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Sunday , Nov , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq: Pat Riley and I nearly fought in Miami

I start taking a couple of steps towards Pat. Udonis Haslem steps in and I shove him out of the way. Then Zo tries to grab me. I threw him aside like he was a rag doll.Now it's me and Riley face-to-face, jaw to jaw. I'm poking him in the chest and he keeps slapping my finger away and it's getting nasty. Noisy, too. He's yelling "F--- you!" and I'm yelling back, "No, f--- you!" Zo is trying to calm us both down and he has this kind of singsong panic in his voice. He keeps saying, "Big fella, no big fella, big fella!" I finally turn around and tell him, "Don't worry. I'm not going to hit the man. Do you think I'm crazy?"


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Shaquille O’Neal’s tell-all tour continues. No player, coach, man, or woman will be spared.

The future Hall of Fame center has a spill-the-beans book coming out, so he and his people have leaked excerpts to create a buzz.

Like O’Neal’s World Wars with Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. Like O`Neal`s take on LeBron James ignoring Coach Mike Brown in Cleveland. Like O`Neal`s lack of a relationship with iconic center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The latest: O’Neal nearly fought Pat Riley, also known as the oil slick, during practice with Miami. Of course, O’Neal says he was heroically sticking up for teammate Jason Williams.

This may or may not be true. There’s no disputing O’Neal has had problems with coaches.

There was the fallout with Riley. There were problems with Phil Jackson, another all-time great on the sideline. And he undermined Terry Porter in Phoenix.

So before blaming others, O’Neal should perhaps look inward first. This, however, is unlikely.

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

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Saturday , Oct , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Phil Jackson to Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose needs Help

"...They still have to have some steady shooters from the outside to complement the penetration they have, and then (Carlos) Boozer has to have that post-up game that he was brought there to give them. They just can't be one-dimensional in that regard. They have to have those complementary pieces to assist Rose in his game."


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Phil Jackson retired last May. His mouth missed the memo.

The Zen-Master appeared on a Chicago-area radio show and declared that Bulls star and 2011 MVP Derrick Rose needed help.

It's common knowledge Rose's supporting cast must improve, especially at two-guard. The Zen-Master couldn't resist antagonizing, provoking, and causing controversy by saying that the Bulls should hang a 'Help Wanted' sign outside the stadium.

Here's the question: why would Jackson stir the pot?

Well, Jackson could be flexing his muscles. As the most successful coach in NBA history, he feels it's his duty to comment on all things NBA.

Remember, Jackson won six championships in The Windy City, so he has a connection to the team and city.

Perhaps he's keeping his name in the headlines in order to land one final coaching job before he really retires.

Chicago is unlikely. New York -with Carmelo Anthony, Amar's Stoudemire, and maybe Chris Paul - is a possibility.

One thing we do know: Jackson always has an agenda.


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



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Saturday , Oct , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: Kwame Brown was scared of the ball

So we go back to the timeout and I’m [upset], right? He goes, ‘I was wide open.’ ‘Yeah, I know.’ This is how I’m talking to him, like, during the game. I said, ‘You’re going to be open again, Kwame, because Rasheed is just totally ignoring you.’ He said, ‘Well, if I’m open don’t throw it to me.’ I was like, ‘Huh?’ He said, ‘Don’t throw it to me.’ I said, ‘Why not?’ He said, well, ‘I’m nervous. If I catch it and they foul me, I won’t make the free throws.’ I said, ‘Hell no!’ “I go to Phil [Jackson], I say, ‘Hey Phil, take him out of the game.’ He’s like, ‘Nah, let him figure it out.’ So, we lose the game, I go the locker room, I’m steaming.  


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Has a top pick ever been such a punching bag?

Remember, Michael Jordan and Doug Collins selected Kwame Brown first overall with the Washington Wizards and quickly shattered his confidence.

Before bouncing around the league, Brown surfaced with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant, from the sound of things, was shocked by Brown’s issues.

After all, the prep-to-pro post had all the physical tools: a strong physique, height, strength, and a wingspan.

Something was missing between the ears, though. For instance, who says don’t pass me the ball if I am open?

A professional, even a blue-collar specialist, should want the ball when to keep opposing defenses honest.

