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Thursday , Jun , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Stan Van Gundy to LeBron: Stop Crying About Media

‘No I can’t say that. Look I’m not the most empathetic person in the world anyway, but look first of all it’s sports. The thing that would make me feel bad for somebody was some personal issue. I’m not going to feel bad that you are struggling on a basketball court because you only get to within two wins of a championship. Come on there was nothing to feel sorry for. I got a little tired I’ll admit of the whole everybody hates us routine. I thought first of all it’s not true. Okay it’s the same as the Yankees type of thing. There’s just a lot of people interested, so there may be more people who dislike you. There are also more people that like you. There’s a great deal of interest. Second of all they brought it on…LeBron more than anybody. They brought all that scrutiny and attention on yourself. You went out seeking it then don’t cry in the face of it. That to me got to be a very tiresome story line.’”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Part of this is about LeBron James. Most of this is about Pat Riley.

Remember, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was once gainfully employed as head coach of the Miami Heat. Riley was his boss, mentor, and friend.

Riley then fired Stan Van Gundy, so he could take over behind the bench. The Heat won the 2006 championship. Stan and brother Jeff Van Gundy, a former head coach turned broadcaster, have been warring with Riley ever since.

In fact, the Van Gundys never pass on a chance to slam the Hall of Fame sideline boss.

Stan Van Gundy is right: the Heat, especially James, brought this on themselves. They hosted a celebration after signing the Three Kings. And James boldly predicted that the Heat would win multiple championships.

So James and the Heatles can’t complain. They set the bar exceptionally high. They failed to reach those expectations. Now fans, as Stan Van Gundy mentioned, are holding them accountable.

--Oly Sandor.


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Sunday , Jun , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Monta Ellis for Dwight Howard?

The Dwight Howard sweepstakes have begun. Golden State offered Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and Ekpe Udoh. Unlikely that'll get it done.

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

The Golden State Warriors and Orlando Magic can deny rumors they’re considering swapping Monta Ellis for Dwight Howard. The evidence suggests otherwise, though.

New Warriors owner Joe Lacob, when he bought the club, didn’t give Ellis a ringing endorsement. While GM Larry Riley would only admit the team isn’t shopping their combo guard.

Lacob and rookie coach Mark Jackson want to change the losing culture surrounding the club. Right or wrong, fair or not, they may trade Ellis to achieve this.

Meanwhile, Howard has refused to sign an extension with the Magic. He wants to exercise a player’s option next July and become a free agent.

Howard knows Magic GM Otis Smith can’t let this occur. Not for a second. Smith, contrary to what he publicly claims, can’t risk his franchise face walking and getting nothing back.

So the clock is ticking. Like the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz with Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams, Smith has to cut a deal.  

It’s no shock the Warriors and Magic have talked trade. Here’s the real question: what happens next?

--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.

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Friday , Jun , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Howard won’t sign extension with Magic, hoping for trade to Lakers?

While touring Italy, Dwight Howard told reporters, again, that he would not sign a contract extension with the Orlando Magic and planned to become a free agent after next season. Lakers, that's your cue. Lakers, do you need to have it dunked on your heads? Trade for Dwight Howard.

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Read between the lines.

Dwight Howard claims he wants to stay with the Orlando Magic. He won’t, however, ink a long-term extension with the club, preferring to become a free agent in two seasons.

Howard has an explanation for such a mixed-message: he feels a loyalty to the city, but wants to wait to see how management will improve the roster.

Sounds fair, right? Sounds reasonable, right? Well, wrong.

Howard knows what he’s doing. He knows GM Otis Smith, despite what he says, can’t let him hit free agency. He knows the Los Angeles Lakers are interested. And he knows he’s forcing the Magic’s hand.

Many think a trade between the Magic and Lakers would be imminent if it weren’t for the coming lockout. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement will alter the league’s financial landscape.

