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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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Wednesday , Mar , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kenyon Martin: Nuggets don`t miss Carmelo Anthony

"We all know Melo is a great player, but I don't think one player has ever won a championship in this league," Kenyon Martin told HOOPSWORLD. "He's a great player, but it's all about us playing together right now. That's what we're trying to do."

"We're just going out and playing basketball," he continued. "Everyone here knows how to play and we're competing every single night. When you compete, you put yourself in position to win. It's just playing basketball. Once you know how to play this game the right way, you can really fit into any system."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kenyon Martin is saying what everyone is thinking.

The Denver Nuggets won’t miss Carmelo Anthony. Not now. And not going forward.

Despite the trend towards super teams, basketball is still a sport where chemistry can trump talent. Playing together and playing for each other can go a long, long way to ensuring success –even in the pros.

This is what the Nuggets are doing. They’re defending. They’re moving the ball. And guess what? They’re winning, posting a 10-4 record since trading their former franchise face to the New York Knicks.

Best of all, there’s a sense of together-ness. Nugget players and coaches aren’t dealing with twenty-four hour gossip and trade rumours. Raymond Felton aside, everybody on the roster wants to be in Denver.

Clearly, the Nuggets are having fun. Like the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference, there’s a collectiveness and positive vibe surrounding The Mile High City.

This along with their defense and unselfishness will make the Nuggets a dangerous first round playoff opponent for San Antonio, Los Angeles, Dallas, or Oklahoma City.

Did the Nuggets ever look dangerous with Anthony this year?

Give Martin credit for speaking up. And give Martin credit for speaking the truth.

--Oly Sandor.


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Sunday , Mar , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Blake Griffin concerned with Clippers owner Donald Sterling?

Blake Griffin is concerned with the way Donald Sterling manages the Clippers and is monitoring the situation, according to sources.

Sterling recently testified in Elgin Baylor's lawsuit against the Clippers for wrongful termination and the owner also had a mishap related to an advertisement for Black History Month that was actually scheduled for March and included Griffin's picture.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Good for Blake Griffin. He has recognized the obvious: the Los Angeles Clippers’ greatest weakness is owner Donald Sterling.

After all, The Don has been embroiled in sexual harassment and discrimination suits, refuses to honour contracts of coaches and executives that he fires, and is more concerned with winning making money than winning.

Simply put, he’s a scumbag. And great teams typically have great owners. Not scumbags.

For instance, the San Antonio Spurs have a partnership of first-class businessman. The Boston Celtics owner is all class. And Jerry Buss, despite his idiosyncrasies and poor decisions, is perfect for the glitz and glamour of the Los Angeles Lakers.

So Griffin is right to try to use his skill and star power to initiate change at the top. Championship teams have stability and sanity at the top.

They don’t have an owner who is so cheap he won’t pay his assistant coach’s cancer bills when the team’s medical provider refuses to do so.

The Don must reform his ways if he wants to sign the NBA’s brightest young star to a multi-year extension. Even better, perhaps he has to finally sell the Clippers if his team wants to re-sign Griffin.

And this, not the highlight reel dunks or headlines, would be Griffin’s greatest accomplishment.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Mar , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade calls the Heat’s struggles ‘growing pains’

 

“We’re going through these growing pains, and it sucks,” Wade said. “Of our 18 losses, I think 13, 14 of them we’ve had leads. “It’s mind-boggling.” This game meant something. Something awful? Yes. Something positive? Possibly, eventually, yes.But it doesn’t get much more painful than this. So it might be a while before that wears off entirely and we get the actual answer to that last question.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Well, that’s one way to describe the Miami Heat’s struggles.

Clearly, Dwayne Wade is putting as positive a spin as possible on the Heat blowing a 24 point lead to the New York Knicks and getting routed by the San Antonio Spurs.

Are these defeats more worrying than ‘growing pains’? Is team South Beach starting to doubt itself?

Consider the numbers: the Heat is 27-2 against teams with losing records, and 14-17 against teams with winning records. More troubling, they allow all teams -those with winning and losing records- back into games when ahead by a large margin.

Part of this could be about getting distracted. The Heat possesses three top flight superstars, and often get bored and lose focus with opponents.

