LeBron James, Isaiah Stewart Ejected from Game after Brutal Foul

LeBron James elbowed a guy in the face during his game in Detroit -- and while the receiving player bled out of his face ... he started to come after the King in a fury. The fight led to both players being ejected.

Pistons' big man Isaiah Stewart got tangled up with LBJ Sunday during the Lakers game there in town, and while LeBron was trying to box out IS -- he turned around and nicked him in the eye ... in what many took as a cheap shot.

The elbow to the dome sent Stewart tumbling, but he was back up to his feet in a hurry ... and came face-to-face with LeBron, and started to tussle with him right there on the court.

Teammates scrambled in to separate the two -- this as Stewart's face started to gush blood -- but it became clear very quickly that he wasn't over the ordeal, and was ready to get into a full-blown melee. Watch how much it took to restrain him ... a couple different times.

By the end, Stewart was being dragged into the locker room tunnel by his teammates and coaching staff -- but even then, he broke away from them and started bolting it ... presumably looking to come around the other side to get his hands on LeBron.

Luckily, nothing crazy ended up happening beyond this -- but for a moment there, it made for a scary scene ... and had strong Malice at the Palace vibes, something no one wants to recreate.

The view from the crowd was just as insane ... as you could see Stewart tearing past people on the court in an effort to get to LBJ. There were even announcers in the building instructing people to stay in their seat -- which tells you how serious it was getting.

In the end, Stewart got tossed ... as did LeBron, who got rung up for a flagrant 2 foul. As of this writing, the Lakers are on the Pistons' tails, with just a few minutes to go.

Jermaine O'Neal, Pacers We Were Called 'Thugs' After 'Malice At The Palace' ... 'Character In Question'

Ex-NBA star Jermaine O'Neal says the backlash following the infamous 'Malice At The Palace' was brutal and wrong ... claiming he and his teammates were labeled "thugs" after the brawl.

The 2004 incident between the Pacers, Pistons and fans in attendance is one of the most memorable moments in NBA history -- Metta Sandiford-Artest (Ron Artest at the time) rushed into the stands and fought a spectator after a drink was thrown at him ... and absolute chaos ensued.

Metta was suspended the rest of the season, Stephen Jackson was hit with a 30-game ban and O'Neal received a 15-game punishment for their involvement in the fight ... the biggest suspensions in NBA history.

Now, Stak and JO are reflecting on the brawl for the new Netflix series 'Untold' (which debuts Tuesday) ... saying the criticism they received after the event was unfair.

"Ron, Steve, JO, it's their fault," Jackson said. "They were being thugs! They were acting out of line!"

O'Neal added ... "Like all of a sudden, my character is in question."

"These are thugs and everybody else signing off, 'yeah, rap music' and this -- well they're not saying that when hockey is beating the hell out of each for decades."

O'Neal is seemingly highlighting the double standard that exists between the reaction to black basketball players getting in a fight and the same thing happening in a predominantly white sport.

Even though the incident happened nearly 20 years ago, the points O'Neal raises remain significant.

Blake Griffin Becomes Free Agent After Buyout ... Lakers Next?!

Blake Griffin is officially a free agent -- the 6-time All-Star has agreed to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons ... and now the big question is: where's he gonna go next?!

31-year-old Griffin -- the #1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft -- can now join any team he wishes ... and there are some serious contenders reportedly interested in adding Griffin for a playoff run.

One of those teams?? The Los Angeles Lakers, a squad that's already stacked ... but could really use the depth in the hunt to repeat as NBA champions in 2021.

There are 3 other teams that have expressed interest in Griffin -- the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets, according to reporter Marc Stein.

Of course, Griffin hasn't played for the Pistons since Feb. 12 ... when Detroit announced he would remain inactive while they explored trades and the possibility of buying out his contract.

Considering Blake has a player option worth nearly $39 million for next season, it's no surprise Motor City couldn't find a suitable offer.

Griffin played in L.A. for 9 years with the Clippers ... but there's a real possibility he could return to his old home as a Laker this time around.

Story developing ...

LiAngelo Ball Waived by Detroit Pistons ... After 2nd Preseason Game

LiAngelo Ball has been waived by the Detroit Pistons ... reducing the amount of Ball bros in the NBA from 3 to 2.

