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Thursday , Mar , 15 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Blazers trade Marcus Camby to Rockets

Blazers trade center Marcus Camby to Houston Rockets, a source tells Y!

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Portland is having a fire sale.

The Trail Blazers are rebuidling, so every peice - other than Nicholas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge - can be had for some combination of draft picks and expiring contracts.

Earlier in the day, Gerald Wallace was sent to the New Jersey Nets. Now Marcus Camby is a Houston Rocket. Expect Jamal Crawford and perhaps Ray Felton to have new homes by the end of the day, too.

Much of this can traced to Greg Oden's injury and Brandon Roy retiring. Without these two pieces, Rip City has decided to rebuild.

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Monday , Mar , 05 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Blazers to trade Jamal Crawford?

The Clippers or any other team looking for scoring could also turn their attention to Portland's Jamal Crawford. With the Blazers (18-18) underachieving and the 12-year veteran having struggled to fit in this season, sources say he's available.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Jamal Crawford hasn’t fit with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Crawford, a former Sixth Man of the Year, is a scorer, while Blazers coach Nate McMillan likes defense. And Crawford is stuck playing point guard because McMillan is frustrated with Ray Felton, who is also on the trading block.

Then there’s Crawford’s contract. He inked a two-year, $10 million pact with the Blazers, however, the second year is a player’s option.

Crawford, unhappy with playing time, has made littlle secret of his desire to exercise that option and test the free agent market this summer.

So Blazers management may move Crawford to a contender and get an asset as part of an inevitable rebuilding project.

LaMarcus Aldridge aside, no player or coach is safe, which means the next few months should be awfully interesting in ‘Rip City’.

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Saturday , Feb , 25 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers interested in Ray Felton?

Portland is making a change — Jamal Crawford, not Raymond Felton, will be the starting point guard for the Trail Blazers when they face off against the Spurs tonight, reports the Oregonian. So here’s your starting job, Mr. Crawford, enjoy trying to stop the hottest player in the league in Tony Parker. But the move isn’t a surprise. Felton is shooting a career low 37.1 percent so far this season, 22.9 percent from three, his assists are at a career low while his turnovers are at a career high, his PER is 10.5 (that of of a third-string guard) and he helped lead the Trail Blazers to a franchise low 7 points in the first quarter against the Lakers Monday night. Portland is struggling, Felton is struggling and coach Nate McMillan decided to shake things up.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Their make-over probably won’t stop with Rasheed Wallace.

Reports indicate the Los Angeles Lakers are speaking to the Portland Trail Blazers about Ray Felton, who is upset after losing his starting spot.

Face it: Derek Fisher is old and Steve Blake has struggled since signing with the purple-and-gold.

Coach Mike Brown would surely run Felton through pick-and-rolls like Mike D’Antoni did in New York last year. And the veteran table-setter would also fit Brown’s get-stops mentality on defense.

Best of all, Felton has the tenacity to stand up to Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant -without creating a Smush Parker type standoff.

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Tuesday , Mar , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Carmelo Anthony: ‘There’s no need to panic’

After the buzzer, (Carmelo) Anthony sat alone on the Knicks bench long after his teammates left the court. Asked what he was thinking, the Brooklyn native said, "This ship is going to turn right."  For now, the ship be sinking -- to borrow Micheal Ray Richardson's famous Knicks quotation.

"We just got to a point where I thought we panicked," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "This is a work in progress and we have a month to get this thing figured out. If we can figure out fourth quarters, we can get a lot smoother. With two scorers on the floor like Carmelo and Amar'e, we just have to figure it out." We're going to get it right," Anthony said. "There's no need to panic."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There's no need to panic, but the New York Knicks should be concerned.

Last night, they crumbled in the fourth quarter against a steely, calm Boston Celtics team, who took particular pleasure in beating up and exposing the Knicks’ many flaws.

The Knicks’ problems have nothing to do with talent. Their problems have everything to do with chemistry.

Mike D’Antoni’s crew spent two-thirds of a season establishing familiarity. Amar’e Stoudemire was the undisputed top dog, and everybody else had a supporting role.

That arrangement is out the window with Carmelo Anthony in the fold. Knick players seem confused as to whether Stoudemire or Anthony gets the ball in the decisive fourth quarter.

Before the Anthony trade, the Knicks could always get a good shot by running a pick-and-roll between Ray Felton and Stoudemire. This, in fact, was their bread and butter play.

Well, Felton was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Anthony. And come crunch time the ball goes in to Anthony or Stoudemire on an ‘iso’ play. Good defensive teams - like the Celtics did last night - will take that option away.

Finally, Anthony is a mixed bag. While he’s a talented offensive player, Melo has many bad habits. He doesn’t move the ball; he switches too often on screens defensively; he’s mentally weak.

