phoenix-suns
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Saturday , Sep , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e Stoudemire wanted Steve Nash not ‘selfish’ Kobe

“The question ownership asked to me was, ‘Who do I want – Jason Kidd, Steve Nash or Kobe Bryant?’ I said Steve. Over Kobe. At the time, Kobe had a reputation for being selfish and Steve was the ultimate point guard. I felt like that’s what we needed. We had Joe Johnson and Shawn Marion. We just didn’t have a PG to control tempo. Kidd was banged up after microfracture (knee surgery).”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Point guards are important, but damn.

In a recent interview, Amar’e Stoudemire claimed he told the Phoenix Suns to sign pass-first table-setter Steve Nash instead of the world’s best player in Kobe Bryant.

Yes, Nash not Kobe. After all, Kobe had a ‘reputation for being selfish’.

Let me disclose my bias: I’m a huge Kid Canada fan. He’s a two-time MVP, a Hall of Fame playmaker (yeah, I went there), and a terrific person. Oh, and those vitamin spots are pretty funny, too

He has limitations, though. While willing to mix it up in his own end, Nash’s size hinders his ability to defend. And his offensive numbers are inflated by the Suns’ run-and-gun system.

Whatever your view on Nash, he isn’t Kobe Bryant. It’s not close. It’s not debateable. Black Mamba is the premier player in the NBA, winning consecutive championships for a career total of five Larry O’Brien trophies.

Sure, Nash’s passing makes those around him better; however, Bryant’s competitiveness and work ethic forces teammates to ratchet up their production. Call it peer pressure for the millionaire baller.

For instance, Luke Walton recently mentioned he was rehabbing his many injuries at the Lakers’ practice facility. Guess what player is first to show every morning at 7am? That’s right: Kobe.        

Now Bryant could have scaled things back this summer or simply hung a ‘gone fishing sign’ until training camp. No coach, executive, journalist, or fan would have said a word.

Of course, he didn’t go on vacation. Instead of slacking, Bryant is punching the clock and working harder than, perhaps, any player in the league. Such single-mindedness is Bryant’s trademark.

To be fair, Bryant probably wouldn’t have turned his back on the Lakers and signed with the Suns. It doesn’t change that Stoudemire’s analysis was, and still is, wrong.    

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Thursday , Sep , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e Stoudemire on leaving Phoenix: ‘I wanted an NBA deal’

Managing Partner Robert Sarver offered him a five-year, $96.6 million contract with $56 million guaranteed and the rest kicking in if Stoudemire logged significant minutes in the third and fourth years.

"The greater goal was to have a sense of security. I didn't want a football deal (with some or all of the money non-guaranteed). I want a NBA deal. That's what I ended up getting."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: His thriftiness will finally benefit the Phoenix Suns.

For years, owner Robert Sarver hasn’t invested in his team. Initially, he had alligator arms, but recently his banking and real estate empire was hit by the financial downturn.

Bottom line: the Suns patriarch let Joe Johnson leave because he didn’t want to pay him market value and first round draft picks were given away because he wouldn’t fork out for rookie contracts.

Such an approach has hurt. Johnson is an excellent player, who righted the morbid Atlanta Hawks. The draft picks have materialized into established pro Rudy Fernandez and star Rajon Rondo.  

But Sarver was right not to break the bank for Amar’e Stoudemire, though. Sure, STAT is an athletic freak and perennial All-Star.

Still, $100 million is too much for a forward who treats defense like a contagious disease and has a history of injuries. A partially guaranteed contract made sense -even if the pogo-stick post left for the New York Knicks. 

The jury is out on Stoudemire’s replacements, though. Channing Frye is talented, but inconsistent; Turkoglu, while skilled, had a sub par 2010 with Toronto; and Warrick has never fulfilled his potential.

Sarver and the front office are thinking Turkoglu and Warrick will improve because of Steve Nash and the Suns’ up-tempo system. They’re also hoping Frye produces more regularly.   

This trio of forwards may or may not work out. However, the Suns believe they’re less of a risk than overpaying Stoudemire.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , Aug , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Can Denver’s new GM fix Carmelo Anthony quagmire?

