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Saturday , Apr , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Smith and Magic will say ‘No’ to offers for Howard

With Dwight Howard in the final year of his contract next season, Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith is fully prepared to receive a host of offers for the All Star center.

"To say it hasn't happened before is crazy, so, yes, I expect it to happen," Smith said Friday. "And the answer will be the same as it always is: No."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: To quote Nancy Reagan, Otis Smith will just say ‘No’.

Of course, the Orlando Magic GM won’t be turning down drugs, but trade offers for Dwight Howard, his franchise face and superstar five-man.

Smith has no choice but to say this. And he has no choice but to justify his ‘No’ with public declarations that Howard, who can become a free agent in July of 2012, will re-sign in Orlando.

This may or may not happen.

Howard may re-sign because he’s loyal. Or he’s comfortable. Or he likes having his own team. Or the new Collective Bargaining Agreement might have a franchise tag clause, which may mean he has to stay.

The opposite is also true. Howard, for any number of reasons, may leave.

He may desire a change of scenery; he may leave for a bigger market to maximize marketing opportunities; he may leave to join a fellow superstar or two and enhance his chances at winning a championship.

The last scenario would be on Smith. He has tendered several big ticket contracts and swung many blockbuster trades, but has failed to surround Howard with a legit co-superstar.

After all, Smith signed Rashard Lewis to a mammoth pact and then swapped him for Gilbert Arenas, who has a longer contract for more money.

Both players underperformed. Ditto for Vince Carter. Smith acquired ‘VC’ from the New Jersey Nets before sending him to the Phoenix Suns for Hedo Turkoglu –another expensive, underachieving player.

So Smith has backed himself into a corner. His fate, like the Magic’s, hinges on Howard re-signing.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Monday , Mar , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nash and Hill to follow Carter out of Phoenix?

Suns coach Alvin Gentry inserted center Marcin Gortat and swingman Jared Dudley into the starting lineup, putting Gortat into the spot of Robin Lopez, who had been groomed as a future franchise center, and Dudley in place of guard Vince Carter, who likely won't be with the Suns next season.

Gortat, 27, has received minutes and produced the numbers as if he were a starter and embraces the idea of a bigger role in the future. Sunday was his first start as a Suns center after receiving one previous start at power forward alongside Lopez.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: How the mighty have fallen.

A decade ago, Vince Carter was supposedly the next Michael Jordan. ‘It was over’ when he won the Slam Dunk Contest with the Toronto Raptors. 

Five years ago, Carter was still a perennial All-Star with the New Jersey Nets, running the break and filling the lane alongside Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd.

Today, he lost his starting spot to Jared Dudley, a very solid but hardly spectacular player for the Phoenix Suns. Carter probably won’t return to the first-five this year.

His timing couldn’t be worse.

Carter’s $15 million per annum contract isn’t guaranteed for 2012, so expect the Suns to exercise the $4 million buyout, making him a not-so desirable free agent.

Heading into training camp, center Robin Lopez was an up-and-comer for the Suns. Coach Alvin Gentry even declared him the team’s second most important player behind Steve Nash.
 
Well, it hasn’t worked out.

Lopez has struggled with his game and emotions. He was recently replaced in the starting line-up by the active Marcin Gortat, who was acquired in the same mid-season trade that brought Carter to Phoenix from the Orlando Magic.

Like Carter, Lopez`s demotion isn’t a short-term thing. Gortat is the man in the middle. For now, and for the foreseeable future.

Change has hit Phoenix. Unfortunately, Carter may not be the only aging starter jettisoned out of Arizona.

Grant Hill and Nash are in their mid-to-late thirties. Unlike Carter, both can still play; however, Phoenix has to rebuild at some point.

And trading Nash and his considerable salary would provide much-needed relief for owner Robert Sarver’s limited resources.

