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House Divided: Magic Players Leaning Toward Van Gundy

April 5, 2012 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

I wrote earlier today that Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy addressed the rumors of Dwight Howard wanting him fired by stating that he was already told by management that Howard wants him gone. As of right now, the house is divided right now in South Florida, and that’s not a good thing since we’re only 12 games away from playoff basketball. It’s possible that tonight’s game against the Knicks could be Van Gundy’s last with the Magic, but Otis Smith certainly owes Stan to let him finish this season out and do the best they possibly can in the playoffs.

Dwight might want him out, but some of the other Magic players don’t. Especially the one’s that Stan has helped make a better player over the years (mainly his 3-point shooters). Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reportedly interviewed players on how they felt about the situation, and surprisingly, some of the biggest names on the roster don’t want Stan to leave:

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Stan Van Gundy Confirms Dwight Howard Wants Him Fired

April 5, 2012 by  
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Dwight Howard tried to do everything he could this year to not be ostracized like his pal LeBron James was when he decided to “Take his talents to South Beach.” Well, it looks like Howard has officially failed to do so. It was just yesterday when CBSSports.com revealed information about Dwight possibly wanting his head coach in Stan Van Gundy fired in hopes of bringing in another coach that could help lure an elite player to Orlando to better their chances at winning a championship.

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Video: Ty Lawson Breaks Ryan Anderson’s Ankles

April 2, 2012 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

When Ty Lawson is aggressive, he makes Denver an elite team. Although the Magic were without Dwight Howard during their loss to the Nuggets on Sunday, it was Ty who dropped 25 points and 8 assists. He also dropped (literally) 3-point shooter Ryan Anderson, and he ended up leaving the game with an injury.

Lakers Set To Exercise Andrew Bynum’s Option

March 20, 2012 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

When the whole “Dwight Howard’s going here, and here, or here” conversations were flowing like the Nile the last few months, I was really hoping he wasn’t going to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum. Not because of my distaste for L.A., but because I think Bynum deserves to stay there. And I’ll even go out on a limb here by saying that if the kid didn’t have bad luck with his knees, he’d be the best center in the game right now.

Now that we have to wait a whole year for the Howard rumors to start-up again since he decided to exercise his option with Orlando, ESPN.com is reporting that the Lakers plan to do the same with their 24-year-old All-Star center.

Lakers general manager, Mitch Kupchak, released a statement about Bynum’s exercise to show proof that they’re not just rumors and something we won’t hear about every second of the day.

“He’s the starting center on the West All-Star team. Why wouldn’t we do everything we could to keep him here?” Kupchak said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We’re ecstatic to have him on the team.”

Bynum’s option is worth $16.1 million, which is due by June 30, but he’s certainly worth the cash. Many believed that he would have slowed down by now and/or gotten injured, but he continues to get better. With his 18-point, 12.9 rebound and 2.0 blocks per game average this season, it’s no wonder he was named a Western Conference starter. And his age certainly helps his case, too.

Bynum said himself he wants to stay, and Kobe — You know, the guy who once said “Who the f**k is Andrew Bynum?” — thinks it’s “great” and “well deserved.”

If Kobe’s good with it, then you know everyone else is.

Denver Nuggets Ink Wilson Chandler To 5-Year Deal

March 19, 2012 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

“ill Will” is back. And thank God. Just a few days after the Denver Nuggets decided to trade away their beloved center/forward Nene, who just signed a $70 million extension to remain in Denver, for Wizards shot-blocking 7-footer in JaVale McGee, the up-tempo Nuggets needed to find another way to boost their scoring and perhaps find a go-to scorer in crunch time. (Although it could easily be Arron Afflalo or Danilo Gallinari) And that’s exactly what they did by re-signing Wilson Chandler.

When I first heard that the deal for Nene to go to Washington went through, I wasn’t too fond of it. But the more I think about it, it really did make sense. McGee is only 24 years old; very long, athletic and still plenty room for improvement. And by getting rid of Nene’s contract, it gives Denver a lot more options. Nene simply isn’t the player he used to be and his health seems to be getting worse the older he gets.

When George Karl first heard the news, he stated that he had a special bond with Nene, especially during his cancer treatment. But he also remained positive about the future:

“I think it’s fun,” Karl told the Denver Post. “But in a normal regular season, you want a 30- (to) 40-game package of the eight, nine guys that you’ll rotate in a game — and know how you’re going to do it. With JaVale and Wilson, you can’t even come close to that. … But in the same sense, it can be advantageous to us, if we commit to 22 games and don’t get egos and don’t worry about minutes and get flustered about not playing. (I say to the players), ‘Whatever you get, take it seriously and see what happens.’ ”

Chandler, who signed a 5-year deal worth $37 million, averaged 16.4 points and a career-high 5.9 rebounds in 51 games with the Knicks during the 2010-11 season before averaging 12.5 points through 21 games with Denver. During the summer, Chandler made his way overseas to play in China, where he averaged over 26 points and 11 rebounds per contest. Denver will certainly need his versatility when it comes to scoring and defending come playoff time.