This won’t change overnight. Neither will the Knicks. They are not a championship contender. They are a decent team with two supremely talented scorers. Nothing more, nothing less.

The sooner the faithful at Madison Square Gardens accept this, the better.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Mar , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Baron Davis: I`m still a top-five point guard

He also agreed with coach Byron Scott, who called Davis one of the NBA's top five point guards when healthy. "I believe so," Davis said from Thursday's practice. "I love the game, I study the game, I see the game with a different set of eyes than a lot of other guys."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There’s little doubt Baron Davis -when motivated, fit, and healthy- can play.

Unfortunately, Davis is rarely motivated, which means he’s hardly ever fit. Of course, an unmotivated and out of shape player is an often injured player.

After all, Davis has spent most of the last few years sulking about playing for the lowly Los Angeles Clippers, a team he picked as an unrestricted free agent.

He seemed more interested in making movies with his Hollywood buddies. He often had a ‘generous’ physique. And his play suffered.

Sadly, after teasing fans in Golden State, Davis has been a bust. He’s withered away his talent, content to take advantage of the perks that come with a plush, guaranteed contract.

None of this has impacted Davis’ confidence. After all, Davis –even when at full strength- isn’t a top five point guard.

Not anymore and not now. The one-spot currently belongs to up-and-comers like Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and Deron Williams.

There’s also established heads like Chauncey Billups, Steve Nash, and Tony Parker. And what about talented youngsters and veterans like Darren Collison, Stephen Curry, Ray Felton, Jason Kidd, and Andre Miller?

All have performed at a higher level than Davis. In fact, Davis, who was recently traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, might have trouble beating out Ramon Sessions for the starting table-setter job –if all things are equal.

Hopefully, Davis gets motivated, fit, and, as a result, stays healthy. Hopefully, he salvages whatever he can of his career. At 31, the clock is ticking.

--Oly Sandor.


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Tuesday , Feb , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nuggets looking to trade Gallinari, Harrington, and Nene?

More than half the NBA has called Denver about Nene's availability in trades, but the team's first order of business after trading Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks is convincing their offensively talented center to remain with the team. Nene is eligible to opt out of his contract this offseason, despite being owed $11.6 million for the 11-12 season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What’s next in The Mile High City?

Unfortunately, trading Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks has only created more questions and uncertainty for the Denver Nuggets.

For instance, do they trade or extend Nene, their Brazilian post who can also opt-out of his contract at season’s end?

Can management correct last summer’s error and find a taker/sucker to assume the remaining years and money on Al Harrington’s mid-level pact?

Meanwhile, ESPN is reporting that the Nuggets are attempting to flip Danilo Gallinari to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey Nets, or Toronto Raptors.

There is one conclusion: the Nuggets are in overhaul mode. While they received a plethora of good pieces from the Knicks, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Gallinari, and Timofey Mozgov are hardly great.

The hard work is just beginning for rookie GM Masai Ujiri. He must now plot a path for Denver without Anthony, a top-fifteen player and recognizable personality.

The next two days could decide if Denver sinks to the depths of despair ala the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors post LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Or, if Denver stays relevant by developing some pieces and moving others for tangible assets.

Expect Ujiri to burn up the phone lines and explore all options right up to Thursday’s trade deadline. Indeed, Denver’s future is at stake.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Feb , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nuggets want Felton in trade for Anthony?

Recent rumors indicate that the Nuggets would like the Knicks to include Raymond Felton in a package for Carmelo Anthony, with Chauncey Billups ending up in New York as part of the deal as well.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There’s no escape. It’s the beast of all rumors. Amar’e Stoudemire aside, every New York Knick has now been included in trade discussion for the Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony.
 
And it won’t stop. Not until the Nuggets and Knicks finally complete the inevitable and agree to terms on a deal to send Anthony east to Madison Square Garden.

The latest episode in the daily soap opera called As ‘Melo Turns has Ray Felton joining the Nuggets, while Billups would follow Anthony to the Knicks.

Just a thought: how would Stoudemire feel about Felton changing teams? Over the last few months, STAT and the former Charlotte Bobcat have developed into a formidable pick-and-roll tandem.

The two have an obvious chemistry. And this would be hard to replicate with Billups, even though Mr. Big Shot is still a steady table-setter.

Of course, Billups may not stick in New York. The veteran does not have a guaranteed contract for the 2012 season, so the Knicks could waive him and increase their cap space.

The rumors will continue until this blockbuster trade/marriage between Anthony and the Knicks is finally consummated.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jan , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor Amarè wants Knicks to pass on Carmelo?

