Melo On The Move

For some weeks now, the Denver Nuggets Management have been scratching their heads and losing hair over these Carmelo Anthony situation. Carmelo is claiming that he is not asking to be traded anywhere but the management’s eagerness to move him seem to speak otherwise.

Carmelo Anthony

Moving on?

Trades to the Nets once intensified but talks died down as the Nets refuse to include rookie bigman Favors in the package.  I completely understand the hesitation from the new owners and management of the Nets.  They already have Brooke Lopez at center then Devin Harris at the point. Favors is there four and Anthony would have been their three. SG is an iffy. That four guys will definitely contend for a playoff slot. Losing Favors would be a big blow to this goal.

Now, Melo is being linked to his “favored” destination, the New York Knicks. New York Knicks as they are right now is underrated. They are in fact a dark horse to make the playoffs this season. Let’s not forget that they actually toyed with a playoff shot early in the season but crashes out towards the end. Adding Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton during the free agency signing period made them stronger. Amare was a monster in the stronger west division and partnered with Steve Nash to lead the Phoenix Suns into Conference Finals appearances. Felton on the other hand was instrumental for the Bobcats as reach the playoffs for the first time last season.  They also added Rony Turiaf and Anthony Randolph through trade.

Trading for Carmelo would likely send Randolph to Denver and so is Gallinari. Rumors has it that Denver is asking for a 1st round pick in the package. Currently, the Knicks don’t have one but they sure are confident that they will acquire one soon. So when this happen, expect this deal to push through.

As for Denver, I just hope they do make a trade and send Carmelo away while they can. Maybe they learned from Cavs’ experience that they got nothing in return when LeBron left them and that is why they are working hard to make a deal.

Where will Melo go? One thing is for sure, he is New York bound no matter what or when.

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Do or Die (An NBA Finals Game 7 Preview)

The basketball gods have spoken.  Ending an epic battle in a game 6 by the most storied teams in the NBA is too anti-climatic for them. To add drama to an already drama filled series, the basketball gods allowed the Lakers to win via a 22-point thrashing of the Celtics. Come to think of it, the Lakers have avenged their game 6 choke job in 2008.

This rivalry will once again make stamp in history. Game 7 means no tomorrow for either team.  If you lose, you go back home and wait another year, play another 82 games, win enough to make it again to the playoffs and once again try to win 16 more games in the playoffs. The loser of game 7 will go home with nothing. Not even pride.

The injury of Perkins in game 6 proved once again that if you take out one of the starters of the Celtics you disrupt their rotation and it will result into a victory.  This already happened in game 1 where Ray Allen got into early foul trouble and was in and out of the game all throughout.  This also holds true for the regular season. The Celtics rarely have a complete lineup or at least the players in their regular rotation.

The Celtics have shown their weakness. They can’t instantly adjust into game changing situations like injuries. The Lakers capitalized on that in game 6. That won’t be the case in game 7.

There are already reports the Kendrick Perkins will not play in game 7. This actually will serve good for the Celtics. They can plan out a strategy without Perkins before the game. They have a full day to do that.  Most likely, it will be Rasheed Wallace who will start in place of Perkins.

Take out Rasheed’s over the top complaining and you know he is a force to reckon with. Rasheed has a ring. He knows what needs to be done to win a championship. Will he be able to shut up and just play with all his heart in game 7 and help deliver number 18? That’s what we all will see in Game 7.

Enough of the Celtics for now. The Lakers have awakened. After a dismal performance of everyone except Kobe in Game 5, every player on that roster decided to play hard and salvaged another life for the Lakers. What does the Lakers need to do to win number 16 for their franchise? Keep it up. They have played their best game. A repeat performance or maybe a slightly even better game from all of them will deliver them number 16 and a back-to-back championship.

Let’s go back to the Celtics. Let’s discuss what needs to be done for them to take him number 18 and put a fitting end to a team that will undergo a similar situation with the 1998 Chicago Bulls in the off-season.

There is only one thing that I noticed. Not once did the Fab 4 had their games aligned. Only one or maybe two performed at their best in one game but never all of them. That is what they need to do to win game 7. They can’t hope that their bench will save them again. They need to take over and show they still have the passion, the legs, the desire to win one more and be aligned with the Celtics great who won more than one championship for the franchise.

Whoever wins Game 7 definitely deserves it. They have given us another exciting series. I promise to all of you that the game 7 of the NBA finals will let you forget for a little more than 2 or 3 hours the world cup.

My prediction? Celtics will take this home. The culmination of the Fab 4 is ripe to happen in game 7. It is impossible that not once in this series that they will pull their acts together and win it for the Celtics. They don’t have the disruptive issues of the Lakers in 2004. They have no excuse not to be able to deliver once game where everyone played in symphony. The hopes of the people of Boston rest on their shoulders. This might be the last time this team will be together.

