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Saturday , Dec , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Chauncey Billups not ‘happy’ with New Orleans trade talk

Although a deal is only a remote possibility, it would surely involve Billups, who plays the same position (point guard) and who is one of the Knicks’ few valued assets.“It wouldn’t make me happy,” Billups said Friday in a phone interview from his Denver home. “Because for me, at this juncture in my career, I just want to win.” At 35, with six teams and five trades on his résumé, Billups is a certified authority on change, especially the unplanned kind. He is not the sort to overreact to frothy rumors. But he has understandable concerns.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: New CBA, old problem.

Veteran table-setter Chauncey Billups has publicly declared that he wouldn’t be ‘happy’ if the New York Knicks traded him to the New Orleans Hornets for Chris Paul.

His reason: New Orleans is a rebuilding, small market, while New York has two superstars and the resources to spend well beyond the cap on top talent.

Of course, part of the reason for the five-month long lockout was to supposedly prevent such a discrepancy in the league.

The owners supposedly wanted to create a balance between have-teams like the Bulls, Celtics, Heat, Lakers, and Mavericks with have-not teams like the Hornets.

There was to be no more of superstars holding smaller markets hostage. The Decision and Melo’ drama was supposedly a thing of the past.

Well, the owners failed to win this concession from the players.

Superstars still hold leverage. Lots of it. They continue to be the straw that stirs the drink. In the next few months, Dwight Howard and Paul will prove this in the way they depart the Magic and Hornets.

And Billups’ happiness doesn't matter.

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Friday , Dec , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Celtics shopping Rondo?

Donny Marshall — the former NBA player who covers the Celtics and does some color commentary for the team’s broadcasts — was on NBC’s SportsTalk today talking Rajon Rondo and saying the Celtics were open to moving Rajon Rondo more because of his personality than his game. “My sources tell me he’s started to wear his welcome out a little bit,” Marshall said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Where there’s smoke, there’s often fire.

That thing called the ‘World Wide Web’ has been reporting that the Boston Celtics were very willing to send Rajon Rondo to the New Orleans Hornets for Chris Paul.

This wasn’t just about the Celtics acquiring Paul. This was also about cutting ties with Rondo.

After all, Rondo’s temper has, at times, alienated coaches, teammates, and fans. There’s also a theory his lack of offensive polish will be exposed once The Big Three of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce retire.

Unfortunately, Paul wasn’t interested in joining Boston. His heart is set on joining New York.

So the Celtics will have to deal with a jilted Rondo when training camp opens. Of course, GM Danny Ainge will blame the 24 hour news cycle, bloggers, and talk radio.

There may be some truth to Rondo getting moved. Maybe not. Either way, this is a storyline worth watching.

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

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Friday , Dec , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Chris Paul will reject Hornets to sign with Knicks?

Chris Paul’s agent informed New Orleans officials on Wednesday that his client will not sign a contract extension and wants to be traded to the New York Knicks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. As soon as the NBA lifts its lockout restrictions, Hornets general manager Dell Demps wants to meet with Paul and hear that directive from him.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s a when. Not an if.

Face it: Chris Paul will leave the New Orleans Hornets as a free agent in July of 2012 to most likely sign with the New York Knicks.

Everything else is a formality. Like the 2011 season. Like turning down extension offers from the New Orleans Hornets. Like informing management he’ll leave.

To be fair, this isn’t just about small markets vs. large markets. Or, playing in the bright lights of The Big Apple.

This, in fact, is fate. 

A few years ago, Paul attended Carmelo Anthony’s wedding where he toasted to playing alongside ‘Melo and Amar’e Stoudemire at Madison Square Gardens for the Knicks.

Two of the pieces are in place. Stoudemire signed with the Knicks as a free agent in the summer of 2010, while Anthony was traded to the NYC last February.

For months, they’ve been waiting for Paul to form a Big Three to rival the superstar trio in Miami.

When that happens the Knicks will take another step in the Eastern Conference. There’s no if about that.

