Lionel Hollins says he hasn’t spoken with Pistons, is interested in job

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When the Detroit Pistons fired Mo Cheeks as coach, a lot of eyes turned to Lionel Hollins.

He had coached a somewhat similar roster in Memphis (great front line, not much outside shooting) all the way to the conference finals twice, plus he was the kind of disciplinarian the Pistons ownership feels the team needs. Reports that the Pistons are eyeing Hollins came up quickly.

Hollins says there have been no conversations between him and the Pistons. Yet. But he’s interested.

Hollins is a regular host of shows on SiriusXM NBA Radio (channel 217) and when he was on Wednesday host Bill Lekas if there was interest from Detroit.

“I can’t tell you. I haven’t had any contact with them, nor has my agent. I’ve expressed to different media outlets that I would have an interest in listening to what they have to say. They have an intriguing team with some of the young big guys that they have. So I would definitely be interested in talking to them. I’m flattered by all the non-decision makers coming out and saying that the job is mine and I’m the first choice and they are coming after me. Well, none of that has happened and it only matters what the Detroit Pistons are thinking. Again, I’m flattered with the respect that has been shown me by some of the national media.”

That said, Hollins sees Detroit as an attractive situation.

“Well, I think the kid, [Andre] Drummond, can be an outstanding defensive center. He needs to obviously develop offensively but defensively and rebounding – which is a core of being a good team is being able to rebound – he’s coming along really well. [Greg] Monroe has shown that he can score and he’s a decent passer, good team player. They went and picked up Josh Smith. I think sometimes the three-headed monster is tough to play together but there’s ways to work around that. But I like Josh Smith. I like Brandon Jennings as a dynamic point guard who can put up a lot of points. I think they need to learn how to win. I think they need to learn how to play together on a consistent basis and play hard, but they’ve got some intriguing pieces that make me say, ‘Wow, there’s possibilities there.’”

Just something to watch. Pistons owner Tom Gores wants to win, but he also realizes that bringing in Hollins mid-season is not likely to make a dramatic change. He can make the move this summer and let Hollins have a full training camp to put his systems and discipline in place.

The other big question is who will be the general manager of the Pistons next summer? Current GM Joe Dumars is a Pistons legend but he is on a hot seat. The new GM may like the idea of Hollins, he may not, but if there is a new GM he should be in on the decision.

The bottom line here is if the Pistons are interested, so is Hollins.

NBA reacts to Suns’ Devin Booker dropping 70 on Celtics

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Devin Booker was the story of the NBA Friday night.

The 20-year-old Suns’ guard — who never scored more than 19 points in a game at Kentucky in college — dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics in a losing effort. He becomes only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 in a game. At the end the Suns were fouling and calling time outs to stop the clock and get the ball back to Booker, but as Phoenix coach Earl Watson said to those who complained, “You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that.”

NBA Twitter exploded at what Booker did.

Booker himself responded this way.

Lonzo Ball makes expected official, declares for NBA Draft

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There was no hesitation. None was expected.

After UCLA was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by Kentucky, the Bruin’s Lonzo Ball — who is expected to be a top-three pick — declared for the NBA draft this June.

Ball is expected to go second or third in the upcoming NBA draft. Speaking with people around the league Washington’s Markelle Fultz is a clear No. 1, but after that if the Lakers — the team with the second-worst record in the league — have the No. 2 pick they are expected to snap up Ball. Depending on how the lottery shakes out the top of the draft, Ball could fall a little — there are teams that like Josh Jackson — but not much.

Ball is a 6’6″ point guard who averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds a game for UCLA last season. He has fantastic passing vision, impressive shooting range (although he can take some questionable shots), and a great sense of floor spacing and how to run an offense, particularly in transition. However, his weaknesses were exposed in his final game some as De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky completely outplayed Ball. Defensive pressure took Ball (and the Bruins) out of rhythm, forced them to play in the half court (where Ball is not as strong), and it’s one of the things Ball is going to have to adapt to at the next level where everyone is more athletic. Also, he’s going to need to get more consistent defensively.

The potential for Ball to be special is there, which is why he will go high in the draft.

And no, the rantings of his father will not change that. Teams see the father as a distraction that can be handled, they aren’t going to let him get in the way of drafting talent.

Watch highlights of Shaquille O’Neal’s statue unveiling outside Staples Center

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Kobe Bryant said “Thank you. I learned so much from you as a player.”

Jerry West said he loved him like a son.

Jeanie Buss said “No one celebrates a championship like you, but please no more asking Mark Madsen to dance.”

The Lakers unveiled a new statue for Shaquille O’Neal Friday night, one flying high over a Staples Center entrance, and the stars were on hand for the event. Phil Jackson was there making Snoop Dogg jokes. Shaq and Kobe were sharing laughs. It was a big night for a big man with a big personality. And a big heart.

Check out the highlights above.

Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah to be suspended 20 games for violating league drug policy

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Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. Last summer, Phil Jackson took a $72 million gamble on an aging Noah that has not worked at all, and left New York with an anchor of a contract for three more seasons after this one.

Tomorrow it will be official Noah is done for this season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.

During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.

Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.

The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.

According to reports, this is not a substance banned in the new CBA that kicks in July 1, but was covered in the previous CBA. Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.

Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. The 10 games this season is no big deal for the Knicks, he wasn’t going to play anyway, but the 10 at the start of next season could sting (depending on how they plan to use him).