Sunday, February 28, 2010


Could a riff in the Lakers front office lead to the team signing Lebron James? Apparently, Lebron wants to be a Laker, but how would it be possible and how would it work?

Roland Lazenby of has an interesting piece on Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. The article is kind of all over the place but the part that is most interesting is that Lebron wants to be a Laker (at least that's what his sources say).

First off, is this even possible to achieve? The Lakers have no money to spend this offseason aside from the mid-level exception. Unless, for some reason, Lebron would agree to take less money to come to L.A., the teams would have to work a sign-and-trade deal. In that case, the money would have to match up. Andrew Bynum and Shannon Brown would be a potential starting point but it is doubtful the Cleveland Cavaliers would be willing to accept some of the Lakers throw-in players such as Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic.

Secondly, why would Lebron and Kobe Bryant be on the same team? The article discusses the chance that Bryant opts out of his contract and moves to another team this offseason. That probably won't happen. That means Lebron and Kobe would each have to find a way to coexist. They are competitors and both have similar goals. But each have their own selfish agendas as well, and playing with each other would mean each would not be likely to achieve their career goals.

Lastly, how would Lakers fans feel about this? Kobe is the face of the franchise and has been for many years. He should be a Laker for life. Bringing in Lebron should help silence some of the backlash but many Laker fans are not high on Lebron. He is, of course, Kobe's main competition in the league and many cite his lack of professionalism and ego as a reason to dislike him.

It seems to be a farfetched idea but it is not the first time the topic has been brought up. After all, it is the media's job to speculate. Time will tell the story. Until then, you can read the article here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum was not happy with the officiating during the team's loss to the Dallas Mavericks, but it's what the refs said that should force the NBA to take action.

Following the Lakers 101-96 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, KCAL reporter John Ireland asked center Andrew Bynum how he felt about the officiating. Here's a transcript of what was said...
John Ireland: Were they more aggressive or did the calls just not go your way tonight?

Andrew Bynum: It's hard to play 8-on-5...

John Ireland: You were asking the officials for explanations at the end. Did you get any?

Andrew Bynum:...I asked "How'd you call a travel" and he said "I didn't see a travel." The guy who called it looked me in the eyes and said he didn't see a travel...

John Ireland: He didnt see it but he called it anyway?

Andrew Bynum: Yea...and the last one...dude told me [he did not call a foul because] "I didn't think it was going to mess your shot up."

At first thought, it seems like Bynum is crying. The Lakers had plenty of opportunities to beat this Mavericks team but failed to capitalize. The Lakers once led by as many as 9 in the game but wasted chances to extend their lead, including a stretch of 7 turnovers in less than 4 minutes in the 3rd quarter. It's tough to score when you don't even take shots. Plus, refs miss calls all the time.

However, the issue here is not that the game was poorly officiated. It is what the refs told Bynum that is angering. That is the type of explanation refs give at the YMCA rec-league games they don't really care about. The officials essentially admitted they called a bad game.

While Bynum was fined $25,000, no type of action is likely to take place for the refs. Bad calls happen and officiating a game is difficult, but the NBA should take action to make sure they avoid these types of situations in the future.

Monday, February 22, 2010


With the NBA All Star Game coming to Los Angeles next season, Jeanie Buss revealed her idea to make the game competitive.

The All Star Game is a great event but it has lost most of it's luster over the past decade or so. All Star Saturday Night usually overtakes the actual game as the most anticipated event over All Star Weekend. Maybe it's time for some change to the all star format.