"Right now, in New York we have a solid team," Stoudemire said. "We don't really need much. We're playing well. We feel like the team we have can be very successful if we keep improving individually and as a team on the defensive end."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Suddenly, Amar’e Stoudemire is singing a different tune.

When the Standing Tall and Talented Post signed with the New York Knicks, he promised he’d recruit two or three of his superstar buddies –like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and possibly Tony Parker.

Well, Paul isn’t leaving New Orleans in the near term, unless the Hornets franchise leaves New Orleans. Parker has re-signed with the rejuvenated San Antonio Spurs.

Knick-nation can probably cross Anthony off the list, too, which doesn’t bother Stoudemire. Not one bit. 

Winning has changed things. After years of dysfunction, disgust, and dreadful basketball, New York is relevant. There’s chemistry. And Stoudemire doesn’t want to blow things up for Anthony.

Anthony, as a volume shooter, has to get his. His demand for touches and shots would surely impact Stoudemire and his supporting cast of Wilson Chandler, Ray Felton, Danillo Gallineri, and the promising Landry Fields.

And that impact could be good or bad. So Stoudemire seems comfortable with the status-quo. Hopefully, that appeases New York and Knick-nation.

--Oly Sandor.


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Friday , Dec , 31 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nuggets demanding five first-round picks from Nets for Anthony?

The Denver Nuggets believe the New Jersey Nets are so desperate to make a deal for Carmelo Anthony that they're holding firm on a trade demand of five future first-round draft picks as part of a package to land the All-Star forward, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: That's ‘insane in the membrane, insane in the brain’.

Forgive my Cypress Hill reference, but this was my initial reaction to the Denver Nuggets' demand of five first round draft picks from the New Jersey Nets for Carmelo Anthony. 

Anthony can play. He's one of the NBA’s best scorers, capable of dropping 30 points without breaking a sweat.

On second thought, perhaps this isn’t so ‘loco’ (another Cypress Hill reference for those counting at home).

This isn’t about basketball. This is about business and branding.

The Nets will soon move from New Jersey to New York. They’ll be going head-to-head against the Knicks, who are enjoying a renaissance behind Amar’e Stoudemire and Ray Felton.

The Nets will need a marketable star –like ‘Melo. His play and panache would give them a presence in the media capital of the world.

And let’s face it: the Nets can’t have Anthony sign with the Knicks as a free agent this summer. This is a possibility and, in the short-term, would turn Mikhail Prokhorov’s squad into the Clippers of New York.

The Nuggets have learned from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, who lost franchise superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh for trade exemptions. And they ‘ain’t going out like that’.

--Oly Sandor.
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Thursday , Dec , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ray Felton: ‘I’d love to spend the rest of my career in New York’

After two months on the job, Felton is ready to turn his two-year contract into 12.  "I think now, I've found my home. I've found it. I'd love to spend the rest of my career in New York,'' Felton told FanHouse Wednesday after a light workout. "When this contract ends, hopefully we'll work out another one.''

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: New York Knick fans can forget Steve Nash or another starting point guard coming to Madison Square Garden.

Ray Felton is the guy. For how long, though?

Felton, despite playing like an All-Star and becoming a legit pick-and-roll threat with superstar Amar’e Stoudemire, is only signed through 2012.

In theory, Felton could leave the Knicks in sixteen months. In reality, player and team will probably ink a long-term extension, especially if Felton and the Knicks continue performing at such a high level.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Dec , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Knicks and Grizzlies talking Mayo trade?

In a separate matter, Memphis Grizzles guard O.J. Mayo could be on the move soon, and a source close to his family thinks he could end up with the Knicks. “They’re gonna move him next week and I think he’s gonna end up in New York,” the source said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s too great a risk for these New York Knicks.

Sure, Coach Mike D’Antoni’s squad could use an additional piece; however, O.J. Mayo needs touches, shots, and minutes to be effective.

Mayo’s score-first approach would impact chemistry. For instance, Amar’e Stoudemire and Ray Felton, the Knicks’ newfound pick-and-roll duo, would have to adjust. And Mayo would take minutes from promising rookie Landry Fields and youngster Wilson Chandler.

So the Knicks should proceed with caution. After all, the club has won eight straight and Madison Square Gardens is in the midst of a basketball renaissance.

Instead of considering tinkering, the Knicks may be better of just enjoying their success.

-Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Dec , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e Stoudemire and Ray Felton saving New York Knicks

After a difficult start to the 10-11 season, Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton took control of the Knicks' locker room and the team responded with a five-game winning streak.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Talent matters. So does chemistry.

For instance, the New York Knicks once spent a fortune amassing a roster of fantasy players. These players were individually talented, but never made those around them better.