As for McGee — who averaged 11.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in Washington — despite his hilarious blunders and less than average knowledge when it comes to the game of basketball, the kid knows how to play defense. (He’ll need to do better when it comes to positioning himself correctly in pick-and-roll situations). It might sound funny, but I have to agree with Doc Rivers; the kid certainly has Dwight Howard-ish defensive capabilities.

With the addition of both players, Denver now has four 7-footers in their lineup and a handful of scorers, which makes them easily the deepest team in the league with 8+ players who score in double-digit figures. Most believe that Denver’s style of play is only built for the regular season, but I’m not going to count them out in the playoffs by any stretch of the imagination. They’re simply too deep and talented to write them off as just some ordinary team.

Charles Barkley Says Dwight Should Go To Chicago

January 12, 2012 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

Two Superstars, the same shoe deal, but the same team?

It could happen.

The Magic’s four-time Defensive Player of the Year winner wants out of Orlando, which we already know. He’s made that statement public a few times and listed his top destinations as either L.A. (the Lakers, not the Clippers), the Dallas Mavericks or the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. But what about Chicago?

Sure, they already have the reigning MVP in Derrick Rose — who is a superstar, by the way — but what else? They don’t have another go-to guy but they have a bunch of role players that mesh perfectly and are easily the best defensive team in the entire league right now.

Dwyane Wade passed on the opportunity to come home to Chicago and bring the city another championship in the Post-Jordan era, but he chose to stay in Miami with ‘Bron and Bosh. Carmelo Anthony said he’d love to play for the Bulls, but his heart was really in New York. Rose hasn’t tried to lure in any players because he feels like the team is perfect where their at now, but what happens when you never get passed the 2nd round in the playoffs and you keep getting older, and older, and the team you once felt could win a title is no longer intact?

That’s when you wish you had another superstar right by your side.

Early Wednesday morning, Charles Barkley joined ‘The Waddle & Silvy Show‘ to discuss the Bulls and Heat, Joakim Noah and the possibility of Dwight Howard coming to Chicago:

“You want to play with another great player if you possibly can, but the thing about wanting to be the man, that’s just silly,” Barkley said Wednesday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “He should want to play with Derrick Rose. That would be a beautiful combination for the city of Chicago.”

Barkley has a real point: Why doesn’t Dwight want to play with Rose? Every big man in the history of the NBA needed a point guard to pass to them. For some crazy reason, there has been speculation that since both stars are sponsored by Adidas, the company doesn’t want both of their players in the same market (Okay? Rose you take Nike and Howard stays with Adidas. There, everyone’s happy. Just get this done).

Barkley, who isn’t exactly the sharpest tack, doesn’t even get these guys:

“I don’t understand what these guys are thinking,” Barkley said. “Him and Derrick Rose would make the Bulls a championship contender for the next 10 years. You just want to play with as many good players or great players as possible. I think him and Derrick Rose would make a fabulous combination. I don’t know what’s going on with [the Howard situation].”

To me, I believe that in Howard’s mind he thinks that if he leaves Orlando he’s going to continue to be “that guy,” but he’s sorely mistaken. The only reason he’s “that guy” with the Magic is because who else do they have? A bunch of 3-point shooters? Yeah, about that ..

If Howard somehow ends up in a Bulls uniform this season, he’ll learn to be second fiddle because you don’t want to fight over shots with the guy who runs the show. Another big problem with Howard is that he continually disappears in big moments of the game because he’s a such a terrible free-throw shooter, which means teams give him the ‘Hack-a-Shaq’ treatment. So if Howard’s smart, he’d grow up and realize that most need help.

Dwight Howard Shows Us His Joyrides

January 12, 2012 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

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Since Shaq retired, Dwight’s become the NBA’s ‘jokester’ per-say (although most of it has been done by the original Superman himself). Despite being the most talked about player in the NBA at the moment because of trade issues, Howard still finds the time to joke around and enjoy life outside of basketball. Peep his recent interview with Maxim about his joyrides:

People must flip out when you pull up next to them.
People wave and blow their horns and yell, “Hey, are you going to stay in Orlando?” That’s what I hear now.

That’s a sweet paint job.
Yeah, I got the Superman theme, like I bring to the game. It has little police lights at the throttle and Superman-colored lights. It looks pretty good at night.

