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Sunday , Aug , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Bynum to ‘deliver’ Lakers Howard, Paul, or Williams?

Is Andrew Bynum the league's most intriguing and powerful trade chip? He's considered a top-10 center in a class led by Dwight Howard, but there's currently no more pivotal pivot than Bynum. He might be able to deliver 2012 prospective free agents Howard or Chris Paul or Deron Williams to L.A., compensation to those stars' respective teams and revive Kobe's title plans. Bynum's so valuable to the Lakers that his real value is in leaving them.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant aside, Andrew Bynum’s position is as safe and secure as any member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

In short, a trade is unlikely. 

The Lakers fell back in love with the seven-footer after his impressive play during the second half of last season. Healthy and fit, Bynum was dominant on both ends and helped resuscitate the purple-and-gold.

This isn’t why he’s safe and secure, though.

Owners’s son and Chief Executive Meddler (CEM) Jim Buss views Bynum’s success as validation. Jim Buss has attached what little reputation he has as a hoops-man to his center.

The CEM claims to have drafted Bynum and urged GM Mitch Kupchak to stick with him when his play, health, and/or fitness faltered.

As Bynum’s stock rises, so does Jim Buss’. That’s the way the twisted CEM sees it. It explains why new coach Mike Brown, hired by the CEM, promptly promoted Bynum to co-superstar with Bryant.

Bynum is a symbol of the new power in Laker-nation. Jim Buss will be hesitant to trade him -even if it could fetch Dwight Howard, Chris Paul or Deron Williams.

--Oly Sandor.

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

 

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Friday , Jul , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Bynum’s ego a problem for Lakers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , Jul , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Did Brian Shaw deserve better from Jim Buss and Lakers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fair enough.

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

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

Again, fair enough.

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Jul , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Robert Horry: Derek Fisher too old to start for Lakers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Jul , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe forced to share Lakers with Bynum?

Yes, aging star Kobe Bryant will still be a part of the equation, but he was put on notice over the summer when Jim Buss hired new coach Mike Brown without so much as a brief discussion with Bryant. The message is clear: Brown is Bynum's coach, and the team belongs to the young center as well.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Only the Los Angeles Lakers.

Only the dysfunctional purple-and-gold would chase away a Hall of Fame sideline boss, strip a once-in-a-generation talent of his franchise-face status, and hand the reins to a talented but injury-prone center.
 
While the Lakers didn’t fire Phil Jackson, they made it easy for him to leave. Management, specifically Jim Buss, made The Zen take a pay cut last summer –despite winning consecutive championships.
 
Then management, specifically Jim Buss, meddled. Then management, specifically Jim Buss, prodded, intruded, and got petty.
 
So Jackson walked. Perhaps he’s meditating in some remote hideaway. Perhaps he’s penning another best seller on his life. Perhaps he and girlfriend Jeannie Buss –yes that would be Jim’s sister and Jerry the owner's daughter- are plotting a comeback.
 
Bottom line: Jackson left, in part, because of Jim Buss. The money, spotlight, and chance to win further championships weren’t worth dealing with the owner’s pushy son.
 
Alienating a coach is one thing. Alienating the talent is worse. Reports indicate that Jim Buss has alienated Kobe Bryant.
 
Before the lockout, the Lakers informed Bryant, one of the game’s great players, he was no longer the team's undisputed top dog. Bryant was then informed he’d share this role with Andrew Bynum.
 
Bynum, when healthy, is a top center. His play during the second half of last season was superb. Bynum, however, is fragile, spending significant time on injured reserve.
 
Then there’s the optics of sharing. Bryant wouldn’t share with the most dominant player in NBA history, Shaquille O’Neal, and instead engaged in a feud that broke up a dynasty.
 
Why would he share with Bynum, a still unproven entity? Well, he won’t.
 
Bryant has recently been silent. He hasn’t commented on the lockout, the hiring of Mike Brown or anything Laker-related since losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs. 

His silence is powerful.  Bryant knows Jim Buss pushed Phil Jackson - his friend, mentor, and coach – out. Bryant knows Jim Buss hired Brown, in part, because he’d increase Bynum’s role. And Bryant knows Bynum is Jim Buss’ guy.