It’s no surprise the Lakers took off once they traded Brown, dropped Smush Parker, and upgraded their supporting cast.


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Saturday , Sep , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mike Brown wants less Kobe, more Bynum and Gasol?

And whether you want to read a lot or a little into it, note this: When talking about the contrasting offensive styles Brown will show from Cleveland to here, the new Lakers’ coach summarized the coming Lakers offense as feeding Gasol and Bynum inside, not being the Kobe show.

“This team is completely different from what I had in Cleveland,” Brown said. “In Cleveland, I had a guy who liked to come off the top of the floor, liked to play in space and play pick-and-roll and make plays for others. Here, I’ve got two guys similar to what we had in San Antonio; you’re able to throw them the ball on the block.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Can a new coach and his new philosophy create new results for the Los Angeles Lakers when the NBA season begins?

It’s been a few months since Phil Jackson, the Hall of Fame coach and undisputed master of all things Zen, was replaced with Brown as sideline boss by the Lakers.

Brown, it seems, isn’t scared to shake things up, and wants to utilize his super-sized front-court.

Translation: less Kobe Bryant, more Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

However, it’s not known how Bryant, the club’s reigning top dog and Alpha Male, will feel about sharing his lofty perch with Bynum and Gasol.

Bynum is attached to Jim Buss, the controversial son of long-time owner Jerry Buss. Many feel the younger Bynum to leave his imprint on the Lakers.

And Gasol’s meltdown in last year’s playoff shocked the mortgage industry, prompted a twitter tirade from Snopp Dogg, and led to a physical confrontation of sorts with Jackson.

So Bryant may or may not buy-in. One thing is certain: the Lakers will be different.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Thursday , Sep , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Garnett: ‘I was pretty close’ to joining Kobe and Lakers

“I was pretty close, to be honest….Kob[e Bryant] and Phil [Jackson] at the time were at each other pretty bad. The situation was full of uncertainty. It wasn’t something I wanted to get into… It was my choice not to go to the Lakers.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Apparently, Kevin Garnett nearly joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007.

The Big Ticket instead picked the Boston Celtics because he was concerned about the uncertainty of Kobe Bryant’s relationship with former coach Phil Jackson.

Garnett joined the storied green-and-white, beat those same Lakers he passed in 2008 to win a championship, and then lost a championship in 2010 to Kobe and company.

Suppose Garnett did join the purple-and-gold. There are a few points worth considering:

If healthy, Garnett would have teamed with Andrew Bynum to create an absolute fortress in the middle. The Staples Centre would have been on lock-down.

It’s reasonable to assume Garnett would have won at least one championship, as he’s Pau Gasol’s equal.

Bryant and Garnett would have been the most intense and competitive duo in league history. They would have straight bullied teams.

However, it was not to be. Garnett made his decision to join the Celtics, which re-ignited the club's rivalry with the Lakers.  

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Aug , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe and Laker players help victims of Jim Buss’ purge

Kobe Bryant insisted on giving some of the team's playoff bonus to two members of the Lakers' video department whose contracts were not renewed after the season. Chris Bodaken and Patrick O'Keefe split about $65,000 of the Lakers' playoff bonus.

Bodaken started with the Lakers as a ball boy in 1986 and spent the last 10 seasons as their director of video services. O'Keefe was the Lakers' video coordinator for six seasons.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The owner’s son can learn from the superstar.

Kobe Bryant led teammates in donating part of of their playoff bonus to two Laker employees who had been let go by Jim Buss because of the lockout.

The Lakers are highly profitable, and have made the Buss clan a fortune. They didn’t need to pink-slip anybody when it became clear owners and players wouldn’t agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But Jim Buss saw an opportunity, laying off 20 employees, many of whom he perceived as loyal to former Coach Phil Jackson. So he’s using the current labour strife to settle a personal beef with The Zen-Master.

At least, the players showed class. Once again, Laker-nation should be troubled and disturbed by Jim Buss.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , Aug , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Andrew Bynum on Dwight Howard trade rumors: ‘I like L.A.’

Q: How have you endured speculation you'll be traded, or replaced next year by free agent Dwight Howard?