The once mighty Carter and Lopez have fallen. Sadly, the still mighty Hill and Nash could also go this summer.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
Is Vince Carter Done?
Saturday , Feb , 05 , 2011 Paul Eide

Is Vince Carter Done?

With just about two weeks left before the NBA All Star Game the highlights of Vince Carter dominating the 2000 Slam Dunk contest are beginning to circulate in ever increasing frequency. Carter literally introduced the world to dunks most people had never seen before and did it with a fire and passion that has never been matched by any subsequent dunk contest contestant.
 

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Monday , Dec , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Magic to trade Redick or Richardson for a center?

"We'll still find ways to get better in some spots," Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith said. "Losing the backup center is big. So, you need a little size for about probably five teams. That's really what it comes down to, so we'll probably address that over the next month or so."

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The wheeling-and-dealing will continue.

On Saturday, the Orlando Magic overhauled their roster in separate trades with the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards.

The Magic dealt Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, and Mickael Pietrus to the Suns for Earl Clark, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu. Then they sent Rashard Lewis to the Wizards for Gilbert Arenas.

The Magic improved on the wing, but – after dealing Gortat – need a five-man to relieve superstar Dwight Howard.

Howard, despite winning The Defensive Player of the Year award, is prone to foul trouble. Things were so bad last year teammates nicknamed him ‘Foul On You’.

The Magic need a reserve center to bail Howard out when he's overzealous in the paint. A back-up for Howard will also help them compete with bigger contenders like the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Lakers.

Fortunately, the Magic have spare assets. Acquiring Arenas, Richardson, and Turkoglu has made wings J.J. Redick and ‘Q’ Richardson expendable.

A market exists for Redick, even though he’s having an off year and is on the books for an additional two seasons at a combined $12 million.

Richardson can defend and hit the three. Best of all, the veteran is signed through 2014 at a reasonable $2.5 million per annum.

Last weekend was just the beginning for the Magic. More moves are coming. If they’re serious about a championship, they’ll trade a wing for a post.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Dec , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Magic trade Carter to Suns for Turkoglu and J-Rich

The Orlando Magic, already in serious trade talks with the Washington Wizards about acquiring Gilbert Arenas, have agreed to a deal in principle with the Phoenix Suns, according to league sources.

The trade returns former Magic star Hedo Turkoglu, along with Jason Richardson and Earl Clark, to Orlando in exchange for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first-round pick and cash considerations.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Like Wu-Tang Clan said, ‘cash rules everything around me’.

No doubt about it, cash is a major part of the reported swap between the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic. The Suns don’t have any cash. While the Magic do.

Phoenix owner Robert Sarver lacks resources. His banking and real estate holdings were hard hit by the economic recession. He wants to keep his beloved Suns, but only if he can run the club on the cheap.

Vince Carter has only one year guaranteed on his $17 million per annum contract, which will provide the thrifty Suns with financial flexibility. Mickael Pietrus is a useful swing; Marcin Gortat offers muscle down-low.

Best of all, the Suns are out from under the remaining four years and $40 million of Hedo Turkuglo’s pact.

The Magic, on the other hand, have resources. After dropping five of six games, the club is prepared to shake up its roster. Money doesn’t matter.

The Magic will welcome back Turkoglu and assume his big ticket, especially if they do the expected and send forward Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards for Gilbert Arenas.

Jason Richardson’s skill and expiring $14 million contract will also be a fit in Disney World. 

Look for these sorts of trades to continue in the polarized NBA. The haves like Orlando will spend. The have-nots like Phoenix will cut salary.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Saturday , Dec , 18 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Report: Gilbert Arenas Traded to the Magic

Rumors that Gilbert Arenas would be making his merry way down to Central Florida have lingered for months , but that mahoosive contract of his had evidently been a deterrent for the Magic. The word on the wires now, however, is that Otis Smith, whose close relationship with Hibachi is said to be a factor, has finally agreed to, ahem, pull the trigger on a deal that would bring Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic.

