Tag:Shaquille O'Neal
Posted on: October 8, 2010 12:05 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2010 12:08 pm

Shaq wants to keep the Nets in Newark

Posted by Royce Young

Did you know Shaquille O'Neal was born in Newark, New Jersey and spent the first 14 years of his life there? Yeah, me neither.

But the Big Fill In The Blank is committed to keeping basketball there. The Nets plan on moving to Brooklyn in a few years, but Shaq doesn't want to let that happen. So much so that he's said he's willing to become the Nets new general manager.
"I would have liked to see the new owner get with the guy who built the arena and keep the Nets there," O'Neal told the Bergen Record. "I don't want to see the team go to Brooklyn. Maybe the two heads can get together, they can do that and I can come down there and become general manager ... "We got a great owner, a great arena, let's keep it where it's at. Not only that, I'm saving the owner money so he doesn't have to pay another $300 million to build this new arena in Brooklyn. I know he has it. Hopefully he'll stay and hopefully he'll make me general manager because I will be available in 745 days."
The 745 days referencing Shaq's set retirement date, of course.

It's pretty interesting that Shaq calls the team/city "we." He must still feel a pretty strong connection to the city. Newark definitely isn't known as one of the beautiful, premier metropolitans in the country and the Nets haven't exactly been a model franchise. But that doesn't mean Shaq isn't interested in the path of his hometown team.

From the story it says O'Neal hoped he could influence owner Mikhail Prokhorov to make Newark a permanent home. But through an e-mail, Prokhorov said he has "the greatest respect" for Shaq, yet buying the Nets was "predicated" on moving them to Brooklyn.

Sorry Shaq. But here's the good news: Give Billy King a year or two and you just might have your shot. That's kind of the way it works around there.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:19 am
Edited on: October 5, 2010 10:44 am

Shootaround 10.5.10: Giving and Getting

We're getting a new guy, the Grizzlies aren't giving Conley the dough, and the Heat know they have to give to succeed, all in today's Shootaround.Posted by Matt Moore

You'll be seeing a new face around these parts soon as Ben Golliver joins the F&R staff for the season. We're excited to have Ben on board and we know you'll love the coverage you'll get from Ben on the Blazers and across the league. As an initiation, we're planning on forcing  him to dougie like Babbit .

The Grizzlies have no plans to commit to a contract extension with Mike Conley until after this season, the Commercial Appeal reports. After putting too much money into too incomplete a player in Rudy Gay over the summer, and with more important assets Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol also in need of extensions, this is an essential decision. Conley has not proven to be starter worthy despite being given all the starts the past two seasons. Conley's got to prove it.

The buzzword at Heat camp? Sacrifice . Which is exactly what you want to hear if you're hoping for the Heat to accomplish something special with the triad. That's the word that can help rehabilitiate their image, and push their game beyond video game stats and into playoff wins.

Lance Stephenson shwoed up at camp and has been working hard despite his off-court woes. The bad news is that he's such a defensive liability, coach Jim O'Brien says he wouldn't play a single minute in game . Ouch.

Brandon Bass has committed to learning the playbook which could help him, you know, play in Orlando, a problem he had last year.

The last remaining roster spot in Charlotte may be down to Javaris Crittenton versus Sherron Collins out of Kansas. It's a contrast in styles that could lead to a hard decision for Larry Brown, via the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell.

Dwight Jaynes in Portland is skeptical of Nate McMillan's intention for the Blazers to run.

If you're not ready for the John Wall era, read David Aldridge's piece and you will be. I'm an advanced stats guy, and even I know that if your numbers don't support the theory that Wall's going to be incredible , you need to recheck your digits.

Michael Beasley only missed two shots! Woo-hoo Wolves fans! Except the one he made were almost all outside of the paint... oh .

