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Sunday , Jul , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Has Shaq burnt his bridges in Miami with Riley and D-Wade?

I can’t tell you how ugly it got in Shaq’s final weeks in South Florida. You can’t un-burn those types of bridges. Now, if the Heat was desperate for a man in the middle, it might have been a different story. But, clearly, Pat Riley sees plenty of workable non-Shaq options.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Sometimes, you can’t go home.

Shaquille O’Neal –the free agent Hall of Fame center – is learning this the hard way. The larger than life five-man burned his bridges with the Miami Heat halfway through the 2008 season, which led to him being traded to the Phoenix Suns.

On his way out the door, O’Neal insulted Heat coach and legend Pat Riley. There were also reports of a dispute with resident superstar Dwyane Wade.

So it’s no surprise ‘Riles’ went in a different direction this summer, signing four centers – Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire, and Dexter Pittman – not named O’Neal.

After all, Miami has enough leaders: Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Wade. They don’t need a fading veteran, O’Neal, who will demand first option touches, spotlight, and treatment.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Pat Riley and Derek Fisher meeting in Miami on Saturday

Lakers free agent point guard Derek Fisher has a meeting scheduled with Miami Heat president Pat Riley on Saturday, according to a source close to the situation.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call:  Does he join Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the upstart Miami Heat or does he re-sign with Kobe Bryant and the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers?

Yes, Derek Fisher has a dilemma.

However, negotiations between the veteran point guard and the Lakers are progressing because the club raised their initial offer of one-year at $2.5 million.

And Fisher, at 36 years of age, would be hesitant to uproot his young family from LA and bolt on the purple-and-gold.

Of course, Heat GM Pat Riley, also known as the walking oil slick in the front office, is on a roll with his ‘Three Kings’ line-up of Bosh, James, and Wade.

Seriously, it’s like ‘Riles’ has jumped in the Hot Tub Time Machine and turned back the clock to the mid-eighties when he was, coincidentally, the famous coach of the purple-and-gold.

So what would seem a courtesy meeting between Riley and Fisher on Saturday could easily become something more.

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Tuesday , Jul , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaquille O’Neal would be ‘The Big Problem’ with Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have offered Shaquille O'Neal a two-year contract that starts at $5.8 million per season, according to NBA sources close to both the team and the player.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Is The Big Aristotle about to become The Big ATL?

Reports indicate Shaquille O'Neal is considering the Hawks' multi-year deal; however, it remains to be seen if this would be a fit for both player and team.

Shaq is desperate for another NBA Title. Unfortunately, good but not great Atlanta is hardly the spot for him to taste championship glory for the fifth time in his illustrious career.

Even if the Hawks signed the massive post, they wouldn't be better than the past two Eastern Conference champions: the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic. And they'd struggle with the Cleveland Cavaliers -provided Lebron James does the expected and re-signs later this week.

Meanwhile, Atlanta needs bench help, and not an aging five-man who spends a minimum of twenty games per season on the bench rocking designer suits.

When O'Neal is fit, he would demand minutes and touches, which would likely alienate a young, talented, and temperamental frontline of Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Marvin Williams.

However, the biggest potential issue would be with rookie coach Larry Drew because O'Neal has clashed with almost every sideline boss he ever had.

For instance, after leaving the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, he publicly slammed Phil Jackson and Pat Riley -both of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

This brings us back to Drew. The former back-up point guard is a career assistant, who got the head gig in Atlanta for one reason: he was cheap.  

So Drew has less credibility than former Phoenix Suns head coach Terry Porter, who O'Neal sabotaged, undercut, and compromised before he was replaced at mid-season by Alvin Gentry.

What would happen when Drew tells O'Neal to lose weight or defend the pick-and-roll?

Simply put, he can't. Frankly, Drew lacks the pedigree to truly hold O'Neal accountable. And this would surely become a problem for an impressionable team.

On the surface, this partnership sounds nice. Both O'Neal and Atlanta should take a pass, though. It's for the best.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Who has the better plan: Knicks’ 3 Star Plan, Nets’ Blueprint, Miami’s Super Team, or Chicago’s Business?
Friday , Jul , 02 , 2010 J.N.

Who has the better plan: Knicks’ 3 Star Plan, Nets’ Blueprint, Miami’s Super Team, or Chicago’s Business?