The Nuggets are expected to sit down with Carmelo Anthony soon after they hire a new general manager. The Denver Post reports that the team is likely to name a new general manager next week, with former Suns executive David Griffin the leading candidate.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The franchise-face wants out and the franchise doesn’t have a GM.
 
No wonder the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors have hit such heights that the Denver Nuggets’ 2010-11 season could be compromised.

After all, there’s no GM to play the father figure to Anthony and reassure him. There’s no GM to sell him on the club’s future. There's nobody in the lead executive chair.

This won’t be easy for a new GM to walk into to. Say, for instance, the Nuggets hire David Griffin, the former executive with the Phoenix Suns. He’ll have to instantly build enough of a relationship with Anthony that he’ll re-sign or try for equal value in a trade.

Neither task is easy. One way or another, Anthony seems set on the New York Knicks. And teams never get equal value when trading a superstar, especially when that superstar can walk the following summer as a free agent.

So a new, high-profile GM won’t necessarily solve the Nuggets' quagmire with Anthony. In fact, things may just come to a head.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Tuesday , Aug , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Leandro Barbosa on leaving Phoenix: ‘I asked for a trade’

Yeah, I knew I was going to get traded. I asked for a trade after the season. I told Phoenix I wanted to play in a better situation for me, which I think I have in Toronto. I didn’t get that chance to play a lot in Phoenix, so I wanted to go to a different team. The first team that came was Toronto, and I have a good relationship with Bryan Colangelo, so everything worked out.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: A change should do him good.

After winning The Sixth Man of the Year award in 2006-07, Leandro Barbosa's career stalled with the Phoenix Suns. His play was inconsistent because of injuries. And Jared Dudley emerged in 2010, taking the minutes Barbosa typically got.

So he quietly requested a trade. And Toronto came calling.

If healthy, the Brazilian speedster should get plenty of minutes, shots, and touches north of the border with the Raptors. His positive outlook will be much appreciated in a market that has taken plenty of hits.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Fans forget how Shaq Diesel used to be dominant.
Wednesday , Aug , 04 , 2010 J.N.

Fans forget how Shaq Diesel used to be dominant.

A recent Shaquille O’Neal rumor has him close to signing a deal with the Boston Celtics to go on another adventure of ring chasing. It’s sad to see the old man like this chasing these things when he already has four. He is also a shell of his former self. The new generation of fans will probably only remember Shaq within the past 4 years. The long time fans barely remember O’Neal during his Orlando Magic days. Please don’t forget – Shaq was the most physically dominant center in the last 30 years.

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Monday , Aug , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Bosh, Colangelo, and Turkoglu should shut up and take the high road

“People have to realize something is wrong with that organization and nobody wants to go there anymore,” he said in a phone interview from Turkey. “It’s not just the players who see this.”

Bryan Colangelo recently accused Chris Bosh of quitting on the team during the second half of the 09-10 season.

"It’s funny that people will talk behind your back,” Turkoglu said of Colangelo. “If he was feeling this way, why not have the guts to say it during the season? Why not say it to Chris? Now that Chris has left, it’s not nice to say those things.

“Chris has been a franchise player and he did a lot of good things for the Raptors. I don’t think Chris is the type of player to quit on his teammates.

“I just don’t understand why you would say these things,” he added. “Like I said, that organization has problems.”

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They've all moved on, so it's time for the high road.

This spring and summer, Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo and former players Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu have exchanged words through the media.

If you're keeping track, here's a recap:

After seven years in Toronto, Bosh signs as a free agent with Miami. The way he leaves, tweeting constantly and smiling on television, alienates Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the wealthy holding company that owns the Raptors.  

Colangelo unofficially suspends Turkoglu at the end of last season for unprofessional behaviour. Turkoglu requests and receives an off-season trade to Phoenix.
 
End of story, right? Wrong.

In late July, Colangelo tells the Fan 590 radio station that Bosh 'checked-out' on the Raptors after the All-Star game. Bosh responds angrily. Turkoglu slams Colangelo and the organization.

Got all that?