Posted on: September 27, 2010 11:14 pm

The new NBA reality in pictures

Posted by Matt Moore

We'll have plenty more from NBA media day as camp begins tomorrow, but we wanted to share with you this image from the photoshoot this afternoon at the Heat facility. (Image courtesy of Getty Images/Marc Serota)

And here's what the past four months have felt like, ever since the entire "Decision" process began. And if the depth/size/ego issues can't slow down the Heat, despite all the flak he's taken, this may be what ends up being the lasting impression of James in 2010-2011. (Illustration by NBA F&R)


Of course, this will be standing in their way.


Posted on: September 22, 2010 5:00 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 7:16 pm

Pop Quiz: Are the Celtics too old?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Are the Celtics too old to win the title?

Too old for what? I suppose that's the real question here. Too old to win the East? Probably not. Too old to get homecourt advantage? Surely not. Too old to win the title?

That's a tough one. 

Let me take you back to a year ago. The Celtics began the season trying to regain their pride after a loss to the then-surprising Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. And to be honest? They didn't look very convincing, even on their winning streak as they cruised to the division title. In key games, Garnett looked slow. They lost to a Kobe buzzer-beater. Even when they later got revenge for that game, it seemed to set a tone. And that was before the second half, where they looked terrible. Every Boston fan on the planet will tell you that it was just a lack of resolve, a sense of boredom, and that those games simply didn't matter to them, so their effort wasn't there. That's probably partially true. It's also partially true that even bored the Celtics should have beaten the Nets and beaten them easily in every game they played. There were problems for Boston. Tons of them. Most notably, they were swept by the Hawks, and each time it was a late run by the Hawks featuring the transition game that did them in. The Celtics simply couldn't run with them. Everyone put a plug in them, except their fans, a handful of media, and Nate Jones. 

And then the playoffs came, and all of that thought process went out the window.

The San Antonio Spurs throughout the years had drifted and coasted to second half finishes, and yet always seemed to find themselves there at the end for years. But there was no precedent for the rope-a-dope the Celtics seemingly pulled last year. Even the first few games against Miami in the first round seemed close. But then Kevin Garnett got into a fight which lead to a suspension, and from there on out, the Celtics destroyed everyone when they needed to when they came across them, all the way up until the 4th quarter of Game 7 against LA. The pitbulls had regained control of the pack, and everyone that said Boston only lost to the Magic due to Garnett's injury in 2009 was vindicated. 

That was last year. The Celtics are now a year older. Ray Allen is 35, Garnett 34, Pierce 33. They added two centers who long ago left the comfort of 30. Rajon Rondo is still young and chipper, alongside Glen Davis and Nate Robinson. But they put on a lot of miles the last two years, which will add to the fatigue factor. 

But then, Shaquille O'Neal says that old teams win titles. Which is pretty on par. Experience matters in this league, and the Celtics have a world of it. 

How old are the Celtics in comparison to other title teams? Since 2004-2005, championship team starters averaged to be 27.4 years old. The oldest were naturally the Spurs in 2007. Their starting five in the Finals that year began the season at an average age of 30.6 years old. The Celtics enter this season at 30.2 years old if we project Kendrick Perkins as the starter for a theoretical Finals and 32.8 if we go with Shaquille O'Neal, the probably opening night starter. The Celtics, in essence, are trying to be the second oldest team since 2004 to win the title. It's relatively easy to argue that the competition is greater now than it was in 2007, with the Pau-Gasol-era Lakers, the Heat, and the Magic in play, but those are the numbers. 

So what's the answer? In case you haven't been able to tell, this is simply not a quiz with a correct answer. If you are to make the case that the Celtics have finally reached the threshold where wisdom becomes physical limitation, you're probably on par. We saw signs of it last year, the Celtics just showed a remarkable amount of grit in powering through it and committing to the team concept (again). If you were to make the case that the Celtics are nowhere near done, not after last year's performance, who could argue with you?

And that's where we hit the Heat. 

Of course.

