Edition 17

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Like a 1972 HENRY BIBBY jersey, here comes NUMBER 17With today's latest Hottest Rumors & Playoff Scoreboard!!!


Lets get right to the part of this thread dedicated to the speculation and facts regarding anything news worthy around the league. Heres my Top 5.

Will free agents-to-be Damon Stoudamire and Shareef Abdur-Rahim be back? Their agent, Aaron Goodwin, doesn’t sound optimistic, though he says if Stoudamire had his druthers, he would stay.“It’s always been that way,” Goodwin says. “Unfortunately, the Blazers have positioned it as less of a want, more of a convenience. They say, ‘We’ll consider him at the right price.’ That’s not what anybody wants to hear. The more you read that, the less likely Damon will stay. What they should have said was, ‘The guy has re-established himself in the community, he’s still a good player, we’d love to figure out a way to keep him.’“Damon is looking for an opportunity to continue to play his position (point guard), to play with a team that has a chance to win. With the season he just had, he is still a starter in this league. Does he sit behind Sebastian? Maybe in a few years, but not now. He wants (the Blazers) to open arms and embrace the fact they want to keep him. They haven’t done that. You don’t do that on June 30.”Chances for Abdur-Rahim to return are “very slim,” Goodwin says.“The Blazers chose a direction, with Zach Randolph and Darius Miles, and put themselves in a position where, barring a trade, they don’t have an opportunity for Shareef,” Goodwin says. “Not at all.”A team that needs a point guard - Houston, Cleveland, the Lakers - seems a good fit for Stoudamire. A team that needs a power forward - San Antonio, Cleveland, New Jersey, Atlanta - makes sense for Abdur-Rahim. The best Portland can probably hope for is a sign-and-trade scenario, which would at least reap value in return.Decisions, decisions. It’s that kind of an offseason for the Blazers. We’ll be watching.

My Input:
Portland is not in as bad of trouble as everyone thinks. They have a decent core of young players. They have a lot of expiring contracts that they can deal with. And soon will have a decent amount of cap space. The catch is...who the hell wants to play for Portland?? This summer will be a very fun one to watch not only for Portland fans (is there anybody out there?!) but for Knicks fans, memphis fans, new jersey fans...theres a lot of teams trying to make improvements and a lot of free agents coming on the market or on the block. A summer to watch very carefully...Now Stoudamire and Abdur-Rahim. Abdur-Rahim will have no trouble finding a home, good player that can play both 4 and 3 spots. Now Stoudamire is an aging vet who needs to learn he's still not a starter. Well see where they end up. Im thinking New Jersey and LA.

Kwame Brown, the 6-11 center whom Michael Jordan selected with the No. 1 draft pick in 2001, has played his last game for the Washington Wizards, sources say, and the team is looking to trade him this summer when he becomes a restricted free agent.Brown will not be with the Wizards tonight when they play the Bulls at the United Center in Game 5 of their best-of-seven first-round series. Brown claimed a stomach virus kept him from being with the team the previous two days, including Monday night, when sources saw him dining at Mr. K's, a local Chinese restaurant, while the Wizards were beating the Bulls at the MCI Center. Brown was suspended for the rest of the playoffs Tuesday by operations chief Ernie Grunfeld, with the blessing of owner Abe Pollin. ''I met with Kwame along with coach [Eddie] Jordan this morning,'' Grunfeld said after Tuesday's half-hour practice, ''and we all agreed that this is the best course of action that Kwame no longer participate in the remainder of the playoffs. He will not travel with us. He will not practice with us. ''So we will continue moving forward in these playoffs. We're focused. It's been an outstanding series, the players are together, they've done a terrific job and we are excited about going to Chicago. Kwame had told our trainer that he was sick. But things happen. We had our meeting, there were some philosophical differences and now we are putting those behind us and focusing on the job at hand.'' Asked about Brown's future with the team and if Grunfeld will match any offer Brown receives from another team this summer, Grunfeld said: ''He's still part of our organization and we'll deal with that in the offseason. He's going to be a restricted free agent, and we'll deal with that at the appropriate time.'' In winning the last two games while Brown played a total of four minutes, the Wizards showed they don't need him in this series. His loss might be addition by subtraction. Insiders say most of his teammates are relieved that Brown was suspended because he was too self-involved, and some even felt he quit on the team. ''The press release speaks for itself,'' Wizards forward Antawn Jamison said. ''We've got the Chicago Bulls to deal with, and that's our mind frame. "We've been through a lot this year with injuries, and [Brown's suspension] doesn't affect the way we approach the game at all. We're just going to continue to deal with the Chicago Bulls. This is a tough series, and we can't afford to have any distractions.'' Although Jamison refused to discuss Brown's suspension, he said he remained Brown's friend. ''I love Kwame to death; he's like a little brother,'' Jamison said. ''Hopefully, he'll get situated. But there's nothing negative I can say about the guy. This is basketball.'' Jordan said Brown, who averaged 7.0 points and 4.9 rebounds in 42 games this season, was no distraction. ''We are a close-knit team,'' he said. ''We are moving forward, and we are committed to winning.''