The pending summer transactions will definitely translate into a paradigm shift. This is a do or die game not only for a shot at the title this year but maybe a do or die game for a shot at the title for the rest of their careers.

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Coming back

After almost 2 years of haitus from sports writing, I will hopefully write again and this time for APcom/La Salle in the UAAP.  I will seek permission so that I can repost my analysis here in Shooter’s Bounce. Wish me luck as I feel that I’m already rusty and my write-up will suck. hahaha!

I will try to write an article for NBA Finals Game 7 as a practice.

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LBJ 2010: Destination Defined

After a long haitus, I’m going to try and write something special for today. So here it goes….

The hottest topic in the NBA today and until the summer of 2010 is where will LeBron James go when he becomes a free agent in 2010.  A lot of teamslebron-james2 are clearing up their salary cap and making room to accomodate LBJ in 2010.  Just recently, the New York Knicks made a strong case for LBJ by clearing up as much as $27M in cap space in 2010. They still have Marbury’s salary which will be gone by end of the current season. This has catapulted the Knicks in to first place as to where LBJ will go if he decides to leave Cleveland.

New Jersey Nets, the previous favorite to make a run for LBJ in 2010 just hit a lot of road blocks. Mainly financial issue and the delay of the construction of their new stadium in Brooklyn, NY.

Another team is making a good case for LBJ is the Detroit PIstons. They will definitely have the cap space for LBJ in 2010 and a core of young players that they are currently developing to be ready by 2010 to make a championship run. Jason Maxiel, Amir Johnson and Rodney Stuckey will be a good core to surround LBJ.

Let us not forget that LeBron will not just change address for the money or the possible global effect on his marketability. He is looking for some of those and a chance to win numerous championships. He won’t settle for anything less than a 3 peat. He would definitely aim for 7 championships. Where can he do that? It’s a toss up between the Knick and his current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Believe it or not, the Cavs still holds a solid case for LBJ to remain in the state of Ohio. What a lot of people fail to see in 2010 is that the Cavs will have the cap space to sign LBJ and another superstar which could be either Chris Bosh or Dwayne Wade. The Cavs will be free from the cap space being eaten up by Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace. Both outstanding players might be too old by 2010 to help LeBron. The Cavs need Bosh more than Wade. A starting line-up of Varejao, Bosh, James, West and Williams can definitely deliver a championship to Cleveland or even more and can help them make LBJ stay to where he has always been in his life.

lebron

The biggest challenge to the Cavs is the Knicks. The Knicks might have more than $50M to disperse in 2010.  Reports say that the Knicks aims to get LBJ, Bosh and Nash in 2010. The scary part for a Cavs fan is that the Knicks can make this happen. What’s more scarrier is when the Knicks can shed off more salary cap space and they can actually land LBJ, Bosh and Wade. This not an illusion. The three players signified their desire to play together in the NBA and the Knicks can make this happen. The question now is, can the Knicks form a decent bench to support the dream big three? I doubt it. The more questionable with the Knicks is Mike D’Antoni. This guy doesn’t believe in defense. James believes that defense wins championships. How will they resolve it? Can they even resolve it?

lbj1LeBron is a marketing giant. Anything he touches turns into gold. Just like what Jordan did back in the days. LeBron has enough reason to stay in Ohio. He grew up there. Built his house there. His family stays there. If he wants to turn into a global brand then he should rework his contract with Nike and make him the face of the company. Everytime a Nike event is held in China, Japan, Europe or where ever they should plaster LBJ’s face everywhere. LeBron should also endorse more global brands in electronics and food industries. He can make it happen just where he is right now.

I believe it’s not the question of which team can lure out LeBron away from the Cavs but whether the Cavs can make a good case to LeBron to stay. LeBron has every reason to stay with the Cavs and the Cavs organization must not do anything to change LBJ’s mind but instead work harder to bring more help.

I will say this once. LeBron James will stay as a Cavalier.

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Back In Boston, Can The Celtics Finally Win It In Game 6?

OK. I failed to make an analysis of game 5. So I’ll do a hybrid. This on will be an analysis of game 5 and a preview of game 6. Here I go…

Game 5 for Boston is very disappointing.  They had the Lakers where they want them but they just can’t convert the shots they needed. The end result is a view of LA celebrating for extending the series. The Big 3 of LA was present. Kobe did his job, Pau Gasol finally showed up, and Lamar Odom played well enough to snatch game 5. As for the Celtics, Paul Pierce was the lone bright star in their Big 3. KG was in foul trouble and had a hard time shooting the ball, Ray Allen’s three-pointer didn’t went in when they needed it the most, and Pierce who dropped a lot of points suddenly lost his focus during the end game that caused them the game.