The new system could have a designated player tag, which would make it possible for the Magic to keep Howard beyond the two years left on his contract.

And the new system could include a hard cap, which would likely make it impossible for the Lakers to shed enough salary to add Howard.

With such uncertainty, the Magic and Lakers are staying put. They have to wait until the new CBA is settled. No matter what Howard says and actually wants.

--Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Jun , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Dwight Howard does Haka with All Blacks rugby team

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The New Zealand All Blacks are rugby royalty. Their signature ‘Haka’ dance strikes fear into the hearts of opposing teams.

Recently, Dwight Howard caught up with the All Blacks. And the outgoing center for the Orlando Magic decided to give the ‘Haka’ a try.

In my mind, he holds his own. Anyway, watch the video, form an opinion, and get at  HoopsVibe News with thoughts on Howard’s dance moves in the comment box below.


--Oly Sandor.  

Shaquille O’Neal: Greatest Center Ever
Friday , Jun , 03 , 2011 Paul Eide

Shaquille O’Neal: Greatest Center Ever

Fours year ago when Shaq’s production started to decline and he couldn’t stay healthy the “Shaq is done” and “he wasn’t that good” chatter began to commence amongst the haters. And in that four year period more and more people suddenly couldn’t wait to see him gone. People that once marveled at his size and power now used those same traits as a reason to discredit him.

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Saturday , May , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Tracy McGrady: ‘Bron is a star. MJ Best ever’

Tracy McGrady: 'Bron is a star!. Huge potential. MJ best ever.''

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Tracy McGrady knows about being a star with 'huge potential'.

Once upon a time, he was a terrific scorer for the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets; however, he failed to lead either team past the first round of the playoffs.

Now he’s past his prime. Injuries have taken its toll. And he’s a problem.

For instance, McGrady led a players’ revolt in Detroit last year. And the veteran laughed when Coach John Kuester was ejected. Thankfully, his career is winding down.

His call on James is accurate, though. Right now, he can’t touch Michael Jordan, the greatest player of all time. One day they may be in the same breath.

McGrady has had a mixed career, but this was one thing he got right.

--Oly Sandor.

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Word to Dwight Howard – Leave Orlando.
Wednesday , May , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Word to Dwight Howard – Leave Orlando.

Yes, you read that correctly. Right now, it is time to leave the Orlando Magic organization. I know Mickey Mouse and the Funky Bunch are hurting right now and this one will send them over the edge, but lettuce be cereal. The current roster is terrible. The team regressed after the 2009 Finals. No regrets, no remorse. General Otis Smith had plenty of time to build a quality roster. He actually did that yet somehow messed everything up.

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Tuesday , May , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Atlanta Hawks help Jameer Nelson ‘catch’ Derrick Rose

Not many are giving the Hawks much of a chance against Chicago in the second round, but they’re definitely the funnier of the two teams in the matchup. Their PR man, Arthur Triche, explains the Jameer Nelson diss via Twitter: “Things that make me happy about this job. Taking a page out of Jerry Glanville’s book, I think I’ll follow through on Jameer’s request to catch Derrick Rose in the 2nd round.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Congratulations to the Atlanta Hawks for handling Jameer Nelson.

They didn’t overreact or spout off when the diminutive point guard pulled a Babe Ruth and called his team’s shot by telling the Chicago Bulls to prepare for a second round match-up.

They simply outplayed the heavily favoured Orlando Magic, eliminating the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference in six games.

The Hawks would’ve been forgiven for boasting. After all, Nelson wasn’t the only doubter, as many expected Nelson, Dwight Howard, and the Magic to advance to the second round.

Clearly, they were wrong.

The Hawks exposed the Magic’s lack of a supporting cast, essentially turning the 2009 Eastern Conference champions into a one-player pony.

Even now they have little to say, though. The Hawks’ actions are speaking louder than their words. And leaving Nelson tickets for their second round duel with the Bulls is perfect.

