The x-factor in the Mavs’ entire postseason run? No doubt about it, that guy has been Shawn Marion. He was kinda forgotten about, his numbers down since leaving Steve Nash and his athleticism waning as his age advances. Remember, earlier this year, dude wasn’t even starting. Then Caron Butler got hurt, the Matrix reloaded and in his last five postseason games, he’s averaging 15.4 points a game. Still, how angry was he after Game 2 when his 20/8 game was nearly overshadowed by Nash’s girl? … Interestingly, the teams in the NBA Finals, Dallas and Miami, and Shaq, all have a history. The Sun Sentinel wrote that in Shaq’s final year with the Heat, he basically started skipping games because of a hip injury, despite wrestling teammates at times in the locker room before games. Supposedly, O’Neal wanted a buyout, wanted to get away from a terrible team, and had a championship suitor waiting to sign him. That team? Mark Cuban and the Mavs. It never happened; Miami’s executives couldn’t stand Cuban and instead opted to send Shaq to Phoenix. Once there, O’Neal flourished and the rest is history … So Mike D’Antoni is saying he wants to remain with the Knicks. Of course he’s going to say that. But one of the reasons Donnie Walsh said enough is enough was because of the ongoing problems between James Dolan and D’Antoni. Now that Walsh is gone – he’s the one who brought in D’Antoni – who knows what’ll happen. The Knicks might be going in circles, but honestly with the team they have, it might be best to bring in a new coach. Maybe someone who will preach defense beyond three minutes in practice? … With the lockout looming, Memphis won’t be bringing back any of their assistant coaches in order to save dough. All of Lionel Hollins’ staff is now gone. And people thought the Grizzlies were turning the corner with the spending-money stuff. Watch their next move be re-signing Shane Battier, getting rid of Hollins and using Battier as a player/coach to kill two birds with one stone … New Orleans’ GM Dell Demps started laughing when someone asked him about a recent rumor of a Chris Paul-for-Russell Westbrook swap. It cracks us up too. It’s routine for an organization to say they aren’t shopping their players, and then turn around and send them off. But we believe Thunder GM Sam Presti when he says they aren’t getting rid of Westbrook. Why would you? He’s 22. Chill. Neither team would consider that trade. By the way, we aren’t sold on CP being all the way to his former self. We really hope he is, but people forget his numbers and minutes were significantly down this year, and there were a lot of scouts who didn’t see the same explosive quickness. In the playoffs he got the best possible matchup he could’ve asked for: the Lakers. No one plays him worse than L.A. If New Orleans could schedule the Purple & Gold 82 times a year, CP would averaged like 35 points, 15 assists & 17 flops a game … If you had a couple of guesses at how Charles Oakley‘s time in Charlotte as an assistant would end, one of them would have to be because of a fight right? Oakley says he got played like Nicky Santoro by a couple of security guards at a Las Vegas casino and now the subsequent injuries may keep him off the sidelines this year. All jokes aside, hopefully he recovers fully … And of course, David Kahn doesn’t want to trade the second pick. There are too many good point guards available … We’re out like Oakley.
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