Part of this could be about chemistry. With so many new faces, the Heat is still getting used to each other, especially on the offensive end where they run simple, basic sets.

For instance, Wade and James are still adjusting to each other. And both are learning to play with superstar post Chris Bosh.

Fortunately, they have some time to iron out the kinks. Unfortunately, they don’t have much time and today they face MVP candidate Derrick Rose and the upstart Chicago Bulls.

--Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Feb , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Warriors acquire Troy Murphy, Buyout coming?

The Warriors and Nets are close to finalizing a multi-player trade, according to sources. Golden State will send Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright to New Jersey for Troy Murphy and a 2012 second round pick.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Wait a second. Wasn’t Troy Murphy supposed to go to the Denver Nuggets as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade?

That’s right. Anthony declined the New Jersey Nets’ overtures and is now a New York Knick.

Anyway, the Nets wasted little time sending Murphy back to his first NBA team, the Golden State Warriors, for Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright.

Murphy isn’t returning home for a reunion or coming full circle, though.

In a day or so, the Warriors will buyout whatever is left on his expiring contract and allow him to hit the free agent market.

Murphy will then have his choice of contenders, and the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, and Orlando Magic are all expected to show interest.

On paper, the Magic makes the most sense. Murphy can help center Dwight Howard on the glass, while stretching defenses with his three-point range –like Rashard Lewis before he got moved to the Washington Wizards.

One issue will be Murphy’s conditioning. He has only played in 18 games due to injury and a bizarre banishing by Coach Avery Johnson.

After months of frustration, the left-handed veteran will hit the court. For the first time in his nine year career, he could see playoff action, too.

However, what exactly Murphy can contribute is unknown.

--Oly Sandor.


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Thursday , Feb , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

In or Out? What’s Artest’s future with the Lakers?

"I think Ron enjoys being in L.A," Phil Jackson said. "I think he likes the Lakers. I think he likes the action. I think he likes the attention we get as a basketball club. I think that feeds into who he is as a person." Artest was admant that he doesn't want to be traded. "I feel good every day," Artest said. "We've got a chance to win multiple championships here...trying to work towards another banner."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s out. No. He’s in.

In less than 24 hours there have been conflicting reports on Ron Artest’s future with the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Yesterday, Marc Stein reported that Artest had requested a trade. The ESPN reporter quoted an unnamed source who mentioned that the three-man was tired of being blamed for the team’s struggles and wanted a greater role in the offense.

Today, the Lakers were in damage control mode, with player and team both denying the report.

Forget the rumors. All is not well with the purple-and-gold.

Part of this is boredom. The Lakers have had two especially long seasons, playing from October to the end of June. They’ve also been in some epic game sevens, which probably makes it tough to play the Memphis Grizzlies in January.

Part of this is fear. Everybody else is better –much better. The Miami Heat have the Three Kings in Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade; the Boston Celtics are deeper, especially down-low; the San Antonio Spurs’ Big Four dominate both ends of the floor. 

The Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, and Oklahoma City Thunder also have designs on winning a championship.

So ‘three-peating’ won’t be easy. Artest and the Lakers have to focus on the challenge.

--Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Jan , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jerry West: ‘I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer’

Jerry West's words -- "The reason you 'can't play defense' is because you can't!" and "I don't think the Lakers will be good for much longer" -- stung the Lakers. Bryant nodded in agreement when informed of the substance of West's criticism and Derek Fisher offered the utmost respect for West, who drafted the veteran guard as a rookie in 1996.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It doesn’t matter that he was an All-Star on-court and in the executive suite for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jerry West, possibly the most influential member of the purple-and-gold clan, believes the two-time defending champions have lost their motivation and are too old to continue their reign atop the NBA standings.

Perhaps he’s right. Now is not the time to make this assessment, though.

The Lakers are currently mired in the grind of the regular season. The games mean little. And because their defence is still solid they can win playoff rounds without home-court advantage.

That’s the positive news. The negative news is that the Lakers have stagnated, while the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and San Antonio have gotten better. Much better.