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Sunday , Nov , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Howard, Paul, Williams still leaving Magic, Hornets, Nets?

Owners dropped their insistence on what would have been known as the Carmelo Anthony rule, preventing teams from executing extend-and-trade deals similar to the one that sent Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks last season. This means that if Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and Chris Paul want to leverage their way out of Orlando, New Jersey and New Orleans, they will still be eligible to sign three-year extensions with their current teams before being immediately traded elsewhere.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Weren’t owners, in part, fighting to prevent superstars from leaving less desirable markets?

Wasn’t the five-month long lockout about re-establishing a balance between smaller, have-not markets and larger, have markets?

The owners conceded by failing to end the extend-and-trade clause, which means superstars and pending 2012 free agents Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams have leverage over Orlando, New Orleans, and New Jersey in contract negotiations.

Howard, Paul, and Williams can sign lucrative four-year extensions for max’ money with the Magic, Hornets, and Nets as part of a trade - just like Carmelo Anthony did in 2011.

Remember Anthony held the Denver Nuggets hostage, signing an extension once he knew he'd be sent to the New York Knicks as part of a blockbuster deal.

Personally, I think Howard and Paul move on.

Howard wants a flashier, bigger city to maximize his off-court pursuits, while Paul is clearly frustrated with the Hornets' progress and wants to win now.

Williams could stay with the Nets. Ownership has deep pockets. The franchise will soon swap the swamps of Jersey for a trendy Brooklyn stadium. And the stocky point guard, if he re-signs, will be the face of a re-born franchise.

Of course, the Nets have been trending upward since Mikhail Prokhorov, also known as Russia’s richest man, bought the franchise.

If Howard and Paul do leave Orlando and New Orleans through the extend-and-trade, fans will again wonder what the lockout was really for.

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

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Saturday , Oct , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Isiah Thomas to help Knicks sign Chris Paul?

Thomas, who worked for the Knicks as president, GM or coach from December 2003 to April 2008, was reportedly involved in the recruitment of Carmelo Anthony last season. Now, he's expected to do the same with Paul, who is under contract for the 2011-2012 season but has a player option for 2012-13, during which he is scheduled to make $17.8 million. Many have speculated that New York is a potential destination for Paul. Current Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups, whom New York acquired in a three-team, 13-player deal last February, will be a free agent after 2011-2012.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If the New York Knicks had sense, they’d muzzle Isiah Thomas.

They don`t have any sense, so Thomas will keep talking. Loudly.

Remember, Thomas’ slash-and-burn philosophy turned the Knicks into the league‘s laughingstock, forcing Commissioner David Stern to suggest to owner James Dolan that he hire veteran executive Donnie Walsh.

Thomas got a massive cheque to leave and give his opinion when asked to by the front office.

But Thomas is friendly with Dolan, so he stayed active and involved with the Knicks even though he has a college coaching gig at Florida International University.

This clearly alienated Walsh, who is now the outgoing executive for the Knicks. He couldn’t have liked Thomas taking credit for the signing of Amar’e Stoudemire and acquisition of Carmelo Anthony. 

Whoever replaces Walsh won’t be pleased to hear Thomas insinuate that he’ll have a key role in the Knicks chasing point guard Chris Paul.

Paul, of course, is a free agent in July of 2012. He’ll likely leave the small market New Orleans Hornets -even if the new collective bargaining agreement fixes the disparity between small and big market teams.

Enter New York. Paul will surely find it difficult to turn down the lure of playing in Madison Square Garden with Stoudemire and Anthony.

This has nothing to do with Thomas. However, an opportunist never turns down or passes up an opportunity.

--O. Sandor.

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Monday , Sep , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Baron Davis to mentor Kyrie Irving?

“[Im] really looking forward to playing with, and mentoring, Kyrie,” said Davis in an e-mail. “Hes so talented, creative, smart, has so much potential and could become a great cornerstone of the Cavaliers franchise for many years to come. Ive been talking to him a lot this summer about NBA life, and in Cleveland, hes going to learn so much from coach [Byron] Scott, who will be a great mentor as well.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kenny Smith once declared that Baron Davis should be a perennial All-NBA candidate.