The Heat are going to be the antithesis for the Celtics this season, and in a lot of ways they are polar opposites. The Celtics rely on players that are very clearly defined in their roles (Rondo is the point guard, distributer, floor general. Garnett the defensive motivational speaker. Pierce is the go-to scorer. Allen is the perimeter marksman, etc.). The Heat have a nebulous lineup that may end up featuring a super freak small forward at point guard and their starting center is an inexperienced Canadian who is 6'9'' (Perkins is 6'10''). The Celtics are committed to a defensive philosophy of sacrifice and communication. The Heat are betting heavily on overwhelming opponents with skill and ability. The Celtics are primarily an old team. The Heat are primarily a mid-20's team. The Celtics have experience. The Heat are inexperie....wait. No they're not. Dwyane Wade's won a title and James has been in the Finals. But that's the perception. 

It's an interesting corollary that our society will define age with physically limited, but also often associate it with toughness. If you make it that long, you must have thick skin. And that's the area where most people doubt the Heat and believe in the Celtics. The Celtics are betting that you'll have an easier time drawing breath at your young age, but that they'll be the last one standing when the bell rings. 

I closed the door on the Magic's window and needless to say, team bloggers are not buying. I was ready to shut the door on the Celtics last year, and they slammed it back in my face, walked in, made themselves a sandwich and tracked mud on my carpet. I'm not willing to bury the Celtics until the heart's stopped beating. Age can be cruel, but for the Celtics, it's a beast they can live with. They remain contenders to the ring until that last breath gives out. 
Posted on: September 16, 2010 9:09 am

Shootaround 9.16.10: Hack a Shaq

Posted by Royce Young
  • Shaquille O'Neal has been accused of computer hacking and throwing evidence in a lake, according to Radar Online . One of Shaq's former employees named Shawn Darling is the one making the accusations. It's a pretty long and messed up situation, but here's the gist: "At the time, Shaq was having an affair with hip-hop singer Alexis Miller who ended up accusing him of harassment and stalking. Shaq later settled with Miller. The lawsuit alleges, "O'Neal told Darling that Alexis Miller had obtained a restraining order and that O'Neal said could not remember what he sent to Miller by way of text messaging and E-mail." According to the suit, Shaq asked Darling to retrieve every email and text message that he sent Miller-as well as all of Shaq's phone records-- so that he could be aware of what he was dealing with."
  • It's the basketball equivalent of a pitch count. Yao Ming will be limited to 24 minutes a night says Jonathan Feigan of the Houston Chronicle: "Yao’s playing time will not average 24 minutes; it will end there. If he plays 22 minutes in one game, he will not play 26 the next. For that matter, if he plays two minutes one game, he will not play 26 the next. When Yao reaches his 24 minutes, he will be through for that game."
  • George Karl to the Denver Post: "To me, my job is to, anytime I talk to Melo . . . it's to convince him that we won 53 games last year and I think we're very capable of being a lot better than we were last year," Karl told reporters. "Some of the bombs that hit our team injury-wise and my situation, I think we kind of need to stay together, in my opinion. It's pretty easy: Stay together and figure it out. Right now, I don't think Melo is going to be calling me for advice. Fortunately, it's not my job to probably call him to talk about that situation. My job is to talk about basketball."
  • Should Bill Laimbeer coach the Pistons? Patrick Hayes of Piston Powered says no: "I care about legacy. Being a head coach in Detroit would be bad for Laimbeer’s legacy, because he would get fired. I don’t know how long he’d last. And given the right roster (i.e. not the current roster), he might even find a mix of players he could have success with. But there’s a good chance that things wouldn’t end well (see: Trammell, Alan). What I dislike is the assumption that just because Laimbeer was a tough player who is beloved by fans that he’d naturally make a good coach. Even with titles in the WNBA, he hasn’t proven enough as a coach, motivator or understander of the modern player to deserve that assumption." And it appears there's a rebuttal from Bill Laimbeer's daughter in the comments as well.
  • David Kahn, writing a letter to fans. In it, he tries to explain the reason to give Darko $20 million: "Telling Darko how important he could be to our future while offering him a contract that represents a major paycut was a delicate dance.  Darko understood this, too, and thus was willing to allow us some financial protection in the final year of his deal if things didn’t work out.  But let me be clear:  we think they will work out."
Posted on: September 8, 2010 3:00 pm