What else is there to say?

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Magic to deal Howard this summer?

"I would expect a Dwight trade this summer or before the next season starts, from what I'm hearing. Rose likes his core because it's the core he has. He's not opposed to the Bulls improving it." (Ric Bucher, ESPN)

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Teams who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

So the Orlando Magic must give serious consideration to trading Dwight Howard or they risk losing another once-in-a-generation-center via free agency.

In the late nineties, Shaquille O’Neal, the Magic’s franchise face and the game’s most dominating player, left Orlando to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

As a Laker, he won three straight championships. The Magic were forced to start over.

Howard, a free agent next summer, is rumored to be looking at bigger markets. He’s been linked to those same Lakers. He’s also been linked to the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets.

The Magic were in the mix to keep their smiling superstar until they blinked this year and changed their roster mid-season with a pair of questionable trades.

Hedo Turkoglu has been decent; however, GM Otis Smith’s gamble on Gilbert Arenas has failed. The Hibachi is out of propane, struggling with shot knees, high expectations that come with a big-ticket contract, and low confidence.

Smith has failed to find Howard a co-star. So Howard, if he wants a championship, will likely find his own co-stars elsewhere.

Smith, despite his denials, will have to be open to a trade. Unless he wants to repeat the past and lose Howard for nothing as a free agent.

--Oly Sandor.

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Imagine Dwight Howard leaving the Orlando Magic
Monday , Apr , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Imagine Dwight Howard leaving the Orlando Magic

This is scary for the Orlando Magic organization. Some diehard Magic fans are already discussing this. Don’t write this off by saying, “No. He’s not going anywhere.” General manager Otis Smith has made bad moves leading the team to regress. This does not look good. The trade at the deadline was desperation, wasn’t it? I have to pull a John Lennon and try to imagine a scenario where Howard leaves. As I thought about it, the chances of this actually happening increased. Wow.

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Saturday , Apr , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Smith and Magic will say ‘No’ to offers for Howard

With Dwight Howard in the final year of his contract next season, Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith is fully prepared to receive a host of offers for the All Star center.

"To say it hasn't happened before is crazy, so, yes, I expect it to happen," Smith said Friday. "And the answer will be the same as it always is: No."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: To quote Nancy Reagan, Otis Smith will just say ‘No’.

Of course, the Orlando Magic GM won’t be turning down drugs, but trade offers for Dwight Howard, his franchise face and superstar five-man.

Smith has no choice but to say this. And he has no choice but to justify his ‘No’ with public declarations that Howard, who can become a free agent in July of 2012, will re-sign in Orlando.

This may or may not happen.

Howard may re-sign because he’s loyal. Or he’s comfortable. Or he likes having his own team. Or the new Collective Bargaining Agreement might have a franchise tag clause, which may mean he has to stay.

The opposite is also true. Howard, for any number of reasons, may leave.

He may desire a change of scenery; he may leave for a bigger market to maximize marketing opportunities; he may leave to join a fellow superstar or two and enhance his chances at winning a championship.

The last scenario would be on Smith. He has tendered several big ticket contracts and swung many blockbuster trades, but has failed to surround Howard with a legit co-superstar.

After all, Smith signed Rashard Lewis to a mammoth pact and then swapped him for Gilbert Arenas, who has a longer contract for more money.

Both players underperformed. Ditto for Vince Carter. Smith acquired ‘VC’ from the New Jersey Nets before sending him to the Phoenix Suns for Hedo Turkoglu –another expensive, underachieving player.

So Smith has backed himself into a corner. His fate, like the Magic’s, hinges on Howard re-signing.

--Oly Sandor.


