Collins says Iguodala not being shopped; pair to meet

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Doug Collin’s is doing what a lot of NBA coaches are doing right now — flying all over the country, racking up healthy cell phone minutes talking to the players on their roster. They talk about offseason workouts, parts of their game to focus on.

Because starting next Friday — when the lockout almost certainly begins — they will not be able to have that contact.

The most interesting meeting for the 76ers coach will be on the mean streets of Los Angeles… with Andre Iguodala. (Well, the streets are not going to be that mean wherever they meet, but you get the idea.) Collins told Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer the team wants to bring Iggy back, not trade him.

“We want Dre,” Collins said after the press conference on Friday for draft choices Nikola Vucevic and Lavoy Allen at PCOM. “We want him back. He got nicked up last year and was hurt and we think Dre is one of the reasons we are a good defensive team.”

Collins will tell Iguodala that all the pre-draft trade rumors didn’t come from under the Sixers bunker.

“Nobody is out there shopping Dre,” Collins said.

Well, define shopping. Maybe the Sixers are not actively calling other general managers, but when their phone rings with other GMs calling about Iguodala they are not shooting the idea down. They are willingly exploring it. The problem is that nobody really wants to make a deal involving a big contract right now, not until they see the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Well, that problem and the fact that the Sixers likely would not get equal value back in an Iggy trade.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said a lot of the Iguodala for Lamar Odom rumors were actually agent driven. No doubt somewhat true. But if Iggy’s agent knows his client wants out, it would be in the agent’s best interest to help line up a deal that is good for his client.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall for Collins’ meeting with Iguodala. Is it frosty, or is Iguodala completely good with coming back to the Sixers next season? Either way, you know Iggy is one guy working on his game. He will come back better next season. The question is only where.

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.