NBA Rumor Mill

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24 Jul

Dirk Nowitzki, the MVP?

If there was a poll being taken about the front runners of the MVP trophy, I bet the names would be LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, and Carmelo Anthony. However, what if I add the name Dirk Nowitzki is there? And, you all would go, "Dirk Nowitzki? MVP? His days are over man! No Way!"

However, there is one man who believes Dirk Nowitzki is still the front runner for the Most Valuable Player award and will stand as a challenge to all those super stars next season. Speaking to Dallas 103.3 FM, Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has reminded us that we should not forget about the thirty-five years old German, star forward who still has plenty of game left within him.

Knock on wood, if we stay healthy, I think people are just missing Dirk in ways they shouldn't. Like I've been telling him, Karl Malone won an MVP at 35 and there's no reason why he can't be considered in an MVP conversation at 35.

Just as a reminder, Nowitzki and co. made a no-shave pledge last season until they got to the .500 mark. So, the enthusiasm and the passion for the game is still there in the big man but the question is whether he will be consistent enough with his health throughout the season. Cuban has done his best of adding the remaining talent from the free agency after Dwight and Bynum slipped away. Ellis and Calderon should be enough to take a significant amount of pressure off of Nowitzki's shoulders, and just let him play his game.

The standards are way too high, especially for a player who is transitioning from the worst scoring season (17.3 ppg) after his rookie year. However, Malone did win an MVP at age 35, so the chance is still there.  As long as Dallas stays in the playoff mix and Dirk plays at a high level, he will at least be in the MVP conversation, if not the MVP at the end.  

22 Jul

NBA Reunion.

Quite an offseason this has been so far!
Several players have landed in the city they want to play, and have inked the deals they deserved. However, one interesting fact that strikes some people about this off-season is that it has been a reuniting year for many. Several coaches and players have returned to the same team where they had success in their career.

Our first example is Chauncey Billups. Who can forget the underdog Pistons team that won the NBA championship back in 2004 when Chauncey was the leader! Well, after moving to some other teams, the point-guard has returned to the team where he gained success and a ring. In the same championship roster of 2004, another major role was played by Rasheed Wallace, who has also returned as the assistant coach in Detroit.

Next, Mike Brown can call Cleveland his home once again. The LeBron led and Brown coached Cavs made it to the finals in 2007, but soon Mike Brown was let go by the organization. The man has returned and will be coaching the Cavaliers for the 2013-2014 season.

Kurt Rambis is also under talks with the Lakers Organization and there is a huge possibility of him returning to the Lakers bench as an assistant coach to Mike D'Antoni. Another reunion is seen in the Indiana's front office where Larry Bird has returned after a year off.

That's not all folks, after parting ways with Dwight Howard, Lakers have decided to bring back some old players to L.A. The first such player was Jordan Farmar. After winning a championship with the Lakers, Farmar was playing in Turkey, but was bought out by the organization in order for him to play in L.A. Another player the Lakers are trying to bring back is Lamar Odom, who spent a year in Dallas and a year with the Clippers after he was dealt by the Lakers. However, all these players are reuniting once again.

 

19 Jul

Will Mike Miller make OKC a Championship team?

Is that what OKC was lacking? Yes, they needed someone to help them off the bench in crunch time moments, down the stretch, late in fourth-quarter, during a playoff game when Westbrook and Durant are exhausted.

I am talking about none other than Mike Miller. When Miller was amnestied by the Heat a few days to save plenty of dollars in tax, Miller had expressed his feeling of joining a team that could get him another ring. So, why not the Thunder? The same team Miller and co. took down in five games a year ago. 

Well, we're talking about mutualism here. Miller needed a championship caliber team, and OKC needed a championship caliber player. Miller has proven himself to be a key role player down the stretch during playoff runs for the Miami Heat over the past two years. And, I am sure we all remember the no-shoe three-pointer he drained to silence the Spurs fans. This guy brings experience—championship experience—he brings hard work, and he fills a vacant spot in the Thunder bench for next season.

However, the addition of Mike Miller—although not official—isn't going to cut it for the Thunder. No doubt, he is going to be valuable during their playoff runs, but he cannot simply replace James Harden, or Kevin Martin. Those guys were scorer, and that is what OKC needs to fill to do great next season. If they add a punch scorer off the bench, I will be ready to believe that they can take down the Miami Heat, or any other team in the NBA next season.

