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LeBron James wins 2012 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award
By Official release
Posted May 12 2012 4:41PM
NEW YORK -- LeBron James of the Miami Heat is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2011-12 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award, the NBA announced today. James earns the honor for the third time in four seasons and becomes the first player since Michael Jordan to win at least three MVPs.
James totaled 1,074 points, including 85 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 voters that consisted of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada as well as an NBA.com MVP fan vote. For the third consecutive season, the NBA and Kia Motors America gave fans the opportunity to submit their votes by ranking their top five choices through a dedicated Web page on NBA.com. The fan vote counted as one vote and was compiled with the 120 media votes to determine the winner. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received.
Rounding out the top five in voting are Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (889 points, 24 first-place votes), the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (385, six first-place votes), the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (352, two first-place votes), and San Antonio's Tony Parker (331, four first-place votes).
James led the Heat to a 46-20 mark and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Despite averaging a career-low 37.5 minutes, the eight-time All-Star led the NBA in plus-minus score differential (+7.6) and ranked third in scoring (27.1 ppg), while pacing the Heat in assists (6.2
apg) and tying for the team lead in rebounds (7.9 rpg). In addition, James established career bests in field goal percentage (.531) and three-point field goal percentage (.362).
This season, James was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month twice (January and February), and he captured Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors six times, extending his NBA record for the most Player of the Week awards to 37. James has scored double-figure points in 419 consecutive career games, the seventh-longest streak in NBA history, behind Michael Jordan (866), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (streaks of 787 and 508), Karl Malone (575), Moses Malone (526), and Oscar Robertson (428).
The NBA MVP trophy is named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement in 1963.
As part of its support of the Most Valuable Player Award, Kia Motors America will donate a new Kia Sorento CUV to Akron Public School After School Program benefiting the Wheels for Education Program. Kia Motors will present a brand new Sorento to the charity of choice of each of five
2011-12 year-end award winners as part of the "The Kia NBA Performance Awards." Following this season, Kia Motors will have donated a total of 21 new vehicles to charitable organizations since its support of the NBA's prestigious year-end honors began with the 2007-2008 season.
The 2011-12 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award is part of a series of on-court performance awards called "The Kia NBA Performance Awards." The series, currently in its fifth season, is a significant part of the multiyear marketing partnership between Kia Motors America and the NBA, and also includes the Most Improved Player, Defensive Player, Sixth Man awards, and this year for the first time, Rookie of the Year. It also includes the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month which are awarded during the regular season. For more information on the "The Kia NBA Performance Awards" visit www.NBA.com/performanceawards.
ORLANDO, FLA. (AP)
The Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy and split with general manager Otis Smith on Monday, the culmination of a season in which Orlando was ensnared in a long-running soap opera with Dwight Howard and made another first-round playoff exit.
''It's time for new leadership and new voices,'' Magic CEO Alex Martins said in a statement. ''The disappointment of getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs these past two seasons played a primary role in our decision, as we feel our momentum towards winning a championship has paused.''
Smith and Van Gundy's problematic relationship with Howard weighed down the team all season after the All-Star center requested a trade.
Orlando went 37-29 in the regular season but was eliminated in five games by Indiana after a rash of late-season injuries that included back surgery for Howard. Orlando went 5-12 without him.
In early April, Van Gundy said top-ranking team officials had told him that Howard had asked management to fire Van Gundy as a condition for the center signing a long-term contract beyond 2013. Howard denied it.
Van Gundy coached the Magic for five seasons. He finished with a 259-135 record, going 31-28 in the playoffs.
Smith departs after six years. He was the architect of Magic teams that made it to the playoffs in each of those seasons, winning the Eastern Conference title in 2009.
The day after the Magic's season ended with the loss to the Pacers, Smith said that he needed a few days to decide if he wanted to return, calling it a ''50-50'' chance.
Van Gundy said at the time he wanted to come back and was hoping the ultimate decision would be about performance solely.
''When you're talking a professional relationship, what matters - at least to me - is the results,'' Van Gundy said. ''I don't care if it's a business relationship where two people at work are driving a business to make money, or if it's a sports relationship, where the object is to win games.