The above saga resembles a junior high tiff between tweenie Twilight fans, and not the inner workings of a professional sports organization or professional athletes.

The key word is professional. Professionals don’t initiate nonsense. Professionals don’t get caught up in nonsense. Professionals are busy with their jobs.

Perhaps Bosh, Colangelo, and Turkoglu should just remember the ancient law of Omerta, where to quote super agent Arie Gold 'silence is golden`.

All involved may not be familiar with The Godfather or Entourage, so we'll try another route. They should remember the saying: 'if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all'.

Their mud slinging has made a bad situation worse. Thankfully, Colangelo now gets this and had little response to Turkoglu's recent comment.
 
"I still consider hedo a friend in this business and wish him well again in Phoenix, " he said.
 
Unfortunately, the damage is done. All three have taken a hit.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Thursday , Jul , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Eddie House’s job with Miami: more than catch, shoot, pound chest

Eddie House's agent says the veteran guard has agreed to terms on a $2.8 million, two-year contract with the Miami Heat. Agent Mark Bartelstein said Thursday that the second year is a player option.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Catch. Shoot. Pound chest.

This will be Eddie House's official job description with the Miami Heat in 2011. And for his ability as a sharpshooter, for his ability to punish opposing defenses that double-team the Three Kings, House will earn in excess of a million dollars.

However, the journeyman also brings certain intangibles.

In 07 Seconds Or Less - the best seller by CNNSI's Jack McCallum that covers the Phoenix Suns' 2006 season - House was universally loved by teammates and coaches. Same thing with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks. 

Once again, the Heat did well with the House signing. He'll do more than 'catch, shoot, and pound chest'. He'll provide some much needed moments of laughter and entertainment.

This will be his unofficial job description.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , Jul , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jalen Rose on Mike D’Antoni: ‘he was determined not to play me … HATER’

I didn't leave the NBA washed or banged up..Mike D'anPHONY didn't let me contribute my last year..he was determined not me play me..HATER. 

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Gee, ever wonder why Jalen Rose hasn’t made it big as an analyst?

After retiring from the NBA, Rose was seen as the next big thing in the broadcast booth. Many were predicting he’d give TNT stars Charles Barkley and/or Kenny Smith a run on the mic`.

Well, they were wrong.

While Rose hasn’t flopped, his second career hasn’t gone as planned, either. Currently, he’s a secondary analyst for ESPN, and calling a former coach - who happens to ply his trade in the league’s biggest market – a ‘HATER’ won’t help.

Oh yeah, let the record show Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns went 61-21 in 2006-07, which was Rose’s final season in the NBA.

--Oly Sandor.

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

 

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Thursday , Jul , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Don`t Believe Hype: Shaq and Knicks flirting, but not serious

The Knicks have reportedly discussed a sign-and-trade with the Cavs for free agent Shaquille O'Neal.

Reports, however, have O'Neal headed to Atlanta for Marvin Williams. A Knicks source said, "I don't think it would work with us on all kinds of levels."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Big Diesel in The Big Apple would be The Big Disaster.

Simply put, Shaquille O’Neal isn’t right for the New York Knicks. And the New York Knicks aren’t right for Shaquille O’Neal.

Both sides can flirt with each other in the media. These antics are self-serving. Player and team are manipulating the headlines for their own purposes.

After all, Shaq wants to play for a contender. Well, the Knicks – after losing out on Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade in free agency – will struggle to make the playoffs in 2010.

Shaq no longer has the Phoenix Suns’ outstanding trainers to keep his weight down and body spry. At 38, girth-filled, and injury prone, he’d struggle in Coach Mike D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less system.

While not disastrous, the O’Neal-Amar’e Stoudemire pairing in Phoenix had challenges. If absolutely necessary, these two could play together.
 
It’s not something even the Knicks would choose to do -although they may be just crazy enough to rehire Isiah Thomas as GM, so who really knows what James Dolan and his lackies are capable of?

Well, why the rumors? 

Shaq is hoping the New York buzz prompts a competitive squad like the Atlanta Hawks and/or San Antonio Spurs to reconsider his services down the middle.
  