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Friday , Nov , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh: ‘Ah … I miss Toronto’

Ah...I miss Toronto. We always joke and laugh about the good times we had there, me and my friends. It’s good to miss something. If I didn’t miss it, that mean I didn’t have a good time.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Memo to Chris Bosh. Just stop. Stop talking to the Toronto media because it won’t change a thing.

Bosh, who ditched Toronto for Miami as a free agent last July, won’t change fans’ opinions by giving feature interviews. In fact, he’s making things worse.

The city’s five daily newspapers, three national television stations, and loyal fans are dissecting each word of every quote. Each time Bosh opens his mouth he adds fuel to the fire.

They won’t forget, let go, or move on, either. Take Tracy McGrady. He bolted Toronto years ago, but remains public enemy number one each and every time he plays in the Air Canada Centre. 

Then there’s Vince Carter. His jersey has been burnt. Radio stations have pranked his hotel room. And fans shower him with boos whenever he suits up in Toronto.

Bosh should expect the same treatment. The way he left neutralizes the seven years he spent in The Big Smoke.

His best course of action is to stop talking about the past in Toronto and win big in Miami.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Jul , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

No ‘different’: Bosh treated Toronto like Carter, McGrady, and Stoudamire

Bosh, who left for the Heat earlier this month, responded to allegations made by Colangelo on Toronto radio station FAN 590 that claimed the All-Star was "checked out" late last season and chose not to play some of the Raptors' final games.

"I play this game as hard as I can every time I step on the court," Bosh said. "On the back of my jersey it says 'Bosh' ... The Boshes are hard workers. We have a lot of pride in what we do, in our jobs and in life."

"Everybody thinks, 'Oh, he was gone as soon as the season was over,' " he said. "It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. As different as another country is, it was still home for me. I had been there for seven years."

Link

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: You'll forgive Toronto Raptor fans for rolling their eyes after reading Chris Bosh's latest comments.

Bosh tried to clarify a few things in an interview with ESPN: he denied GM Bryan Colangelo's claim he went Vince Carter on the Raptors and quit; he also denied accusations he was always going to leave as a free agent; and, most importantly, he swears nothing was meant by calling Toronto 'different'.

The power forward told ESPN he, like Toronto, was 'different'.  How could that be bad, right?

Raptor-nation will agree Bosh is 'different'. The tune he's now singing is indeed 'different' than the mood and attitude he projected in late June and early July.

A month ago, Bosh – like a kid on Christmas Eve - couldn't wait for free agency. He had no reservations, concerns, or second thoughts about ditching Toronto to join free agent buddies LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in a big American market.

For instance, his constant tweets, documentary film making aspirations, and regular television appearances with Wade and then James rubbed salt in a stinging wound for Raptor fans.

Only after his signing, only after the smoke had cleared and the backlash had begun, did Bosh reach out to the city that embraced him for seven years.

The most disappointing part is that Bosh was supposed to be 'different'. He was supposed to be 'different' than superstars Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and Damon Stoudamire, who crapped on Toronto when leaving.

In the end, Bosh wasn't different'.  Sure, his words were 'different' than the tone VC, T-Mac, and Stoudamire struck when exiting, but his actions were, unfortunately, the same.

Aren't actions, not words, what really matter? Aren't actions what people should be judged by?
 
So forgive Raptor-nation for rightfully rolling their eyes at Bosh.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Thursday , Jun , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Gilbert Arenas for Vince Carter?

The Washington Wizards spoke with the Orlando Magic recently about a potential swap of Gilbert Arenas for Vince Carter, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

Link

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It's not happening.

Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith is close friends with Gilbert Arenas, and he advised the 'sharpshooter' during his recent issues stemming from bringing guns into the Washington Wizards' locker room.  

However, Smith doesn't want to mix their personal and professional relationship. This is wise. After all, Carter's contract is only guaranteed for one season. Then his $17 million salary comes off the books, while Arenas is still owed over $80 million.