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Tuesday , Mar , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Stan Van Gundy: ‘We don’t give a damn’ about New York, Miami, and ESPN

"With Miami at the beginning of the year and New York since the trade, it's like, because so many people are interested in what happens with LeBron (James), (Dwyane) Wade and (Chris) Bosh and now with Carmelo (Anthony), Amar'e (Stoudemire) and Chauncey (Billups) you guys think our overwhelming (concern) is 'what's happening with Miami and New York?' Quite honestly, we don't give a damn," Van Gundy said. "We don't. I don't care. We're just getting ready to play them.

Van Gundy clearly had an issue with the media's obsession with the Heat and Knicks. "It's not all Miami and New York," Van Gundy said. "I know to ESPN it is, but to the rest of us, we actually think some of the rest of the teams matter."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Sometimes it’s not what Coach Stan Van Gundy says, but how he says it.

Take last night’s tirade against the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, and ESPN. There was no need to bluntly state he doesn’t ‘care’ or give a ‘damn’ about two of the league’s high profile clubs and television partner.

Van Gundy could have instead said there are several strong teams in the NBA, including the Heat and Knicks. We worry about all of them.

This is essentially the same message. Except there’s no controversy.

Only Van Gundy can’t help himself. He loves headlines. He loves sound bites. He loves taking shots. Most importantly, he loves being the star of the show.

After all, no other coach, player, or league employee would have the stones to compare Commissioner Stern to the tyrants in North Africa and the Middle East.

The timing of such a statement was especially poor. Currently, that entire region is unstable and NATO is involved in a mission in Libya.

Clearly, Van Gundy missed ‘Media 101’. Or he doesn’t care. Either way, his act is tiresome. The Magic’s sideline boss better continue winning because he isn’t making friends.

--Oly Sandor

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Tuesday , Mar , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Howard for Anthony or Stoudemire?

It wouldn’t be shocking at all if the New York Knicks make a play for Dwight Howard next season, perhaps offering either Amare Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony at trade deadline.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Did you enjoy Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire battling Dwight Howard last night?

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the main characters in yesterday’s epic battle between the Knicks and Magic could switch places. Reports indicate the Magic would consider sending Howard to the Knicks for Anthony or Stoudemire.

A few thoughts:

1) The Howard rumors will continue to fly because he can opt-out of his contract at the end of 2012 and become an unrestricted free agent.

No matter how much Howard tries to defuse rumors, the feeling is he wants to bolt Orlando for a larger market. Like Los Angeles. Or New York.

The Magic have a dilemma. They could try re-signing Howard and risk having their top player as an unrestricted free agent without compensation.

(This would decimate the franchise. See the Cleveland Cavaliers. See the Toronto Raptors.)  

Or the Magic could concede that re-signing Howard would be tough in today’s era of super-teams and move him. Cutting their losses would bring back some assets.

(See the Denver Nuggets. See the Utah Jazz.)   

2) Anthony and Stoudemire are an awkward pairing. Their partnership doesn’t seem natural. Given time, things will improve. The supporting cast will be upgraded; a training camp together will make a difference.

Here’s the question for Knick fans: would Howard with Anthony or Stoudemire be superior to Anthony and Stoudemire?

3) The new Collective Bargaining Agreement to be negotiated between players and owners this summer could sideswipe all plans.

Small market owners may try to eliminate the super-team trend that’s permeating the NBA. They could gain the ability to keep star players by using an NFL-style franchise tag.

So the Magic could hang onto Howard –whether he likes it or not- by slapping him with the franchise player tag.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Mar , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nash and Hill to follow Carter out of Phoenix?

Suns coach Alvin Gentry inserted center Marcin Gortat and swingman Jared Dudley into the starting lineup, putting Gortat into the spot of Robin Lopez, who had been groomed as a future franchise center, and Dudley in place of guard Vince Carter, who likely won't be with the Suns next season.

Gortat, 27, has received minutes and produced the numbers as if he were a starter and embraces the idea of a bigger role in the future. Sunday was his first start as a Suns center after receiving one previous start at power forward alongside Lopez.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: How the mighty have fallen.