Witness the burning embers of the Cavaliers

The top team in the East the past two seasons now finds itself exhuming its fallen squad to determine what went wrong.
Posted by Matt Moore

This season for the Cleveland Cavaliers is incredibly rare, even as it is inherently depressing for their fans. It's not a contending season like they've experienced the last three years, far from it. It's also not a rebuilding year, struggling through youth and inexperience while lamenting the patience necessary for their team to develop. And it's the polar opposite of a team rising to contention (see: Oklahoma City, 2009-2010). It holds the worst possible future. T+-he firesale. The deconstruction. The undoing. This is the season to watch the top seed in the East the past two seasons burn into ashes.

Oh, there's hope for a playoff run. Mo Williams, for all his limitations, is still a viable starting point guard, probably top 15. Antawn Jamison may have gotten his clock cleaned by the Celtics, but he's still been an All-Star and has a few tricks up his sleeve. Anderson Varejao was a defensive player of the year candidate and J.J. Hickson is promising in a lot of aspects. Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon are both legitimate NBA rotation guys and you can do worse than Byron Scott as head coach.

But in the end, their ceiling, their highest aspiration can only be a playoff appearance and a swift dismissal from either the Celtics, or, disgustingly, the Heat. That's all they've got. So this season could very quickly turn into a full-on firesale, with Jamison and Williams thrown out for draft picks or expiring contracts. And to hear some former members of the team tell it, it's what's left of this team that has them in this predicament in the first place. Well, one member specifically, with a big mouth. Can you guess who it is?

Shaquille O'Neal told the New Orleans Times-Picayune the following tasty quote:

"I like that they play together and nobody really worries about shots, " O'Neal said. "When I was with Cleveland, guys who couldn't even play were worried about shots. Why was Mo (Williams) taking 15 shots, and I'm only taking four? If LeBron takes 20 shots, that's cool."

As Tom Ziller noted , this isn't the first time Shaq has detonated the bridge he just left. He's notorious for three things at this point in his career: taking a good long time to get in season's shape, having a big personality, and lobbing verbal grenades at everyone he used to play with. But it's the vocalization of questions a lot of people wondered. There was always a clear separation of LeBron and everyone else (and he was treated as such, from every indication). But from there, there were a lot of rumblings about players wanting to put their own mark on their team, and Mo Williams was the most effusive example. Was he at that level? It was hard to find many who thought so.

But maybe that was just a reaction from that separation with LeBron we talked about. Maybe it was that gap between James and everyone else that caused the team to fail. Dan Gilbert certainly thinks so. In an interview with the News-Herald following the extension of new GM Chris Grant, Gilbert said the following about the past few years in Cleveland:

"We weren't as focused on the long term (before James left)," he said. "We'll build the right way. It's absolutely refreshing and challenging and we're all looking forward to building the Cleveland Cavaliers into a premier team.

"We didn't achieve the ultimate goal (with James). It can't be a one-person show. We have to have a team approach and a team effort to make it happen."
As Kurt Helin noted , there's good and bad in this approach. Building good team chemistry and working to get a team of young, versatile, athletic players has been proven to work with Portland, Oklahoma City, and potentially Sacramento. But you do need one guy. Portland has Brandon Roy. Oklahoma City obviously has Kevin Durant. And Sacramento has Tyreke Evans. Cleveland will need to find that new player when they do decide to torch the foundation.