The move came Sunday, according to The Athletic's James Edwards III, following the Pistons' 2nd preseason game -- though Gelo didn't play in that match up.

In fact, 22-year-old Gelo didn't play in either of the Pistons' 2 preseason games this year.

The 6'5", 230-pounder signed a non-guaranteed earlier this month -- and his father, LaVar Ball, was so pumped to have his 3 sons on NBA rosters, he tweeted about it.

"Proud!! We're just getting started," LaVar wrote at the time.

Of course, LaVar's oldest son, Lonzo Ball, was the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans.

His youngest son, LaMelo Ball, was just taken with the 3rd overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.

Gelo famously enrolled at UCLA back in 2017 -- but left the University after shoplifting sunglasses during an international trip to China.

He later took his talents to the Lithuanian Basketball League in 2018 before returning to the states to play his father's Junior Basketball Association.

Gelo signed a G League contract with the Oklahoma City Blues in 2019 -- but the season was canceled due to COVID-19.

So, where does this leave Gelo now? It's a good question ... but we're guessing he's not giving up his NBA dreams just yet.

J. Cole Tryout Offer From Detroit Pistons ... 'Hit Us Up!!!'

Is this really happening?!?

J. Cole is getting his first shot at making his NBA dream come true ... with the Detroit Pistons offering the rapper a tryout!!!

As we previously reported, rap legend Master P says the 35-year-old North Carolina native is training like crazy to get a shot at the league ... and even asked P for advice on how to turn from MC to baller while working on a Puma commercial together.

UNDER A MICROSCOPE
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Considering P landed 2 NBA contracts in the '90s with the Raptors and Hornets, it wouldn't be the first time a rapper has hit the hardwood as a pro ... and Cole is known for being a legit threat with his game.

The Pistons got wind of our interview with P ... and used their official Twitter account to let Jermaine know they'd love to be the team to give him a legit shot at making it to the NBA -- and even used his own lyrics in the offer.

"We see you out here. You said they only got 12 slots on the Pistons," the team said, referencing his song, "FRIENDS."

"Hit us up for that tryout. This is for all the dreamers."

Look ... this could very well all be for publicity. But, then again, stranger things have happened.

After all, the Pistons went 20-46 last season ... so they can use all the help they can get.

You know what to do now, J. -- pick up the phone!!!

Isiah Thomas Still Bitter Over '92 Dream Team Snub ... Blames '91 Bulls Diss

Isiah Thomas admits he's still "personally hurt" he was not asked to be a part of that legendary '92 Dream Team -- and it's obvious he thinks it's all because he didn't shake Michael Jordan's hand.

Remember, Thomas and his Pistons teammates infamously walked off the court after getting their asses kicked by the '91 Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conf. Finals without shaking hands.

Thomas, now 58, was not only villainized in the media for being a bad sport -- but Michael Jordan took the snub personally. They still don't get along.

The incident was featured in Sunday's new episode of "The Last Dance" ... and Monday morning, Thomas had more to add when he joined ESPN's "Get Up."

"Why I'm personally hurt is another reason why I'm here," Thomas said ... "Because being left off the Dream Team, that personally hurt me."

Thomas says he doesn't know why he was not selected -- but it's obvious he believes it's because he dissed Michael Jordan by not shaking his hand after that '91 series.

Thomas -- one of the best NBA players alive at the time -- says his resume should have made him a lock for the Dream Team, which is why he thinks the non-selection had nothing to do with his talent.

"If I'm not apart of the Dream Team because a lapse in emotion in terms of not shaking someone's hand ... if that's the reason why I didn't make the Dream Team, then I am more disappointed today than I was back then when I wasn't selected."

Thomas -- who had made the NBA All-Star team every year from '82 to '93 -- explained, "The only thing that's missing from my resume is not being on the Dream Team."

The man's got a point -- Thomas was one of the best players in the league at the time ... and had 2 NBA titles and was a 10-time All-Star at the time.

It's something Thomas has stressed for years ... he revealed in 2013 he felt disrespected by the Bulls, but would "absolutely" shake hands if he could do it all over again.