So this is politics. Jim Buss never had a job in basketball before getting handed the keys to the Lakers from his father. 
 
Jim Buss, to his credit, drafted Bynum. He believes Bynum’s development and success will validate his standing within the game.
 
Here’s what Jim Buss doesn’t get: Bynum must to earn the top dog mantle. The process must be organic and natural. Or it will wreck the team.
 
Right now, Jim Buss is forcing Bynum on Bryant and the Lakers. The players will resent Jim Buss. They’ll resent Bynum. They'll resent the politics.
 
Only the Los Angeles Lakers could be such a mess without having played a single game.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
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Thursday , Jul , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe wants Pietrus on Lakers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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

 

 

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Monday , Jun , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers need Ron Artest, not Metta World Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Tuesday , Jun , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , Jun , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers could learn from classy Brian Shaw

"It's a little strange, going from 11 years and five championships to essentially being out on the street," Shaw said in a phone interview Friday. "But I can feel good knowing that I did everything possible to represent the Laker organization as well as I could."

A loyal employee even to this strange end, Shaw would not comment on any details of his Lakers situation. He said he had been avoiding media interviews until I phoned him, and was reluctant to speak in anything but general terms. "I have always held the Lakers in high standing, and I'm not going to change that now," he said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: After 11 years as a player and assistant coach, Brian Shaw won’t be returning to the Los Angeles Lakers.

That’s what he’s heard through the media, at least.  

The Lakers’ front office still hasn’t contacted Shaw to inform him he won’t be their next head coach. They instead gave the job to Mike Brown, the former sideline boss with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Let's be clear: passing over Shaw isn't the issue. Treating him this way is. The Buss clan, who own the NBA’s glamour franchise, must be more professional.

In today’s interconnected world, they have to talk with Shaw (after all, he was one of three final candidates to be their next bench-boss). Any platform would have worked: email, Facebook, Friendster, Skype, text message.

It’s hard not to think this was personal. Remember, Shaw was aligned with legendary coach Phil Jackson, who often clashed with the front office and is dating the owner’s daughter.

Shaw deserves credit for taking the high road. He avoided bashing the organization, and thanked them.

Bottom line: Shaw showed class. Buss and the Lakers could learn from him.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , May , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jim Buss: We should have consulted Kobe about hiring Mike Brown

Lakers owner Jim Buss expressed regret that Kobe Bryant was not consulted about the hiring of Mike Brown. "Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe," Buss says. "Kobe said it was management's job to pick a coach. He just said, 'Defense first.' That's what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s one thing not to consult Kobe Bryant about hiring Mike Brown as coach. It’s another thing to admit as much publicly.

There’s no reason for the Buss clan, who own the Los Angeles Lakers, to give interviews about hiring a new sideline boss and whether their superstar, Bryant, was involved.

There’s also no reason to admit fault in not involving Bryant. He's their employee. And, on paper, Brown meets Bryant’s criteria perfectly. 

So why not keep this all in-house? What possible good can come from letting the press know this?

Now they get to do what they love most: speculate. This is especially appealing because it involves the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA’s glamour franchise.

And Brown’s already tough job just got tougher.

--Oly Sandor.

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



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Thursday , May , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron gives Thumbs Up to Lakers hiring Mike Brown

"I think the Lakers got them a great coach.” “Mike Brown was a great coach,” James said. “He gave us success that we hadn’t had before in that city. And it started with his defensive concepts. He brought in a defensive mind set that we didn’t have.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This is the ultimate co-sign.

LeBron James, perhaps the NBA’s top player, endorsed the Los Angeles Lakers hiring Mike Brown to replace Phil Jackson on the sideline.

The Lakers passed over in-house candidates and long-time assistants Chuck Person and Brian Shaw to hire Brown.

But James is right: the Lakers got a great one in Brown. These two were together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and combined forces to get the club to the NBA Finals.

Most importantly, the former Coach of the Year is what the purple-and-gold need. Here`s why:

First, Brown made his bones as a defensive coach. He learned under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs, and refined his get-stops philosophy as the head man with the Cavaliers.

