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The Charlotte Hornets Are BACK – Why You Should Care (Video)
Saturday , Jun , 01 , 2013 Paul Eide

The Charlotte Hornets Are BACK – Why You Should Care (Video)

When New Orleans became the Pelicans, it cleared the way for the Charlotte Hornets to return to the NBA.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: In the mid-nineties, there was no cooler team in any sport than the Charlotte Hornets.


Even though the Hornets never won a title, never even advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs, they were a cultural phenomenon thanks to huge personalities and the coolest jerseys in NBA history.

The Charlotte Hornets were established in 1988 via the expansion draft, which saw them build the squad around Kelly Tripuka, Dell Curry, Rex Chapman and 5-3 Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player in NBA history. Even though they weren't great, the Hornets were a surprise success in their first season, leading the NBA in attendance (something they would achieve seven times during 14 years in Charlotte). Eventually, the Hornets would sell out 364 consecutive games, essentially nine consecutive seasons.

The Hornets won 20 games in year one, 21 in year two, 26 in year three and hosted the 1991 NBA All-Star Game. The momentum was building and the All-Star Game was a national introduction.

Prior to year four, the Hornets entered the NBA Draft with the number one overall pick and made a pick that affected the franchise for years to come. Larry Johnson, who would eventually become "Grandmama", was the reigning Naismith Award winner as the best player in college basketball. 

And even though they won less than half of their games (31), they now had their identity and face of the franchise. LJ was tough, charismatic and one of the best players in the game averaging 19.2 ppg and 11 rpg as a rookie.

After Johnson's Rookie of the Year season, his jersey began to pop up more and more outside of Charlotte, in places like Omaha, Nebraska; places where they had no business popping up.

In 1992 the Hornets held the second pick in the NBA Draft and used it to select Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning. Equally as tough and talented as Johnson, suddenly the Hornets were raising eyebrows.

Johnson, Mourning and Kendall Gill, a #1 draft pick three years prior was the highest scoring trio in the league. In year five, the Hornets had their first winning season (44-38) and made their first playoff appearance, upsetting the heavily favored Boston Celtics in the first round. Charlote was eliminated in the second round, but the groundwork was set; the Hornets were now a legit NBA franchise.

With the success, even more people jumped on the bandwagon and it was now "cool" to say you were a Hornets fan. And when you said it, you weren't mocked; you would generally receive a knowing nod of approval and the unspoken, "This dude is cool," sentiment of the time.

In 1993 the Hornets struggled to a 41-41 record due in large part to injuries to "Zo" and "LJ" and missed the playoffs. Mourning averaged a double double, and Johnson  was second on the team in both scoring and rebounding.

Even though the franchise took a step back, point guard Muggsy Bogues had the best season of his career. Bogues scored 10.3 ppg, his 10.1 apg was second most in the league and he led the league in assist to turnover ratio. Bogues was the spark-plug that made the Hornets one of the most exciting teams ever.

He didn't have the biggest name, or body, on the team, but he would ultimately retire as the Hornets' career leader in minutes played (19,768), assists (5,557), steals (1,067), turnovers (1,118), and assists per 48 minutes (13.5).

The next season, the Hornets finished the regular season going 50-32, and returned to the playoffs. Johnson and Mourning again led the team in points-per-game, while also leading the club in rebounding. However, Charlotte was bounced from the playoffs in the first round, falling to the Chicago Bulls in four games.

Following the season, the core of the team, and of the franchise, was broken up as the Hornets traded Mourning to the Miami Heat.

By 1995 the Hornets were selling the most jerseys in the league. But, the Mourning trade really marked the beginning of the end for the Hornets as a succesful NBA franchise led by the exciting style spearheaded by Bogues, Johnson and Mourning. After a 41-41 season, LJ was dealt to the New York Knicks. Bogues was limited due to injury, losing minutes to Kenny Anderson, and was no longer a Hornet after 1997.

The Hornets enjoyed success even after the "Bigh Three" left, making the playoffs in five of the following six years before the franchise left Charlotte for New Orleans, but it was a completely different team. And with it, the buzz and aura of coolness that had been established, slowly dissipated.