My Input:
A dream come true for us? Possibly. The rumor is he has low basketball IQ and just doesnt love the game. Could he be stuck playing because he has a big body? Possibly. We have not seen much improvement in this kid but would he be worth the gamble? most definetely. Im not saying HUGE contract, Im saying mid level exception. But if they want a sign and trade what could we give them? Kurt Thomas comes to mind, but theres another trade on the table worth looking at beforehand (Iglauskas). I think Isiah will weigh out his options...and like I said I guarantee we will have BIGS this season.

Shane Battier Dollars: The swingman has six years and more than $36.7 million remaining on a contract that pays $4.9 million next season. Sense: Battier should be a Grizzly for life. But his future could well be tied to Jason Williams or Bonzi Wells. Battier has been a consistent deal-breaker as the team hasn't wanted to part with the original Memphis Grizzly. However, a potential trade partner may insist on having Battier included in a deal to take Williams or Wells -- bad boys deemed worth the trouble only if a true professional (read: reliable player) is included.
Antonio Burks Dollars: The rookie point guard is signed through the 2005-06 season for $620,046. Sense: He is thought of highly by upper management. Burks is thought to be a viable replacement for unrestricted free agent Earl Watson, should the Grizzlies lose Watson to free agency without compensation.
Brian Cardinal Dollars: A free-agent acquisition last year, Cardinal has five years and more than $31.7 million remaining on his contract. Sense: Cardinal was signed to replace Bo Outlaw but many wondered about the need for Cardinal and Battier on the same roster. They do the same things even though Battier is more skilled and proved he could play both ends in the post. As the team tries to reduce its payroll, Cardinal could be packaged in a deal.
Andre Emmett Dollars: He signed the same deal as Burks, and will earn $620,046 in 2005-06. Sense: The rookie shooting guard is well-liked and thought to be full of promise. His departure would only be to fill salary cap requirements in a potential deal.
Pau Gasol Dollars: The 7-footerwill enter the 2005-06 season earning $10.9 million as part of a six-year contract extension worth more than $86 million. Sense: Speculation that Gasol is on the trading block is premature. The team has built around Gasol and will continue to do so. That said, if the Griz can move Gasol for an established superstar (i.e., Kevin Garnett) then say adios. Otherwise, Gasol is the future.
Ryan Humphreylars: He is not signed for 2005-06. Sense: The forward was included in the trade that brought Mike Miller. But Humphrey never fit in the team's plans because there were no minutes to give him at the forward positions. He likely won't return.
Dahntay Jones Dollars: The second-year forward is about to enter the third year of his rookie-scale contract, and will earn $1.9 million next season. The team has the option to renew his contract for a year after next season. Sense: Jones proved he has value with solid performances throughout the season and most of the playoffs. That's why it's a 50/50 proposition as to whether he'll return. Teams tried to pry away Jones at the trading deadline. The Griz, though, may view Jones as a replacement for the departing Bonzi Wells.
Mike Miller Dollars: The shooting guard is about to enter the second year of a six-year contract extension that has more than $42 million left on it. He'll earn $6.9 million next season. Sense: He proved he can be a go-to guy. He finally had a season that matched his billing once the Griz traded top draft pick Drew Gooden to Orlando for Miller. Chances are he'll return.
James Posey Dollars: At $5.9 million, Posey will play his third season in Memphis in 2005-06. The Griz have an option for 2006 at $6.4 million. Sense: Multiple injuries made Posey mostly ineffective even though the organization believes he can still be a big contributor. Posey's value has been diminished somewhat and that's why he'll return by default.
Stromile Swift Dollars: Swift earned $6 million this season. He'll become an unrestricted free agent after spending five seasons with the Grizzlies. Swift can sign with any team and can leave without the Grizzlies receiving compensation. Sense: Swift is ready to go. He feels like he hasn't been afforded the opportunity to develop, and now he sees no reason to sign a long-term deal to play behind Pau Gasol. The Grizzlies hope to execute a sign-and-trade with Swift, meaning they'll sign Swift to a contract and immediately trade him to a team for a player or two or draft picks.
Jake Tsakalidis Dollars: He'll earn $5.8 million over the next two seasons, which includes $2.9 million for the 2005-06 campaign. Sense: The Griz matched the Cavaliers' offer sheet last summer just to keep Tsakalidis as insurance in the post. It's unlikely that he'll leave unless the Griz throw him into a multi-player deal. Tsakalidis asked to be traded at the deadline so the Griz may accommodate him.
Earl Watson Dollars: He earned $1.4 million this season. Watson will become an unrestricted free agent, meaning he could sign with another team and the Griz receive no compensation. Sense: Watson wants to run his own team. Because he's ready to become an NBA starter, he'll search for that opportunity in the offseason. Don't be surprised if Watson returns to the Grizzlies -- something that would happen only if Jason Williams leaves. Bonzi Wells Dollars: The team has a contract option worth $8 million that it won't exercise. Sense: Wells didn't get along with retired coach Hubie Brown and disagreed with Mike Fratello. Wells is the one most likely not to wear a Grizzly uniform next season. The team will seek to execute a sign-and-trade with Wells.
Jason Williams Dollars: The point guard has three years and $25 million left on the six-year contract he signed before the 2001-02 season. Sense: Lack of leadership and defense are among the reasons the Grizzlies will try to trade him. Williams's unwillingness to conform to coaching styles has made it difficult to build a team around him. His unreliability is still a major negative in terms of his trade value. His return to the Grizzlies is a 50/50 proposition.
Lorenzen Wright Dollars: He'll earn $7.7 million next season -- the final year of his contract. Sense: Wright has proven time and again that he's more than serviceable as an undersized center. His professionalism and work ethic may earn him the contract extension he may seek this summer.