A decade ago, Vince Carter was supposedly the next Michael Jordan. ‘It was over’ when he won the Slam Dunk Contest with the Toronto Raptors. 

Five years ago, Carter was still a perennial All-Star with the New Jersey Nets, running the break and filling the lane alongside Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd.

Today, he lost his starting spot to Jared Dudley, a very solid but hardly spectacular player for the Phoenix Suns. Carter probably won’t return to the first-five this year.

His timing couldn’t be worse.

Carter’s $15 million per annum contract isn’t guaranteed for 2012, so expect the Suns to exercise the $4 million buyout, making him a not-so desirable free agent.

Heading into training camp, center Robin Lopez was an up-and-comer for the Suns. Coach Alvin Gentry even declared him the team’s second most important player behind Steve Nash.
 
Well, it hasn’t worked out.

Lopez has struggled with his game and emotions. He was recently replaced in the starting line-up by the active Marcin Gortat, who was acquired in the same mid-season trade that brought Carter to Phoenix from the Orlando Magic.

Like Carter, Lopez`s demotion isn’t a short-term thing. Gortat is the man in the middle. For now, and for the foreseeable future.

Change has hit Phoenix. Unfortunately, Carter may not be the only aging starter jettisoned out of Arizona.

Grant Hill and Nash are in their mid-to-late thirties. Unlike Carter, both can still play; however, Phoenix has to rebuild at some point.

And trading Nash and his considerable salary would provide much-needed relief for owner Robert Sarver’s limited resources.

The once mighty Carter and Lopez have fallen. Sadly, the still mighty Hill and Nash could also go this summer.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Mar , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq: Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard ’won’t dare play me one-on-one’

Shaquille O'Neal had a lot to say in a little time during a recent Q&A. Q: How much do you look forward to the opportunity to go up against guys like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum in the playoffs? A: Excuse me? Don't ask me a question like that. Q: But that's what people want to know. Those guys are playing so well and everyone wants to see if you can match up with them one-on-one. A: First of all, they won't dare play me one-on-one, even at the tender age of 39. And you know what? Playin' those teams, it ain't gonna be about the [center] matchup, so I don't really worry about that.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: His age doesn’t matter. Neither do his injuries. Shaquille O’Neal, never lacking in confidence, just called out the game’s best centers.

Why the confidence?

O’Neal, even at 39, thinks he can still hold his own against premier fives like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. For one game, he’s fine. In a seven game series, he probably doesn’t get embarrassed.

O’Neal’s wear-and-tear does show during the regular season. He gets nicked up. His lack of fitness and age becomes a problem.

Credit Boston Celtics Coach Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers for limiting O’Neal’s minutes, knowing his size and experience will be needed against, say, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum in the playoffs.

This brings us back to O’Neal comments. Consider the timing: He’s returning from injury and the playoffs are fast approaching.
 
Clearly, the veteran is anticipating a match-up against Howard’s Magic and Bynum’s Lakers. He’s playing the role of angry mentor, and once again trashing both to the media.

There’s a method to his madness. Spouting off to the press has provided O’Neal with a mental advantage in the past, especially when facing Howard.

But Bynum has no reason to take the bait. Not this time around, at least. He’s been brilliant since February’s All-Star game, helping the two-time defending champion Lakers regain their form.

So O’Neal still talks-the-talk. Can he still walk-the-walk on-court? We’ll find out come playoffs.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Mar , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Patrick Ewing thinks Dwight Howard is ‘MVP of the league’

Howard posts up, shoots 60 percent from the field, blocks 2.43 shots per game, pulls down 14.3 rebounds. Practically perfect, except for occasional problems -- aside from Wednesday night -- at the foul line. "The MVP of the league," said Ewing, the last dominant center around here and an Orlando assistant. "Everybody's talking about Derrick Rose, but they need to start putting Dwight there, too. Without him, who knows where we'd be?"