Some people have suggested a U.S.-vs-World format but that would force potential all star snubs. Making the game meaningful by putting something on the line (a la MLB's decision to base World Series home field advantage on the results of their all star game) won't work either. In an interview with Fanhouse, Lakers Executive VP of Business Operations Jeanie Buss gave an interesting suggestion that would really add some intrigue to the NBA All Star Game...
"I would do something really crazy with the All Star Game. This is something I've thought about a lot. I would like to see the fans vote for all the all stars. Then you put them in a pool, and you take the two coaches and they draft the team right there, kind of like you used to do on a schoolyard. It wouldn't have anything to do with (East vs. West), it would just be all all stars, and then the coaches would decide which players they would take."
Now, this would be great. Seeing the greatest basketball players in the world in a line anxiously awaiting to hear their name called would certainly be interesting. This would definitely humanize them, if nothing else. Watching whoever has the pick choose between Kobe Bryant and Lebron James might be even more interesting than the game.

How would it feel to be the last picked? Certainly, there has to be some level of pride on the line despite being matched up with the best. Imagine how Kobe would play if he was not the first pick. This would definitely make for some great TV, especially when you add the remarks Charles Barkley would be saying while all this is unfolding.

This a great idea but fan voting should be eliminated. The fans rarely get the starting lineups correct and such a great honor should only be determined by basketball experts. What changes do you think would enhance the NBA all star experience?

Friday, February 19, 2010


Teams made a flurry of moves before the trade deadline. Some teams were looking to cut costs while others were looking to pick up help for the stretch run. Here's a look at the major moves that were made and how they will affect the teams involved.

In a 3-team deal between Cleveland, Washington, and the Los Angeles Clippers...
Cavaliers get: Antawn Jamison, Sebastian Telfair
Wizards get: Al Thornton, Zydrunas Illgauskas, 1st round pick from Cleveland
Clippers get: Drew Gooden
The Cavs get a stretch PF that will be a much better fit for their team than Amare Stoudamire would have been. They now can match up with opposition teams using a number of different lineups. The Clippers are going to offer a lot of money to Lebron James in the offseason but they just helped Cleveland's efforts to keep him.

Los Angeles Clippers trade Marcus Camby to Portland Trail Blazers for Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and cash
This makes no sense for the Clippers. All players involved are expiring contracts so it doesn't save them much money. Camby was the team's best defensive player and a great veteran leader for the large bunch of young guys. When a guy actually wants to play for the Clippers, they should keep him.

Chicago Bulls trade John Salmons to Milwaukee Bucks for Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander
The Bulls clear some salary without sacrificing much talent. Salmons will be a great fit for the Bucks for this season and next. This will allow them to shop Michael Redd's huge expiring contract next season but Salmons and Redd can play together.

New York Knicks trade Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry to Boston Celtics for J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker, and Eddie House
The Celtics add a spark plug who can provide energy off the bench but this could effect the team's chemistry. House could not do anything except shoot so Robinson is an upgrade, although he is really just a scorer as well.

In a 3-team deal between New York, Sacramento, and Houston...
Knicks get: Tracy McGrady, Sergio Rodriguez
Kings get: Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey, Larry Hughes
Rockets get: Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, Hilton Armstrong, 2 N.Y. 1st round picks
The Knicks clear cap and give T-Mac a chance to show he can still play and hold his bird rights in case they can't acquire a superstar through free agency. Houston gets the best of this deal adding a good perimeter player in Martin and young talent. If Yao Ming comes back strong next season, they will be a force. The Kings did not do bad either, especially considering the Martin-Tyreke Evans combo was not working.

Chicago Bulls trade Tyrus Thomas to Charlotte Bobcats for Flip Murray and Acie Law and 1st round pick
This is an interesting one. Flip was a key player off the bench for the Bobcats but they were so desperate to add size that they were willing to let him go. They are hoping that more playing time for D.J. Augustin will lead to some improvement in his game. Time will tell who wins this deal.

Utah Jazz trade Ronnie Brewer to Memphis Grizzlies for 2011 1st round pick
When a team starts giving Jamaal Tinsley minutes, they need help. The Grizzlies got it, adding experience to the backcourt to help the young combo of Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo.

Monday, February 15, 2010


The Mavs and Wizards dropped the first domino of the NBA trade deadline and the move could put Dallas in the West Finals.