The sales pitch has got to be one of the toughest things to put together for any marketing team. It is one of those things that science alone cannot help them. The only way science can help is in producing the right numbers – the sweet science of money. There’s another science as well and that is the science of reproduction. Sex parties are the cure, but then again who wants herpes? That doesn’t cope well with these big name free agents doing public appearances. Even Delonte West gets clowned on and supposedly it’s just a birth mark.

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Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Game-Seven Prediction: Lakers 95, Celtics 88.

The Lakers have the best player, but Boston's depth of big-time playmakers will prevail in a game like this. I count eight Celtics -- the four current or former All-Stars in their starting lineup, plus Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson’s and little-used Michael Finley, a three-point shooter with the potential to become this game's Steve Kerr -- who have it in them to make the big shot. The absence of Kendrick Perkins may create more offense for the Celtics, and they'll make up for his rebounding with a team effort led by Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Anticipate nothing less than a tightly wound classic played to a tempo that suits Boston.

Click here for Ian Thomsen's official game seven prediction and more analysis from the CNNSI crew.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:
The Boston Celtics are deserving of respect.

Consider their road to the NBA Finals. First, they took out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat -despite some questionable tactics from Kevin Garnett. They made the Cleveland Cavaliers – the NBA’s best team in the regular season – implode, which, unfortunately, gave us an extra month of The LeBron Watch. They then coolly took out the Orlando Magic, the reigning Eastern Conference champions, in six games.

This was a most improbable run for a club that was supposedly dead, gone, and over at mid-season. Clearly, they saved their best for last, though.

The green-and-white have now pushed the defending champion and heavily favoured Lakers to the limit. The secret to Boston’s success: inspired team play on the defensive end.

Look at the NBA Finals: they’ve mostly contained Ron Artest and Lamar Odom; they’ve battled superstar Pau Gasol; and they’ve made the immortal Kobe Bryant look surprisingly mortal.

Doc Rivers’ crew is an all-time great defensive team. They can hang with any of Phil Jackson’s Chicago teams that had notable defenders like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman. And they hold their own against Detroit’s Bad Boys and any of Pat Riley’s squads in Los Angeles or New York.

Offensively, somebody different carries the load each night. For instance, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo have all had moments.

Of course, reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson – also known as Shrek and Donkey - won game four of the NBA Finals. And the defending Sprite Slam Dunk Champion went off in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, too.

That said, the Lakers have the edge in the decisive game-seven. Here’s why:

1) Home-court matters: The purple-and-gold is a different team at home. They’re confident. They’re nasty. And they’re arrogant.     

2) No Perk’: The Celtics will miss Kendrick Perkins. They lack the size to win the paint, and contain Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

3) Kobe Bryant: He’s the best player on either team. He’s the best player in the NBA. And he understands tonight is a legacy game.

Bryant – if he wants to be considered an all-time great – can’t afford a loss. After all, five championships are far better than four. And two losses to the arch rival Celtics in the NBA Finals would be devastating.

Expect Bryant to drop a Jordan-like effort. And HoopsVibe News expects the Lakers to win.

Prediction for game-seven of the 2010 NBA Finals: Lakers 95, Boston 88.

Got thoughts? What is your prediction for game-seven of the NBA Finals?  

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Thursday , Jun , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Tom Izzo scare LeBron James from Cleveland?

Tom Izzo is apparently closer to saying yes to the Cleveland Cavaliers than previously thought, a source told ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Thursday.

That source discussed Izzo's future with a close confidant of Izzo, who is coaching in the NBA. The source told Katz that Izzo, who talked to his team earlier this week about his interest in the Cavaliers, is leaning toward taking the job if it is offered.

"Three weeks ago that wasn't the case, but it has changed,'' said the source.

Izzo is meeting with Cleveland to discuss the team's coaching vacancy on Thursday.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Right now, Tom Izzo is wrong for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Izzo is a great college coach. In time, he may defy the NCAA-to-pro curse and develop into a great NBA coach. With LeBron James' pending free agency, now isn't appropriate for the Cavaliers to gamble on a sideline boss who has never coached an NBA game.

Imagine James' position on July 1st when he hits free agency. Think of his choices on the bench: the New York Knicks have former Coach of the Year and Team USA assistant Mike D'Antoni; the New Jersey Nets just landed former Coach of the Year Avery Johnson; the Miami Heat - if need be - will bring Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley out of the executive suite; the Chicago Bulls recently hired defensive guru Tom Thibodeau; and the L.A. Clippers will even let James pick his coach and GM.

