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Tuesday , Jun , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Sam Presti leaving OKC for Portland?

Sam Presti, who yesterday celebrated a third anniversary as Sonic/Thunder GM, making him a rising free agent according to my records, claims he's perfectly happy in Oklahoma. However, a Northwest source claims he interviewed in Seattle (home of Portland owner Paul Allen) for the Blazers' job. Oh, that's right, the job's taken. Kevin Pritchard owns one year on his contract but he and everyone else (I do believe the Post had it months ago,) believe he'll be fired immediately after the draft.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Where there's a little smoke, there's bound to be a ‘blazing’ fire, right?

Well, change will surely be burning through the Portland Trail Blazers' front office. Here's what we know:

1) GM Kevin Pritchard has been on the hot seat for months. He allegedly doesn't gel with longtime coach Nate McMillan. And there's a feeling he lacks the experience to turn the Blazers into a contender. 

2) Pritchard is heading into the final year of his deal. An extension does not seem to be forthcoming and owner Paul Allen probably doesn’t want a lame-duck executive.

3) As the New York Post is reporting, Pritchard’s dismissal is probably imminent.

4) Oklahoma City Thunder executive Sam Presti is highly sought after.

5) When asked if he had interest in the Blazers’ gig, the former San Antonio Spurs whiz kid shot down this rumor.  

6) Presti has assembled the NBA’s best young team in Oklahoma City, so it’s unlikely he’d bolt with Kevin Durant and company heading into their prime.

7) Allen, the man behind Microsoft, has far greater resources than Clay Bennett and the small market Thunder.

Conclusion: Allen is looking to stabilize Portland’s front office, especially with news of another scandal in his organization. He wants Presti. And he’s phoned friends around the league for information about the Thunder’s architect.

It seems Presti is content in Oklahoma City, though. He has full control of basketball operations. He clicks with owner Clay Bennett. And his organization is poised to benefit from him drafting wisely.

There is one wildcard: money. Allen has too much of it, while Bennett and his partners were hit by the economic downturn. Still, Presti - unless he receives a massive offer he can't refuse - isn’t heading anywhere.   

Is Presti leaving Oklahoma City for Portland? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.

How can any Western Conference squad defeat Kobe’s Lakers?
Wednesday , Jun , 02 , 2010 J.N.

How can any Western Conference squad defeat Kobe’s Lakers?

This is an intriguing challenge because ever since the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol as a gift from long time former general manager Jerry West, the team is unbeatable. The squad can be beaten in one game because it’s just one game – mad random. In a seven game series, however, no team in the West can knock off the Purple and Gold. I just do not see this happening as long as Kobe Bryant is at his peak running the team. What does a team have to have to be able to defeat them?

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Thursday , Apr , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Asked to Guard Russell Westbrook

It was Kobe Bryant's idea to swap defensive assignments for Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bryant guarded Russell Westbrook instead of Thabo Sefolosha. Derek Fisher checked Sefolosha. Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Bryant approached him and said, "I'd like to guard Westbrook." Jackson added: "It takes a much higher activity level (to guard Westbrook). It's every play. There's no time off on defense. It told me what his determination was, whether his knee was better or not (I don't know)." Bryant has been troubled for months by injuries to his right index finger, left ankle and right knee.

Westbrook scored 15 points on 4-for-13 shooting in Game 5.

"I enjoy the challenge," Bryant said of checking Westbrook. "He's been playing sensational, and if we're going to be eliminated I don't want to go into the summer thinking I could've done something about it, so i accepted the challenge." 

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Thursday , Apr , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Sells More Jerseys than LeBron in ’09-’10

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant once again tops the NBA’s list of most popular jerseys, where he has reigned as No. 1 since the start of the 2008-09 season. The list is based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and on NBAStore.com since the start of the 2009-10 NBA season through April 2010. Both stores are having record sales years with a combined increase of 20 percent over last year.

Thirteen players competing in the 2010 Playoffs appear on this year’s list. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James remains No. 2 and the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett climbed one spot from last year to No. 3. Chicago Bulls sophomore Derrick Rose continues to make a name for himself, coming in at No. 4, while the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard rounds out the top 5. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant debuts in the top 10 for the first time, landing at No. 9, while the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony moves from No. 15 to No. 10.
 
Can Oklahoma City Thunder really upset Kobe Bryant and L.A. Lakers?
Saturday , Apr , 24 , 2010 Oly Sandor

Can Oklahoma City Thunder really upset Kobe Bryant and L.A. Lakers?

The Quick Hit: It was supposed to be case of master versus student. It has become a case of student challenging master.

Quite simply, the Los Angeles Lakers, with all their star power and glitz, were expected to handle the talented but inexperienced Oklahoma City Thunder. After all, the Lakers had that Larry O’Brien swagger; the Thunder were unproven upstarts.

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Wednesday , Apr , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Scott Brooks to Be Named Coach of the Year

The Thunder have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday afternoon and they are expected to announce coach Scott Brooks as the recipient of the NBA's Coach of the Year award.

"Thunder announce press conference this afternoon with Scott Brooks. Hmmm. Connecting the COY dots," Art Garcia of NBA.com wrote on his Twitter page.
 