A: It's good to know everybody wants me; that means I'll be in this game for some time. I like L.A., and don't want to go anywhere else. It'd be good to stay in one place your whole career, and the Lakers are the most storied franchise in the league, everyone knows who the Lakers are, and I appreciate the Lakers' love.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Of course, he likes Los Angeles and wants to stay.

Andrew Bynum finally responded to rumours he’ll be traded to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard by stating he wants to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Why wouldn’t he want to stay?

The Lakers are the NBA’s ultimate have-franchise. Their market-size, wealthy owner, and desirable location means they’ll compete year-in, year-out.

Translation: in Los Angeles, Bynum contends, has a terrific supporting cast, gets invited to famous parties, and is linked to desirable singers.

(To be fair, Orlando is also a have-franchise. Like the NBA’s 29 other franchises, it can’t compete with the lure, hype, and glamour of Los Angeles.)

Bynum knows this. He’s also knows the reason he’ll likely stay in Los Angeles long-term is because of the internal politics of Laker-nation.

Bynum is Jim Buss’ guy. Jim Buss, the owner’s son and head of the Lakers, claims to have drafted and groomed Bynum.

And Jim Buss’ has hedged what little reputation he has as a basketball executive to Bynum’s success on-court. So Bynum will be given every opportunity with the Lakers.

For instance, Jim Buss forced coach Phil Jackson to leave, despite the Zen’s stellar record, and hired the defensive-minded Mike Brown.

Brown immediately promoted Bynum to co-superstar status, putting him - right or wrong, fair or not - on equal footing with Hall of Fame guard Kobe Bryant.

Bottom line: Bynum’s protected with the Lakers. How can the Magic possibly compete?

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , Aug , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Phil Jackson to coach New York Knicks?

The first was undoubtedly whether Phil Jackson, on hand to usher his former long-time assistant Tex Winter and Rodman into the Class of 2011, will unretire in the future and return to the NBA sidelines to coach again. Maybe for the Knicks in 2012.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Will Phil Jackson ride off into the sunset at his ranch in the Mid West? Or, will the most successful coach in NBA history un-retire and  take a seat on the New York Knicks’ bench?

Jackson didn’t close the door on a return to coaching at the NBA’s Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. Instead, he left the door open ever-so slightly.

Remember, Jackson won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, which included a run of three and two consecutive championships.

Before that he won six championships with the Chicago Bulls, which included two separate runs of three consecutive championships.

Bottom line: Jackson’s a winner. So the Knicks should do everything possible to woo him out of retirement, or sabbatical, and onto the hallowed floor of Madison Square Gardens.

After all, Jackson played for some great Knick squads. His ego is grand enough that he’d handle, or even welcome, the bright lights, center stage, and headlines of Broadway. 

Of course, the Knicks have the money to easily meet P-Jax’s demand of an eight-figure annual salary to work his magic on Carmelo Anthony and Amar‘e Stoudemire.

Sounds perfect, right?

Well, here’s the problem: Knick owner James Dolan likes control. He’ll be reluctant to hire a free-thinking, counter-culturist like Jackson, who has the pedigree to say what he thinks without worrying about consequences.

Now Jackson, at 66, won’t want to deal with the Knicks’ meddling owner. For instance, he knows Executive Donnie Walsh left because he grew tired of Dolan.

Then again Dolan has hired high-profile coaches and general managers: Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas. And Jackson has dealt with the soap opera in Laker-land known as the Buss clan.

So it’s possible. We’re talking about it too, which is exactly what Jackson, retired or not, wants. 

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Phil Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan on all-time scoring list

But not many believed him, including Phil Jackson. When I asked the former Lakers coach last season which player Bryant wants to pass on the scoring list the most, Jackson replied without hesitation, "Michael Jordan."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Pandora’s Box known as Kobe vs. Mike is once again open, courtesy of their former coach Phil Jackson.

'Zen-Master' Phil told the L.A. Times last season that Kobe Bryant, of the Lakers, desperately wants to pass Michael Jordan, the Hall of Fame guard with the Chicago Bulls, on the league's all-time scoring list.

Bryant's reason for setting this goal is obvious: he wants his legacy to be greater than Jordan's.