The award-winning TNT broadcaster believed Davis possessed the raw size, natural skill, and god-given athleticism to consistently rank among the league’s premier table-setter.

Sadly, the commitment hasn't been there.

Too often, Davis’ poor fitness has led to injuries, which made it impossible for the former lottery pick to fulfill expectations.

He was a disappointment for the Hornets and appeared more interested in making movies than winning with the lowly Clippers.

Now there are reports he wants to, wait for it, mentor Cleveland Cavaliers’ prospect Kyrie Irving. Davis was, of course, traded to the Cavaliers last February, while the club selected Irving first overall in the NBA draft.

And the Cavaliers will have to decide how to involve Davis in helping Irving grow and develop.

--O.Sandor.

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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.

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Wednesday , Jul , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Can David West ‘win big’ with New Orleans?

"I have to do what's best for me and my family," West said. "(Chris Paul) understands it's all about winning, and as the years go, by you can't get them back. I want to win and win big, win a championship. "But you've got to find the right situation, where it's reality and not fantasy. I just want to be on that stage, have a shot at (a title) and see what happens."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: David West want to win big. To achieve this, West, a free agent, can't re-sign with the New Orleans Hornets.

The Hornets, even with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, will likely stay the poster-child for have-not franchises. They will always struggle to compete.

New Orleans was poor before Hurricane Katrina. Six years later, they can't generate enough revenue to lure free agents to play with their stars.

West knows this. Most importantly, so does Chris Paul, the team's top player and franchise-face. Paul, unless the new CBA allows the Hornets to franchise tag him, will leave next July as a free agent.

He's out.

Paul's best friend in the NBA is LeBron James. In fact, James' marketing company, LMRM, represents Paul. The tiny table-setter will have learned from The Decision, and he'll only sign in a big market or with a legit contender.

Think New York. Think Orlando. Think Miami. New Orleans can't compete with these destinations.

West knows Paul will leave in one year. And West knows this means he'll have to leave, too.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jun , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Will Hornets overpay David West to keep Chris Paul happy?

David West is uncertain whether his NBA future lies in New Orleans or elsewhere. Tha the New Orleans Hornets' leading scorer knew for sure on Monday was that he wasn't going to allow recent reconstructive surgery on his left knee to scare him away from free agency.

"It's about making the best decision right now for my family," the former Garner High School star said in a phone interview in which he explained his decision to opt out of the final year of his contract. "It's not taking New Orleans out of the equation, just an opportunity to sign a better deal, and an opportunity to make sure the decision I make for the next three to four years puts me in the best possible situation to win - not just winning and making the playoffs, but legitimately having a chance to compete for championships."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Opting out, becoming an unrestricted free agent, and leaving a guaranteed $7.5 million on the table looks like a bad decision for David West.

After all, West polarizes. While he has supporters, many feel he’s a ‘tweener’ forward who does little besides score.

So opinions are mixed. The facts aren’t much help, either.

West is 31 years old. He just had major surgery on his knee. There might not be much money available on the open market since the league’s financial landscape will change with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

West, however, has a card to play. Teammate and good friend Chris Paul will become a free agent in 2012. New Orleans would be devastated if Paul left. So the club may overpay West to appease their superstar point guard.

What happens to West could have far greater consequences for the Hornets.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Jun , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Orlando Magic interested in Carlos Boozer?

I've talked to people who believe that Chicago will shop Boozer, but you have to keep in mind that his stock is at an all-time low right now. He disappeared in the playoffs and there's a reason Chicago is talking about moving less than a year after signing him. It'll be tough to move him for anything of substance, especially considering how much he's owed over the next four years. With that said, if he does become available, the Orlando Magic will certainly express some level of interest.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Carlos Boozer wouldn’t convince Dwight Howard to forgo free agency and sign a long-term extension with the Orlando Magic.

So the Magic should think carefully about trading for Boozer, and assuming the remaining 4-years and $65 million on his big-ticket contract.