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Wednesday , Apr , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant: I Had to Respond to Phil Jackson

Thunder forward Kevin Durant is tired of answering questions about Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

Durant, typically easy-going, got riled up when asked about his reaction to Jackson's comments about the referee's treatment of the forward last week.

"Do you think I overreacted?" Durant asked.

"Nah, I didn't overreact. Why, because I'm a third-year player I can't say nothing back to Phil Jackson? I'm standing up for myself and what I believe in. I really don't say nothing to too many people in this league who say stuff about me and our team and how I play and how we play. But I felt I had to say something back.

"I'm always quiet. I'm always nice and (respectful) to other people, not just on the basketball floor but off the basketball floor, like you guys. But I felt at that time I had to take up for myself. It is what it is. It's over with. It had nothing to do with this series."
 

 

The next big thing Kevin Durant versus The best thing now LeBron James
Tuesday , Apr , 20 , 2010 J.N.

The next big thing Kevin Durant versus The best thing now LeBron James

Brought to you by the makers of Michael Jordan versus series, LeBron versus line, Kobe versus and the barely visited Dwayne Wade versus LeBron debates, we bring to you the latest and greatest in the long line of internet debates, Kevin Durant versus LeBron James. Yes, it is another one in a classic barn burner debates spark by large usage of extreme GIF images to represent reaction and smart witty remarks with people using a lot of free time to dissect statistics.

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Tuesday , Apr , 20 , 2010 Marija Kero, The Knicks Chick

The Knicks Chick on Why the Celtics Are Going Home and the First-Round Match-ups

HoopsVibe is proud to welcome Marija Kero, better known to many of you as The Knicks Chick, to the team. Marija will be checking in with videoblogs covering everything from her beloved Knicks to Ron Artest's latest hair-related mishap. In her first piece, Marija shares her thoughts on Boston's bad temper, the surging Mavs and the ghosts of NYK past appearing in the postseason. 

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Monday , Apr , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant: The Playoffs Don’t Feel Different

After Oklahoma City's 87-79 loss to the Lakers on Sunday in Game 1, I asked Kevin Durant what felt different about being out there during his first experience in the playoffs.

"Nothing really to be honest," said Durant. "A lot of people say it would be different, but it felt the same as the regular season and it was just fun and exciting to be out there. I wish we came out on the other side of the 'W', but it’s a long series."

Scott Brooks stressed multiple times that he didn't feel his team suffered from nervousness.

"There were stretches during the game where he was pressing," said Brooks of Durant. Brooks expressed liking that part of his performance, as well as what he did defensively.
 
Liveblogging Game 1 of LAL-OKC
Sunday , Apr , 18 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Liveblogging Game 1 of LAL-OKC

I'll be taking quick notes as I watch the game here. Feel free to drop in your comments below. They update in real time.

- What is Andrew Bynum drinking? A pre-game shot shows him chugging a foaming red liquid from a water bottle.

- OKC tosses the ball to Durant for the first play.  He dribbles around for a few seconds before tossing up an awkward brick. Bad opening.

- Pau connects on a shot with so much arc the ball came down with snow on it.

- That red stuff is obviously working for Bynum, who connects on his first attempt.

- Durant botches an open layup. Let's hope that's a fumble and not a sign of the pressure getting to him.

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Saturday , Apr , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Garnett Fined $25K for ‘Michael f*cking Jordan’ Comment

Boston forward Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 Friday by the NBA for criticizing game officials and using inappropriate language.

Garnett made the comments after the Celtics lost a 109-104 decision to Oklahoma City in Boston. He referred to a free throw discrepancy, in which Boston was 13-of-17 for the game as a team while the Thunder's Kevin Durant was 15-of-15 alone and Oklahoma City had 34 overall.

"We were playing Michael (expletive) Jordan tonight, the way he was getting the whistle," Garnett said in a post-game news conference. "Durant damn near shot more free throws than our whole team. That's the game." 

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Tuesday , Mar , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant: I’ll Pitch OKC to Free Agents

Durant said he will try to sell Oklahoma City to interested players looking to join one of the league’s improving teams.

“I tell them it’s nice,’’ he said. “It depends on what kind of person it is, of course. Some guys like the big-city life and some guys like the small, rural area, too. It’s all about the person.

“I just tell them it’s a great place to play. We like each other. We like being here. We have a close-knit group and hopefully that attracts them, and if it doesn’t, we continue to work with what we have and we have faith in what we have here.’’

The Thunder are a bunch of young 20-somethings with talent and chemistry. Durant is the standout. Green is the dirty-work forward. Westbrook is the facilitator. Harden is the rookie relief off the bench. Nine of the team’s 15 players are 25 or younger and that fosters closeness, with Durant as the central figure. 
 
Is Serge Ibaka Oklahoma City Thunder’s next star?
Monday , Mar , 22 , 2010 Oly Sandor

Is Serge Ibaka Oklahoma City Thunder’s next star?

The Quick Hit: It’s easy to overlook Serge Ibaka.

After all, the Oklahoma City Thunder is loaded with young stars: Kevin Durant is becoming an elite player; recently Russell Westbrook has shown the skill-set of a top table-setter; Jeff Green, in typical Georgetown Hoya fashion, is tough as nails; and James Harden has the makings of a smart, efficient scorer.

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