Does Shaq give you beef about the colors?
He has no problem with it. I just talked to him the other day—we’re cool. He understands that it’s just
for fun. A lot of people call themselves Superman, so there’s no way somebody could be mad about it.

The white cars are a Rolls-Royce Ghost and a Maybach. Anything on your wish list?

I wish I were shorter sometimes. Then I’d have all the sports cars. I’m just so tall
I can’t fit into any of them.

I’ve witnessed a dude from New York who drove his Raptor — it had dope Raptor illustrations airbrushed on the front and sides — to Daytona Beach, Florida and despite that, I have to say that Howard takes the cake for this one. That Superman colorway just stands out in it’s own right, the same way as the greatest superhero in the comic book universe does.

Kobe Bryant Isn’t Changing His Game For Anyone

January 10, 2012 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

We’ve heard this story before, but with different players. Many said that Jordan shot too much, but he also has 6 championship rings to basically say “who gives a shit.” Did Iverson shoot a lot? Yes. But he was also forced into a role for most of his career that certainly didn’t help his chances of winning a title. He needed a true point guard to create shots for him. He wasn’t built to shoot 20+ times a night, while trying to hand out 10 assists consistently.

What about Kobe Bryant? You know, the man who reportedly slept with over 100 women behind his wife’s back in Los Angeles, who has 5 championship rings to go along with a career average of 19.4 shots per game (Remember, that’s just average). Now, turning 34 in August, Kobe’s aging. He has a bad knee, an arthritic finger on his shooting hand that in turn, altered his shooting style, and now has a torn ligament in his right wrist (an injury that would sideline most, but he’s Kobe).

Kobe is Jordan tough and has his work ethic, so what’s a wrist injury? You’re probably asking yourself, “what’s a wrist injury in basketball you moron?! It’s everything!” It might be everything to everyone else, but not Bean. His jumpers are still falling and that beautiful baseline fade is still fallin’, nothings changed except his dreadful 20 percent from 3s.

Yet, he continues to shoot those 23 shots a night this season:

“I shoot, I shoot,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wajnarowski. “ You’ve known that for 16 years. I’m not changing my game. If the defense is not doubling, I’m going to score. If I’ve got a good look, I’m going to score. My teammates know that. But I also give them the ball, too, and set them up.

“But at the end of the day, I’m a scorer first.”

Yes, he’s averaging the third-highest shot attempts of his career (23.5 in 2002-03, 27 in ’05-06) just to get his 27.6 points per game, but he’s still shooting 44 percent from the field.

Which, for Kobe, is just about right.

Other than Bryant and Gasol being the main focal points on offense, big man Andrew Bynum has finally come into his own. And, more importantly, he’s healthy (knock on wood). In his first six games back with the Lakers, Bynum’s averaging a phenomenal 18.8 points and 15.7 rebounds a night (11 defensive rebounds).

L.A. might have the best Big Three on paper right now in the league.

As Dime Mag’s own Sean Sweeney pointed out today, despite the Lakers having arguably the best trio in basketball right now, they’re still average offensively with their 94 points per contest. Their defensive could be better, too, with their allowance of over 100 points a night, which places them at 15th in the league.

L.A. missed out on their much needed point guard when the NBA decided to pull the plug on the Chris Paul trade. Hell, they couldn’t even get J.J. Barea. They’re slow, their perimeter defense is almost non-existent, and the exact same can be said for their “tough guy” Matt Barnes.

So what will the Lakers do before the March trade deadline to better their chances at advancing further in the playoffs? Dwight Howard, maybe? But would you really trade for him if Bynum’s playing this way? Because, as of right now, Bynum’s the best big man in the league. Could they maybe snatch up a guard from their neighbor’s down the street (Clippers)? Who knows.

But one thing’s for certain: “I’m going to do what I do,” Kobe Bryant said. “I’m not changing.”

Players React To DeMarcus Cousins Trade Request

January 2, 2012 by  
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Cousins is a rare breed. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that I believe if he got his act together and played with patience and poise, DeMarcus Cousins would be the second-best center in the game behind Dwight Howard. That’s how talented this kid is. Having just turned 20 years of age back in August, Cousins is a 6-foot-11, 270 pound behemoth. That kind of size makes him one of the biggest middle men in the NBA, and he’s definitely one of the nastiest.

But his immaturity is what dropped him to No. 5 overall in the 2010 NBA draft.

Most are probably thinking, “5 is a great spot!” Yes, but not when you’re supposed to be the No. 1 pick overall, except your behavior both on and off the court keeps you from being just that.