And they will, make no question about it. Even if they find success with the core of players they have, it's a mitigated, low-level success that comes with a hefty price tag (the Cavs are on the books for over $51 million this season). In reality, a sub-.500 season would be better for fans. Instead of sitting through a middling season trying to justify keeping the core together, the faster you can detonate the foundation, the sooner you can start bringing in players the fans can get behind.

This season is going to be hard for the Cavaliers. It's less of a story being written as a eulogy. It would take a story of the ages for this to come out well for them. The worst part is that even as James will have been gone for more than three months, the entire year may serve as one long autopsy on a team that died on its way to glory.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 3:39 pm

Shaq and Justin Bieber face off in a dance-off

Posted by Royce Young

In a battle of dancing titans, Shaquille O'Neal finally faced off against Justin Bieber in what has to be the most anticipated dance-off compeition since Starsky went head-to-head with Dancin' Rick. These are the type of things that suddenly become very important in early September. Much like Shaq wrestling a small child.

We all know Shaq can move, as evidenced by his skills showcased in Phoenix at the 2009 All-Star Game versus Dwight Howard and LeBron. Shaq used a lot of the same moves against Bieber, topping the performance off with a top drawer hat flip. Of course Shaq was declared the winner but later in the show, Bieber played Shaq in basketball and somehow, Bieber wins. Either I'm watching scripted televison or living in some sort of alternate universe.

via Ball Don't Lie
Category: NBA
Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:06 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 8:07 am

Shootaround 9.1.10: Evans putting the J back in

Evans' J, Love's weird way, and the James kiddos' first day, today in the Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore

The Hawks aren't planning on taking their time with Al Horford's extension. They're planning on offering him a near-max extension before the October 31st deadline, meaning they'll have given up $190 million in salary for two players the year before the CBA dramatically shifts. Horford is an All-Star center, young, versatile, and extremely aware on both sides of the ball. Kelly Dwyer pointed out that the Hawks have some options with Horford. Unfortunately, they seem ready to rush into the breach with wallets wide open. You have to wonder how they're going to find salary room for any of the other players, let alone Jamal Crawford, who also wants an extension... or a trade.

Tyreke Evans has reinvested himself in his jump shot. What's interesting is that he was a terrible shooter (32%) from midrange, 16-23 feet last season, but a very decent one from 10-15 feet (43.2%). As Sam Amick's profile reveals, Evans used to be a tremendous shooter, he just needs to reacquaint himself with his shot. It could be a significant leap forward in his offensive development. Which is terrifying, considering how good he was last year.

A Wolf Among Wolves discusses Kevin Love's Team USA summer, and the fact that he's best suited for a third option role. Which makes sense, since the Wolves have buried him in the past for Darko Milicic and just traded for Michael Beasley who most scouts agree is best suited for the power forward role. You know. Third best option.

It's kind of a shame that Shaq's teams didn't end up meeting the Spurs over the years. Because the Duncan-Shaq rivalry is prett good.

George Karl was surprised at the firing of Mark Warkentien. He speaks highly of Warkentien, as well as Masai Ujiri. You have to wonder just how spread to the four corners the entire Nuggets organization is at this point.

LeBron James is a human . No one really seems to think so at this point, but it's true.

Ersan Ilyasova is tearing up FIBA play . Which could be a good thing for the Bucks as he develops and takes on more of a leadership role. Or it could cause him to wonder why he's been shoved to the back of the line in the Bucks' forward feeding trough with the additions of Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders, and others.

A fascinating look at roster balance on the wings for the Knicks, not in terms of skillset, but shot performance on the right versus the left side of the floor. Interesting note: Ramond Felton took exactly as many shots from the right side as the left, and hit the same percentage.

The numerous discussions of Marquis Daniels have overlooked one aspect: Doc Rivers completely took him out of the rotation in the playoffs, despite him having recovered from injury. The trust is simply not there on a team that depends on it so much.

The Bucks hope and expect Andrew Bogut to be back for the season opener. It's close, but don't hold your breath.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com