My Input:
YO HOMEBOY! Haha did anyone see Jason Williams? Funny stuff. Almost as funny as those Pat O'Brien voice messages. Well maybe not. Let's get to the point, memphis is a playoff team are they a team that could go deep? obviously not. Dont see why not though. Just like I look at the Knicks roster and wonder why with all this talent we still suck...one answer, Chemistry. Im not saying Memphis doesnt have it but when you have problems behind the seasons it can ruin all. Bonzi Wells will be gone next year. Stromile Swift will be gone next year. To whom? That's a tough one. Swift has a good chance to become a Net but so do alot of other PF's (see below). Who knows maybe theyll package them together. For what? I cant think of a team that has anything that could equal that duo...and be willing to give it up.

Jason Kidd and Vince Carter shared the basketball and the praise for leading the Nets into the playoffs, and now share a Bergen County street as neighbors. But they don't share in their willingness to help the team recruit free agents. Carter said he gladly would talk to anyone, from Donyell Marshall to Shareef Abdur-Rahim to whomever the Nets pursue. Kidd doesn't plan on being readily available."Only if needed, only if asked," Kidd said. "I'm not going out of my way."Kidd, who will spend the off-season golfing, spending time with his family and on the beaches in Mexico, is leaving it to management to fill the team's holes. He should know the Nets are in good hands.Nets president Rod Thorn and general manager Ed Stefanski have assembled teams that made the playoffs four consecutive years - tied for the second-longest streak in the East.They have a plan and a promise from owner Bruce Ratner that they can spend to build around Kidd, Carter, Richard Jefferson and surprising rookie Nenad Krstic, who underwent thumb surgery Tuesday and will wear a cast for five weeks.With two draft picks (Nos. 15 and 43), the midlevel exception (roughly $5.5 million), a $4.9 million trade exception that expires July 29, another $700,000 trade exception that's up July 15 and limitless minimum contracts, the Nets will try to upgrade the team. They're looking for depth, size, shot-blockers, rebounders and shooters."We're going to look through free agency, through the draft and for possible trades to add to this team depth-wise," Stefanski said. "There's going to be numerous spots that we will need."The brain trust will have to be creative to get the players to keep Kidd happy and make the Nets better than a four-and-out first-round team.They'll make an obligatory run at Kevin Garnett, who may be available this summer. Kidd wants to play with the Minnesota superstar. But a third or fourth team likely would be needed in order for New Jersey to get Garnett, unless the Nets deal Carter. But Ratner doesn't want to do that.Clippers power forward Elton Brand, a career 20-point, 10-rebound guy, would be a perfect fit. But he's in a similar boat as Garnett.The Nets could try to get Kenyon Martin back or trade for Denver forward Nene, but both are long shots. Orlando may part with Tony Battie or Kelvin Cato, both of whom could help the Nets.Marshall and Abdur-Rahim head the Nets' unrestricted free agent list. They believe they have a shot at both with their exceptions. Marshall, whom Carter is close to from their days in Toronto and would like to play with Kidd, fits the Nets' needs better.The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 11.5 points and 6.6 rebounds off the bench for the Raptors, and ranked 11th in the NBA by hitting 42 percent of his threes.The Nets also could pursue Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Stromile Swift, both probably out of their price range; Chris Andersen, who is expected to opt out of his contract; Jon Barry, Eddie Griffin and Raja Bell.Samuel Dalembert and Tyson Chandler - both of whom the Nets tried to obtain before the February trade deadline - Eddy Curry, Kwame Brown and Kyle Korver are restricted free agents that New Jersey may chase. But they almost surely will get more than the midlevel exception. Plus their respective teams can match any offers. It's doubtful that Brown, suspended by the Wizards on Tuesday, will return to Washington."We have a list of different players that we are dwindling down," Stefanski said. "And we have numerous plans or options."The Nets have a good nucleus that players might enjoy playing with, starting with Kidd. Management is banking on that working in their favor, whether or not Kidd makes any recruiting calls.