Ben Wallace Pistons Would Have Zero Rings W/ Melo ... Woulda Ruined Our Chemistry!!!

If Detroit drafted Carmelo Anthony in 2003, the Pistons would've won not 1, not 2, not 3 ... but ZERO rings!!! -- so says Ben Wallace, who truly believes drafting Melo would've hurt the team.

Remember, the hypothetical argument came up when Anthony and Dwyane Wade talked about their epic draft class on IG Live ... speculating what Melo's career would've been like if Motor City picked him instead of all-time bust Darko Milicic.

"I know I would have maybe 2 or 3 rings," Melo said.

Enter Big Ben ... who says it's actually a GOOD thing the Pistons messed up with the #2 overall pick ... because Melo would've thrown everyone off.

"If we would've drafted Carmelo, I honestly don't think we would have ever won a championship," Wallace said on the 120 Watts Podcast.

"Melo would have wanted to play right away. It would have had the potential to disrupt the team chemistry."

Of course, the Pistons went on to win a 'ship over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in 2004 without Darko's help ... and Melo is still ringless.

Not everybody on that team feels the same way, though ... Chauncey Billups thinks the Pistons woulda won 3 titles if they drafted Melo.

Guess we'll never know.

Andre Drummond Rips Detroit Pistons After Trade ... There's No Loyalty!

Andre Drummond says he's learned a very important lesson about the NBA -- "there's no friends or loyalty."

The 6'11" All-Star -- who's been with the Detroit Pistons since he was drafted in 2012 --ripped the team moments ago after learning he was just traded to the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers, the 2nd worst team in the NBA.

"If there’s one thing I learned about the NBA, there’s no friends or loyalty," Drummond said.

"I’ve given my heart and soul to the Pistons, and to be have this happen with no heads up makes me realize even more that this is just a business!"

Drummond added, "I love you Detroit. You will always have a special place in my heart! But on to the next @cavs hope your ready! Let’s finish the year off the right way."

The 26-year-old center is a stud -- he's a 2-time All-Star who's currently leading the league in rebounds. In fact, he went off Wednesday night against the Suns scoring 31 points and 19 boards in that game.

He's led the league in rebounds 3 times during his career -- 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Joe Johnson Hey NBA, Call Me!!! ... My Body's At 100

I STILL GOT IT
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Joe Johnson says he's been living in the gym and staying in shape in case an NBA team comes calling ... telling TMZ Sports he'll be ready to go if a squad needs him for the playoffs.

38-year-old Iso Joe made a hyped return to the Association in October when the Detroit Pistons scooped him up from the BIG3 ... but got cut a few days before the season.

Joe tells us there are no hard feelings with how it went down in Motor City, saying his body wasn't right at the time.

"I was banged up with a lot of injuries, didn't get a chance to really rest," Joe tells us. "So, it kinda hurt me. Which is why I got waived. But, I'm cool with it."

Now, Joe says his body is at "100" and his agent is keeping tabs on teams' interest as the season reaches that time of the year ... but makes it clear he's not gonna beg to get signed.

"I don't think I have to plug myself for that. I think my resume pretty much speaks for itself."

FYI -- Joe is a 7-time All-Star, former All-NBA third teamer and went on to be the BIG3 MVP last year.

"Like I said, if an opportunity comes about and it's worth it and a team is serious, of course I'll jump on that opportunity."

Advice to NBA teams ... HIT ISO JOE UP!!!!!!!

Joe Johnson Teases NBA Return ... 'It's Possible, We'll See'

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
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Joe Johnson's not giving up on a possible return to the NBA -- telling TMZ Sports he's still training his ass off in case he gets that call.

The 38-year-old stud had a stint with the Pistons earlier this year after BALLING OUT in Ice Cube's BIG3 league ... but Detroit waived him back in October.

The question now ... will Johnson get another shot in the NBA, go back to the BIG3 ... or hang 'em up for good?

Right now, Johnson says he's not rushing to make any decisions -- but he's keeping his body ready in case he gets another opportunity with an NBA team.

In the meantime, Johnson says his focus is on enjoying life and living in the moment -- not worrying about his career.