The Knicks, of course, must appear busy. They must appear to be doing everything possible to improve in hopes of distracting the masses from their failed attempts to sign Bosh, James, and Wade. In this respect, the publicity O’Neal generates can be useful.

So the rumors serve a purpose. Provided they don’t become reality.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at us in the comment box below.
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Monday , Jul , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Toronto sending Hedo Turkoglu to Phoenix for Leandro Barbosa?

The Suns would send seven-year veteran guard Leandro Barbosa and late-season addition Dwayne Jones to Toronto for Turkoglu, a 6-foot-10 forward from Turkey with versatile skills to shoot from long range and be a playmaker.

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HoopVibe’s Very Quick Call: It would be a mutually beneficial trade.

Simply put, the Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns must pull the trigger and make the Hedo Turkoglu for Leandro Barbosa rumor a reality.

After all, Turkoglu was a disaster for Toronto. The prize of last summer’s free agent class arrived at training camp with a belly and attitude. He never got fit – partly because he spent a sufficient amount of time enjoying the city’s nightlife - and promptly requested a trade.

Worst of all, he has four years and $40 million remaining on his contract. Staying with the Raptors isn’t an option. Fans and media would eat him alive.

Enter the Phoenix Suns and Leandro Barbosa.

If healthy, the Brazilian blur would provide Toronto with offense either as a starting shooting guard or off-the-bench. He’s quick, exciting, and likeable. Fans and media would instantly take to him.

The money would make sense, too. The Raptors would escape from under Turkoglu’s big ticket and only be responsible for the remaining two years and $15 million on Barbosa’s deal.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a one-sided affair.

Phoenix has always had interest in Turkoglu –dating back to his run with those glamour teams in Sacramento. His scoring and basketball IQ would fit Seven Seconds Or Less perfectly.

Turkoglu, a laid back individual, would be happier in Arizona. Frankly, the point forward underestimated the intense glare of Toronto’s five daily newspapers, talk radio shows, and fan base.

So Raptors GM Bryant Colangelo and Suns owner Robert Sarver must make this happen.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Jul , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Steve Blake or Derek Fisher?

Steve Blake has agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers, according to a report from John Canzanao.

According to FanHouse, the deal is worth $16 million over four seasons.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It shouldn't be one or the other, but it is.
 
Word is the Los Angeles Lakers have signed Steve Blake to replace longtime favourite Derek Fisher at point guard.
 
Blake is a solid addition. He's smart, can stretch defenses with his range, and rarely gets beat off the dribble. The classic table-setter has a mean streak, too: legend has it he smashed a chair and brawled with teammates at an infamous Trail Blazer's practice in December of 2007, which helped save Portland's season.
 
So Blake fits. Just not at the expense of Fisher.
 
Sure, 'D-Fish' has weaknesses. The veteran struggles with the grind of the regular season and can't keep point guards in front of him on defense.
 
However, experience matters. Fisher won game four of the 2010 NBA Finals with 16 points in the second half. His 22 points kept the purple-and-gold in game five of the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns, setting up Ron Artest to play hero with his last second put-back.
 
Numbers and statistics don't do him justice, though. His greatest strength is leadership. After all, Fisher smoothed over the tension between Coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. And he mentors younger teammates.
 
There's no way to measure his contribution. Unfortunately, the Lakers are doing exactly that, and management is stuck on one number: Fisher's 2010 salary.
 
They'll have Fisher back for 2011, but only if he takes a 50% pay cut on his $5 million per year salary.
 
Coming off a championship, this is a no-no. In fact, it's an insult. And Fisher - a proud person - will interpret it as such.
 
This is unfortunate. The Lakers would best be served with Blake and Fisher, not Blake instead of Fisher.
 
-- Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts?  Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.   
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Friday , Jul , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shame on Robert Sarver: Suns wrong to replace Amar’e Stoudemire with Hakim Warrick

The Suns have agreed to terms on a four-year, $18 million deal with free agent forward Hakim Warrick, sources tell Marc Spears of Yahoo!

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It's never been a mutually beneficial relationship.
 