Reports have Smith dangling Carter's expiring contract in front of the cash-strapped New Orleans Hornets. And he wants to get back superstar point guard Chris Paul.  

Also, new Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is pushing the organization and fans to re-embrace Arenas. The businessman who brought much life to a morbid Capitals franchise is excited about pairing Arenas with first overall pick John Wall. 

An interesting idea, however, The Hibachi and VC aren't trading places.

Got thoughts on Arenas for Carter?

 

 

The Michael Jordan Shadow is more epic than anyone’s existence.
Saturday , Jun , 05 , 2010 J.N.

The Michael Jordan Shadow is more epic than anyone’s existence.

Michael Jordan officially retired back in 1998. The Washington Wizards comeback does not count because there was a ghost in the shell controlling his aging body during the time. With the nth epic battle between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals and the mega 2010 Free Agent class signings shortly thereafter, one has to wonder how the MJ shadow became grand and legendary. It’s just frightening how massive this shadow has grown in the shape of a Jump Man.

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Tuesday , Jun , 01 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Vince Carter needs a dose of honesty

 I twice asked Carter if he would evaluate his postseason performance.

“I don’t do that,” he said.

You don’t assess and evaluate your own performance? Really?

Carter shook his head.

“I don’t.”

Meanwhile, the Magic paid him $17 million this season, and are on the hook for the same figure next year, unless they can unload him on a team that would like to get his expiring contract.

Link

HoopsVibe's Quick Call: This is typical Vince Carter.

He always accepted the perks of superstardom, but never accepted the responsibility that goes with such status.

In Toronto, he took the money, fame, and courtside seats for his entourage/mom; however, he never put the work in to turn the Raptors into a contender. Too often, he was injured. Too often, his effort was questionable. And too often, he refused to grind on defense.

After forcing a trade to New Jersey, Carter publicly admitted he didn't always try his hardest for Toronto. With the Nets, he became a perimeter player and last year in Orlando was a bust.

Along the way, there has been a consistent theme: Carter won't hold himself accountable. This may change.  After all, 2011 is a contract year for the eight-time All-Star and the all mighty dollar has a strange way of motivating.

Should Carter be honest with himself? Get at us with thoughts in the comment box.

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Friday , May , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

A tale of two athletes: Steve Nash and Vince Carter

Former Canadian Olympic teammate Todd MacCulloch was saying the other day that he hoped Nash, a two-time NBA most valuable player, got a ring, “just so no one can say anything bad about his career.”

He needn't worry.

But Vince Carter? You'd like to say he should worry, but it's hard to make the case he does.

Evan as the Orlando Magic have rallied in their series with the Boston Celtics – winning twice in a row to trail 3-2 before Friday's game – Carter's reputation as one of the sport's great underachievers won't require revision. Impossibly, at least in the eyes of Toronto Raptors fans, he's made Magic followers lament the departure of Hedo Turkoglu, as Carter has turned into a $16-million (U.S.) spectator when the stakes are highest.

Link to Michael Grange's article on Globe and Mail

HoopsVibe's Call:  Nash and Carter's careers have been moving in different directions for years because of athleticism. Not just because of effort.

Nash never had Carter's raw physical gifts, so he developed his all-world skill-set and cared for his health. Carter, however, is still living exclusively off his athleticism, which, at 32, is starting to betray him.

For instance, Nash often dodges in-and-out of pick-and-rolls and drops amazing bounce passes, displaying the talent that won the 2010 Skills Contest, while Carter settles for fade-aways and rarely attacks the hoop like the player who won the Slam Dunk Contest.

Also, Nash is an amazing athlete. Sure, he isn't a leaper or speedster, but Hall of Fame NBA writer Jack McCallum wrote in Seven Seconds or Less that Nash's hand-to-eye coordination and reflexes was in the top percentile of players.

Such rare skills allow Nash to hold his own in pick-up soccer matches against American and European pros and helped him excel at baseball, ice hockey, lacrosse, and rugby as a teenager.