It's easy for Joe to be so carefree about everything -- considering he's made more than $215 MILLION during his NBA career!!!

As for the BIG3, the league kicks off again in June -- so the reigning MVP has some time to make up his mind.

NBA's Andre Drummond Bikinis, Booty And Booze ... In New Rap Video

NBA star Andre Drummond is having a better summer than you ... and if you don't believe us just check out a clip from his new rap video, which features the life you want to live, complete with the beach and a ton of babes.

If you didn't know, the Detroit Pistons center is also a rapper ... and dropped a track called "Listen" earlier this year that made news because well ... it wasn't wack.

Now, Drummond has taken to IG and released a clip from the upcoming video for the song, and we gotta say ... IT'S LIT.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

There's twerking, champagne showers, bikinis and millionaires ... all the things that make an NBA player's summer great.

Indulge in this visual artistry ... and remember, the full video is coming soon ... so now you have a reason to keep living.

NBA's Andre Drummond Biggest Rapper Of All Time!? 6'11" Star Performs In Vegas!!!

DRUMMOND DROPS BARS

Summer league is over ... but Andre Drummond is still making noise in Las Vegas -- taking over a Sin City nightclub for a rap show and TMZ Sports has the video!

The Detroit Pistons superstar -- who goes by the rap name Drummxnd -- rocked the stage at the On The Record Speakeasy and Club at the Park MGM on Thursday ... towering over the crowd and all of his hype men.

25-year-old Drummond has been rapping for a while but finally put out his first E.P. last summer in an effort to grow his off-the-court career.

The 6'11" center performed 5 songs at the club and you can see in the video  the crowd showed love ... reaching up and smacking his hands during the show.

As for the Pistons, they're coming off a playoff season -- and there's talk Detroit could offer up a max contract to Drummond in 2020.

... not a bad time to be Drummond ... or Drummxnd.

Blake Griffin Zion Can Be Best Dunker In NBA History ... '100 Percent'

THE KID'S A FREAK
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Blake Griffin tells TMZ Sports that Zion Williamson can "100 percent" be the NBA's all-time best dunker ... saying of the former Duke star, "He's going to be a monster."

Of course, Zion has been legendarily rattling rims since he was a high school prodigy ... and now that he's on his way to the NBA, we had to ask Blake if Z can be one of the best dunkers ever.

Blake's opinion? He says there's no doubt in his mind Zion can be up there with Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins, telling us, "100 percent. 100 percent."

"If he keeps playing like he is, he's going to be a monster."

In fact, Blake seems to be a huge fan of Zion's game overall -- not just his dunking -- saying, "He's a really good basketball player ... he can do a lot of stuff. He's going to be really, really good."

As for Griffin's advice on how Zion should handle possibly participating in the dunk contest in his rookie season next year ... BG says the ex-Duke star should only do it if it feels right.

But, when Z eventually decides to compete ... Griffin says it'll be a show, telling us, "He's probably going to do some things that we haven't seen in a while."

#CantWait!

Blake Griffin Drake, I Hope You Didn't Kill Arya

ARYA'S GOT MOVES
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Blake Griffin sure hopes Drake didn't seal Arya Stark's fate on "Game of Thrones" by shouting her out at the Billboard Music Awards ... him and everyone else, tbh.

We got the Pistons star outside of the Maxfield clothing store in WeHo Friday afternoon and asked him about Drizzy showing love to Maisie Williams' 'GOT' character Wednesday night when he mentioned her during his acceptance speech for the Top Billboard 200 Album.

ICYMI ... Drake made sure to plug Arya for "putting in that work last week" during Sunday's episode when she killed the Night King with some fancy dagger moves -- basically saving every living person in Westeros from eternal death in the process.

BTW, this is a spoiler -- and you should've seen it by now. If you haven't, well, here it is ... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyway ... Blake really, REALLY hopes the Drake curse doesn't kick in here for everyone's sake. Like he says, "I think we all need a little bit of Arya." Considering Champagne Papi's track record with supporting losing teams ... here's praying Blake's right.

BG explains why the character is a perfect role model for everyone at home, including the manliest of men. Check it out ... he's got his final Iron Throne pick locked in too.

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