Boozer would be the latest in expensive, overpaid players who couldn’t help superstar Dwight Howard achieve his goal of an NBA championship.

There was Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter. This duo were then swapped mid-season for Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu in separate trades. All four failed miserably.

A frustrated Howard is now angling for a trade. If he doesn’t get it, the five-man will likely leave Orlando as a free agent in two seasons.

Howard would see Boozer for what he is -a talented but injury-prone player, who the Chicago Bulls dumped one season after signing him as a free agent.

It doesn't matter that Howard and Boozer are close, often hanging out together in the summer. Basketball is business. Friendship is personal.

Magic Executive Otis Smith should instead focus on Chris Paul. The New Orleans point guard, who can also become a free agent in July of 2012, is the type of talent that could convince Howard to stay.

Paul and Howard would form a terrific inside-outside duo. They’d attract other free agents, co-stars, and role players. They’d compete for years to come.

Almost every other player, including Boozer, won’t be enough for Howard to recommit to Orlando.

--Oly Sandor.

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


 
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Saturday , Jun , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook?

Demps laughed at Internet speculation there has been trade talks between the Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder regarding point guards Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.

“(Thunder GM) Sam Presti and I, our offices used to be right next to each other, so we still text each other all the time, and I can assure you that has not been a conversation we’ve had,” Demps said, cracking a smile as he spoke to reporters.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Losing players in free agency leads to speculation. Losing games also leads to speculation.

It`s no surprise there was speculation that the New Orleans Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder were considering swapping Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook.

Paul can opt-out of his contract next summer. He can leave New Orleans as a free agent. The Hornets will get nothing back. 

Meanwhile, Westbrook, fair or not, became the scapegoat for the Thunder losing the Western Conference Finals to the Mavericks.

Critics felt he was trying to get his offense at the expense of teammates. And critics felt his score-first mentality will make it difficult for the Thunder to take the next step.

A trade makes sense for both parties, right?  Well, wrong.

Hornets GM Dell Demps denied ever having a conversation about swapping point guards with Thunder GM Sam Presti.

It`s a no to the inquiring public. The real, unofficial story could be different.

Demps and Presti came up together with the San Antonio Spurs. They were tight. And still are. Demps admitted they text each other all the time.

Know this: NBA executives are no different than you or I. They do business with executives they trust and like.

For instance, Kevin McHale, when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves, wrapped Kevin Garnett in a bow and gave him to former teammate and friend Danny Ainge, who was and still is boss of the Boston Celtics.

For instance, Jerry West played a part in Pau Gasol leaving Memphis for Los Angeles. West was once the front office Tsar for both the Grizzlies and Lakers.

If Paul for Westbrook happens, it will be because of the relationship between Demps and Presti.

After all, what's a swap of All-Star table-setters between friends?

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Apr , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Best facial: Kobe on Okafor or Kobe baptizing Howard?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last night, Kobe Bryant’s ankle looked fine. Just ask Emeka Okafor.

Yesterday, Bryant threw down an epic facial over Okafor in the Lakers’ game five win over the Hornets. It drew comparisons to another historic facial, a baptism in fact.

Years ago, Bryant packed it on the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard and later told reporters he was simply baptizing the five-man.

So which dunk is better: the jam on Okafor or Howard’s baptism? Watch both videos and tell us which dunk is best.
 

(Kobe on ‘Meka.)
  

(Call it The Baptism.)

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Apr , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on ankle injury: It won’t stop me

Bryant, who is clearly the Lakers best player, was seen walking out of the arena on crutches but says it's going to take a lot for him not to play in Game 5 on Tuesday in LA. "It's going to take a lot to stop me to play," Bryant said. "We'll make sure we stay on top of it."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Sitting isn’t an option. Kobe Bryant will play.

Bryant is the NBA’s most competitive player. He lives for the playoffs; he lives for the spotlight; and he lives for challenges like stopping New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul.  

Of course, the Lakers want Bryant to play –even if he isn’t at full strength. The Hornets might be okay with this, too.