Sure there was success, but the early Hornets teams were exciting to watch, especially as they grew from league doormat to consistent contender. All NBA fans saw this development and felt like they were a part of it, which was expressed by the record setting merchandise sales. Liking the Hornets even when they were good wasn't like liking the Yankees and Dallas Cowboys when they were good; there was an understated cool to it that people just "got".

So why should you care that the Charlotte Hornets are being reincarnated? Because with a built in fan-base and the re-birth of the fantastic uniforms, NBA fans will at least be treated to whatever magic is left. And for as bad as they have been as the Charlotte Bobcats under Michael Jordan, it's basically like rebuilding the Hornets again, from the ground up, for a second time.

And maybe if we're lucky, we'll get to see bikini brief-esque shorts like the ones Kelly Tripucka has on in this introductory press conference from 1988:

 

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Sunday , Apr , 15 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Hornets’ owner Tom Benson: We need a name `like Jazz’

"We need to find a name like (Jazz)," Benson said, referring to New Orleans first NBA team that relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979. "Whether we can get that or let us use that, you've got to know we're working on it. We'd like to change it tomorrow. We have not gotten that approved, but we're not letting up on it, either. Because we've got a good relationship with the commissioner and his people and we're going to be on them daily to do something."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ah, Mr. Benson, there’s already a team called Jazz. They play in Salt Lake City. Their owner and fans won’t just give back the nickname -even if it makes sense for it to be returned to New Orleans.

To be fair, Benson has a point: Hornets doesn’t suit New Orleans. It’s connected to former owner George Shinn, and the move over from Charlotte. As part of the franchise’s re-branding, they should use a more appropriate moniker -’like Jazz’. 

The same situation will come up when (not if) the NBA moves back to Seattle. The team must be called Super Sonics and sport green.  Anything else would be criminal.

Now Clay Bennett still owns the Super Sonics nickname but opted not to use it when he caused waves and shifted the franchise to Oklahoma City three years ago.

Bennett and his ownership group have no use for the Super Sonics nickname and logo, and it would be a nice gesture of detente if he returned it to the city of Seattle.

He did, after all, steal the team (watch Sonics-Gate kids).

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

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Saturday , Apr , 14 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Mavs, Pacers, Suns, and Blazers want Eric Gordon?

Eric Gordon is a fan of New Orleans, which should come as welcome news to, well, New Orleans fans. He loves the food, the laid-back vibe and the folks who support the last-place Hornets despite being given so many reasons to stay away. Bring up the coach (that's second-year man Monty Williams for you non-loyalists), and the 23-year-old shooting guard who will be a restricted free agent this summer makes it sound as if he never wants to leave.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Five games is enough.

Eric Gordon has been limited to a few games with the New Orleans Hornets; however, his injury woes won’t stop teams from chasing him this summer when he becomes a restricted free agent.

Reports indicate that Dallas, Indiana, Phoenix, and Portland have interest in the two-guard.

This makes sense. Gordon, while not a top-flight player, can score. When available, he’s had an impact on the Hornets.

Teams must be careful not to overpay Gordon. Sure, he deserves good money. But he doesn’t deserve max’ money -like a crème de la crème superstar.

Of course, the Hornets can match any offer Gordon receives, so interested teams will have to float an Enron-type, exorbitant contract to scare off the Hornets.

That still might not be enough. Tom Benson just purchased the Hornets and the Saints owner will use his deep pockets to keep Gordon and the good times rolling in New Orleans.

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

 
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Saturday , Apr , 14 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Carl Landry interested in re-signing with new, stable Hornets?

Forward Carl Landry said he agreed to only a one-year deal last summer because of the Hornets’ ownership uncertainty. But he said with Benson taking control, he’ll look at committing to the Hornets long term. “Having some type of stability definitely helps,’’ Landry said. “Going into a situation where you don’t know what’s going to happen, if the team is going to be there the following year, who’s going to buy the team, it’s uncertainty, instability. But going into a situation where you do have that definitely helps.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The New Orleans Hornets are already seeing the benefit of steady ownership.

For those that missed it: yesterday the NBA announced that Saints` owner Tom Benson has a deal in principle to purchase the Hornets.

