HoopsHype Kenny Smith rumors

November 18, 2012 Updates

QUESTION: What do you make of the Lakers hiring Mike D'Antoni as their head coach? SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: The Lakers said they were built for a championship run immediately, so I think people are upset they didn't make the logical choice in Phil Jackson. But D'Antoni is a fabulous coach. He's going to bring a lot of excitement back. Kobe Bryant is one of the best players of all time. Steve Nash is happy that he's back. He's going to bring a slight element of Showtime back. KENNY SMITH: There were probably five or six candidates that were probably eligible with Phil Jackson leading the way. I'm not totally surprised at it. Mike D'Antoni has been on the Olympic team, has been around great players, coached Kobe and Dwight (Howard) before and has coached Steve Nash before. He's been on the staff. There's a familiarity with those guys. Los Angeles Daily News

QUESTION: How does D'Antoni's offensive system fit with the Lakers? O'NEAL: It's going to be good for Dwight (Howard). He's a great pick and roll big man. D'Antoni is an offensive wizard so he's going to keep everyone involved. He's the type that he's not going to yell at you for taking a shot. He just wants you to run hard and play hard. They're going to play with a lot of freedom out there. SMITH: If you played 15 minutes in your older system, you'd only have three or four shots. His system, if you play 15 minutes, you'll get nine shots. Your offensive output doesn't become an issue in not getting enough touches or the ball not going in enough places. He eliminates that by the style of play. Los Angeles Daily News

QUESTION: How fair is the criticism surrounding the defense in D'Antoni's system? O'NEAL: I don't think it's fair criticism. I won three in a row with Phil. We never worked on defense, as when I played for the great Pat Riley. Phil gave us the ability to figure it out. Our defense always started from guys on our team that wanted to play defense. Championship teams win because of team defense, not because of one guy shutting down your guy. SMITH: Because you're in transition, it's more difficult to play defense. The same way you want to get teams in 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 situations, you're in that. It is more difficult to play defense in that regard. But the fact is they have Gasol, Howard and Metta World Peace, who are three really good defenders. I don't think D'Antoni has had three defensive guys like that ever. You have shot blockers. That's the difference. Los Angeles Daily News

May 29, 2012 Updates
May 11, 2012 Updates
April 2, 2012 Updates
February 3, 2012 Updates

There is definitely a case that can be made for Chris Bosh at forward over Anthony, and it’s a case that Kenny Smith, Chris Webber and even Charles Barkley all made on the show. O’Neal, of course, would have none of it. “Carmelo is doing more than Bosh,” O’Neal said. “There you go again,” Barkley said. There you go, Charles Barkley, voice of reason. Shaq further justified his preference by arguing that Bosh is only what he’s doing because the Big 2 takes pressure off him. Um, wait. Aren’t Bosh’s numbers much better this season without Wade? And wasn’t the previous criticism of Bosh his stat-padding on a mediocre Toronto team? So now the problem is that he’s producing slightly lesser — more efficient numbers — on a contender? Palm Beach Post

January 28, 2012 Updates

Shaquille O'Neal's first few outings on TNT's "Inside the NBA" have been up and down, to put it charitably. Still, he's starting to develop relationships with the rest of the studio team, including Charles Barkley. For the most part, that means Shaq says something questionable, Barkley undermines him, and Ernie Johnson or Kenny Smith tells a stupid joke to defuse tension. It's TV at its best. Last week, Shaq and Chuck got to talking about the top power forwards in the NBA; the former repped Blake Griffin, while the latter sang the praises of Kevin Love. The discussion got mildly contentious, and eventually Shaq proposed a bet that the supporter of whichever player did worse during their game last Friday would have to go pantsless on the "Inside the NBA" set. Presumably at an hour when children would be asleep. Yahoo! Sports

January 27, 2012 Updates

The Wizards have plummeted considerably since then, and so has Barkley’s opinion of the franchise — which he shared on Thursday night during “Inside the NBA” on TNT. Analysts Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal were asked to describe their surprises and disappointments through the first month of the season and Barkley and O’Neal both singled out the 3-15 Wizards. Barkley started his comments by mentioning that the quality of play has been poor because of the lockout and added, “There are some bad basketball teams in the NBA.” “Name three,” Smith said. Washington Post

Barkley mentioned the Charlotte Bobcats, then said, “The worst team in the NBA, the Washington Bullets.” Smith responded, “The Washington Generals?” Smith then interrupted Barkley and asked, “You in a time warp? You called them the Bullets.” Barkley shot back, “I call ‘em the Bullets, ‘cause I want to shoot ‘em.” Washington Post

