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.
Lamar Odom has discussed his cocaine addiction before – how it derailed his NBA career, marriage to Kim Kardashian, his life. Never detailed like this, though.
Odom in The Players’ Tribune:
With cocaine especially, there’s a high, and then an emotional low. So it’s like a roller coaster. You go high, and then you go low. High, low, high, low. After you do it, you feel shame. You think about all the reasons why you shouldn’t have done it. Then the cycle starts again.
That’s the thing people don’t understand. Anybody who’s lived a complicated, drug-infused life like I’ve lived knows the cycle — with women, cheating on my wife, shit like that. Nights when I should have been asleep. Nights when I stayed up sniffing coke. Lot of those nights. When your heart is beating fast. When you should know better. When you’re just riding that roller coaster, man.
You think I wasn’t feeling shame? You think I was blind to what I was doing?
Nah, I wasn’t blind to it. Shame … pain. It’s part of the whole cycle. My brain was broken. As the years went on, and I got into my 30s, my career was winding down, and things just got out of control.
When I was like 32, 33 … I just wanted to get high all the time. That’s it, just get high. And things got dark as hell.
One of the darkest places I’ve ever been was when I was in a motel room, getting high with this chick, and my wife (at the time) walked in. That probably was like rock bottom.
I recommend reading all of Odom’s powerful essay, in which he explains the personal struggles that contributed to his drug use.
Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin smoothed over Kyrie Irving‘s discontentment for years.
As new general manager Koby Altman tries to project stability, it seems there’s plenty of disarray behind the scenes in the wake of Irving’s trade request.
Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, via Chris Fillar of 92.3 The Fan:
Whatever are or aren’t the problems between Irving and LeBron James, this makes it far less likely they’ll reconcile. It already seemed LeBron wouldn’t be proactive in mending the relationship, and this saga has only generated more distrust.
Irving appears increasingly likely to get his wish, with Cleveland moving toward trading him. He’s just upping the odds by furthering the divide.
Raptors president Masai Ujiri called for a “culture reset,” alluding to an offense less reliant on Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan isolations.
DeMarre Carroll, traded from Toronto to the Nets, doubts the Raptors will change much.
Know who agrees with him? DeRozan.
DeRozan, via Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun:
“I think the media kind of blow it out of proportion like it’s going to be something dramatic, like a complete dramatic 180-degree change,” DeRozan said, who was back in Toronto helping out with the Raptors’ Basketball Academy at Humber College on Monday. “It’s not that at all. It’s just moreso locking in and understanding what it takes to win from every single position. Everyone just know from our failures, guys stepping up and being better leaders, not just me and Kyle but everybody. I think once we lock in and everyone holds themselves accountable, everything else will come around perfect. That’s all it is.”
DeRozan didn’t disagree when it was suggested more ball movement might be demanded this season, but he did say the anticipated level of change by many outside the team is completely out of whack with the reality. The offence is still going to run through himself and Kyle Lowry.
This is shaping up to be a problem. Ujiri made this grand proclamation then brought back the same core – Lowry, DeRozan and coach Dwane Casey. This was the danger, that they were too comfortable with the status quo.
We’ll see how it actually plays out. DeRozan has a strong track record of improvement, and the Raptors might be forcing him to see the game differently by playing him at point guard.
But there at least appears to be a disconnect somewhere between the front office and players.
The Cavaliers are reportedly prioritizing youth in a Kyrie Irving trade.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:
Another stated goal is to dump off some salary and reduce the luxury tax bill.
The Cavs – who reportedly lost more than $40 million last season – are on track to become the first team in NBA history to pay the luxury-tax repeater rate. They’ve led the league in payroll, racking up big luxury-tax bills, the last two seasons. They even pulled the rare feat of carving out max cap space (used on LeBron James) then getting about the luxury-tax line in the same season three years ago, finishing second to the Nets in spending that season.
Cleveland now faces a luxury-tax bill north of $78 million – which would eclipse its 2015-16 mark ($54 million) as the second highest tax payment ever, trailing just 2013-14 Brooklyn (nearly $91 million).
Most teams would never spend as much as the Cavaliers have the previous three seasons. Most teams would never approach Cleveland’s costs this year, which include $142 million in player salaries.
But most teams don’t have LeBron.
Remember, the Heat cutting corners on spending contributed to LeBron leaving Miami. And Cavs owner Dan Gilbert reportedly promised to spend unconditionally when LeBron returned to Cleveland in 2014.
Is cutting costs the message the Cavaliers want to send as LeBron enters a contract year?
If so, they have a few candidates for shedding:
- Tristan Thompson – three years, $52,408,695 remaining
- J.R. Smith – three years, $44,160,000 remaining (just $3.87 million of $15.68 million guaranteed final year)
- Iman Shumpert – two years, $21,348,313 remaining
- Channing Frye – one year, $7,420,912 remaining
All those players, roughly in order of salary, contribute to winning.
The Cavs should have little trouble unloading those contracts in an Irving trade. He’s so valuable, teams will incur a lopsided financial deal to get him. They’ll just send Cleveland less talent to compensate.
It’s the classic dilemma – money vs. on-court success. Teams evaluate this tradeoff every day.
For the Cavaliers, there’s just the additional pressure of LeBron’s looming free agency.