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Tuesday , Jul , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Can Dallas handle the Rudy Fernandez rollercoaster?

Rudy Fernandez could return to the offseason headlines more for speculation about where he's headed than where he is. [Fernandez], who joined the Dallas Mavericks in a draft night trade less than two weeks ago, has been offered a six-year contract from Real Madrid, sportando.net reported via Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo. The deal reportedly is worth $4.35 million per year and would make the 6-foot-6 Spanish shooting guard the highest-paid player in the history of the Spanish basketball league. Fernandez, who averaged 8.6 points on 37 percent shooting last season with the Portland Trail Blazers, was due to make $2.2 next season with Dallas under the collective bargaining agreement that expired late Thursday as the NBA lockout began.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Dallas Mavericks better get prepared for the Rudy Fernandez drama.

Yes, the Spaniard is talented. When happy, he’s a terrific shooter and excites with his ability to get up-and-down the floor.

Unfortunately, Something is always wrong with Fernandez. He’s usually complaining about playing time. Or, he’s complaining about a lack of shots. Or he’s frustrated because America is not Spain.

Bottom line: Fernandez is high maintenance.

In Portland, he changed moods like a Hollywood socialite changes shoes. Only the charming and personable Patty Mills put Fernandez at ease.

Before the July 1st lockout, Fernandez got dealt to the Dallas Mavericks. Sounds good, right? The Mavericks are NBA champions; they’ll contend for a few years.

Owner Mark Cuban even praised Fernandez’s talent, telling reporters he spent years prying the swing from Portland. To top it off, Fernandez was told he’d start at shooting guard.

Sounds ideal, right? Well, wrong.

Starting for the best team in the world wasn’t enough for Fernandez.. There were reports he considered breaking his NBA contract and signing a 6-year deal with Real Madrid.

Apparently, he decided against joining Real Madrid. Apparently, he will honour the final year of his NBA contract.

The Mavericks should strap in and get ready for the ride. Fernandez’s mood swings are like a roller coaster.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jun , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Knicks interested in Bonzi Wells?

Wells, who spent some time in China before last playing professionally in Puerto Rico, was one of a few reclamation projects the Knicks had at the MSG Training Center late last week for a minicamp to get a look at some possible training camp invitees. With little to no money to spend this offseason (depending on the system in the next collective bargaining agreement), the Knicks have to be creative in finding talent to upgrade the roster.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Are the New York Knicks so desperate they’re considering a player who has been out of the NBA for three years? Or, are the Knicks being thorough by looking at a talented but troubled swing?

The player is Bonzi Wells. He had a cup of coffee with the Detroit Pistons; spent his formative years with the Jail Blazers; got suspended and banned from the arena by the Memphis Grizzlies; turned down $35 million from the Sacramento Kings; then somehow ended up plying his trade in China 

Along the way, Wells, fair or not, earned a reputation for being a bad seed. His off-the-court issues and fluctuating weight overshadowed his considerable skill and scoring ability.

Of course, Wells could play.

Former teammate Scottie Pippen once compared his ability to score, especially on the low block, to former star Mark Aguirre.

Word is Wells can still play. Even if he’s in his mid thirties. The former Ball State star has been scrimmaging and doing a little coaching on the side.

Perhaps Wells could help. Perhaps not. But the Knicks have nothing to lose and everything to gain with a workout.

--Oly Sandor.

Agree or disagree? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Saturday , May , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Blazers want Brandon Roy to retire?

A source familiar with the situation said Thursday that Portland figures it must deal with Brandon Roy's future if it's truly going to rejoin the league's contenders. Retirement for Roy is among the options they're considering.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It seems premature.

Not long ago, Brandon Roy was the face of the Portland Trail Blazers. He was an All-Star. He was a terrific scorer. And he was a role model in the community.

Roy, the 2007 Rookie of the Year, seemed a blessing for a basketball mad city that suffered through the ‘Jail Blazers’.

