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NBA HOT SHOTS


NBA HOT SHOTS
Rudy the recruiter

Maybe Rudy Giuliani will change his ubiquitous numerical reference from 9/11 to 2010. The former mayor's ears perked up when he heard that LeBron James is a big Yankees fan, and on ESPN's First Take last week, Giuliani offered to do his part to convince James to come to New York by inviting him to a game at the new Yankee Stadium. Sure, James is one of the few people on the planet who will be able to afford to attend a game at the new ballpark, but not everyone gets to sit in the mayor's box.

"I'll take him any time he wants to go," Giuliani said. "I remember when Mike Mussina and Jason Giambi came to New York, I talked to them on the phone about living in New York. And they had great careers here."

Ah, the halcyon days of the Giuliani New York. "When I was mayor," he reminded, "we played in the Finals."

The media may be jumping the gun on the 2010 talk, but everyone has an opinion on what's going to happen. Bobby Simmons of the Nets seems convinced any debate on the outcome is senseless.

"There's only one team that this guy is going to," Simmons told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I don't know why everybody's making a big deal about it. I'm just saying: You know he's going to the biggest market, to play for the Knicks. It's a business move. It's all about the marketing dollar."

Thunder claps for Brooks

Interim coach Scott Brooks, who took over the Thunder last week for fired coach P.J. Carlesimo, made one simple move that has paid off immediately. And it seemed so obvious to everyone other than Carlesimo.

Brooks, a former Knick who carved out a 10-year NBA career as a guard, moved 6-10 Kevin Durant from guard to small forward. Durant, last season's Rookie of the Year, had 30 points and 29 points in the first two games after the switch, but regressed with 13 points (6-for-16 shooting) against the Cavaliers on Wednesday. Still, Durant welcomes the move.

"That's my natural position," Durant told The Oklahoman. "I've been playing that mostly my whole life."

It hasn't turned into instant success for the team, which has lost 14 in a row. But if anyone is expecting Brooks to have a short stay in Oklahoma City, they should talk to Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas about Brooks' staying power. Brooks and Big Z were roommates when they played for the Cavs during the 1997-98 season.

"I invited him for the weekend," Ilgauskas told The News-Herald (Ohio), "and he stayed for six months."

Northwest Territory Trail Blazers

Seattle no longer has an NBA team, but the NBA still has a presence in the Emerald City. The Portland Trail Blazers were awarded the broadcasting rights to the Seattle market, about 175 miles north, by the NBA and, according to the Vancouver Columbian, the Blazers hope to develop inroads to replace the departed SuperSonics. There's even talk of hosting a preseason game there.

"So far, it seems to be going really well," Blazers president Larry Miller said. "People are watching the games, and we're getting a lot of communications from folks in Seattle that are glad to have NBA Basketball. Even though the Sonics aren't there anymore, the fact that they have NBA Basketball, that they can watch the Blazers."

The Blazers have several Seattle connections: Brandon Roy is from Seattle and coach Nate McMillan, of course, was known as "Mr. Sonic" during his time there as a player and later a coach.

Reunion 2010?

Terry Porter has the Phoenix Suns right where Mike D'Antoni used to have them, among the leaders in the Western Conference standings. But the change in philosophy from D'Antoni's freewheeling style is evident on the court, where Steve Nash is turning the ball over a lot more in the halfcourt offense and Amare Stoudemire is feeling small next to Shaquille O'Neal on the low blocks.

"You've got LeBron James who's a featured guy, you've got Dwyane Wade, he's a featured guy. Dwight Howard? They go to him. Chris Bosh? They go to him," Stoudemire told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. "Bottom line: I want to be that guy. I want to show the league and the world that I feel like my game has improved to that level."

Nash also told Smith: "We're not running as much as we would like to. We've got some work to do."

Both players are expected to be available as free agents in 2010, when D'Antoni's Knicks plan to make a big splash in the free- agent market.

COUNTDOWN: 577 days until LeBron James becomes a free agent


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 30, 2008

 

 
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