These teams might not have enough to overthrow the Lakers in the playoffs, but it will be closer than previous years. And some, like West, believe the NBA will crown a new champion.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jan , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Charlotte to deal ‘happy’ Stephen Jackson?

If they're not, adding Jackson and the $19.3 million he is owed over the next two seasons wouldn't make sense for either party. "He's happy there," a confidant said of Jackson. "He loves the city of Charlotte, and he loves to play for one of the greatest players to play the game, Michael Jordan."

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Well hallelujah. Stephen Jackson is ‘happy’ in Charlotte.

Apparently, the talented swing ‘loves’ the city of Charlotte and having Michael Jordan, the Bobcats’ owner, as his boss. So he wants to stay and fulfill the remaining two years and approximately $19 million on his contract.

There may not be a ‘happily ever after’, though.

Jackson often resmebles an impulsive teenager, changing his mind and word. Years ago, he turned down an extension from the world champion San Antonio Spurs to test the market and ended up with the lowly Atlanta Hawks.

More recently, he was enamoured with the Golden State Warriors and mad-scientist sideline boss Don Nelson. Then, like ‘Radio Raheem’ in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, the 'love became hate' and Jackson split from the Warriors and ‘Nellie’.

Of course, there’s another party in this relationship, the Bobcats. Jackson will become available if the club falls from the playoff race or if Jordan opts for long-term financial flexibility.

And Jackson's happiness won’t matter. Not one bit.

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Jan , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on recent techincal fouls: ‘Expletive it’

On an unrelated note, Bryant expressed not a hint of concern for picking up five technical fouls in last six games: [Expletive] it. Don't care. I can afford it.".

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Forget Kobe Bryant’s choice of words. He has bigger issues than a fine from league head office.

Consider the recent plight of his Los Angeles Lakers: they’ve lost four of their past six games; they haven’t played well for weeks; they, according to Bryant, are ‘skipping steps’; and last night they were booed at home for a terrible effort in a loss to the average Memphis Grizzlies.

Their problems are greater than being bored with the regular season. And their problems are also greater than arrogantly thinking they can hit a switch for the playoffs.

This year, the Lakers have serious competition. In the Western Conference, there’s the San Antonio Spurs and, provided they get past their recent string of injuries, the Dallas Mavericks. Neither team will concede an inch in a best of seven playoff series.

If the Lakers advance to the NBA Finals, they could face the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat, two superb defensive teams. And the Orlando Magic, despite two mid-season trades, is still dangerous.

So the competition is better, while, it appears, the purple-and-gold is worse.

Don’t get it twisted: the Lakers are extremely talented. But something is missing from the two-time defending champions. Perhaps the hunger is gone. Perhaps the motivation is gone.
 
Or perhaps everything will be fine next June, and Bryant and his teammates will be celebrating a three-peat. Right now, this scenario seems unlikely.

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Jan , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Teams talking to Raptors about ‘intriguing’ Stojakovic?

An intriguing player on the market is Raptors sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, who has not played since Nov. 26 because of a knee injury but is close to returning. Stojakovic is earning $14 million this season, and the Raptors also have most of the Bosh trade exception to facilitate a deal.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Let’s clarify. Peja Stojakovic is ‘intriguing’ because of his contract, and not because of his on-court play.

Teams that inquire about Stojakovic are interested in his $14 million dollar expiring contract. They have no illusions about him recreating his Sacramento glory days by moving off the ball, catching, and converting from the outside.

It won’t happen. Injuries and age have taken its toll.

One scenario is worth watching, though. A rebuilding squad could trade for Stojakovic before the deadline and waive or buy him out.

Stojakovic would then become a free agent and, perhaps, ink a pro-rated one-year deal for the minimum with a contender.

In the all-or-nothing world of the NBA, a top team may have interest in renting Stojakovic for a couple of months and the playoffs.

However, the Euro gunner must first prove he can still play before Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, or any other contender takes a flyer on him. This means getting on-court and producing for lowly Toronto.

If Stojakovic can’t contribute to the cellar-dwelling Raptors, how could he contribute to a team with championship aspirations?