In game four, Paul specifically ran pick-and-rolls because he wanted to expose an injured Bryant off the switch. For instance, he flew by Bryant and found Jarrett Jack for the game-winning basket.   

The Lakers even attempted to hide Bryant on defense, rotating him in-and-out of the final moments of the game for defensive and offensive possessions.

There’s a ray of light/gold for the Lakers: they can still raise their game to another level, while the Hornets are probably playing their best basketball.

This is good for the Lakers. They must be better for the rest of the series, especially if Bryant is hobbling on one leg.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Chris Paul prepares for Lakers with lapdance from Nicki Minaj

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Every NBA player has their own way of preparing for the playoffs.

Some turn off their phones to limit distractions. Some go on special diets. Some get extra sleep.

And some, like the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul, get a lap dance from the curvy Nicki Minaj. Watch CP3 'prepare' for a playoff battle against the Los Angeles Lakers. 


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Wednesday , Apr , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Chris Paul unhappy about rumors he’ll join Jordan’s Bobcats

Paul's comments on Twitter indicated he felt as though his words were taken out of context.

"Come on now people," Paul tweeted, "I did 3 different interviews about the Jordan Brand Classic this morning and was asked if Michael Jordan had influence on free agent signings and I said at the end of the day guys want to win...they askd would I want to return home and I told them I'm focused here in NO and that's the future and anything can happen...Hate when people try to turn things around just to make it a story.. #slowdown."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: North Carolina’s prodigal son is tired of discussing a possible return home.

Chris Paul isn’t pleased with reporters for speculating he’ll leave the New Orleans Hornets for his hometown Charlotte Bobcats, who are owned by Michael Jordan.

Like most modern day superstars, he voiced his displeasure on what else -twitter.

Paul joining the Bobcats isn’t so far-fetched: he’ll be the prize of the 2012 free agent class, he already has a business relationship with MJ through Brand Jordan; Charlotte is still home.

However, Paul is unhappy with the Hornets because the league-owned franchise lacks the resources and market size to pay and attract co-stars. Of course, Jordan’s Bobcats have the same problem.

Both franchises will be hard pressed to win a championship –even if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement creates greater parity for the league’s have-nots.

So, why would Paul swap the Hornets’ problems for the Bobcats’?

He’ll surely try to partner with friends Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. The New York Knicks would then form the newest super team, and the Paul brand would benefit from such a massive market.

Paul migrating home to Charlotte is unlikely. Instead, expect a migration up north.

-Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Mar , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe on Shannon Brown’s switch-hand dunk: ‘I give it a 10, no question’

So, does the dunk have a name? "There’s no name for it," Brown said. "I don’t know. I just switched hands. It happened so quick."
As a former Slam Dunk contest judge, what would Kobe Bryant give it? "I give it a 10, no question," Bryant said. "It was just ridiculous. His explosiveness is out of this world. I don’t know if I could do that. I did a lot of [stuff], but that ..."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant is not easily impressed.

In fact, The Black Mamba is a notoriously tough critic, especially if you play on his Los Angeles Lakers.

So his praise of Shannon Brown’s aerial antics against the New Orleans Hornets is somewhat surprising. Bryant gave Brown a perfect 10-out-of-10 for switching hands in mid-air.

Do you agree with Bryant? Is Brown`s dunk really a dime? Watch the clip and give us your score for the reserve guard`s dunk in the comment box below.


--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Mar , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Hornets sign Patrick Ewing Jr. to 10-day deal

The New Orleans Hornets are signing Patrick Ewing Jr. from Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA D-League to 10-day contract after losing David West for the season.
Ewing was averaging 19.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game with the Skyforce.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Not sure if NOLA fans will be chanting ‘Patrick Ewing’ like the faithful at Madison Square Gardens.

This isn’t the Patrick Ewing, the Hall of Fame center with the New York Knicks. It’s his son, an athletic swing who has been on the verge of making 'The League' for some time.

Ewing Jr. had been destroying the 'D'-League before getting called-up by the New Orleans Hornets, who had an open roster spot after David West's knee injury.