Forget the all-time scoring list. One statistic proves Bryant can never top Jordan. The 'Black Mamba' has lost twice in the NBA Finals, while 'His Airness' was a perfect 6-0 in the championship series.

When the chips were on-the-line, when it mattered most, nobody was greater than Jordan. This is beyond dispute and outweighs the all-time scoring list. 

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Jul , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Bynum’s ego a problem for Lakers?

His conscience is paralyzed. His sense of entitlement is blinding. So, no, actually, I wasn't surprised to see this week's photos of Andrew Bynum leaving his convertible sitting across two handicapped parking spaces while he shopped at an upscale grocery store in Westchester.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Andrew Bynum’s ego a problem for the Los Angeles Lakers?

Well, some think so. Today, Bill Plaschke, a veteran writer with the L.A. Times, alleges that Bynum parking in a handicap spot isn’t a temporary lapse of judgement.

Plaschke thinks Bynum ‘suffers from a disability of maturity’. He reports that this isn’t the first time the seven-footer has been caught in a handicap spot. He also calls him out for delaying surgery to accommodate a trip to South Africa and rehabbing injuries at the Playboy Mansion.

As an outsider, it’s hard to get a read on the Lakers. They’re fractured by power politics, internal dissent, personal agendas, and media bias.

The recent Bynum backlash is no different. Some see him as an ally of Jim Buss, the club’s new lead executive and son of owner Jerry Buss.

Right now, Jim Buss isn’t popular. He gets the blame for pushing out Coach Phil Jackson, hiring his replacement in Mike Brown, and alienating superstar Kobe Bryant.

Bynum, right or wrong, fair or not, is vulnerable due to his relationship with Jim Buss.

Plaschke, however, provides an objective view into the complex world of Laker-nation. He’s been with the L.A. Times for years. He’s won numerous awards. He’s a regular contributor to ESPN. And, while we're at it, he volunteers with Big Brothers.

Plaschke’s criticism seems reasonable. Bynum has been given much by the Lakers -perhaps too much. And he has yet to fulfill expectations on-and-off court.

Now is as good a time as any to start. Bynum is a 23-year old man. Perhaps he should act like it.  

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , Jul , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Did Brian Shaw deserve better from Jim Buss and Lakers?

“I wasn’t really told anything,” said Shaw, who had the public backing of players Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, among others, to take over for Jackson. “Unfortunately, I found about not getting the job and who was hired for the job on ESPN. I didn’t really talk to anyone for about three weeks after that.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not that he was passed over to replace Phil Jackson as head coach. And it’s not that his contract as an assistant coach wasn’t renewed.

It’s how the Los Angeles Lakers passed over and decided against renewing Brian Shaw, who won five championships in twelve seasons with the NBA’s glamour club.

Shaw discovered his fate from the media -while watching ESPN. No courtesy call.  No email. No facebook poke. No myspace message.

Nothing at all; in fact, Shaw didn't hear from the purple-and-gold for three weeks after the Brown hiring.

To review: last month, the Lakers hired Mike Brown, a former Coach of the Year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, to take over for Zen-Master Phil.

Fair enough.

Management/ownership felt the need to switch things up after the team’s mixed regular season and disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs.

Management/ownership also felt Brown should get to pick his assistant coaches. Brown, for any number of reasons, decided against keeping Shaw.

Again, fair enough.

There is, however, no justification for not telling Shaw in a timely manner. This reflects on one person: Jim Buss.

The owner’s son always had personal issues with Jackson and his allies within the organization –which includes Jim Buss’ own sister Jeanie, Shaw, and even superstar Kobe Bryant.

Of course, Jim Buss is now running the Lakers and wants to put his stamp on things. So Shaw –Jackson's loyal right hand and Robert Duvall like consigliore – was mistreated due to personal politics.

Such pettiness is never good. And such pettiness reflects on the sad-state of the Lakers. Perhaps there's reason to worry in Hollywood.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Wednesday , Jul , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Is Kobe more arrogant than LeBron?

“Kobe is super arrogant but everybody loves him. To me, Kobe is more arrogant (than LeBron James).”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: You got to love today’s NBA.

Only in this era could a third stringer win a championship and feel he has the ‘juice’ to call out an all-time great.