The business of basketball means there’s a market for Stojakovic’s contract. Hopefully, he has something left to offer the game of basketball.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Dec , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers need healthy Bynum, not ‘pissed off’ Bryant

Now as for the loss to the Spurs, Kobe said, "I'm just pissed." "That doesn't mean you're going to play mad [against New Orleans] does it?" I said with just the right amount of concern. "I don't know," Kobe said. "I've been playing mad as long as you have been writing mad."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers don’t need Kobe Bryant pissed off. They do need Andrew Bynum healthy and playing well.

The giant post missed the first two months of the season recovering from knee surgery, and he has struggled to find his form since returning.

Simply put, Bynum, when on his game, makes the Lakers unstoppable. His height (7-1) and wingspan were the difference between winning and losing game-seven of last year’s NBA Finals against the Celtics.

Well, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, as several teams added size to battle Bynum in the playoffs. The Boston Celtics signed Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal; the Dallas Mavericks traded for Tyson Chandler and re-upped with Brendan Haywood; the San Antonio Spurs brought Tiago Splitter from Europe and developed the powerful DeJuan Blair.

Of course, Bryant will be better than yesterday’s game against the Spurs, where he missed 13 straight shots.

However, the purple-and-gold needs a healthy Bynum, not a pissed off Bryant, to win their third consecutive championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Dec , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Video: Dwight Howard bullies Chris Quinn and Spurs

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Dwight Howard made sure yesterday wasn’t a good day for Chris Quinn.

Howard, while stumbling out of bounds, fired the ball of Quinn’s dome to ensure his Orlando Magic retained possession. Then Howard caught, not just blocked, Quinn’s shot in mid-air, mind you.

Finally, Howard had 29 points and 14 rebounds in a 123-102 Magic win over Quinn’s Spurs. Watch both clips and get at us with thoughts on Howard’s treatment of Quinn in the comment box below.

(That has to hurt.)

(No need for a block. Howard prefers to catch Quinn`s shot in mid air.)

--Oly Sandor.
 

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Saturday , Dec , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers have bigger worries than Kobe’s pinkie finger

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was down to three healthy fingers on his shooting hand Friday in his Philadelphia homecoming but a fourth-quarter surge won it for the Lakers, 93-81.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant will be fine. His finger is nothing to worry about folks. So move along.

Word is the Black Mamba sprained his right pinkie finger after catching a ‘bad pass’ from Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

For Bryant, injuries don’t matter. He has played through knee troubles, broken fingers, and other aliments before.

The purple-and-gold has a bigger issue: boredom. After winning two consecutive NBA championships, the Lakers are cruising through the regular season.

Problem is, the San Antonio Spurs, behind their revitalized big four, are flying with a league-best 22-3 record. And the deep Dallas Mavericks are 21-5. If the Lakers get through the Western Conference, the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat will be waiting.

So Bryant’s finger is the least of the Lakers’ worries.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Dec , 17 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

J.R. Smith Dunks All Over Gary Neal

Even after watching him scrape defenders off the sole of his sneakers numerous times in his career, I'm still occasionally taken aback by some of the things J.R. Smith is capable of doing in the air. About ten minutes ago he added yet another extraordinary play to his already prolific highlight reel with an absolutely filthy dunk against the Spurs. Taking off some eleven feet from the bucket, "Swish" threw home an emphatic two-hander all over a hapless Gary Neal, who seemed as surprised as the rest of us that Smith had even attempted - let alone completed - a dunk from that distance.

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Sunday , Dec , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Do you care: Danilo Gallinari dating Michelle Trachtenberg?

GOSSIP GIRL actress MICHELLE TRACHTENBERG has sparked rumors of a new romance with New York Knicks basketball star DANILO GALLINARI.

The 25 year old, who was previously linked to bad boy rocker John Mayer, has been spotted out in the Big Apple with 22-year-old Gallinari in recent weeks, and even cheered on the sportsman at a recent Knicks game.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Call me a skeptic but this sounds familiar.

European basketball star plying his craft in the NBA meets up-and-coming actress. They date. They become an item.

Hopefully, New York Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari and Gossip Girl star Michelle Trachtenberg have a better fate than the San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker and Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria.

Hopefully, Gallinari is smart enough to avoid a cell phone text scandal with a teammate’s wife. Time to be honest: I don't really care.

