss. Many feel the younger Bynum to leave his imprint on the Lakers.

And Gasol’s meltdown in last year’s playoff shocked the mortgage industry, prompted a twitter tirade from Snopp Dogg, and led to a physical confrontation of sorts with Jackson.

So Bryant may or may not buy-in. One thing is certain: the Lakers will be different.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , Aug , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Andrew Bynum on Dwight Howard trade rumors: ‘I like L.A.’

Q: How have you endured speculation you'll be traded, or replaced next year by free agent Dwight Howard?

A: It's good to know everybody wants me; that means I'll be in this game for some time. I like L.A., and don't want to go anywhere else. It'd be good to stay in one place your whole career, and the Lakers are the most storied franchise in the league, everyone knows who the Lakers are, and I appreciate the Lakers' love.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Of course, he likes Los Angeles and wants to stay.

Andrew Bynum finally responded to rumours he’ll be traded to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard by stating he wants to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Why wouldn’t he want to stay?

The Lakers are the NBA’s ultimate have-franchise. Their market-size, wealthy owner, and desirable location means they’ll compete year-in, year-out.

Translation: in Los Angeles, Bynum contends, has a terrific supporting cast, gets invited to famous parties, and is linked to desirable singers.

(To be fair, Orlando is also a have-franchise. Like the NBA’s 29 other franchises, it can’t compete with the lure, hype, and glamour of Los Angeles.)

Bynum knows this. He’s also knows the reason he’ll likely stay in Los Angeles long-term is because of the internal politics of Laker-nation.

Bynum is Jim Buss’ guy. Jim Buss, the owner’s son and head of the Lakers, claims to have drafted and groomed Bynum.

And Jim Buss’ has hedged what little reputation he has as a basketball executive to Bynum’s success on-court. So Bynum will be given every opportunity with the Lakers.

For instance, Jim Buss forced coach Phil Jackson to leave, despite the Zen’s stellar record, and hired the defensive-minded Mike Brown.

Brown immediately promoted Bynum to co-superstar status, putting him - right or wrong, fair or not - on equal footing with Hall of Fame guard Kobe Bryant.

Bottom line: Bynum’s protected with the Lakers. How can the Magic possibly compete?

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Tuesday , Aug , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers Targetting Chris Paul?

With the Lakersshowing more signs that their basketball mileage is catching up with them, they need to inject speed into their lineup. And with Mike Brown planning to abandon most of the triangle offense, they need a solid point guard. ... [Chris Paul] has the edge over [Deron Williams] because of his youth (26) and uncanny speed.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: With the 2012 season in limbo, many have turned to speculating on next year’s free agent class.

One rumour keeps making the rounds: Chris Paul walks on the New Orleans Hornets to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers next July.

Before you roll your eyes at the new Collective Bargaining Agreement for not fixing the migration of stars to big markets, recognize that this makes sense for Paul.

The Lakers will have financial flexibility. They have $67 million in committed salary for the 2012-13 season, but the club holds options on $25 million for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.

While they won’t walk on Bynum, the purple-and-gold will gladly bolt on the final $8 million on Odom’s pact. There are other ways to trim salary.

Regardless of the system - hard or soft cap - the Lakers will be able to make a competitive offer for Paul.

New coach Mike Brown will replace the Triple-Post with a drive-and-kick system that relies on the point guard penetrating and running pick-and-rolls.

Sounds perfect for Paul, right?

The New Orleans Hornets can’t afford Paul. The league owns the team and the city can't generate enough revenue to pay for a top supporting cast.

So it’s generally accepted that Paul will leave New Orleans and join Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in New York.

Not so fast.

Last I checked the Knicks played in the Eastern Conference. Each year, Paul would have to go through Miami’s Three Kings to reach the NBA Finals.

And when the Heat have a down year, Paul would likely face 2010 MVP Derrick Rose and his upstart Chicago Bulls. The Bulls, with their air-tight defense, are no pushovers.

So Paul’s best bet at championship glory may be out west with the Lakers.

--Oly Sandor.

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