Isn’t that right Ian Mahinmi?

The Frenchman, who played behind Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood on the 2011 world champion Dallas Mavericks, recently declared that Kobe Bryant is the most arrogant player in the NBA.

Forget LeBron. Forget D-Wade. Forget the Three Kings. Forget Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. According to Mahinmi, it’s Kobe.

This is hardly a surprise. Bryant is supremely confident. Always has been, too.

He was this way when plying his craft as a prep-to-pro star at Lower Merion in Philadelphia.

He was this way when Del Harris sat him as a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers.

And he was this way when jostling with Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson for lead dog status with the champion Lakers.

Confidence, or arrogance, has made Bryant who he is. He won’t change, either.

Something that has changed: a part-time player on a championship squad calling out a once-in-a-generation superstar.

Scott Hastings never said a thing about Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, or Magic Johnson when his Detroit Pistons won back-to-back titles. Same with Eric Riley when the Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks in the 1994 finals. And Sean Marks was silent when the San Antonio Spurs captured the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2006.

Even Josh Powell, a reserve with the glamorous L.A. Lakers, knew to stay silent when the purple-and-gold were champions in 2009 and 2010.

They knew their role. They knew their place. Mahinmi does not.

To be fair, Mahinmi had a slightly greater impact than the above players, serving as an energy reserve for Rick Carlisle and the Mavs’.

Still, Mahinmi should stay silent. Right now, he, not Bryant, looks arrogant.   

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , Jun , 19 , 2011 Anderson Johns

Rumor: Pau Gasol for Kevin Love?

The topic of Pau Gasol and the Minnesota Timberwolves was discussed last week based on the word of ESPN's Chad Ford that the Wolves had interest in the Los Angeles Laker All-Star forward/center. Further research revealed that the Wolves do indeed have interest in Gasol, notably because of his relationship with guard Ricky Rubio. Link
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: From the toast of Hollywood to potentially plying his trade in Minnesota.Oh, how the mighty Pau Gasol has fallen. Last year, the Spanish post was integral to the Los Angeles Lakers winning consecutive championships. This year, it went south: his play faltered; he got the Bobby Knight treatment from former coach Phil Jackson: Laker-nation turned on him; he broke up with his girl; teammate Shannon Brown had to deny reports about getting between Gasol and his girl. Not surprisingly, the Lakers lost in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. And Gasol seems primed for a change of scenery. But Minnesota? Sure, they'd have young pieces in Mike Beasley and Ricky Rubio. And sure, Gasol would mentor Rubio, who he knows from the Spanish national team. The Timberwolves are a mess. It starts from the top. Owner Glen Taylor has no class. Lead executive David Kahn routinely shoots his mouth off. For example, these two have left coach Kurt Rambis hanging for months. They haven’t fired him. They haven't endorsed him, either. They instead made him hand in ‘homework’. Yes, Rambis, who won several championships as a player and assistant coach, must submit a report on improving the team, and then Taylor and Kahn will decide his future. Good organizations don't do this. They don't degrade. They treat people, all people, with respect -even a below average head coach like Rambis. Last year was bad for Gasol. Things would be worse in Minnesota, though.
--Oly Sandor. Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Sunday , Jun , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers could learn from classy Brian Shaw

"It's a little strange, going from 11 years and five championships to essentially being out on the street," Shaw said in a phone interview Friday. "But I can feel good knowing that I did everything possible to represent the Laker organization as well as I could."

A loyal employee even to this strange end, Shaw would not comment on any details of his Lakers situation. He said he had been avoiding media interviews until I phoned him, and was reluctant to speak in anything but general terms. "I have always held the Lakers in high standing, and I'm not going to change that now," he said.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: After 11 years as a player and assistant coach, Brian Shaw won’t be returning to the Los Angeles Lakers.

That’s what he’s heard through the media, at least.  

The Lakers’ front office still hasn’t contacted Shaw to inform him he won’t be their next head coach. They instead gave the job to Mike Brown, the former sideline boss with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Let's be clear: passing over Shaw isn't the issue. Treating him this way is. The Buss clan, who own the NBA’s glamour franchise, must be more professional.