However, if you care about the Gallinari-Trachtenberg pairing then get at us in the comment box below.

--Oly Sandor.
 

 

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Saturday , Dec , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Mark Cuban: ‘Miami is the best team in the league’

 Mark Cuban did enjoy the Heat's early struggles, but he may be changing his tune. During a visit to San Antonio this past weekend, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the Mavericks were probably the best team in the league right now. ... Surely, [Cuban] has to be pleased with the progress of the hottest team in the NBA, one that battling San Antonio for the league's best record. But are the Mavs, in Cuban's biased opinion, the best around? "Miami is the best team in the league right now," Cuban said simply.

 Link

 HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They’re better but not the best.

After some early struggles, the Miami Heat have found their form and won six straight games to push their record to 15-8.

There are still issues. For instance, the Heat can’t go all season with Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers at point guard. It remains to be seen if Erik Dampier can provide a physical presence down low.

Most importantly, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade need time to get comfortable with each other on both ends of the floor.

When this happens, the Heat will legitimately challenge the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs as the league’s best team.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Dec , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Eva Longoria and Tony Parker Meet for Lunch


We discovered not too long ago that Eva Longoria and Tony Parker were set to split after TP9 allegedly put the naughty on the wife of former Spur Brent Barry. Nasty stuff all-round, and with Eva apparently unwilling to overlook Tony's infidelities it was no surprise that the pair bought a one-way ticket to Splitsville.

Traditionally, the interested parties sever all contact and leave it to the suits to divide the marbles and finalize the divorce. This time, however, it seems as if the estranged pair are looking to do things a little more personally, meeting face-to-face in an L.A.-area hotel before the Spurs-Clippers game to talk things over. So what does this mean? It could merely be that Eva and Tony are hoping to separate amicably, with a meeting on neutral ground a commitment to keeping this divorce from becoming unnecessarily messy. It could also be one last effort by TP9 to win back his lady before they reach the point of no return.

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Thursday , Dec , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Orlando Magic talking to Washington Wizards about Arenas?

According to sources, talks have resurfaced between the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards regarding a potential trade for guard Gilbert Arenas.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Like Anthony Robbins, the NBA is all about personal power -or the power of personal relationships. 

The Orlando Magic is the only team interested in controversial Washington Wizards’ guard Gilbert Arenas. The reason: Magic GM Otis Smith is a friend, mentor, and confidante to Arenas. 

In short, he still believes. Smith thinks Arenas, in the right circumstance, can recapture his past form and excel as a co-star next to super-post Dwight Howard.

 Perhaps he’s right. New scenery can do wonders.

However, Arenas has taken a great physical and emotional pounding. The knee surgeries have changed him. So has the fallout and suspension from bringing guns into the Wizards locker room. 

A new team, even one with a chance at a championship, may not be enough. 

But the Magic may have no other choice. Howard needs help if they are to compete with the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and San Antonio Spurs for a championship.

 Friendship may result in Smith gambling on Arenas.

 --Oly Sandor.

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

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Monday , Nov , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Orlando Magic still interested in Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul?

The Magic are still open to making trades, reports Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel.

Schmitz writes that the Magic still like both Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony -- they are partial to Paul -- and they'll trade anyone but Dwight Howard for either All-Star.

 Link

HoopsVibe News: One step back. Two steps forward.

Translation: the Orlando Magic is prepared for short-term struggles if it leads to long-term success, especially if that long-term success includes Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul.

Magic GM Otis Smith realizes his current squad lacks the horses to beat the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, or even the revamped San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series.

He needs another superstar. Dwight Howard aside, Smith will move anybody on his roster for Anthony or Paul. 

Trades mean transition. Players need to adjust. Coaches must alter game plans. Roles must be redefined. And chemistry must develop.

Smith would accept these temporary stumbles because Howard with Anthony or Paul would supposedly give the Magic a better chance at a championship than the status quo.

Of course, there are complications. Anthony seems destined to suit up for the New York Knicks, while Paul appears to have reconciled with the New Orleans Hornets.

However, give the Magic credit. It’s championship or broke for Smith and Howard.

Oly Sandor.


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