For years, the citizens of Phoenix have backed their basketball team with unbridled passion. The Suns enjoy terrific fan support -regardless of the economy.
 
When things are good, fans fill the arena. When things are bad, fans fill the arena.
 
NBA basketball is recession proof in Phoenix because people have bought-in; long ago they made an emotional investment in the team that clearly trumps their financial investment.
 
Can Suns owner Robert Sarver say the same?
 
Sarver - who purchased the team in 2004 from a group of partners led by Arizona sports legend Jerry Colangelo - too often puts the business of basketball first. 
 
Sure, he looks like a fan, waving his giant foam hand from his court side seats or making a spectacle of himself by leaping off a trampoline to dunk a basketball at halftime. 
 
Looks can deceive.
 
Sarver would rather cut cost than win. For instance, superstar Joe Johnson was practically driven to the airport when he left the Suns for the Hawks as a free agent.
 
Then he forced management to trade promising youngsters like Rudy Fernandez and Rajon Rondo because he didn't want to pay their rookie salaries.
 
Of course, this was before the economic meltdown -the one that crippled Sarver's banking and real estate holdings.
 
This summer Sarver's penny-pinching has risen to another level.
 
First, Steve Kerr, who was finally coming into his own as GM, fled for the broadcast booth because the frugal owner stubbornly demanded he take a pay cut.
 
Second, Amar'e Stoudemire - the butter to Steve Nash's bread and primary scorer in Seven Seconds Or Less - has been nickel-and-dimed in contract negotiations. 
 
Sure, Stoudemire has flaws. He treasts defense like a contagious disease and has a Charles Barkley sized opinion of himself. However, the flashy post is perfect for Phoenix, and vice-versa.
 
Yet, here he is, on the verge of signing with Mike D'Antoni - another Sarver cast off - and the New York Knicks.
 
Third, Sarver genuinely believes he can replace Stoudemire with journeyman Hakim Warrick. This is delusional -like Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
 
Warrick is a decent player. He may even post career best numbers with Nash. Channing Frye looks to be returning. And Robin Lopez will continue developing. None can compensate for Stoudemire, though.
 
The Suns must do better to replace their four-man. The team that qualified for the Western Conference Finals deserves better. And fans deserve better, too.
 
Don't bet on it, though. Winning isn't the priority.
 
When opening night rolls around this fall, America West Arena will be sold out - as per usual. And Sarver will be sitting in his front row seats - as per usual.
 
Nothing will have changed. And the owner won't be deserving of such loyalty and support from the thousands filling his stadium.
 
-- Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at us in the comment box below.
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Monday , Jun , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Knick fans accept Johnson and Stoudemire instead of Bosh and James?

Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni are seeking to arrange a meeting with Atlanta free agent Joe Johnson in Los Angeles Wednesday at midnight -- or 9 p.m. California time -- before flying to Ohio for the LeBron James' pow-wow. Even crazier, the Knicks are trying to fit in Amare' Stoudemire that evening, too, in either LA or Phoenix.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Not for a New York second.

Joe Johnson and Amar’e Stoudemire won’t satisfy hungry Knick fans who are thirsting for free agents Chris Bosh and LeBron James to turn Madison Square Garden into a contender starting in October of 2010.

Consider Knick-nation’s plight: former prodigal son Stephon Marbury imploded before their very eyes; GM and coach Isiah Thomas shamed the organization with his dysfunctional ways and irresponsible spending; and for too long owner James Dolan did nothing, content to count his profits.

Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni were hired to turn things around, but - instead of immediately competing for the playoffs – they purged the roster of big ticket salaries, so they could sign James and other free agents this summer.

That decision was made years ago. And the Knicks have intentionally tanked it ever since.

Management got fans to buy-in by selling hope, specifically the hope that they’d ink James – one of the game’s greatest stars – to a multi-year contract.

Cap space alone won’t secure James’ services. The King wants to win, and rumour has it he likes the Chicago Bulls’ supporting cast of point guard Derrick Rose and big Joakim Noah better than the Knicks’ depleted roster.