Stephon Marbury was worried about his brand. Zach Randolph was worried about his statistics, while Eddy Curry was worried about, well, something other than basketball.

Other Knicks were also guilty of me-disease. They played basketball like it was an individual sport. The four other guys wearing the same uniform were a nuisance to achieving their goal.

Much of this goes back to the Isiah Thomas era. Zeke’s get-mine approach in the executive suite trickled directly down to the players.

It has taken years to rid Madison Square Gardens of this dysfunction. Now the Knicks are flying high, though. They’re playing team-first basketball. They’ve won 8 of 9.

Their recent success is due to the leadership of two players: Ray Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire.

Not long ago, the Knicks were struggling. They weren’t together. They were disjointed. And they were 3-9.

The media was circling. Executive Donnie Walsh and Coach Mike D’Antoni were on shaky ground. And Stoudemire, who signed a $100 million free agent contract this summer, seemed like a mistake.

Felton and Stoudemire stepped up on-and off court. They took control of the locker room by challenging others to improve their play. They started using the pick-and-roll to terrorize opponents.

It’s ironic that the change started with these two.

Before signing with New York this July, Felton had a mostly mixed run in Charlotte. He wasn’t a bust; however, he was behind other point guards from the 2005 draft like Deron Williams and Chris Paul.

Fair or not, Stoudemire also had a mixed reputation. He gave himself the nickname Standing Tall and Talented, and has been known to call himself Black Jesus.

Individually great, Stoudemire never made those around him better. His gaudy numbers were seen as a result of Phoenix teammate Steve Nash.

Well, Felton has taken a giant step. As has Stoudemire. Together, they're creating a new era of Knick basketball.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Nov , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

New York Knick Fight Club: Billy Walker vs. Shawne Williams

Toughness has not been a Knicks trait in years. Yesterday, the Knicks, after breaking their six-game losing streak in Sacramento, were feeling feisty at practice as a skirmish broke out between Bill Walker and Shawne Williams.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They still care. They’re still engaged. And they still have pride.

This is the only way to interpret reports New York Knicks Billy Walker and Shawne Williams got into a practice donnybrook.

After all, the Knicks are struggling. They should be better than 5-8, especially after signing star post Amar’e Stoudemire and steady point guard Ray Felton this summer.

However, things have not gone according to plan. And two supporting pieces, Walker and Williams, had to be separated during a scrimmage. Emotions were surely running high. Tempers were short.

Hopefully, this is a turning point. Remember, the Portland Trail Blazers went on a tear in December 2007 after a practice turned into Fight Club, with mild mannered Steve Blake smashing chairs.

In fact, the Knicks have won two straight. If they eventually get this mess sorted, Walker and Williams’ tussle may be the moment things started improving.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Oct , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Mike D’Antoni on Amar’e Stoudemire: ’I’m hoping he’s the MVP’

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni is touting forward Amar'e Stoudemire as an MVP candidate this season. "I'm hoping he's the MVP this year," D'Antoni said. "That's kind of what he should shoot for and I'm sure what he's trying to be."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: You’d think the New York Knicks would have learned –hope is not a strategy.

The classic franchise spent three years wooing LeBron James. They cleared cap space. They promised him the world. And they hoped The King would be their saviour.

Well, James took his ‘talents to South Beach’, which left the Knicks giving Amar’e Stoudemire a 5-year, $100 million contract.

Now Coach Mike D’Antoni has to hope Stoudemire can be his saviour.

While Stoudemire has moments of greatness, he’s not an MVP. His offensive game is limited; he treats defense like a contagious disease; and he doesn’t make those around him better.

The Knicks will be better, though. Ray Felton is an upgrade at point guard. Danilo Gallinari should continue developing. And Stoudemire is a legit’ All-Star at the four-spot.

Most importantly, D’Antoni’s crew can finally play to win, not bide their time and hope for the best from The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010.

Playing to win, not hoping, is the only way the Knicks succeed.

-Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ray Felton and New York Knicks close to deal

Raymond Felton and the Knicks reached an agreement in principle Friday on the broad parameters of a contract. The length of the deal has not yet been agreed upon, but Felton will earn a starting salary in the $7 million range.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s the best of a not so great situation.

Sure, the New York Knicks were hoping for some combination of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and/or Dwyane Wade.

And sure, they ended up with Amar’e Stoudemire and more cap space then they wanted.

However, Raymond Felton would fit. He’s a solid, do-it-all point guard, who would gel in Mike D’Antoni’s run-and-gun, Seven Seconds or Less system.

Best of all, he comes cheap: $7 million per year isn’t much for a starting table-setter -even in today’s point guard heavy NBA.
 
So the Knicks need to make this signing official.

 --Oly Sandor.

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