According to ESPN’s J.A. Adande, Kings head coach Paul Westphal first released the statement that DeMarcus has decided to request a trade from the team this past weekend:

In the statement, Westphal said Cousins has “continually, aggressively” shown “he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team.” Westphal said Cousins demanded a trade. Cousins’ agent told Sports Illustrated that the player did not demand a trade. Regardless of who initiated it, the Kings clearly want to move Cousins.

The Kings had high-hopes of both Cousins and Tyreke Evans being the future of the team, but unfortunately Boogie isn’t cutout for a young team, he needs to be surrounded by veterans. Not only his attitude, but his production on the court have become a problem: He’s averaging 18 shots per game (13 points), but has a true-shooting percentage of 41%, which is awful compared to his near 49% during his rookie campaign (via Basketball-Reference).

There’s no reason he should be taking 18 shots a game and only average 13 points (Dwight, on average, shoots the ball 11 times a night and averages 18.2 points per game for his career). His rebounding (8.6 to 11.3) and shot-blocking (0.8 to 1.5) are both up, but that doesn’t makeup for how he acts. As previously stated, a veteran team is what this kid needs and a team like the Detroit Pistons could prove worthy, although there’s no telling how he will handle not winning a bunch of games because they’re basically in rebuilding mode.

Having a guy like Ben Wallace on team (excuse his recent D.U.I.) could prove wonders for Cousins. He’s a 4-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner and he has an NBA championship under his belt, things like that are what Cousins needs. Not to mention that Wallace isn’t the kind of guy who would put up with his immaturity, he might knock him on his ass.

I gave my two cents, but Adande has a few players around the league’s as well:

This is a business,” is what Kurt Thomas said he would tell Cousins. “You’re not playing for just one team, you’re playing for the 29 other teams. You’ve got to keep playing, keep your head. A lot of guys think it’s all show. You’ve got to keep your head.”

“He has too much talent to be doing all of that [stuff],” Kobe (Bryant) said. “Just play, man.”

Those are both long-time players of the league, also with one of the Top 10 players of all-time telling you, DeMarcus, that you’re too talented to be acting out like a 10-year-old kid after your sister ate the last pudding cup in the refrigerator. You’re a 20-year-old millionaire — I’m 23, and struggling — who is living his long-fulfilled dream of becoming a professional basketball player.

But can team’s trust you?

I know Detroit will take a chance on you, but what if they back-out? What if they’re afraid of how you will act if they start losing? What about if you end up on a championship contending team and coming off the bench? Will you complain about not getting your starters numbers and minutes? These are questions that we all need to know, these are questions that all need answers.

And fast…

David West Says He, Along With Chris Paul, Felt Disrespected In NOLA

December 13, 2011 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

Basketball is a business, and most guys understand that anything can happen. But when you’re a franchise player, you deserve to be respected. I mean, that’s the only way things are going to work out at the end of the day. When you’re that guy, you expect people to come to you with questions about how the team should go forward, ect., right? Well, apparently that didn’t happen in New Orleans.

“There just really is no direction with no legitimate owner, so that just makes it tough,” David West told the Associated Press on Monday. “It really made it tough for me to see myself going back there.”

Similar to the Dwight Howard situation in Orlando, there were events that took place in New Orleans that led to the All-Star duo’s minds to start wandering elsewhere. West went on to that say that owner Jeff Bower “didn’t consult Chris with anything” and didn’t converse with him about letting go of his best friend, Jannero Pargo.

West also informed reporters that they were left in the dark about the Tyson Chandler trade.

“It’s nothing against Emeka, but from our perspective, being teammates with Tyson and knowing the type of impact he had on both of our careers at that particular time, I just felt like at that moment, things, in terms of the trust, the direction we were going, started to wane a bit,” West said. “When you have a franchise guy like Chris, build a team around him, I’m under the impression that you’ve got to keep your franchise guy happy.”

That’s just disrespectful. That’s like the scene from Roadtrip when Sean William Scott is selling women for the night but ignores the nerd who’s trying to purchase one. You have a team with chemistry, and your biggest strength is the trio (West, Paul and Chandler) of players who compliment each other well and constantly push each other, and then you decide to trade your best defender and energy guy for a better rebounder? It doesn’t make sense. Believe it or not but it has yet to prove the point that was trying to be made.

West made the smart decision by not re-signing with the Hornets knowing a long time ago things were headed south. Deep down he knew Chris wasn’t coming back — unless they somehow brought in another superstar — so why would he return? He’s 32 years old and coming off a season ending ACL tear, time’s running out for the spot-up shooter. Signing a two-year deal with the Pacers was a brilliant move; they still have some work to do in the backcourt, but they’re looking like a potential top-five team in the East. Adding a shooter of O.J. Mayo’s talent certainly helps, too.

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