And much will change. For the better.

Take Carl Landry. The multi-purpose forward will become a free agent at season’s end, and only signed a one-year contract this winter with the club because the ownership situation was so unstable.

With Benson on-board, Landry wants to re-up for the long-term.

Other things are happening in NOLA. The club has sold 10,000 season tickets. They have heaps of cap space. There are two lottery picks in the fold. And Eric Gordon seems interested in signing a long-term extension.

Expect the Hornets to continue their re-birth in 2013.

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

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Monday , Apr , 02 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Michael Jordan to sell Bobcats if they don’t improve?

Nearing the end of another lost season as Bobcats owner, Jordan recently told his GM, Rich Cho, to start planning for a rebuilding campaign. He also dropped a bombshell, telling Cho and other deputies that if this one doesn’t produce a winner and he continues to lose millions over the next “three to four years,” then he intends to sell the team.

“I told Rich to make us better,” Jordan told one associate recently. “If that doesn’t work and I can’t make a profit in the next three to four years, then I’m selling.”

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Listen closely and you’ll hear the clock ticking on the NBA’s second go-around in Charlotte.

After all, Michael Jordan is threatening to sell the Bobcats if things don’t improve. This won’t inspire the causual fan to get behind the team.

In fact, it will do the opposite.

Remember, the people of Charlotte have dealt with George Shinn destroying their Hornets and moving the club to New Orleans.

Then there was Bob Johnson, the first owner of the expansion Bobcats. The former 106 & Park Tsar had such alligator arms he made Suns’ owner Robert Sarver look generous and extravagant.

Johnson ran the team into the ground before Jordan, a minority owner and executive, bought him out a couple of years ago.

Initially, Jordan had success adding veterans. Now ‘His Airness’ is in full make-over mode, selling established assets for picks, cap space, and young talent.

Starting over was probably the right move; however, Charlotte fans have been through a lot and may not have the patience for a project.

Threatening to sell the team won’t help, either. A local owner will be hard to find, especially with Kansas City, Orange County, and Seattle hungry for an NBA team.

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

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Monday , Apr , 02 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kobe Bryant hits buzzer-beater, despite missing first 15 shots

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Charles Barkley once said the difference between good and great is confidence.

Who is more confident than the great Kobe Bryant?

Last night, he missed his first fifteen attempts from the floor but still took and made the game-winning three-pointer to beat the determined New Orleans Hornets last night at Staples Center.

Click the video below and watch Bryant go to work on Jarrett Jack.


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

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Sunday , Jan , 08 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Video: Vince Carter ‘posterizes’ Emeka Okafor like it’s 1999

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Say what?

I thought Vince Carter only faded-away and settled for jumpers.

I thought Vince Carter stopped attacking the hoop during his time in New Jersey.

I thought Vince Carter had decided to cruise through his career and not provide highlights.

Well, the former bright light of the NBA, Slam Dunk Champion, and perennial All-Star teased us with a facial on the New Orleans Hornets’ Emeka Okafor that was reminiscent of 1999. Click the video and watch the 'VC' flashback.



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

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Saturday , Dec , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Celtics lose Jeff Green for season

A source close to Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green says the 6-foot-8 forward is expected to miss some games early on this season due to an undisclosed health condition that became apparent during his most recent physical.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Boston Celtics have had a mixed off-season.

First, they were unsuccessful in their attempts to send Rajon Rondo to New Orleans for Chris Paul, who has since been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Rondo is still upset with the Celtics trying to move him.

Second, they couldn’t put the final touches on a sign-and-trade for post David West, so their front line will be anchored by veterans Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal.

Third, Jeff Green is now out with a heart ailment. Green was acquired last year at the trade deadline in a controversial deal for Kendrick Perkins.

The green-and-white’s season immediately went down the toilet after the trade and now they’ll have little to show for dealing their defensive anchor.

Expect Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge to stay active in an attempt to give his aging Big Three a final chance at a championship.

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

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Saturday , Dec , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Knicks want Baron Davis?

They are pursuing sore-backed veteran point guard Baron Davis, who cleared waivers last night, and the club also is focused on pursuing forward Travis Outlaw, the Nets’ amnesty cut, if he clears tonight at 8, The Post has learned.