Now, in a few hours, game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals will be played on Boston’s own court. They now have the perfect setting for winning championship number 17. What do they have to do? Relax. The team was so eager to finish the Lakers in L.A. that they lost focus. KG can’t go strong towards the basket and take a soft attack to the basket expecting a foul to be called. Paul Pierce can’t be too eager and lose the ball if he wants to win. Ray Allen needs to show that he has one more spectacular game in him to finally finish of the Lakers. The Celtics needs to run the plays drawn by Coach Doc Rivers. The last thing that the Celtics need to win championship number 17 is another spectacular game from the bench. That’s where they get their extra strength. Again, the Celtics need to relax and let the game flow and feel it. IF they do this, it’s over for the Lakers.

Now, the Lakers are once again in a win or go home situation. The good thing about this is that they already survived one. The only thing they need to do is to tighten their defense and be ready for a Celtics attack. Coach Phil Jackson’s Zen philosophy might not be working on Kobe but it seems to me that it does with the rest of the team. That is good enough for me. If Kobe is resting then the Zen philosophy is at work and it has been working for the Lakers as the bench have kept the game close enough so that when Kobe comes back they are poised to go for the kill.

Who will win? I say Boston. They have only conceded one game at home in the playoffs. With that, I think the magic or hands of Red Aurbach is at work and Red will definitely look after the Celtics for game 6.

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Will Vinny Del Negro Save The Bulls?

John Paxson is a great GM! After an excruciating wait as to who will coach the Chicago Bulls after they seem to lose their identities this season and after rumors that the replacement would be Mike D’Antoni (ended up with the Knicks), Avery Johnson, Rick Carlisle (now coach of the Mavs), and Doug Collins the Bulls GM decided to tap the services of Vinny Del Negro.

Why Vinny Del Negro? Some reporters say that he is cheap. I agree with this one but remember it doesn’t mean he is no good as a coach. This maybe Del Negro’s first coaching job but for the Bulls any coach is worth the try.  The only question is whether Del Negro can give each player in the Bulls line-up a defined role and able to accept it or be rejected by the team.

It is always interesting to see an upcoming team to be paired up with a first time coach. Both the players and the coach are trying to establish themselves in the league and are eager to win.  Good thing for Del Negro is that this bunch of players that the Bulls have are eager to bounce back from a pathetic performance this season.  These guys know that they are good as they were able to reach the playoff the year before. Another thing that works for Del Negro is that the Bulls have a 1st over-all pick in this year’s draft.

I hope Vinny Del Negro does a great job and that Paxson will give full commitment to Del Negro and give the players a chance to blossom in Del Negro’s system.

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KB24 Lost A 24-Point Lead. Boston One Win Away From Clinching Championsip #17

Where should I start? Hmmm…. Starting a new entry about an event that happened 2 days ago is very hard. Ok. Here I go…

The Lakers are bunch of unbelievable group of individuals. Before the Finals began, everyone chose the Lakers as winner of this series. The Lakers breezed through the playoffs and sold them selves as a Champion team and waiting. Four games later, it was the Celtics who are poised to win the championship.

The Lakers led as much as 24 points at the half and maintained it to 20 points up to the 7-minute mark of the 3rd quarter. From then on the Celtics climbed slowly and cut the deficit basket after basket. The Celtics kept the scores close until the 3-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Then Eddie House and James Posey got to work. Garnett made baskets as if it was a shoot around. Then came the Ray Allen drive to the basket leaving Vujacic and shooting it with a left-handed layup. The face of Vujacic during the two consecutive timeouts called by Phil Jackson for the Lakers to advance the ball was priceless. As if Vujacic was told that he is going to die in 7 days. Maybe this is karma (if you believe in it) for Vujacic after taking that last second 3-pointer against the Spurs during Game 5 of that series even though the Lakers were already guaranteed a win.

All game long and all series long, it has been the Ray Allen show. It took Ray Allen three playoff series before coming out of his shell and wreck havoc. What a great timing!

I like what Paul Pierce said that maybe there is someone up there who doesn’t want to be overtaken helps the Celtics to win. With the way thing are looking, its not a distant fact.

Is the series over? Not yet. Yes, history is against the Lakers as no team has ever come back from a 1-3 deficit but there is always a time for firsts. Should the Celtics give a free win for the sake of winning it in Boston Garden? Hell no! Garnett, Pierce, and Allen should give their all in Game 5 and finish off the Lakers. The last thing that the Celtics should do is to uplift the spirits of the Lakers and by giving away Game 5 might do so. I say end the series in Game 5. Flyback to Boston and celebrate with the Larry O’Brien Trophy already in thier hands.

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