All appeared good. So the Blazers handed Roy the keys to the Rose Garden, signing him to a six- year deal for maximum money.

The good times didn’t last, though.

Roy’s knee injuries became serious. He missed significant time. When he returned his game changed. He was a part-time player earning a star’s salary.

Coach Nate McMillan gave Roy’s minutes to others and the situation became a national crisis when the two-guard spoke out publicly during the playoffs. 

The scandal inspired Roy. His play improved. And he single-handedly won a playoff game for the Blazers by dropping 16 points in the fourth quarter on the Dallas Mavericks.

When healthy, Roy can still play. This may not be enough for the Blazers. 

Bottom line: the Blazers have a choice. They can hope Roy’s play justifies the remaining four-years and $68 million on his contract.

Or, they can do some research and search for an escape clause, which would mean buying Roy out or pushing retirement.

This is risky. Suppose the Blazers approach Roy about ending their relationship. Once the process begins, there’s no turning back. Things could get ugly.

Who would contact Roy about a buyout? And who would negotiate the terms of this buyout?

After all, owner Paul Allen fired Richie Cho –even though, he hired him less than a year ago- because he didn’t feel chemistry with the GM.

There’s no timeline to hire a new front office Tsar. And no self-respecting executive would take the gig knowing they had to deal with Allen’s meddling and buyout Roy.

The Blazers should step back and think carefully before initiating discussions with Roy. This has the potential to end badly.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , May , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Blazers again look foolish firing GM Richie Cho after 10 months

The Portland Trail Blazers have dismissed general manager Rich Cho after less than a year on the job. A statement released by the Blazers said the team and Cho had "parted ways." Chad Buchanan, the team's director of college scouting, will serve as acting general manager.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I’m not suggesting the two are connected. I’m suggesting the timing is, well, 'interesting'.

Yesterday, an anonymous source within the Portland Trail Blazers informed reporters that GM Richie Cho wanted to suspend Brandon Roy during the first round for complaining about his minutes.
 
Anyway, Cho is gone. He’s history. The Blazers just announced they parted ways with the young executive, saying he wasn’t a ‘fit’ for the organization.
 
Wasn't this the guy owner Paul Allen hand selected just ten months ago? Wasn't this the up-and-coming basketball genius, who was going to take the Blazers to the next level?
 
Apparently not.
 
The decision to fire Cho is a shock, as he held the job for less than a year. Cho, of course, replaced Kevin Pritchard, who was fired moments before the 2010 draft, but invited to hang out for the team’s picks by Allen.
 
The Pritchard affair caused a stir around the league. The Blazers looked unprofessional. Firing Cho doesn`t help. 
 
Right now, there are few answers. However, the city’s talented beat writers –those who cover the team on a day-to-day basis- will soon have details.
 
There’s one obvious conclusion: no star executive takes the gig after Allen`s treatment of Cho and Pritchard. Whoever the Blazers hire will be cautious, especially with an employer who leaks damaging information about an employee before firing him.    
 
This is not a suggestion, but a fact.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , May , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Portland GM Richie Cho wanted to suspend Brandon Roy

According to a well-placed source in the Blazers organization, an irritated Cho pushed for a suspension of three-time All-Star Brandon Roy for comments the guard made after Game 2 of Portland's eventual first-round playoff series loss to Dallas.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Portland Trail Blazers have two problems.

First, GM Richie Cho and Brandon Roy must have a sit-down to discuss reports Cho wanted to suspend Roy after he spoke out about his reduced role.
 
Roy struggled last season with injuries. The former All-Star missed a stretch of games and, as a result, his minutes were drastically cut.
 
But Roy’s play improved after he went public with his complaints. He could easily regain his star status. And fans supported him.
 
A showdown between Cho, the young GM, and Roy, the franchise face, is looming. 
 