''Those kinds of professional relationships should be based on results, not on do we like each other or whatever. So to me, the relationship was great. There's a lot of wins and everything else.''
But both have acknowledged that this season was trying not only for the players but the organization as a whole.
''This season, and we've been digesting it all year, has been the longest, shortest season that we've had,'' Smith said. ''But it's something that you have to go through. Most sports franchises at some time go through a little bit of uncertainty and this is our time.''
Howard alluded to the strain in his relationship with Smith that dated to the previous summer. Howard said he and Smith didn't speak at all for a week after he made his trade demand. The pair eventually did sit down to talk. Howard promised to keep private future dealings between himself and Smith.
Still, stories swirled all the way up to the trade deadline in March. Howard said he had given up his opt-out clause and would remain under contract through the 2012-13 season. Smith said at that news conference that had Howard not opted-in, trading him was a scenario he and upper management had laid out.
See the best Orlando Magic action, or check out your favorite NBA team here.
Smith certainly had success since becoming general manager in 2006, but he was no stranger to criticism. He signed Rashard Lewis to a six-year, $118 million contract in 2008, making the forward among the five highest-paid players in the NBA. The move contributed to the Magic's payroll ballooning to the second-highest in the league.
Smith also raised questions the following summer, after a loss in the NBA finals, when he traded Rafer Alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee to New Jersey for Ryan Anderson and 33-year-old Vince Carter. He also chose to not match an aging Hedo Turkoglu's contract offer from Toronto.
Carter never really panned out and he was traded in December 2010 with Phoenix in a deal that brought in Jason Richardson and Earl Clark, but also the return of Turkoglu and his weighty contract from the Raptors.
Smith drew even more flak for a deal with Washington in which Lewis was traded for oft-injured Gilbert Arenas, who was in the middle of a $111 million guaranteed contract. His time in Orlando was also short-lived. The team used the new amnesty provision in the new collective bargaining agreement to waive him and wipe his contract off their books.
Van Gundy was a fiery presence during games. He was not a favorite among referees and was annually among the coaches with the most technical fouls. In a March 2011 Sports Illustrated poll of NBA players, Van Gundy was voted the most annoying coach in the league by a wide margin.
Howard often joked about Van Gundy's grumpy demeanor on the floor, but also acknowledged it was at times counterproductive.
This past summer, Smith met with Van Gundy and pledged to make improvements. The coach conferred with a Stanford psychology professor on becoming a better leader. There was surely one positive result - Van Gundy had just one technical during the shortened season.
Van Gundy arrived in Orlando in the summer of 2007 following the Magic's failed attempt to hire Florida coach Billy Donovan. Donovan had second thoughts days after signing his contract and eventually went back to Florida. The Magic scrambled and wooed Van Gundy, who was in line for the Sacramento job but called Orlando his first-choice.
Then troubles reached the basketball court - first with Turkoglu's facial fracture surgery and then Howard's back surgery. Turkoglu returned in time for the playoffs but Howard missed the final 17 games of the season, including the entire series against the Pacers.
Shaquille O’Neal, a former Orlando stalwart who took off for Los Angeles, could make a return to the city as the Magic’s new general manager.
O’Neal will meet with the Magic next week to talk about their vacant general manager position, ESPN.com reported on Wednesday. The Orlando Magic recently let go of former general manager Otis Smith and coach of five years, Stan Van Gundy.
Shaquille O'Neal will speak with the Orlando Magic about their general manager opening.
The first four years of O’Neal’s career were played in Orlando, where he teamed up with Penny Hardaway to reach an NBA Finals series in 1995, before bolting for Los Angeles in 1996 to join the Lakers as a free agent. O’Neal is currently in his first year as an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” with former NBA players Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.
O’Neal is the only recognizable name on the team’s list of possible general managers.
But a big name is eyeing the team’s coaching job, as former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has expressed interest in joining the Magic and Bobcats.
Sloan has yet to speak with the Magic, though he told Fox Sports Florida their vacancy was “intriguing”. He also said he had a conversation with Bobcats owner Michael Jordan on Tuesday, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. Sloan will interview with the Bobcats later in the week, ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard reports.
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