Last year, the Lakers got lazy. They stopped defending. Brown will hold them accountable in their own end.

Second, Brown has a track record for succeeding with superstars. Again, he clicked with James, so he should be able to get the most out of Kobe Bryant.

No two players are the same. And no two superstars are the same. However, precedence is on Brown`s side.

Third, a change was necessary. The Lakers had grown stale and needed a new voice from outside the organization.

The players would have been too comfortable with Shaw, which is perhaps why they were lobbying management to hire him.

Now the hard part begins. Expectations in Laker-land will be huge.

Brown is up to it, though. Just ask LeBron.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , May , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Warriors dealing Monta Ellis?

The Warriors, who struggled defensively last season, could be looking for a defensive addition and might be willing to part with Ellis because guard Stephen Curry has blossomed into a legitimate NBA scorer.

The deal: A straight-up trade of Ellis ($11 million a year through 2013-14, with that last season being a player option) for Iguodala (approximately $56 million remaining through the 2013-14 season, with the last season being a player option).

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Will a new coach bring a new backcourt to Golden State?

The Warriors are strongly considering hiring former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, who demands air-tight defence from players.

If Brown is brought in, he’ll look to change the miniature backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. These two score in bunches, but opponents have a field day posting them up.

(Of course, there’s executive Jerry West and owner Joe Lacob. The Warriors’ new advisor might want to change things, while Lacob already mentioned breaking up this undersized duo.)  

Who should go: Curry or Ellis?

Well, reports indicate the Warriors would move Ellis, despite posting impressive scoring numbers and displaying a newfound maturity in 2011.

Forget Curry’s mediocre sophomore campaign. He can play. Most importantly, he’s more of a natural table-setter than Ellis.

This would surely matter to Brown, as he sees Curry and Ellis as point guards because of size.

 In 2011, the Warriors used an unorthodox backcourt. A new coach will bring changes. Time will tell if it is for the better.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , Jun , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Mo Next to Go? Cleveland looking to trade Williams?

With that in mind, league sources have indicated the Cavs have begun to consider taking some risks with their roster. That may even include seeing if a trade makes sense for one of the most popular players on the team.

According to multiple league sources, the Cavs are testing the trade value for point guard Mo Williams, among other players. It is part of what appears to be an effort to tweak the entire backcourt, as Delonte West is also on the trade block.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: When you choke for a second consecutive year in the playoffs, everything and everyone is fair game.

Mike Brown, a former Coach of the Year, is gone. GM Danny Ferry is looking for a new executive suite to call home. And Mo Williams – a talented, hot shooting, and popular point guard – could be next to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Williams’ fall within the organization is somewhat unexpected, though. His catch-and-shoot approach fits with LeBron James, a superstar who runs the offensive sets and likes handling the ball.

Unfortunately, Williams has a tendency to disappear in the playoffs and, because of his size and average quicks, he often struggles to defend opposing point guards.

For instance, Williams got lit up by the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose and the Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo in the playoffs.

Coincidentally, James recently mentioned as much in his recent interview with Larry King.

“You kind of forget about Rajon Rando. And that's exactly happened at times,” said the superstar. “You know, he kind of controls the whole ship that goes on in Boston. And they did a good job. I mean we're a really good team, but they were better than us in this year.” 


So, perhaps, owner Dan Gilbert is reacting, or possibly overreacting, to James’ comments about Rondo torching Williams. And perhaps, trading Williams would be another attempt to appease the two-time MVP and his people.

Desperate times do call for desperate measures. After all, with James’ pending free agency, the only person guaranteed to be in Cleveland next year is Gilbert.

Should the Cavaliers trade Williams? Is he to blame for their playoff failures?

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Monday , May , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Cleveland Cavaliers had tuned Mike Brown out

Mike Brown won everything in five years coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers. Everything, that is, except an NBA title.

Brown, the most successful coach in franchise history, was fired after failing to win a championship with superstar -- and soon-to-be free agent -- LeBron James.

The Cavaliers had a midnight deadline Sunday night to fire the head coach or pay him his full $4.5 million salary for next season.

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HoopsVibe's Call: Believe it or not, this wasn't about LeBron James' pending free agency.