These two must have a heart-to-heart to air things out. After all, neither is leaving. Cho is an up-and-coming executive, while Roy, when healthy, is a talented player with a long-term max’ contract.
 
Following their chat, Cho and Roy should issue a carefully crafted statement and agree to never address the issue again. This must happen or hard feelings will linger.
 
Second, they have a leak. Management must plug the leak or they’ll continue being undermined by an employee going public. Trust will be an issue in the work place.
 
Remember, Portland, while beautiful, is a smaller market. The team is a big deal. And local media will continue exploiting this source.
 
So Cho and Roy must settle their differences. Then the club has to settle their issues in the front office.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
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Serious Discussion: 2011 Brandon Roy vol. What the fuss?
Thursday , Apr , 21 , 2011 J.N.

Serious Discussion: 2011 Brandon Roy vol. What the fuss?

Courtesy of the Oregonlive.com - “There was a point in the first half, and I was thinking 'You better not cry,''' Roy said. “I mean, serious. I mean, there was a moment where I felt really sorry for myself. Then I was like, nah, you can't be sorry for yourself. I'm a grown man, but there was a moment there that I felt sorry for myself. Especially when I think I can still help.'' Troubles a’brewin’ up in Portland Trailblazer land. What’s up with Brandon Roy these days?

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Ron Artest Vs. Gerald Wallace -the rematch

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers was the main event. Ron Artest and Gerald Wallace turned out to be a nice undercard.

Of course, this wasn't the first time Artest and Wallace had locked horns. A few weeks earlier, these behemoths at the three-spot got tangled up and, as expected, the fireworks flew.

Click the videos below and watch Artest and Wallace duke it out -on two separate occasions. 

(Round 1: Artest and Wallace.)

(Round 2: Artest and Wallace.)

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Mar , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Nicolas Batum pulls a ‘Big Shot Bob’ on Spurs

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Talk about a feel good story.

Without Greg Oden and a healthy Brandon Roy, the Portland Trail Blazers have still had a successful season and are well positioned for the playoffs.

Much of the credit goes to LaMarcus Aldridge, who seamlessly became a first option while Roy has struggled with knee troubles. Don’t sleep on the supporting cast, though.

Nicolas Batum, Wes Matthews, and Andre Miller have been superb. Watch the clip of Batum making like Robert Horry and ‘Big-Shot Bobbing’ the league-leading San Antonio Spurs to seal the victory for the Blazers.


--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Mar , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Gerald Wallace feels ‘betrayed’ by Charlotte Bobcats and Michael Jordan

“Basically, you feel betrayed by somebody you love,’’ Wallace told the Observer before Saturday’s Blazers-Bobcats game. “I totally didn’t see it coming. I’d been there seven long years and then you feel like you’re not wanted anymore. That’s a bad situation to be in, especially for me, who committed so much to the organization. 

“I understand the situation – it’s a business and they’re looking to start all over. They wanted cap room, and I guess I was the logical answer for them trying to get draft picks.’’

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Gerald Wallace is right.

On the one hand, he should feel disappointed and, perhaps, ‘betrayed’ by the Charlotte Bobcats, who dealt him at the trade deadline for draft picks.

After all, Wallace was their heart and soul. The three-man was one of the Bobcats’ original players, and in Charlotte he matured from a raw athlete man into an established professional.

Best of all, Wallace was blue-collar. He never took a night off. He always played hard. Night-in, night-out, he left it all on the floor. No matter how bad his team and the talent around him were.

On the other hand, the NBA, like Wallace mentions, is a ‘business’. The Bobcats are bidding their time until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement levels the playing field, which means swapping expensive salaries for draft picks, prospects, and expiring contracts.

Team Jordan couldn’t afford the two years and $20 million remaining on Wallace’s  contract. So he was a goner.

There are plenty of positives, though. The Portland Trail Blazers, Wallace’s new team, are relevant. They have young talent: LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wes Mathews, and Brandon Roy (provided he recovers).