The Dallas Mavericks made a huge deal that makes their team a legitimate title contender. The Mavs acquired Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, James Singleton, and Quinton Ross.

For the Wizards, this marks a new era for the team. With the problems surrounding guard Gilbert Arenas, the team has decided to pull the plug on the three-headed monster they created. The move will save them a lot of money in the near future and they could be players in the amazing offseason free agent class. The team will continue to explore ways to cut cost as the trade deadline approaches.

For the Mavs, this is a great move. Owner Mark Cuban takes advantage of a cost cutting franchise and adds great talent to his team. The coup of this trade is swingman Caron Butler, who is under contract for next season as well. The 2-time All Star plays hard at both ends of the floor. His numbers are down a notch this season but it has been an awkward first half of the season in Washington. His former teammate and good friend Kobe Bryant had this to say while in Dallas for All Star Weekend...
"You're going to love him. I hate to say that, but you guys are going to absolutely love him. You put him on a contender and I'm telling you, you're going to love him. And he's tough as nails, too."
While Butler is clearly the best player involved in the deal, he really isn't overly superior to Howard. The other players involved in the deal make this move a steal for the Mavs. Center Brendan Haywood will add much needed length to the front-court. Haywood on a contending team will surprise people. Gooden works hard underneath but he is not big enough to contend against the Lakers big men. DeShawn Stevenson will benefit from a change of scenery. The guard can play great defense at times although it is unclear how much playing time he will get.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


This year's All Star Slam Dunk Contest did not live up to the hype. The NBA needs to make sure it includes participants who actually want to...participate.

If you watched All Star Saturday Night, chances are you were disappointed in what you saw. Paul Pierce winning the 3 Point Shooutout? Deron Williams was obviously palming the ball as he dribbled through the Skills Challenge obstacle course. The run-of-the-mill dunks in the Slam Dunk Contest were just the icing on the cake.

Congratulations to Nate Robinson for becoming the first ever 3-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner. Although his dunks were not up to par, they were better than the dunks executed by Shannon Brown, Gerald Wallace, and DeMar Derozan. Plus, he brought out the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

Unfortunately, Nate won by default. Because all of the other participants were scared to miss (Brown), did not want to dunk (Wallace), or were too nervous (Derozan), Robinson was able to claim another title. It's hard to blame Nate for his lack of creativity, this being his third time but the other guys were holding back. In a competition like this, the dunker needs to do something to draw attention from the crowd immediately. Brown was saving his jump over 7-foot Lakers center DJ Mbenga for the second round but forgot he had to make it out of the first. This is the NBA, leave it all out there. Like the guys do in the D-League Dunk Contest...

Although the dunks this year failed to produce the memories of past contests, there is no need to panic. There is nothing wrong with the current format and next season's dunk contest will erase the memories of this one. But some past performances have been unforgettable. Since this year's contest was a bust, here are some dream dunk match-ups that would be sure to make the greatest contest ever...

Dominique Wilkins vs Josh Smith
Wilkins won the competition in 1985 (beating Michael Jordan) and 1990. Smith won the 2005 Slam Dunk Contest, even paying tribute to Wilkins by donning his jersey. Which Atlanta Hawk would execute the perfect power windmill?

Shawn Kemp vs Dwight Howard (a.k.a. Reignman vs Superman)
The best possible battle of bigs in the dunk contest. We've all seen what Howard can do when given the chance to use his creativity. Reignman may be better known for his off-court escapades but he once posterized someone who gave him a handshake right after.

Isaiah Rider vs Vince Carter
Vince-anity put on an incredible show in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, getting so high on one dunk that he stuck his entire forearm through the rim. Rider's "East Bay Funk Dunk" earned him the title in 1994 and sparked a new wave of dunk creativity into people of all ages.