For now, they've still got a little bit of work to do.

18 Jul

Aldridge and Blazers Parting Ways?

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland's all-star forward, set up a meeting today with Portland's General Manager Neil Olshey in Vegas. Reportedly, the meeting consisted of possible trades for LaMarcus, who has denied a trade request but doesn't mind parting ways with the franchise either.

Last year, when Olshey stepped into the GM's boots in Portland, he made sure that LaMarcus was the center-piece of the puzzle and they wanted to build around the big-man. However, seeing his peers leave to better places to make a run for the championship has molded the mind of the star forward. When Damian Lillard was drafted, all the Portland fans could imagine was the pick and roll between the two outstanding players. But, that dream might be over.

Unlike the Dwight situation, Olshey is in no hurry to strike a deal and is looking for the best deals available on the market. Reportedly, Aldridge wanted to take his talents to Chicago and pair up with another all-star in Derrick Rose. Unfortunately, Blazers are interested in Noah and Jimmy Butler, who are both not on the trading block; thus, Aldridge's dream of going to the windy city is not a possibility. The only big men Olshey and the Blazers are interested in are Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Al Horford, and Anthony Davis. However, none of the General Managers want to part ways with their franchise faces.

For now, Aldridge might have to stay in Portland for a year or two, or until a good deal strikes the Portland's front office. But, as far as the Blazer's fans are concerned, it is highly unlikely Aldridge will re-sign with the franchise once his deal is over in 2015. For now, social media is the only way to convince the big guy to stay in Portland, similar to what Morey did to bring in Asik and Howard. 

17 Jul

Who's Next in L.A.?

After the Dwight-mare was over from Los Angeles, the Lakers were automatically thrust into a rebuilding mode. They signed some free-agents to one or two year deal just to put a team on the floor for the upcoming NBA season. However, many believe that the current Laker roster is not competitive enough to even secure a spot in the tough Western Conference, especially with emerging teams like the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, and the Rockets. Thus, Mitch and the Lakers are already ahead of schedule and planning their off-season strategy for the 2014 NBA free-agency.

During the next free-agency period, some of the most notable names in the league become unrestricted free-agents; such as, Melo, LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Stoudemire, Wall, Granger, George, Bogut, Nowitzki, and several others. This free-agency should be enough for the Lakers, who will have plenty of cap space to reload their roster and make another championship run. But who would they target?

My first guess is, none other than, LeBron. However, it is highly unlikely LeBron would choose to join forces with the Mamba and pick Hollywood over his home-town, or south beach, we can expect Mitch to put a bid up there for LeBron. Next is going to the scoring champion, Carmelo Anthony. Anthony had an amazing year this season, winning the scoring title, and electrifying the crowd at the MSG every night. Lakers would definitely want Melo to do the same on a nightly basis at the Staple Center, alongside the future hall of famer, Kobe Bryant. Then again, it is highly unlikely that two scoring-first mentality guys, in Kobe and Melo, team up forces, but to counter that, they have been teammates on a successful USA Olympic roster.

Lakers third choice should be this year's all-star and Indiana's star guard, Paul George. This kid was raised in L.A. and has looked up to Kobe Bryant as his role model; however, he has stated that he is happy where he is right now, and that is Indiana. But, he has also hinted that playing alongside Kobe would be a dream come true. I don't know, what his decision is going to be at the end, but Mitch and his front-office should definitely try to mold his brain into playing in L.A. because the kid's got a bright future where ever he plays.

Lakers will definitely be running after other superstars and filling their roster up with a deep NBA Draft, but those three guys should definitely be a priority for the Lakers front office. 

15 Jul

Perfect Place for LeBron...

I know it has been said several times before, but here we go again!

Cleveland is the perfect place for LeBron to play next season. Once the 2014 free-agency period starts, I will be expecting LeBron to settle down on an agreement with the Cavs and return to his home on a four-year deal.