Of course, Paul Allen owns the Blazers, so the club has deep pockets and will spend to win.

Change is never easy; however, being ’betrayed’ by Charlotte and starting over with Portland may be best for Wallace.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Feb , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jordan and Bobcats quitting with Gerald Wallace trade?

Charlotte's Gerald Wallace has been traded to Portland, according to sources. The Blazers had strongly been coveting an upgrade at the deadline. Portland will send Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham and two first round picks to the Bobcats in exchange for Wallace.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Younger, cheaper, but not better.

This describes the Charlotte Bobcats after Michael Jordan traded veteran forward Gerald Wallace and center Nazr Mohammed.

Wallace, the franchise face of the Bobcats, was dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers for Joel Przybilla's expiring pact and two first round draft picks, while Mohammed was shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder for D.J. White and Mo Peterson's expiring pact.

Clearly, Jordan is stockpiling draft picks and reducing salary for whatever comes after the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

And His Airness is surely banking on the league’s next financial landscape to be fairer and provide greater opportunities for his small market Bobcats.

Currently, they can’t compete and it has to be killing one of the game’s great competitors.

--Oly Sandor.
 
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Thursday , Feb , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Andre Miller believes ‘there’s chance’ he’ll get traded

"I don't really care, really,'' Miller said when asked in a FanHouse interview Wednesday whether his hope now is to remain in Portland rather than be traded. "You know what I'm saying? I would like to stay put, but it's a business and anything can happen.''

When asked if he believes there's a decent chance he'll be moved by the Feb. 24 trade deadline, Miller said, "Yeah. Yeah.'' "There's a chance,'' Miller said. "A lot of guys can get moved. Where? I don't know. At this point, hopefully it's not a team that's rebuilding. I wouldn't want to go back to like a Philly situation.''

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Yes, there's a chance Andre Miller could be traded before the February trade deadline.

Miller can still effectively handle the one-spot; he has a flexible contract, as the team holds an option on the 2012 season; and his current team, the Trail Blazers, could well go into rebuild move and auction off him and fellow vet’ Marcus Camby.

Just don’t expect Executive Richie Cho to wrap Miller in a bow and give him away. Portland’s new head suit has proven to be one cool, calm customer.

For instance, Cho refused to be bullied into trading Rudy Fernandez. He ignored Fernandez’s whining about playing time. He also ignored Fernandez’s agent, who also whined about, well, everything to the press.

Most importantly, he shrugged off Rip City nation, who called for Fernandez to immediately be banished back to Europe.

Cho has patiently waited for a deal that makes sense. In the meantime, Fernandez has started to perform and recently withdrew his trade demand.

Suddenly, Cho and Portland have the upper hand. They can keep Fernandez or trade him when they get an offer to their liking.

The same will happen with Miller. Cho will send the power point guard packing if he can get a contender to give up a blue-chip prospect and/or a draft pick.

Miller, however, could stay with Portland. After all, Cho is in the driver seat – the team can decide to exercise the option on the final year of his contract or cut him loose in July.

Bottom line: Miller’s immediate future is unknown. Whatever happens will be in the best interests of the Blazers, and not the player.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jan , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Will Rudy Fernandez and Patrick Mills’ Portland ‘Bromance’ survive trade deadline?

"Your agent," I said to Fernandez as I asked him about the news, "is poco loco, no?"

Fernandez laughed and said, "Yes, he can be. Thank you for asking me."  Then, he explained, "I want to be here. I'm having fun. I bought a home. I bought a car. I don't know what else I can do to prove I want to be here.

"I'm playing now, too." Mills leaned in and said: "I think he should leave." They cracked up, laughing, together. Fernandez wants to stay. He's happy. Which likely means he'll promptly be traded. Sports can be cruel like that. But as long as he's around, it's probably worth pointing out that Mills feels like the biggest reason Fernandez is finally comfortable again.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s a blossoming ‘bromance’ (a bromance is a plutonic friendship between grown men).