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Chris Paul isn’t coming. Perhaps Baron Davis will.

Word is the New York Knicks are attempting to sign Davis, who was recently amnesty-waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

On paper, this may work. Davis is an electric and dynamic talent. Many, like TNT broadcaster Kenny Smith, feel he has the skill-set to be a very good player.

However, the reality could be very different. Davis’ best years have past and poor fitness has hurt his form and durability.

The biggest issue with Davis in New York may be New York itself. The Big Apple will provide Davis with too many opportunities to continue pursuing his film and showbiz career.

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

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Wednesday , Dec , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers again chasing Chris Paul?

The Lakers are making another run at Chris Paul, who remains in limbo as the NBA league office has taken over negotiations on behalf of the Hornets.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Pau Gasol, it’s not over.

For months the Spanish post has been plagued by rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers were looking to trade him.

He had been linked to Kevin Love in Minnesota, Dwight Howard in Orlando, and twice nearly found a home in Houston as part of a three-team blockbuster for Chris Paul of New Orleans.

Of course, Commissioner Stern and the NBA, who own the Hornets, nixed both previous offers from the Lakers, citing the ever-mysterious ‘basketball reasons’.

Now the Lakers are apparently taking a third run at Paul, and Gasol is again the centerpiece of the purple-and-gold’s offer.

So the rumors will continue. And Gasol could still end up out of town.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Tuesday , Dec , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Paul to Clippers back on?

Trade talks involving Chris Paul between the Clippers and Hornets are back on, according to sources.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Where there’s a perception of a conflict of interest, there usually is.

After going back-and-forth all weekend with the Los Angeles Lakers, the New Orleans Hornets, who are owned by the NBA, are demanding everything but Blake Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers.

The talks initially died. But are alive again because the Clippers are considering meeting the NBA’s stiff demands.

Of course, the Clippers, who already have Mo Williams, are reportedly considering an offer on the recently waived Chauncey Billups.

The league needs to make a decision on Paul. The longer this fiasco goes on, the worse they look.

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


 
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Sunday , Dec , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers to chase Dwight Howard, not Chris Paul

The Lakers have pulled out of Chris Paul trade talks and will trade Lamar Odom to the Mavericks for a traded player exception that was acquired for Tyson Chandler.Dallas will send unspecified draft considerations to the Lakers. "The Lakers are shifting toward trying to make a Dwight Howard deal."

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We have closure on this saga. For now.

The Los Angeles Lakers have officially pulled out of the Chris Paul sweepstakes, and will instead focus on acquiring Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.

Perhaps the cost was too high. Perhaps dealing with NBA head office, who own the New Orleans Hornets, was too complicated. Or, perhaps they just prefer Howard.

Bottom line: the purple-and-gold have declared their intention to pursue Howard. And they usually get they want.

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

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Sunday , Dec , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Marcus Banks, Jason Smith, draft picks in new Chris Paul trade

The Hornets, Lakers and Rockets have delivered a restructured Chris Paul to the NBA for their approval, according to sources.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Earlier today HoopsVibe News reported that the Lakers, Hornets, and Rockets had submitted a new trade proposal involving Chris Paul.

(The first trade was nixed by the NBA, who owns the struggling New Orleans franchise, because they felt the Hornets weren’t getting enough young talent, while the Lakers were gaining too much financial flexibility.)

In the second trade, the Hornets will receive a couple of first round picks and the Lakers have to take back Marcus Banks and Jason Smith in separate sign-and-trades.

The ball is now in Commissioner Stern’s court.

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

 

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Saturday , Dec , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers, Hornets, Rockets submit new Chris Paul trade to NBA

Just filed to ESPN w/@Chris_Broussard: New trade framework of original three-team CP3 deal has been submitted to league office for approval.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

ESPN is reporting that the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and New Orleans Hornets are submitting a re-worked trade proposal that would involve superstar point guard Chris Paul.

The first trade was nixed by the league for ’basketball reasons’ on Thursday evening, sending shockwaves around the NBA. (Remember, the NBA owns the Hornets because a buyer couldn’t be found).