With these options available, why would James re-sign with Cleveland and a green Izzo? These two aren't buddies like James and University of Kentucky coach John Calipari. And Izzo, while talented, isn't Duke's Mike Krzyzkewski.

King James wants to win now. A rookie NBA coach, even one with Izzo's resume at Michigan State, may be just enough for him to leave the Cavaliers and sign elsewhere.

Will Izzo scare away LeBron? 

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Wednesday , May , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Joe Johnson Expresses Interest in Miami Heat

But amid his struggles during the series, Johnson said he would take a look at all of his options this summer, including partnering with Wade.

Not only did Johnson say he wouldn't mind shifting to a secondary role on a team with an established superstar, he also would change positions.

``That's a great situation -- you have to look at it,'' Johnson told The Miami Herald while discussing his options. ``I'm not saying I'll go play with him or him. But being a free agent, you pay attention to everybody's salary cap, what everybody can do.''

No team is set up to in better position for bolder moves than Miami, the only team in the league with an elite player in tow and the flexibility to add as many as two marquee free agents to max contracts.

With plans to re-sign Wade and with at least $25 million in salary-cap space, Miami vows to be aggressive when free agency opens July 1.

``Most of the players in this league know what Miami is about,'' Heat president Pat Riley said.
 
Riley to Return to the Bench
Wednesday , May , 05 , 2010 Christopher Sells

Riley to Return to the Bench

Pat Riley is returning to coach the Miami Heat as they attempt to regain their status as one of the Eastern Conference's elite franchises.

OK, not officially. Or even reportedly. But we all know this is coming, right? Current Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is probably packing up his office as we speak because he knows the writing is on the wall. He's seen Riley pull this stunt before and the current situation reeks of familiarity and deceit and frontrunning. And hair gel. 

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Tuesday , May , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Pat Riley to Michael Beasley: You’re OK, but You Need to Be Better

Riley said he told Beasley during his exit interview, ``You're doing OK. OK isn't good enough for me or for you. So let's figure out how to get past OK.'' Beasley said, ``OK.''

Asked if Beasley could play mostly small forward if the team's personnel dictates that, Riley said ``his comfort zone'' is power forward. ``That's the most logical place for him to be, but his game is expanding.''

Riley said ``ever since Michael was drafted, he seems to be the most maligned player in the NBA. He takes things so seriously because he reads and hears on a regular basis how bad he is. That's just the way it is. I said, `Get used to it in this league.' If you want to be the best of the best, you better get used to having a very tough skin.''
 

 

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Friday , Apr , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jermaine O’Neal: I Want to Play for a Contender

“We have a great owner, Mr. Arison, and a great organization,” O’Neal said. “Coach Riley, we have a great relationship. And you kind of let the business take care of itself.

“You don’t try to worry too much about it. I’m at a position in my career where I feel healthy again. I just want to have an opportunity to play for that champagne and that ring, whether that’s here in Miami or somewhere else. I don’t know.”

The rub is that O’Neal considers himself a valuable asset, someone who still expects to get paid.

“I knew coming into this year, it was about being healthy,” he said. “That was something that I wanted to do, to play over 70 games and I was able to do that. I had fun again. I had a lot of fun. 

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Monday , Apr , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

‘Zo, Paul Pierce: Dwyane Wade Is Staying in Miami

"Follow your heart, man," said Alonzo Mourning, longtime center for the Heat. "I know that his heart is here. Follow your heart, and everything else will take care of itself. You can just trust that [president] Pat Riley and [owner] Micky Arison because of the position we are in and the flexibility we have. I think we have the most attractive situation for a free agent. You got to trust and know that Pat is not going to sit around and wait. He's going to build a contender here. I think [Wade] knows that."
 
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Paul Pierce, Boston's captain, has spent his entire career with one franchise, like Wade, and doesn't see him going anywhere else.

"He understands what he has here," Pierce said.

"It is tough to leave a place where you won a championship, where it all started for you. I think he really values that. He's definitely made this his home. It's going to be tough for him to leave. Even though he is carrying the team night in and night out and doesn't have the supporting cast anymore to be a contender, it's really going to be tough for him to leave because of the foundation he's built here so far. I think he's going to be here for a very long time."