My Input:
Im not going to talk about who goes where here. Im going to use this to say watch out for the New Jersey Nets next season. The Titanic Division WILL be rejuvanated and WE need to make major adjustments to prepare. If NJ gets a legit PF and brings back Cliff Robinson theyll have an incredible team. Say...Krystic, Abdur-Rahim, Jefferson, Carter and Kidd! Look at that. Then you have Boston...LaFrentz, Walker, Pierce, Davis and Payton! And Philly...Dalembert, Webber, Iguodala, Korver and Iverson. (which will be great when Webber rehabs fine)...so it leaves it down to the Knicks and Toronto. No one wants to go to Toronto and they dont have many pieces to make it a better team. So its down to us. What will we do? All I can say is WATCH OUT FOR THE ATLANTIC THIS YEAR!!!

The Lakers are moving closer to rehiring Phil Jackson, sources have told The Post. One person with knowledge of the situation expects Jackson's official decision "soon." The Knicks have not been told by Jackson's agent, Todd Musburger, that they are out of the running and Isiah Thomas is still pursuing Jackson to coach the Knicks, hoping for a second meeting. However, sources say the Knicks have become giant underdogs in the two-team race. Meanwhile, the word around the league is that the Knicks are hesitant about pursuing Pistons coach Larry Brown when his season wraps up, not just because of the compensation package involved. There is more serious concern about his health (he's had two leaves of absence this season because of his surgically repaired hip). Brown's wife, Shelly, several days ago said Brown would take a few weeks off after the season to decide whether he wants to continue coaching. That's a bit long for the Knicks to wait. Meanwhile, the Lakers offer Jackson everything he desires in the future - ncluding a potential piece of ownership from Jerry Buss, his potential father in-law, as well as the team presidency. Isiah Thomas is a handsome man with a charming smile - but in the end, it appears he could not compete with Lakers VP Jeanie Buss, Jackson's girlfriend and the owner's daughter. As one Knicks insider said yesterday, "The Jeanie Buss factor is big." As reported by The Post on Monday, the Cavaliers are out of the running. Said one friend of Jackson: "He'd have more interest in being the curator of Cleveland's Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame than coaching that team." Herb Williams, Flip Saunders, Nate McMillan, P.J. Carlesimo and even Maurice Cheeks are other candidates for the Knicks job.Today the Knicks will begin pre-draft workouts with Ricky Shields (Rutgers), Chris Thomas (Notre Dame), Stephen Graham (Oklahoma State) and Jamaal Levy (Wake Forest).

My Input:
I said he should go back to the Lakers. Probably will happen. Let them pay 10-12 million on him. Fine by me. He doesn't do rebuilds, he doesnt like Stephon, he loves the triangle, we dont (yet) have a legit big man, his girl is in LA. All signs lead to LA. McMillan wont be out coach either. Even though hes a good guy I dont want Cheeks. Saunders is okay and the same with Carlesimo...I want to give Herb a bigger chance, and along side Patrick Ewing. So shoot me.

pLaYoFf sCoReBoArd












tRiViA tImE

Well that wraps it up, post at will and just over all enjoy!!! Goodnight, Good write!!! peAce Go Knicks!!!

Special thanks to the ESPN.com, NBA.com, Portland Tribune, The Bergen Record, New York Post, New York Daily News, CommercialAppeal.com

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