He'll need to use his athleticism on defense and finish in the open court to parlay his 10-day contract into something more long-term.

Whatever happens, following Ewing Jr. will be fun.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Mar , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Has David West played his last game for Hornets?

The New Orleans Hornets gutted out a 121-117 overtime victory over Utah here Thursday night, but in the process may have lost power forward David West for an extended period of time with a left knee injury.

West sustained what is being termed as “left knee trauma” on a driving slam dunk with 22.5 to go in regulation. West landed awkwardly on his left leg and his knee buckled under him. Team medical staff came out and he was eventually taken off the floor in a wheelchair.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Who would’ve thought Thursday’s clash between the New Orleans Hornets and Utah Jazz would have everything?

There were buzzer-beaters, graceful flip-shots from ungraceful power forwards, and injuries.

Unfortunately, Emeka Okafor’s game-tying prayer off the glass and Paul Millsap’s underhand scoop were overshadowed by David West’s season ending knee injury.

West, who was 9-for-16 with 20 points, went down hard after missing a dunk attempt late in the fourth quarter. Today, reports indicate he has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season and playoffs.

Fortunately, the Hornets acquired Carl Landry at the trade deadline. In the short term, the undersized Landry should replace West’s points and rebounds, and keep the club in the playoff race.

(The Hornets currently sit at seventh in the Western Conference. They have a three game edge over the ninth place Houston Rockets, with the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz hot on their trail.)

An interesting thought: has West played his last game for the Hornets?

He was expected to opt-out of his contract and hit free agency July 1st. Perhaps the uncertainty surrounding the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and an injury changes West’s plans.

The Hornets have had an ‘interesting’ year: there was Chris Paul’s off-season trade demand; the team got off to a blazing start under rookie coach Monty Williams; then there were the mid-season speed bumps; the NBA, of course, stepped in and bought the team, prompting rumors about their future in The Big Easy.

Now West, their second leading scorer, is done. What else can happen?

--Oly Sandor.


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Thursday , Feb , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Chris Paul on Utah trading Deron Williams: ‘not a good look’

Chris Paul responded to the news of Utah trading Deron Williams with several less than flattering tags directed to the Jazz."Utah traded DWill?? #EpicFail #notagoodlook #trippin #cmonson," wrote Paul.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Actually Chris Paul, you commenting on another team and player’s business is an ‘EpicFail’.

You’d think one of the NBA’s premier point guards would know better or, at a minimum, have better things to do then going 'viral' on the Utah Jazz for dealing Deron Williams.

After all, his New Orleans Hornets are competing for a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference and their future in The Bayou is uncertain.

Apparently this isn’t enough to occupy Paul’s time. He feels the need to speak up -in a manner befitting of a Twilight obsessed pre-teen- on the Jazz moving their franchise face.

To quote Paul: this is ‘notagoodlook’.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Feb , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kings send Landry to Hornets for Thonton

The Kings and Hornets are close to completing a trade that would send Carl Landry to New Orleans for Marcus Thornton and cash. Sam Amick of FanHouse reports that the trade call will take place on Wednesday. The Kings held Landry out of Tuesday's game.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Backcourt depth for frontcourt scoring.

This is the best explanation of Tuesday's minor trade that saw the New Orleans Hornets ship Marcus Thornton to the Sacramento Kings for Carl Landry.

Thornton will provide relief to the Kings’ ailing backcourt because Tyreke Evans is out for three weeks, while Landry will give Monty Williams’ Hornets a low-post scorer off the bench.

Frankly, the Kings have bigger worries: like mediating the power struggle between big DeMarcus Cousins and Evans, the 2010 Rookie of the Year, and getting their stadium issues settled.

Perhaps dealing Landry is a way of opening up more minutes for Cousins. Perhaps legendary Executive Geoff Petrie knows something the rest of us do not about Thornton.

Whatever the case, the Kings are a mess. And it will take more than one insignificant trade to solve their issues.

--Oly Sandor.

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