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Lamar Odom holds not only his fate, but the fate of the whole league in his hands. If he resigns with the Lakers they are clearly the favorites to repeat. And if he decides to take the offer from the Miami Heat that could change the balance of power in the East.

Obviously, Odom would prefer to stay with the Lakers. The Miami Heat offer has been on the table the last couple of weeks and hasn't changed. The only thing differennce is D. Wade has flown to LA to try and recruit Odom, but the money has stayed the same. And reports are that Lakers owner Jerry Buss has actually dropped his initial offer.

Everyone is assuming that the exchange of Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza makes the Lakers a better team. Right now Artest is a better all-around player than Ariza, but may not be a better fit for the Lakers. Ariza knew his role as a defender and spot of 3-point shooter and didnt demand the ball fir perfectly with a team that has Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Artest likes and needs the ball in his hands. How is he going to fit in the triangle offense? Artest is not a great stand still 3 point shooter. So thinking that Artest can take the place of both Odom and Ariza is comincal when he may not even be as good a fit for the Lakers as Ariza was.

Somebody needs to help me out here. Like most people, I drank the 'Joe Dumars is an excellent GM' Kool Aid. Well, this summer has made me pour my glass right down the drain. His moves have defied logic to the point that his entire tenure needs to be re-examined. That whole Darko Millicic pick is looking more and more like the norm and not the exception now. Is Dumars another Isaiah Thomas, or am I hitting him a little too hard here? When it's time to evaluate GMs, you look at a few things: draft picks (not just who they took but when they did it), free agency (who they signed and who they let leave), and trades. And then you look at the wins and losses. You can make smart picks but if they add up to a losing team then you failed. So how does he fare? Let's see:

Trades:

Overall, he's done a good job here. Three of the starting five on the 2004 title team were acquired by trades, so he clearly knows what he's doing here. He was able to turn what was looking like a free agent loss in Grant Hill into a sign and trade that landed Ben Wallace. Rip Hamilton was acquired for Jerry Stackhouse, who was a better individual player but didn't fit in as well with his teammates. And he got Rasheed Wallace in a three way deal for essentially a bunch of bench players a first round pick. Nothing to hate on there. Trading Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson did what it was supposed to - create cap space for this summer and beyond. There have been other deals, but these are the most significant ones. Top to bottom, Dumars grades out well here.

Written By Robert Bonnette
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We had been together since nearly October, and when we began our year together and collectively, for the good and bad, we had many dreams and hopes. I had dreams for Championships and countless wins for my home team while you had hopes for another successful season with no tainted images that have so feverishly filled previous seasons thanks to gambling officials and unbelievable fights amongst players and fans.


And while you leave in celebratory fashion as you do every year, this year you leave me yearning for more. You leave me with so many questions. You leave and leave me with no choice but to wait impatiently for...what? Even this, you have failed to give me as you walk into the shadows of Los Angeles riots and parades with trade rumors flourishing under you.

Don't leave. Please.

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Before you read my final thoughts about Kobe Bryant to truly understand what I think we have to go back in time. To see the true evolution of Kobe through my eyes via snippets of my most famous Kobe Bryant articles.


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You would think Nike was upset and nearly doomed with the MVPuppets Campaign after Lebron was ousted by Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, but Nike is finding ways to get creative with it. Here's a commercial spot that aired last night during Game 4 of the NBA Finals.


Think we have one or two more if Kobe wins it all?

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I cannot deny I was one of many who thought Derek Fisher was hurting the Lakers more than helping them in the early rounds of the playoffs. I demanded that he be benched in favor of Shannon Brown or Jordan Farmer. When he clang his first five three pointers last night I echo those same sentiments that his permanent residence should be the bench.

Now we know why Phil Jackson has nine more rings (it is about to be ten) than I do. I think clutch is an overused and clichéd word. I think a better phrase would be "pressure handler". How does a player react when the pressure is turned up?

stan-van-gundy-3.jpg"Yes, I regret it now, but only in retrospect"

Stan Van Gundy

Yes, the Magic missed 15 free throws. Yes, Dwight Howard missed 2 free throws with 10 seconds left that would've sealed the game. But even with all of that the game was lost because for some reason coaches refuse to foul late when up 3 points. YOU HAVE TO FOUL UP 3 POINTS LATE IN THE GAME. Two basketball championships (Memphis in NCAA last year and Orlando last night) have been lost in the last year because coaches haven't learned how to play out this scenario.

Under 10 seconds left in the game and up 3 it is a no brainer to foul. The only thing that can hurt in that scenario is a 3 pointer. Take for instance last night's scenario. I would've fouled whatever Laker had the ball as soon as they crossed half court. At that point it would've been under 6 seconds or so left in the game. Now the Lakers have to decide whether they try to make 2 free throws or make 1 and miss the other. Either way that is now more things that need to be done perfectly for them to tie the game.

aamir, lee.jpg"This is a make or miss league"

Jeff Van Gundy

Such an obvious and simple statement, yet one of the realest things ever spoken by a NBA commentator. Sometimes the games are so over analyzed and dissected that the obvious is missed. If Courtney Lee makes a lay up (albeit a difficult one) at the end of game 2 are the Lakers still in control of this series? Analysts, to justify their salaries, always come up with reasons beyond the obvious such as weak side defense and pick and roll offense. But it really just comes down to MAKING shots.

In game 1 of the NBA finals the Magic group of Rafer Alston, Michael Pietrus, Courtney Lee and Jameer Nelson shot a combined 13-41. All we heard was how the Lakers had stepped up their defensive intensity. Oh these are the Lakers that can't be beat when they play defense like that. I went back through the game and saw that group of players along with JJ Reddick missed 21 open shots. Yeah, maybe a late close out by a defender but in general good clean looks at the basket. The Lakers basically stated their game plan was to leave Alston open. So their stated defensive plan to leave the 4th best shooter on the team open is brilliant?

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Game 3 of the NBA Finals gives me an opportunity to go in detail about a phrase I use a lot, but never explained the true meaning of. It is called:

"KOBE PERSPECTIVE"

Kobe Bryant is one of the two most polarizing figures in sports (the other is Terrell Owens). There is absolutely no middle ground with people (media and fans) when it comes to Bean. Either there is extreme hate or extreme love.

Here is an example of what I mean. Last night while I was Twittering (http://www.twitter.com/BlkSportsOnline)I made this comment:

"I am only hard on Kobe because he is so great. But in the 2nd half he did not play well."

Pretty mundane statement consistent with what I was saying throughout the 2nd half (more on that later). I received ten replies to that statement five saying I was hater and five saying I was a Kobe lover. You are starting to understand what I am saying.

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Finally, some drama. Thankfully, we are not sitting here today talking about a Laker squad that has escaped two games and is in complete control of the NBA Finals with a 3-0 lead. Finally, our eyes can rest from all the Kobe Bryant articles and how bad he wants his 4th NBA Championship. Finally, we can talk about NBA players other than #24 and his Olympic teammate, Dwight Howard.


Finally, Stan Van Gundy realized that sticking to what already worked through 3 rounds is probably the better move, rather than throwing in a player who hasn't played in four months, because he wants to play. Finally, we have Orlando guards playing in the NBA Finals.

Finally, we can talk basketball.

April 2012

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the NBA Finals category.

NBA All-Star Game is the previous category.

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