Word is controversial Portland Trail Blazer Rudy Fernandez is now happy in Rip City, in large part, because of his friendship with reserve guard Patrick Mills.

These two hang at home in Portland. These two hang on the road. These two are tight.

In fact, the Fernandez-Mills ‘Bromance’ is apparently the main reason the Spanish swing has rescinded his trade demand and settled in Portland.

But the Trail Blazers are in transition. Franchise face Brandon Roy is having surgery on both knees and may never be the same player. Former first overall pick Greg Oden hasn’t played a game and his future is unknown.

The Trail Blazers, even with the injuries, could still secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, management may decide to rebuild and deal veterans Marcus Camby, Andre Miller, and Joel Pryzbilla at the trade deadline.

Fernandez could be part of the changes. Sure, he’s a strong shooter and exciting open court player. He’s also prone to extreme mood swings, and GM Richie Cho may feel it’s time to cut ties.

The Fernandez-Mills ‘bromance’ would then become a long-distance relationship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jan , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Brandon Roy is already finished? Vol. Grant Hill/Penny

Portland. You guys need a good night’s sleep. Sleep? You guys need an all expense paid trip to anywhere in the world preferably into Brandon Roy’s knees. No one can explain the pains that this franchise goes through. This is absolutely unexplainable. The Clippers have the karma because of David Sterling. Portland has a curse? Who did they screw over to get this dark voodoo? What was the organization in the past life? Were they the Raiders? Or Patriots? This is very unsettling for any outsider viewing what has transpired in Portland.

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Friday , Dec , 31 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Camby and Knicks thinking reunion?

Marcus Camby wants to remain in Portland, but if the team does trade him he would prefer to be dealt to a contending team. A source says that the veteran will contemplate retirement if moved to a rebuilding club. The Knicks, however, are one team that Camby would approve.

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Hoops Vibe’s Very Quick Call: Marcus Camby may be willing to leave his current home of Portland, but only if he gets to go to a former home.

Camby, a veteran five-man, is always in demand because of his rebounding and defense; however, the Blazers’ recent stumbles have changed his circumstances.

Brandon Roy is having serious knee troubles; Greg Oden is out indefinitely; and the Blazers, a team that was supposed to contend, are struggling mightily in the Western Conference.

So Camby, who was heralded as a mentor for these young Blazers, may approve a trade to the right contender –like the New York Knicks.

Sure, the Knicks are competitive. And sure, playing meaningful basketball in a world class city is always preferable to battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

For Camby, the real appeal of New York may be that it’s familiar. Camby spent four years with the Knicks and is comfortable with both the city and organization.

Since he’s nearing the end of his career, Camby is leery of getting traded. The right trade would be fine; the wrong trade would result in early retirement.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Wednesday , Dec , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Best ‘Alley-oop’: Blake Griffin on Minnesota or LaMarcus Aldridge on Milwaukee?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s on.

The Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and the Portland Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge recently set the NBA ablaze with their alley-oops.

Our question is simple: who had the better catch-and-jam?

Do you prefer Blake-Zilla’s aerial antics against those miserable Minnesota Timberwolves? Or, did Aldridge’s poster-job of the Milwaukee Bucks catch your eye?

Watch both clips and get at us in the comment box below with thoughts?

(Blake-Zilla shows no mercy against the Wolves.)

(Aldridge soars against the Bucks.)

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Nov , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

What now for Blazers and Oden after second micro fracture surgery?

Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden will undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee Friday and will miss the remainder of the 2010-11 season, the Trail Blazers announced this evening.
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Four years. Two micro fracture surgeries.

Such is the plight of Greg Oden, the former first overall pick of the 2007 draft and Portland Trail Blazers center.

Yesterday, the Blazers announced Oden will undergo micro fracture surgery on his left knee and miss the entire year. Oden sat all of 2007-08 because of micro fracture surgery on his right knee.