At the moment, Cavaliers have the all-star point-guard in Kyrie Irving, who has tremendous upside and potential left in him with the ability to run the offense neatly, and finish games when it matters the most. Then we have Andrew Bynum, who also has tremendous upside and ability to protect the rim, grab the rebounds, and finish in the paint. Furthermore, Dion Waiter is young with the ability to score and create his own shots. He can put the ball in the basket at the any given moment. With the three positions set, Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson will be competing for the four position. Bennett, the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, has the ability to stretch the floor, score baskets, and rebound at a high level. Whereas, Tristan Thompson showed immense improvements last season and will continue to improve in the future. With all positions set, LeBron can easily take on the leadership and star role at the small-forward position in Cleveland, under his former coach Mike Brown. And, given the bench power Cleveland has right now, the team would definitely be a force in the Eastern Conference.

In my honest opinion, Cleveland will turn out to be a better team than the Heat if LeBron agrees on joining them. And, from what I know, LeBron is all about championships now, and he will definitely get some with the Cavaliers roster. 

11 Jul

Lakers were never an option for Dwight.

Apparently, Lakers was never an option for the All-Star Center, Dwight Howard. Dwight had his mind made up from the beginning that Rockets were the team to play for because he never had interest in playing for the Laker Organization; however, the reason wasn't that he couldn't handle the pressure in L.A., but that he wanted to be the face of the organization.

During the Lakers meeting with Howard, he only asked them one question: when would the organization move on from the Kobe Bryant era? I guess, Dwight has his own beef with the former teammate Bryant, just like Shaq. Dwight wanted the 2013-2014 season to be the last for Kobe in Los Angeles, and after that he wanted to be the face of the franchise. Although the Lakers comforted him that after Bryant retires, the torch would be passed down to him, but the twenty-seven year old big-man did not want to wait that long.

He had Rockets guarantee him that he was going to be the 1st face of the organization for years to come. I guess, Dwight couldn't handle being around Kobe, the boss of the Lake Show.  

11 Jul

Lamar takes his anger out at a Papparazi

Lamar Odom just took out his frustration on paparazzi! Reportedly, after Khloe kicked him out of the house for cheating on her, Lamar was walking down the streets of L.A. when a paparazzi was caught by Lamar's eye following him.

That should have been the time that paparazzi ever followed someone because Lamar approached his car and threw all the electronic equipment onto the street while the crowd just stood watching. The funny thing was that Lamar was never angry; he was as cool as a cucumber during the whole scenario.

After the whole incident, Lamar was kind enough to take a snapshot with a fan, who even played with his hat during the picture, and Lamar did not mind.

Just another weird day in Los Angeles

11 Jul

Kobe not Retiring?

Good News Laker Fans!

Kobe Bryant isn't going to retire for at least three to four years. According to Bryant, the injury has made him more locked in to go for three more rings after watching San Antonio do what they did this year. The injury has come in as a blessing for the Laker Nation. San Antonio's core is made up of three not so young guys; however, their championship run has made Kobe realize that it's not about the age, it's about the mentality.

"Mentally, I think mentally I'm more locked in, more engaged on the prospects of playing another three or four years... I've been rejuvenated somewhat by the injury and inspired by watching what San Antonio was able to accomplish this year, so I'm ready to go for at least another three." -- Kobe Bryant

But don't be too ecstatic because the Lakers are not deep enough to compete with teams like the Thunder, Clippers, Spurs, Grizzlies, Warriors, and the reason why I am not going to mention the Rockets here is because I know Kobe will take care of them. 

11 Jul

Back in Detroit!

I think Lakers and Pistons have decided to get their old guys back. After signing Rasheed Wallace as the assistant coach, Pistons have signed Chauncey Billups to a two-year $5 million deal. BIllups is not going to be the same guy he was back in the day, but he can definitely help the young backcourt in Detroit. Brandon Knight and Kentavious-Caldwell Pope are two raw talents that need a bit of polish, and that is exactly why Billups is back in Detroit.

After having an injury-ridden season with the Clippers, Billups finally seems healthy to cash in about twenty-five minutes per game with the Pistons. His old fella', Sheed, will definitely provide the team with some leadership as the assistant coach; however, this team is nowhere close to being a playoff contender, despite the Josh Smith signing. Pistons do have a bright future, and the addition of Chauncey should help them figure out their back-court. 

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