Barkley later explained, “I’ll never call them the Wizards. They should be called the Generals. They already got . . . Flip Saunders got fired. Let me tell you something, Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Lenny Wilkins, coaching together couldn’t make them bums winners.” O’Neal was next up and said, “My biggest disappointment is the Wizards, the Bullets, whatever you call them. I think with all the ability and talent that John Wall has, he needs to do a better job of leading the team. Just like, they make a lot of juvenile mistakes. The other day, we saw JaVale McGee throw it off the glass when they’re down by six. Andray Blatche is a good player and I think he could step his game up a little bit. And I’m very surprised and disappointed they are the worst team in the league right now.” Washington Post

January 20, 2012 Updates
November 7, 2011 Updates

Kenny Smith, now a TNT studio analyst, said the moment he heard Johnson's announcement on Nov. 7, 1991, he said one word. "Jesus," Smith said. "I wasn't educated at all on what was going on with the virus. It turns out, unfortunately for him, fortunately for us, he was the best man for the job. His job was educating people on what HIV was. He helped me learn a totally new perspective. God doesn't give us anything we can't handle, that seemed to be Magic's attitude. "I don't know if there was another person alive, not just athlete, but person, who had such goodwill earned up, who could have told us what he told us and have people feel sympathy instead of something else." Los Angeles Times

October 14, 2011 Updates

Kenny Smith said Thursday night he is in the process of organizing a charity game in Las Vegas and wants it to benefit military members. It will be played on Veteran's Day, Friday Nov. 11. That's the day before Manny Pacquiao is scheduled for a welterweight title fight in Las Vegas against Juan Manuel Marquez, which could make it a huge sports weekend in Sin City. The beneficiaries will be former military members, which is fitting because the game will be played on Veterans Day. Dallas Morning News

Many details must be worked out, but Smith said he has already been in touch with numerous players and the response has been excellent. And having the event benefit veterans would make it an instant success with sponsors. "I told them I'd do it, but I want to bring the charity aspect into it,'' Smith said while speaking at the SMU basketball tipoff gala. "If I know there's a long lockout, I want to do it on Veterans Day and give them money to the veterans. It's got to be not only for the fans, but also for the soldiers. "That's the only way it makes sense. You can't do it for a money grab. You have to do it for something that's really worthwhile.'' Dallas Morning News

Smith emphasized that players of past generations often had to get creative to get what they felt was owed to them. "When I was with the Rockets, they said, 'we don't want to pay you $2.1 million,' '' Smith said. "I said, 'OK, what do you want to pay me?' They were saying $1.7 million. I said, 'OK, pay me $2.1 if we win over 50 games.' We won over 50 games that year. "So it has to be incentive based. And if you hit certain numbers, why wouldn't you want to profit share. You're profit sharing zero right now. "So, three percent? If you're talking about a pie - cherry pie, my favorite - and you're telling me I get three percent less or three percent more, we'll figure it out and start eating the pie.'' Dallas Morning News

July 15, 2011 Updates

Shaquille O’Neal is joining TNT’s “Inside the NBA” show, teaming with Suns Ring of Honor member Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. He was courted by ABC/ESPN as well since his retirement but picked TNT because he felt the environment would be fun. “It has also been my favorite show,” said O’Neal, who has kept a house in Atlanta, TNT’s home, for 15 years. “I’d love to be up there hanging out with Charles, Kenny and Ernie. I just thought that was the best fit for me. “It was a deal I couldn’t resist.” Arizona Republic

O’Neal said he knew he wanted to enter broadcasting immediately after retirement and is willing to criticize his peers, not that playing alongside them ever stopped him. “Some people give unfair criticism,” O’Neal said. “Some people give fair criticism. I have the ability and the backing to give fair criticism. The only time I have a problem with people giving criticism is when they haven’t walked that walk. I’ve walked many walks in my 19-year career. Any criticism I give should be fair.” Arizona Republic

July 14, 2011 Updates

If a delicate balance exists in the chemistry that makes TNT’s “Inside the NBA” a successful and amusing studio program, will a huge new ingredient named Shaquille O’Neal alter it? The camaraderie that binds Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson as a team is difficult to imitate — as ESPN has shown — so why try to change the chemical balance? The answer: because Shaq exists. O’Neal can be charming and funny, but whether he will equal Barkley’s outrageousness is unknown. O’Neal is also surprisingly soft-spoken for a man of his dimensions. Barkley’s voice matches his size. “We’re going to make it very fun,” O’Neal said on a conference call Thursday. “We’re going to make it more exciting for the fans to watch.” He said he religiously watched “Inside” as a player, which probably gave TNT an edge over ESPN’s bid, as did the fact that he owns a house near Atlanta, where TNT is based. New York Times

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