Nash's athletic gifts have not depreciated as quickly as Carter's, which explains both their performances in the 2010 playoff.

Why is Nash relevant and Carter irrelevant? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts. 

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Monday , May , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Should the NBA protect Vince Carter and players’ families?

SG Vince Carter said he was prepared to go into the stands to protect his mother Michelle when it looked as if fans were becoming rude and unruly. "I was ready to go. I don't tolerate that," he said.

Link

HoopsVibe's Call: Apparently, Vince Carter told a reporter he'd go into the stands to protect his mother from the Boston Celtics' 'passionate' fans.

Fair enough. Most of us would do the same.

Frankly, the suits at league head office must be embarrassed by Carter's comments. After all, players' family members often take heat from fans, especially if they're related to the road team.

Remember, perennial good guy Antonio Davis once leapt into the stands to protect his wife. A few years back, D.J. Mbenga, while with the Dallas Mavericks, went into the lower bowl to protect coach Avery Johnson's wife, who was being heckled by opposing fans.

With this in mind, it's easy to understand Carter's comments.

Good organizations anticipate potential problems and take pre-emptive action, so the NBA, at a minimum, should provide the road team's family with a safe, secure place to take in the game.

Continuing to ignore this problem will eventually lead to the worst case scenario: another ugly, 'Malice N' Tha Palace' type confrontation between players and fans.

Is it the NBA's responsibility to provide a safe place for family members to sit during games? Why? Why not?

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Tuesday , May , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Greatest missed dunk of all time: Shannon Brown versus Vince Carter?

"Even though he missed, that totally gets a "wowee we wa" from this guy. The miss was so good that people immediately started calling it the best missed dunk of all-time. You be the judge. Either way, I'd offer up that this missed dunk provided some of the most amazing pictures in the history of dunking."

(Ball Don’t Lie)

HoopsVibe’s Call: It made you stand, shake your head, and curse in amazement.

Last night, in the final frame of the Los Angeles Lakers' blow-out win against the Phoenix Suns, Shannon Brown wowed the crowd with a missed dunk.

Yes, a blown facial is making headlines after a disappointing game one. Some, like Ball Don’t Lie, proclaimed it The Greatest Missed Dunk of All Time.

While HoopsVibe News was amazed, impressed, and stunned with Brown’s attempt, we weren’t quite ready to hand over G.O.A.T status.

Instead we’ll pit Brown against Vince Carter's body of work and let you decide who had the greatest missed dunk ever?


(Brown’s blown jam.)


(Carter's career best misses.)

Who has the greatest botched dunk of all time: Brown or Carter? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , May , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Dwight Howard stay MIA against Boston Celtics?

They watched themselves on video and didn't like how they behaved. They weren't running hard. They weren't playing smart.

"We're usually the team that's out running, getting easy baskets -- they were doing it," said Magic center Dwight Howard on Monday after reviewing his 3-for-10 shooting, seven-turnover performance in a Game 1 loss to Boston in the Eastern Conference finals. "It's about effort. These types of games, the closer you get to the NBA Finals, it's more about effort than anything."

All or nothing: Cavaliers, Lakers, and Magic must win NBA Title or face major changes
Saturday , Apr , 17 , 2010 Oly Sandor

All or nothing: Cavaliers, Lakers, and Magic must win NBA Title or face major changes

The Quick Hit: For the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Orlando Magic, it’s all or nothing.

The all is having Commissioner David Stern hand over the Larry O’Brien trophy in two months and pronounce them world champions in a champagne soaked ceremony.

Only the all will do. Only the all will satisfy their demanding fan base. Only the all will satisfy their demanding owners, who have taken on multi-million dollar luxury tax payments for this precise moment.

While nothing, or falling short of an NBA Title, will force Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Orlando to make wholesale changes this off-season. Right or wrong, fair or not, these are the stakes when playing for a contender.

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