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Tuesday , Aug , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Ray Allen: Boston’s Big Three will be ready when lockout ends

But Allen doesn’t believe a lost season would end the Big Three era, even if he and Kevin Garnett have only one year left on their respective contracts. “I don’t think so,” Allen said yesterday before teeing off in his charity golf tournament at the TPC River Highlands.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ray Allen doesn’t know when the lockout will end. He does know the lockout won’t be the end of the Boston Celtics’ 'Big Three', though.

It’s hard to disagree. Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, the Celtics’ trio of veteran stars, can use the time off to rest, recuperate, and heal from many long NBA seasons.

The green-and-white had gone far in the last four playoffs, which, of course, added significant mileage to Allen, Garnett, and Pierce’s odometer.

So time off is good. Allen, Garnett, and Pierce will heal and return. There's precedence for this.

Years ago, Anaheim Ducks star Teemu Selanne used the NHL lockout to rest his wonky knee and returned to score a pile of goals and win a Stanley Cup.

Allen, Garnett, and Pierce could do the same. They’ll have Rajon Rondo and a rejuvenated Jeff Green. When the lockout ends, Executive Danny Ainge will find a post or two to protect the paint.

So a prolonged break won’t be the end of the Celtics’ Big Three. It could be the best thing to happen to them since winning the 2008 NBA championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jul , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe bluffing on Turkey?

Kobe Bryant is not going to play in Turkey. No way. He can’t be that dumb, can’t be willing to risk that much. It keeps making news, but it sounds like a bluff, or at the very least a PR move. And maybe that’s the big question here: Is Bryant bluffing or is he just that dumb?

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is it all talk?  

Some feel Kobe Bryant has no intention of packing up, heading across the Atlantic Ocean, and spending the entire season in a second-rate European league.

A former prep-to-pro star, Bryant is now 33-years old.  There’s a belief with all the wear-and-tear on his body that Bryant should rest for the latter half of his career.

Bryant isn’t stupid. He knows Anaheim Ducks star Teemu Selanne got invaluable R&R during the 2004 NHL work stoppage and resurrected his Hall of Fame career.

Instead of a jaunt to Turkey, he’ll likely stay state-side. The rumors have a purpose, though.

As mentioned,  Bryant gets his name in the headlines, his brand is linked to Europe and Asia, and NBA owners are well aware of the options available to a superstar.

So expect Bryant’s cat-and-mouse game with Turkey to continue. Only it won’t amount to much, if anything.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jun , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Should Kobe and Lakers pray for work stoppage?

You're not going to run as fast. You're not going to jump as high. You have to pick your moments. The great example when he picked his moment was the playoff game when he went down the middle and dunked, the one he had agains New Orleans center Emeka Okafor] in Game 5 of the first-round series. That was checkmate. He's a warrior and understands the game. All players have injuries. It's part of it and how he can manage it. He's been doing a good job with that. Nobody is going to run and jump [like] when they were 18 or 19. It's impossible for people to think that. As long as he's enjoying the game and keeps the two seven-footers [Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum], I still think he has three, four or five more years to play at a high level.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: A work stoppage may be best for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Yes, I said it. Sure, a dispute over money between millionaire players and billion owners is disgusting. And sadly, the season may get cancelled.

A work stoppage would allow Kobe Bryant to get some much-needed rest. His arthritic knee needs time. Same will the bumps, bruises, tears, and strains he’s accumulated over his long and distinguished career.

A season off will let Bryant return as the game’s top player, a title he lost after his Lakers disappointing loss to the world champion Mavericks.  And those 'three, four, five years' of great play could become longer. 

There’s a parallel to Bryant’s situation down the road in Orange County, California.

In 2004, NHL star Teemu Selanne was considering ending his career due to a shattered knee. Selanne, who notched a remarkable 70 goals as a rookie, was coming off a 16 goal campaign with the Colorado Avalanche.

Like Bryant, his knee had robbed him of all explosiveness. The grind of being a pro athlete had taken its toll.

Then the NHL lockout hit. The 2004-05 season never happened. Rather than ply his trade in Europe, Selanne took a prolonged break.

He returned better than ever. Selanne has posted impressive scoring numbers ever since and notches clutch goals for the Anaheim Ducks. Most importantly, he won a Stanley Cup. All while pushing 40 years of age.

Perhaps a work stoppage would be best for the Lakers and Bryant.

--Oly Sandor.

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