Some will snicker. There will be the obvious jokes about opening umbrellas inside, black cats in alleys, and, of course, comparisons to another brittle Portland post named Sam Bowie.

Most, however, will be sympathetic. Oden is a pleasant enough fellow. He has only wanted to fulfill the hype as The Next One coming out of high school in Indiana and college at Ohio State.

Unfortunately, Oden’s career is in doubt. His rookie contract expires in July. The Blazers have the option to qualify him at $9 million for 2011-2012.

But will they?

The Blazers may turn the page on Oden. Perhaps both team and player need a fresh start. Perhaps it's time to move on. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in comment box below.
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Thursday , Nov , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Houston and Portland interested in Kevin Love?

One team that would be an ideal fit for Love, Houston, has explored the possibility to the point of presenting trade scenarios to the Wolves. Those overtures, sources say, have been met with an icy response. Another team to keep an eye on with regard to Love is the Trail Blazers.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: For NBA stars, the Minnesota Timberwolves are Siberia.

Minnesota is cold. The Timberwolves have annual reservations at the league’s draft lottery in New Jersey. And the franchise has never recovered from wasting Kevin Garnett’s golden years.

Make no mistake about it, Kevin Love wants out of Minnesota. He knows their rebuilding efforts are failing. And he knows lottery-pick Ricky Rubio will stay in Europe until he gets a trade.

The Rockets would be an interesting fit. Love could platoon with center Yao Ming and international four-man Luis Scola.

The Blazers would also be interesting. Love is from Lake Oswego, an affluent Portland suburb. However, LaMarcus Aldridge is firmly entrenched at the four-spot. He could clash with Love –like former Timberwolf Al Jefferson.

Bottom line: look for Love to continue lobbying for a trade. Minnesota, also known as Siberia, is no place for an up-and-coming star.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Nov , 01 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rudy Fernandez ‘feeling good with the second unit’

Portland swingman Rudy Fernandez has calmed on his public requests for a trade and claims he's comfortable with his current role. "I think I'm happy with this role," said Fernandez, who scored three points Saturday night against the Knicks. "I'm happy with my shots. I'm feeling good with the second unit."

He is averaging 6.0 points in three games, including just over five shots per contest.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Once again, Rudy Fernandez has felt the need to publicly address his role with the Portland Trail Blazers.

All summer, The Spanish Diva gave constant updates to whoever would listen that he was upset with his role in Rip City.

He wanted out. He threatened not to report. He aired his dirty laundry.

One week into the season, Fernandez is now happy. Fair enough. If true, he should stop talking about his future – in Spanish and/or English – and just play.

He should focus on energizing the second unit; he should continue stretching opposing defenses with his range; he should keep entertaining the masses with his spectacular dunks.

The more Fernandez talks, the bigger the distraction. Portland  - a young, competitive team - doesn’t need distractions.

--Oly Sandor.


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Sunday , Oct , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Portland and New Orleans both win with Jerryd Bayless trade

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired a conditional, future first round draft pick from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for guard Jerryd Bayless, it was announced on Saturday by General Manager Rich Cho.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s the rarest of trades – a mutually beneficial arrangement for both sides.

Last night, the Portland Trail Blazers sent promising combo guard Jerryd Bayless to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for a future first round pick.

Portland accomplished a few things moving Bayless. First, they created minutes for Rudy Fernandez at off-guard. Second, they saved $2.5 million. Finally, they scored a first round pick to include in future trades.

Bayless will do several things for New Orleans: he’ll back-up Chris Paul; he’ll also play next to the superstar table-point guard; and he’ll strengthen a shallow bench.

Best of all, Hornets coach Monty Williams spent several years in Portland as an assistant. Williams is familiar with and believes in Bayless.

Look for both sides to reap the benefits of this deal for some time.

--Oly Sandor.

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