Bosh, who also wants to win now, has allegedly decided to follow the two-time MVP and serve as his co-star in The Windy City.

Walsh isn’t stupid. He sees how the free agent dominoes are aligning. He gets that the club will likely have to settle for Johnson and Stoudemire.

This won’t cut it in New York, where some of the NBA’s most educated fans reside. After all, Johnson and Stoudemire are good, but Bosh and James are great.

Unless Walsh and D’Antoni deliver great this July, fans will wonder why they suffered through the pain, torture, and punishment.

Got thoughts?

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Wednesday , Jun , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

No surprise Kobe Bryant wants Raja Bell on Lakers

Kobe Bryant has become a strong advocate for Bell, a former nemesis. After missing most of the season with surgery to repair ligaments in his non-shooting wrist, Bell is still expected to be a coveted bench player among contending teams.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: No surprise here.

Sure, Kobe Bryant and Raja Bell engaged in a bloody war when the Los Angeles Lakers met the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 Western Conference Quarter-Finals. And sure, they exchanged elbows on-court and insults off-court.

However, these two squashed their beef following that memorable playoff. Bryant and Bell use the same agency, so their paths were bound to cross and when it did they discovered they liked each other.

And Bell would be perfect for the purple-and-gold. He can defend. He can knock down three-pointers. And his intensity would ensure complacency does set in.

Best of all, Bell would make the Lakers’ nasty defense nastier. He could come off the bench to form a terrific stopper unit with Ron Artest, Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom.

Expect these former foes to continue their new found friendship as teammates. And the strong, the two-time world champion Lakers, will be even stronger in 2011.

Got thoughts on Bell and Bryant joining forces? 

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Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Steve Kerr’s departure hurt Suns’ chances of re-signing Amar’e Stoudemire?

"Steve Kerr says he won't return as general manager of the Phoenix Suns despite building a team that made a surprising run to the Western Conference finals.

Kerr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the decision was solely his and not the result of any disagreements with owner Robert Sarver. He said he is "exploring a couple of possibilities" to return to television work."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Publicly, Steve Kerr is saying the right things. Privately, the former sharpshooter was probably concerned owner Robert Sarver wouldn't dig into his pockets to re-sign posts Amar'e Stoudemire and Channing Frye.

After all, Sarver is about business. Always has been. He was the one who felt Joe Johnson wasn't worth a big ticket. And he was the one who instructed management to trade Rajon Rondo and Rudy Fernandez because he didn't want to pay their rookie salaries.

Of course, that was before The Great Recession hit. And make no mistake about it, Sarver's real estate and bank holdings were certainly hit by the economic downturn.

Now Sarver - a guy who loves the publicity and headlines - is likely in charge of negotiations with superstar free agent Stoudemire. Unlike teammate Steve Nash, STAT won't give the Suns a significant hometown discount. And Frye, even in this buyer's market, deserves a raise.      

Much is at stake in Phoenix. And the wrong guy, Sarver, will be making the key decisions.

Got thoughts on this?

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Monday , Jun , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Timing terrible for Colangelo and Raptors to unload Calderon, Jack, and Turkoglu

Meanwhile, the Raptors are not just sitting around. Rather, Colangelo is shopping Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon, and Jarrett Jack with an eye toward making trades before July 1. The same source told me that a Turkoglu trade was already in the works and could happen by the draft.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call ... Bryan Colangelo, the Toronto Raptors' GM, has a unique skill: he admits mistakes and takes action.
 
The two-time Executive of the Year doesn't bother with should have, could have, or would have; he simply cuts his losses and moves on.
 
This management philosophy has worked before. While working as the Phoenix Suns' head suit, Colangelo quickly realized Stephon Marbury was a time bomb and traded the troubled guard and his max' contract to the New York Knicks for cap space. He then used that cap space to sign Steve Nash and Seven Seconds Or Less was born.
 
Other times this approach has been a wash. A couple of years ago, Colangelo acquired Jermaine O'Neal. However, it soon became evident the former All-Star wasn't regaining his past form, so O'Neal was dealt to Miami for Shawn Marion, who was mediocre in a half season in Toronto.
 