The league apparently wants the Hornets to receive young talent and draft picks. And then there was the optics of a larger market, like the Lakers, continuing to dominate and accumulate superstars.

Stay posted to HoopsVibe News for further details on this story.

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Saturday , Dec , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Celtics get David West in sign-and-trade?

David West is close to a three-year sign-and-trade deal just under $30 million with the Celtics.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Boston Celtics have quickly rebuilt their front-court.

Earlier today Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis was sent to the Orlando Magic for Brandon Bass as part of a sign-and-trade, and now they’ve shipped Jermaine O’Neal to the New Orleans Hornets for David West in another sign-and-trade.

Bass, West, and three-man Jeff Green give coach Doc Rivers plenty of options to complement and eventually fill in for the aging Big Three of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.

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

 
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Saturday , Dec , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom frustrated by Chris Paul fiasco

“Maybe I’ll see you there,” Odom said, “but I doubt it. You don’t want to go to no place you’re not wanted. I’ll try to give them what they want as much as possible.”Odom also felt bad for his teammate.

“Imagine how Pau feels,” he said. “Pau came to the Lakers and played here for four years, went to the Finals and lost, won two NBA championships and then got swept [by Dallas]. Wow!

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The trade was shocking -even though Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom’s names had been in trade rumours for years.

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Lakers cut ties with Gasol and Odom as part of a three-team deal to get superstar point guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets.

Or, so they thought.

The NBA owns the Hornets and nixed the trade for 'basketball reasons'. The outcry was significant and all sides are still talking about reviving the deal.

This means Gasol, Odom, and Paul are in holding, waiting for the deal to go through again or get cancelled for good.

The shock will wear off. Whatever happens, Gasol, a four-time All-Star, and Odom, a former Sixth Man of the Year, must accept the team they won two championships with no longer wants them.

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

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Friday , Dec , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Did Dan Gilbert block Chris Paul trade to Lakers?

Dan Gilbert sent an email to David Stern, Adam Silver and several of his fellow owners to urge the NBA to block a proposed trade that would send Chris Paul to the Lakers.The following is the email in its entirety:

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The NBA has blocked the trade sending Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. And Dan Gilbert, the controversial owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, could get the blame.

Gilbert, who lambasted LeBron on the Cavaliers’ website for The Decision and was a notorious hardliner during the lockout, sent a scathing email to Commissioner David Stern criticizing the trade.

The league, of course, is the temporary owner of the New Orleans Hornets, Paul’s current team. And Gilbert felt Paul ending up with the Lakers would be a 'travesty'.

I can see this from both sides. On the one hand, Paul is a free agent in July. He can sign where he likes, and he will, no doubt, sign with a major market such as Los Angeles or New York.

So the Hornets should cut the best deal possible. And many analysts felt that’s what they did on Thursday.

On the other hand, the NBA just locked-out the players for five months, in part, because of the discrepancy between have and have-not markets.

And the day they ratify the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the team the league owns trades the sport’s best point guard to its glamour franchise.

The optics weren't good. Then again, neither is the optics of nixing a trade.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
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Wednesday , Dec , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers want Dwight Howard and Chris Paul?

Hoping to pull off a pair of blockbuster moves that would rock the NBA, the Lakers are willing to trade anyone on their roster outside of Kobe Bryant to bring Howard and Paul to Los Angeles, two sources said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: These are the Los Angeles Lakers. They go big. Or they don’t go.

It’s no surprise the storied purple-and-gold want to land both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. These are the Lakers; their arrogance and deep pockets make anything possible.

Remember, fifteen years ago they cleared a mountain of cap space and signed Shaquille O’Neal, while also swapping veteran center Vlade Divac for some kid called Kobe Bryant.

A few years ago they stole Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies and ended up with two consecutive Larry O’Brien trophies.

Of course, this scenario wasn’t supposed to happen anymore.

The lockout was supposedly about, in part, preventing major markets from landing all the league’s premier talent. The owners caved, failing to get franchise tags or a hard cap in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

So the Lakers will continue to chase the best talent. After all, there’s no system stopping them.

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