In today’s interconnected world, they have to talk with Shaw (after all, he was one of three final candidates to be their next bench-boss). Any platform would have worked: email, Facebook, Friendster, Skype, text message.

It’s hard not to think this was personal. Remember, Shaw was aligned with legendary coach Phil Jackson, who often clashed with the front office and is dating the owner’s daughter.

Shaw deserves credit for taking the high road. He avoided bashing the organization, and thanked them.

Bottom line: Shaw showed class. Buss and the Lakers could learn from him.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Be real – 2011 Kobe’s Lakers are in trouble even with Mike Brown.
Sunday , May , 29 , 2011 J.N.

Be real – 2011 Kobe’s Lakers are in trouble even with Mike Brown.

Laker haters unite! This is your time. Hate hate hate hate! Did anyone peep Sugar Shane Mosley’s wife during the Pacquiao fight? Johnny Gill’s song was all I heard in my mind “My My My You sure look good tonight.” She sure was. Her name is Bella Gonzalez. She was screaming passionately at Sugar Shane to fight. I know Laker fans were screaming at the Lakers to fight just like her. Oy dios mios! I still haven’t gotten over the sight of her. Wow!

Read More
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Thursday , May , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron gives Thumbs Up to Lakers hiring Mike Brown

"I think the Lakers got them a great coach.” “Mike Brown was a great coach,” James said. “He gave us success that we hadn’t had before in that city. And it started with his defensive concepts. He brought in a defensive mind set that we didn’t have.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This is the ultimate co-sign.

LeBron James, perhaps the NBA’s top player, endorsed the Los Angeles Lakers hiring Mike Brown to replace Phil Jackson on the sideline.

The Lakers passed over in-house candidates and long-time assistants Chuck Person and Brian Shaw to hire Brown.

But James is right: the Lakers got a great one in Brown. These two were together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and combined forces to get the club to the NBA Finals.

Most importantly, the former Coach of the Year is what the purple-and-gold need. Here`s why:

First, Brown made his bones as a defensive coach. He learned under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs, and refined his get-stops philosophy as the head man with the Cavaliers.

Last year, the Lakers got lazy. They stopped defending. Brown will hold them accountable in their own end.

Second, Brown has a track record for succeeding with superstars. Again, he clicked with James, so he should be able to get the most out of Kobe Bryant.

No two players are the same. And no two superstars are the same. However, precedence is on Brown`s side.

Third, a change was necessary. The Lakers had grown stale and needed a new voice from outside the organization.

The players would have been too comfortable with Shaw, which is perhaps why they were lobbying management to hire him.

Now the hard part begins. Expectations in Laker-land will be huge.

Brown is up to it, though. Just ask LeBron.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , May , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mavericks complete sweep, what’s next for Kobe, Pau, and Lakers?

Jason Terry (32 points) nails nine 3-pointers and his teammates add 11 more as the Mavericks advance to the conference finals with a 122-86 thumping of the Lakers.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Kings are dead. The Kings are dead. Fourth quarter cheap shots aside, they went out with a whimper. Not a bang.

The Dallas Mavericks blew out the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the Western Conference semi-finals, sweeping the two-time defending champions out of the playoffs.

And it wasn’t close. The Mavericks won by 36 points. Team Cuban has to be favoured to emerge from the west.

Back to the soap opera known as the Lakers. This is supposedly Phil Jackson’s final game on the sideline. The Zen-Master is done, and he’ll retreat to his ranch in Montana, cabin in Belize, house boat in Alaska, or some other remote location for 'introspection'.

What about Pau Gasol? The Spanish post has been taking criticism from fans, TMZ, and, worst of all, the infamous and notorious Snoop Dogg. Something has to give.

There are questions about Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, and the Lakers’ bench. Andrew Bynum may be dangled as trade bait to land a certain post from the Orlando Magic, who is set to be a free agent in 2012.

Either way, changes are coming. Only Kobe Bryant is safe.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant wants Brian Shaw to replace Phil Jackson

Bryant told Yahoo! Sports on Friday that he and his teammates will endorse the longtime Lakers assistant as Jackson’s replacement. Shaw is in his sixth full season on Jackson’s coaching staff after serving as an assistant to Frank Hamblen during the second half of the 2004-05 season.