There are other examples, but you get the idea. Colangelo doesn't waste time when things sour.
 
Well, this summer he doesn't have a moment to waste. Literally. Reports indicate the Raptors are looking to get several mistakes off their books at once.   
 
This is the closest Colangelo will come to admitting his vision for the Raptors was flawed and has failed. How else should fans interpret the news he wants to part with Jose Calderon, Jarrett Jack, and Hedo Turkoglu?
 
Weren't these the GM's guys? Weren't these the players to turn Toronto into an Eastern Conference contender? 
 
Calderon was Colangelo's pick to start at point guard. The organization overlooked his defensive limitations and fragile body, signing him to a five year, $45 million pact.
 
When Calderon couldn't handle the load, Colangelo signed Jack, the competitive combo guard to a five year, $20 million contract. 
 
Of course, his biggest blunder was Turkoglu. Months after leading the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals, the Turkish swing was handed a five year, $53 million package by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the wealthy holding company that owns the Raptors.
 
Turkoglu's year in The Big Smoke was a disaster. He arrived at training camp looking like a Euro' version of Oliver Miller, played poorly all year, and was more interested in clubbing than basketball. Then he demanded a trade.
 
Clearly, Colangelo must put in work. Only his timing couldn't be worse.
 
After all, the era of big ticket contracts is gone. In this economy few teams can afford to trade for eight figure problems. And the ones that can are hoarding cap space to sign free agents.
 
And this is also the summer of 2010. The organization is supposed to be consumed with one thing: Chris Bosh's highly publicized free agency.
 
Colangelo has to bring back his franchise face or score the best possible package in a sign-and-trade. Either option won't be easy. And either option will affect Toronto for years to come.
 
Yet, he's instead investing considerable time and energy on cleaning up his mistakes: Calderon, Jack, and Turkoglu.
 
Colangelo must right things this summer. Or the powers that be within MLSE will, perhaps, consider his hiring a mistake.
 
Got thoughts on Colangelo and the Raptors? 
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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Sun isn’t brighter on the other side: Amar’e Stoudemire must stay in Phoenix

 

"I've established great relationships around town," Stoudemire said. "My family is now pretty much from here because all my kids were born and are being raised here. It'd be great to remain a Phoenix Sun for my whole career.

"That's my ultimate goal. And then to win a championship with the team. But we've just got to make sure that we can try to get that done sooner than later because we want to capitalize on the opportunity. We did a great job this season but we definitely want to have a better season and go further the next few years."

"My loyalty is here with the Phoenix Suns," he said. "Once free agency starts and teams are offering me X amount of dollars, then I would definitely say, 'You know what, Phoenix? These guys are offering this much. So if you guys want to step up to the plate, we can hit a home run.' If not, then I could settle for an inside-the-park home run. Just as long as I make it home."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He gets it. Finally.
 
Amar'e Stoudemire seems to understand he'll find no better fit than with the Suns. In Phoenix, he has Steve Nash tossing him bounce-pass dimes off pick-and-rolls. In Phoenix, he doesn't have to be particularly troubled with defense. And in Phoenix, he is loved like a tier-one superstar.
 
Everything would change - and not necessarily for the better - if Stoudemire left as a free agent this summer. There'd be no Nash. He'd have to stop treating defense like a contagious disease. And there'd likely be less spotlight and more criticism.
 
So the pogo stick power forward is right to consider giving Phoenix and their financially stretched owner, Robert Sarver, a slight hometown discount.
 
After all, the Sun isn't brighter on the other side -even if another team offers Stoudemire more green in the form of a max' contract.
 
Should Amar'e stay or leave Phoenix?   
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Tuesday , Jun , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lamar gone MIA? How the Lakers find Odom

These have been forgettable games for Lamar Odom, a sixth man gone asunder in the most important series of the season.

The Lakers aren't playing Phoenix any longer, as Odom could definitely attest, the 14 points and 11.8 rebounds he averaged in the Western Conference finals apparently a thing of the past now that the Lakers are playing Boston in the NBA Finals.