The Cleveland Cavaliers - whether James re-signs or heads elsewhere this summer - had tuned Brown out. 

For consecutive seasons, the team fell short of expectations in the playoffs. Two years ago, against Orlando, their offensive sets were too basic; they also lacked the personnel to stop the Magic's stretch four-man Rashard Lewis.

This year they had supposedly made adjustments, but still folded against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.  

Perhaps, Brown ran too loose a ship, allowing the sideline to resemble something of a dance show during games. Perhaps, Brown delegated too much to James. Perhaps, Brown had too many weapons at his disposal. And perhaps, the end of season gossip, whether true or not, took its toll.

One thing, however, was clear: the players needed a new, different voice. So Brown had to go. And this had nothing to do with James' uncertain status.

Had the Cavaliers tuned Brown out? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.  

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Tuesday , May , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Cleveland fire Mike Brown to re-sign LeBron James?

"Decision day hasn't arrived yet but it appears everyone is preparing for it.

The Cavaliers had not performed or scheduled exit interviews with players or coaches as of Monday. Once some or all of those take place, there will be a verdict on coach Mike Brown. But if that decision is a parting of ways, the sides are getting ready for it."

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HoopsVibe’s Call: Their bags are packed. They’ve said their goodbyes.

Right now, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown and his assistants are waiting for one thing: their pink slip. That rosy little slip of paper is necessary if the Cavaliers are to have any shot, hope, or prayer at re-signing superstar LeBron James.

After all, Cleveland has fallen short two seasons in a row in the playoffs. This year, their second season failure was epic; the NBA’s best regular season team simply quit against a rejuvenated Boston squad.

So change is inevitable. James wants it. What James, the most highly coveted free agent in the history of professional sports, wants, he gets.

Perhaps, Brown, a defensive wizard and stand up guy, deserves better. Problem is, he, like much of the NBA, is a pawn in the coming free agent frenzy. And number 23, The King, is controlling the board.

Does Brown have to get fired for the Cavaliers to re-sign James? 

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Wednesday , May , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

What’s Wrong with LeBron James?

First off, he's undermined his coach by acting lax after losses when Brown has been sounding alarm bells. It is James' personality not to be too worried about anything and it was not expected that he'd be throwing people into lockers and such. But his "we'll get 'em next game" philosophy has clearly backfired. With the exception of Game 3, despite all the handshakes and nonsense, the Cavs have been knocked on their heels in every game.

It has further become problematic that James has been disengaged during the games. Not only has he fallen into the trap of "letting the game come to him," but he's been increasingly distant. In huddles he's looking at the ceiling or into the distance. It is not the James anyone on the team knows and his teammates and coaches have seen it. More problematic, they can't explain it and that is making the entire locker room uneasy. 

On Tuesday it was Zydrunas Ilgauskas and O'Neal that actually were more proactive. They were showing more leadership than James both on the floor and off the floor.

There were two skirmishes on the court. One was with Kendrick Perkins and O'Neal and the other was with Mo Williams and Rajon Rondo. James showed no such fire and then didn't get get involved in the exchanges, staying off to the side. 

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Friday , Apr , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James: I’m Prepared if the Celtics Target my Elbow

Garnett is the only player whose actions caused him to miss a game when he elbowed Quentin Richardson of the Miami Heat during a flare-up.

He served his suspension, but his actions could have ramifications. The Celtics’ matchups with Cleveland are traditionally physical, with Garnett in the forefront of Boston’s tough-minded defensive approach. Will referees look to harness him faster to make sure a game does not get out of control, especially if James’s elbow is an issue?

“They’re a physical team anyways,” Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown said. “Whether the elbow’s there or not, their mind-set is to be physical coming into the series.”

Although, James said, what goes around comes around.

“That’s fine,” James said. “I know a lot of those guys have injuries, too, so I’ll be fine.” 

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The Celtics are aging and irritable, and that means they're almost guaranteed to take a shot at LeBron somewhere along the line. If you haven't noticed, though, LeBron isn't exactly the type to get bullied. It's going to be a tough, ugly series to play in, but an awful lot of fun to watch. Fans of '80s-style hoops are really going to love this one. - CYE