“I feel all of the players believe in coach B-Shaw,” Bryant said the Lakers’ Friday morning shootaround. “We have such a rapport with him. He’s been with us for such a long time. We all have a bit of a bias towards him.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is ‘P-Jax’ done? Is ‘B-Shaw’ sliding down a seat to the big chair on the Staples Centre bench?

After years of speculation and gossip, it appears Phil Jackson’s Zen has run its course with the Los Angeles Lakers. This will be his final year guiding the NBA’s glamour franchise.

Yes, he’s said this for years. And yes, Jackson continually cries wolf on retirement, spouting off to the media only to return for more money.

This time seems different, though. The players are speaking up about having Brian Shaw replace their Hall of Fame sideline boss.

Kobe Bryant and company know Shaw. He’s a former Laker. And currently sits as an assistant on Jackson’s staff.

Would Shaw want the gig, though?

Best case scenario: he wins an NBA championship and is doing what Jackson has always done. Worst case scenario: the Lakers’ run ends and Shaw becomes the scapegoat.

There’s little upside to replacing a legend. However, the NBA only has thirty head coaching jobs, so it may be now or never for Shaw.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Thursday , Mar , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Coach Krzyzewski not interested in coaching Kobe and Lakers?

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he’s not interested in the Lakers job, which will become available if Phil Jackson stays true to his promise to retire at season’s end.

"I've never thought of ever leaving Duke for another school but there were three serious times where I almost left to go to the pros," Krzyzewski said. "One was when Dave Gavitt took over the Celtics [in 1990], another was with the Trailblazers [in 1994] and the one that I took to a really far level was the Lakers situation. They were great with me. I just could not give up what I've done and gotten at Duke. It just wasn't worth it."

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Surprisingly, what Kobe Bryant wants, he doesn’t always get.

In 2004, the Los Angeles Lakers offered Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski the keys to the Staples Center. ‘Coach K’ said no, though, turning down a reported five-year, $40 million pact.

Seven years later, history, it seems, is repeating itself. Once again, Krzyzewski has no interest in jumping to the pro ranks with the Lakers –if Coach Phil Jackson actually retires at season’s end.

Why the interest in Krzyzewski?

Well, he is the greatest college coach ever. The Blue Devils, love them or hate them, have had terrific success because of their coach.

Any questions about Krzyzewski's ability to handle pros was put to rest at the 2008 Olympics and 2010 FIBA World Championships. He easily handled the NBA’s biggest names and egos at Beijing, and led a less established squad to glory at Turkey. 

Most importantly, Bryant, the Lakers’ top dog, wants Krzyzewski. Bryant went from high school to the NBA, but would have gone to Duke if he attended college.

Even as a teenager, Bryant felt a connection with Krzyzewski. He respected his work ethic, passion, and dedication to being the best. That respect only grew with their time at USA Basketball.

Give Krzyzewski his due. Getting paid a brinks truck of money to coach the world’s glamour franchise and player isn’t enough to compromise his happiness and leave Duke.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Nov , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

‘Van Gundy situation’ shows Jackson toying with Heat and Magic

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy took exception to Phil Jackson's recent comments about Pat Riley returning to coach the Heat.
"Phil has no idea what the Van Gundy situation was because, even though he coaches in our league, he certainly had no insight or knowledge of that," Van Gundy said.

"So an analogy he'd make to my situation would be totally useless because he doesn't have any clue what the situation was in that case."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He killed two birds with one stone.

Phil Jackson, the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, believes Miami Heat executive Pat Riley will soon replace Erik Spoelstra behind the bench -just like he did with Stan Van Gundy a few years ago.

This is classic Zen-Master.

Jackson is known for mind games. He’s clearly toying with Spoelstra, Riley, and the Heat, as well as Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic.

After all, the Lakers are two-time defending champions. The Heat, though struggling, is expected to contend. The Magic were 2009 Eastern Conference champions.

So Jackson is trying to get a rise out of the competition. Publicly, the Heat had no response, while Van Gundy, as usual, was only too happy to tee off via the media.

Today, Jackson scored a small win. However, the real battle will come next spring during the 2011 playoffs.

--Oly Sandor.

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