Odom had a five-point, five-foul debacle in Game 1 that somehow got worse Sunday in Game 2, when he finished with three points and five fouls in the Lakers' 103-94 loss.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He is the Los Angeles Lakers’ barometer.

When Lamar Odom has his A-game, the Lakers are unbeatable. No other team can bring a versatile, play all five positions type off the bench?

But Odom is somewhat of an enigma. Most of the time, he's brilliant. Some of the time, he disappears.

For instance, former coach and ABC broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy often calls the four-man a top thirty player in the NBA.

At times, such praise is warranted. Last year, he was brilliant as a sixth man for the purple-and-gold. And years ago, he looked like the second coming of Magic Johnson when he led an upstart Miami Heat squad to the second round.

Odom's reputation for going MIA prompted Phoenix Suns star Amar’e Stoudemire to call his 19 point, 19 rebound performance in game one of the Western Conference Finals 'lucky'.

Unfortunately Odom has vanished through the first two games of the NBA Finals (he's averaging a sub par 4 points and 4 rebounds). This doesn’t bode well for the Lakers, so here’s how Coach Jackson fixes the situation:

1) Go to Odom early and often. The coaches must put him in the game no later than half way through the first quarter.

2) Get him involved. Derek Fisher or Kobe Bryant, the veteran leaders, should call a play or two for him in the half court set.

3) ‘Run, Lamar, Run’. Odom needs to use his length and athleticism to score easy points in transition.

4)  Get on the glass. Odom is at his best when grabbing rebounds. The other parts of his game follows suit. 

Got thoughts on how the Lakers get Odom going? 

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Thursday , Jun , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Steve Nash to produce World Cup videos

But just as we surmised, Nash is going to South Africa and will be working media there. Three days after Nash played coy, it was announced that Nash will post a series of eight videos to CBSSports.com and youtube.com/CBSSports, along with daily photos, iPhone vignettes, status updates and fan interaction on CBSSports.com's social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter. And if CBS is attached, can't we expect a return correspondent visit to The Late Show with David Letterman, as he did for the NBA Finals last summer?

"This project with CBSSports.com combines two of my passions off the basketball court -- the beautiful game known internationally as 'football' and video production," Nash said in a statement released by CBSSports.com. "I look forward to shooting some memorable pieces from South Africa and giving fans a unique and sometimes humorous look at World Cup."

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Well, at least he's keeping busy after the Phoenix Suns' heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conferece Finals.

Word is Steve Nash will drop a series of videos and work as a media reporter in South Africa to celebrate the upcoming World Cup. The HoopsVibe team, who are fans of his work on The Late Show and for Vitamin Water, are jacked to see what the goofy Canadian will come up with.

Re-visit these classics of Nash reporting on the NBA Finals for Letterman and his spoofs for Vitamin Water, then get at us in the comment box with thoughts on the possibility of Nash in South Africa. 

(Steve and Dave.)    

(Steve  for Vitamin Water.)

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Wednesday , Jun , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Tony Parker to Pacers for Troy Murphy, Brandon Rush, and draft pick

With only two teams left playing ball, the rumors are starting to fly. Yesterday on his weekly ESPN.com chat, Chad Ford mentioned that one scenario floating out there is San Antonio sending Tony Parker to Indiana for the No. 10 pick, Troy Murphy and Brandon Rush.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: After their first round loss to the Phoenix Suns, the San Antonio Spurs are looking to shake things up.

And Tony Parker is the prime candidate to be moved because he has value on-court and on-the-books. After all, Parker can play. The jitterbug point guard still has the 'quicks' to get to the basket at will and can keep opposing defenses honest with his improving range.

Best of all, his $10 million contract expires next July, so whoever acquires him will also get some financial flexibility.

This specific deal with the Indiana Pacers is unlikely since they'd be giving up Rush, an athletic youngster, plus a lottery pick for one year with the Frenchman. Also, Murphy's contract matches Parker's with respect to term and money, killing any potential savings for Larry Bird's squad.

Parker could well be dealt. It won't be to the Pacers, though. By the way, what would Hollywood diva Eva Longoria, who is married to Parker, think of Indiana?

Got thoughts on this rumor?