Michael Jordan vs Kobe Bryant/Lebron James
There really is no competition for Air Jordan. His Royal Airness beat Dominique Wilkins at his own game and went on to become a legend. Since Kobe and Lebron are so often compared to the greatest, it's only logical that one of the M.V.Puppets take him on. In the end, it's gotta be the shoes.

And just in case you want to see a slam dunk contest that actually was good, take a look at the 2003 McDonald's High School All American Dunk Contest featuring Lebron James and Shannon Brown. Lebron had all the hype coming out of high school so he was going to win no matter what but the competition was good...

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The Celtics are getting old and are clearly not on par with the league's elite. Ray Allen's expiring contract makes him a valuable trade chip that would give the Celtics the opportunity to get younger. So should they trade the aging, struggling star?

The Celtics have been struggling. They are 9-13 since Christmas day, including losses to the Lakers, Magic, and three to the Hawks. More disappointingly, they have losses to the Clippers, Pistons, and Warriors. They are 29th in the league in rebounding (only ahead of the Warriors) and 18th in scoring. In that 9-13 span, they've lost ten games when they were ahead by at least 10 points. Kevin Garnett is not the same and Rasheed Wallace continues to hoist up dumb three's. It is obvious that the team is not up to par with the league's elite and needs to shake things up. They won't be able to compete for the next few years with the roster only getting older. The problem is that the team is stacked with players who have little or no trade value.

Enter Ray Allen. The 34-year-old has a $19.7 million expiring contract that makes him an asset to teams looking to shed payroll for the offseason. Allen is having probably his worst NBA season. He is averaging only 16 ppg, the lowest since his rookie season, and shooting a career-low 33.8% from beyond the arc. His minutes are up and his averages are down.

Depending on who you believe, Allen is either being shopped or Celtics GM Danny Ainge is willing to listen to offers. Either way, he should pull the trigger on a deal that would bring them some young talent.

One potential trade idea being tossed around is for Sacramento King's guard Kevin Martin. He is an injury prone guard and sometimes dominates the basketball but he is young and his three-point shooting would make him a fit for the Celtics offense. More importantly, he can slash to the basket and finish, something that the Celtics are lacking.

An intriguing move could be a deal with the Dallas Mavericks for Josh Howard. The Mavs are also looking to make a change at SG and are not afraid to pick up older veterans. Howard appears to need a change of scenery, although he is playing much better recently. He brings some of the same abilities to the table that Martin does but he is also an above average defender when he is motivated. Plus, he has an option for next season that the Celtics can exercise in order to keep him around.

As always, your thoughts on the subject are welcome in the comments section

OVERTIME: As an added bonus to this post, check out Ray Allen playing recently in some player exclusive Air Jordan XIIs. He might not be playing great but at least he's playing in style.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Hello and welcome to Dikembe's Finger. The blog will discuss current NBA topics, with an emphasis on basketball in the 90s and early 2000s. In short, if you wish the NBA was still on NBC then this is the place for you.

Why Dikembe's Finger? Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo (better known as Dikembe Mutombo) was a 7'2" center who became one of the league's best shot-blockers during his career. He played for the Nuggets, Hawks, 76ers, Nets, Knicks, and Rockets from 1991-2009. He is best known for his distinctive voice and famous post-block finger wag.

Mutombo is known for his humanitarian work. Amongst other things, he started the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve living conditions in his native Congo and participated in the Basketball Without Borders program. He earned the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 and 2009. In 1999, he was selected as one of 20 winners of the President's Service Award, which is the nation's highest honor for volunteer service. Mutombo is a spokesman for the international relief agency, CARE, and is the first Youth Emissary for the United Nations Development Program. He also opened the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, a $29 million compound in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa.

All he did off the court was great but he was also a great defensive center. He represents everything a basketball player should be. To prove it, here is Dikembe Mutombo in action...

Lastly, all readers are encouraged to participate with comments and polls. We would love to hear all feedback...but remember, don't bring that weak stuff in here because it will be rejected