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Big men often have each other’s back. They have to, as they're part of the same fraternity nobody else gets or understands.

Perhaps Patrick Ewing, an Orlando Magic assistant coach and Hall of Fame center with the New York Knicks, is right. Perhaps Dwight Howard, a fellow center and the Magic's superstar, deserves greater consideration for Most Valuable Player.

Howard is averaging an impressive 24 points, 14 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per night. His Magic are fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 46-26 record, despite making a pair of blockbuster trades throughout the season.

There are a few things holding Howard back from winning MVP:

1) For several reasons, Howard gets overlooked. Orlando is one of the NBA’s smaller markets; big, superhero type centers often get taken for granted by MVP voters; dunks aside, Howard’s offensive game isn’t especially pretty or polished.

2) Sorry Ewing, but Derrick Rose is also having a terrific year. His numbers are on par with Howard, and his Chicago Bulls have won more games than the Magic.

Rose’s Bulls are playing together, having fun, and are the feel-good story of the league. Don’t overlook how this influences MVP voters.

3) Howard's biggest problem may be on his sideline. Coach Stan Van Gundy is a media hog. Instead of focusing on Howard’s accomplishments, reporters are anticipating Van Gundy’s next off-the-cuff comment.

Ewing had to stick up for Howard. He works with Howard and is a former member of the big man fraternity. That doesn’t means he’s right, though.

--Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Mar , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Suns running out of patience with Robin Lopez?

‘That’s probably been the biggest mystery for our team,’ coach Alvin Gentry said when asked why Lopez’s progression has stopped. ‘In actuality, we really thought that he would probably be the second-most-important guy on our team, especially if he took a big leap. I’m not real sure if it’s the injury or what, but he hasn’t been able to give us the consistent play that we thought we’d be able to get from him. We could use it. It’s something that has hurt us a bit. We haven’t really had much inside play. Gortat gives us some. Other than that, we’ve been pretty much resigned to the fact that we’re a perimeter team. That hurts you when you’re going to rely on jump shots night in and night out, even as good of a shooting team as we are.’”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Robin Lopez, for the most part, has been an enigma for the Phoenix Suns.

He has the skill-set to be a solid player; however, his emotions and lack of confidence continue to hold him back.

Coach Alvin Gentry’s recent comments show that the Suns are finally running out of patience. Fortunately, they have a solution on the roster in Marcin Gortat.

The Polish post, acquired from the Orlando Magic in exchange for Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson, does the things Lopez either can’t or won’t.

Gortat is active, physical, and productive. If this continues, he’ll replace Lopez in the Suns’ starting line-up.

And it can’t be soon enough. After all, the Suns, who sit at 10th in the Western Conference, are on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

So everybody must play their best. The Suns have no time for an enigma.

--Oly Sandor.


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Friday , Mar , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Avery Johnson ‘really confident’ Nets will re-sign Deron Williams

Johnson on Wednesday stood by a claim he made Tuesday on the radio that there is "no doubt" the team will be able to re-sign point guard Deron Williams when he becomes a free agent. "I have no doubt and I'm really, really confident that we'll be able to re-sign him,"

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: On the one hand, Coach Avery Johnson is right. The New Jersey Nets will have every opportunity to re-sign Deron Williams.

The Nets will soon cross the Hudson River into a shiny new stadium in Brooklyn, New York. Owner Mikhail Phrokorov, also known as Russia’s richest man, has no issue spending his rubbles on free agent talent. And there’s already Brook Lopez in the middle.

So New Jersey/Brooklyn is about to become a desirable location.

On the other hand, Williams wants to win. And he’ll have plenty of offers from other superstars in desirable locations.

For instance, the cross-town New York Knicks with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire may make a run at Williams. Down south, Dwight Howard’s Orlando Magic will have interest in D-Will.

While the Nets are strongly positioned to keep Williams, it’s far from a sure thing.

--Oly Sandor.

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