Mike Malone Warriors

Report: New Kings owner eyes Mike Malone as coach

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Golden State’s Mike Malone has been in the group with Brian Shaw and Mike Budenholzer the past few years — top assistant coaches that get interviews but have yet to land in the big chair.

That could be about to change for Malone — it’s a good thing when the owner wants you.

And the new owner of the Kings wants him, reports Ric Bucher of CSNBayArea.com on Sulia.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob used what he learned as a Celtics’ minority partner to shape his new team. Vivek Ranadive, former Warriors minority owner and now presumptive Kings primary owner, apparently is doing the same, beginning with putting Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone on his list of candidates to be the Kings’ next head coach, a source said.

Malone also is said to be in the mix for the Los Angeles Clippers job, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com. Why? Because Chris Paul likes him, of course. Malone was the lead assistant for Monty Williams in New Orleans Chris Paul’s last year there and he really liked playing for him.

But it will come down to owners, which may give the Kings an advantage. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is personally involved in the coaching search for his team (he hired Vinny Del Negro after being charmed by him even though management wanted someone else). He realizes the Clippers are on the verge of contention and while maybe the untested Malone can get them there he seems to be thinking veteran coach (think Nate McMillan).

In the Kings case, the owner knows and apparently likes Malone. The Kings have some potential — if you can get the best out of DeMarcus Cousins nightly — but that is a project where Malone can learn some on the job because the team is rebuilding still. Don’t be shocked if other names like Brian Shaw come into the mix in Sacramento as Ranadive tries to replicate the kind of turnaround in Sacramento that Lacob had with Golden State.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.

PBT Podcast: NBA All-Star Weekend talk, predictions with Sean Highkin

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NBA All-Star weekend descends upon frigid Toronto starting Friday, with everything from the Rookie/Sophomore… er, Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, the Dunk Contest/Three-Point Contest on Saturday, and the main event on Sunday.

Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of NBC’s ProBasketballTalk break it all down, from Pau Gasol replacing Jimmy Butler to predictions on the Dunk Contest and if anyone can knock off Zach LaVine. Plus, there is plenty of “why Sting?” talk.

PBT will be in Toronto with reports from the event all weekend, so come back early and often for all the latest (plus trade talk, as all the GMs get together in one city where it’s too cold for them to go outside).

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Pistons retire Chauncey Billups’ jersey at halftime (VIDEO)

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Moments before his jersey went up to the rafters, Chauncey Billups spoke to the crowd about the night the Detroit Pistons wrapped up the 2004 NBA title by routing the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the Finals.

“We had one motivation,” he said. “We wanted to win it here at home.”

Billups was the most valuable player in the Finals that year, and he had his No. 1 jersey retired by the Pistons on Wednesday night at halftime of their game against Denver.

He was the second player from that 2004 team honored by the Pistons this year. The Pistons retired Ben Wallace’s jersey last month at a similar ceremony – in front of a packed house on a night Detroit beat Golden State.

There were some empty seats in the upper level Wednesday, but Billups wanted to be honored while the Pistons were playing the Nuggets. Billups is a Denver native and played for the Nuggets for two stints during his career.

“This was by design, only because there’s a lot of people that contributed to my success as a player and as a man, in Denver, my hometown,” Billups said before the game. “There were several dates that I could have chosen. This one obviously stuck out.”

Billups does have a mild regret about his run of success with the Pistons. He figures they could have won more titles.

“I felt like, two and maybe three championships – we were that good,” he said.

Ben Wallace was on hand Wednesday, and so were Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince from the 2004 champions. Pistons great Isiah Thomas was also at the Palace for the ceremony.

“This is what tradition looks like,” Thomas told the crowd. “This is what it feels like.”