Reggie Miller headlines Hall of Fame nominations

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There may never have been a better pure shooter to play the game than Reggie Miller. That’s the kind of player that should end up in the Hall of Fame.

And he might, Miller appears the most likely NBA player for induction on the ballot for the Naismith Hall of Fame, with the players nominated listed at NBA.com.

Miller has taken and made more three pointers than anyone in NBA history. He played 18 years for the Indiana Pacers, was a five-time All-Star, was the bane of the Knicks and Spike Lee’s existence for a few years, plus won Olympic gold in 1996. More than just the stats, he is as good a shooter as the game has seen, the kind of player that should be recognized by the Hall (which focuses on all aspects of the game, not just the NBA).

Another guy who could make it is Don Nelson, the winningest coach in NBA history, and before that a player for the Boston Celtics of the Bill Russell era. Nelson’s style of coaching wore out its welcome in the Bay Area last year, but to look back over the history of the game and see how he influenced the pace and style of play as a coach really should get him in. That and the whole winningest coach ever thing.

Other names on the nomination list include Chris Mullin (college star, two time gold medalist, heart of the Warriors for a decade, but that didn’t get him in the past four years he was eligible), Mark Jackson (third all time in assists), Bernard King, Dennis Rodman, Maurice Lucas, Jamaal Wilkes, Rudy Tomjanovich, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Tex Winter, Spencer Haywood, Maurice Cheeks, Ralph Sampson, Bill Fitch, referee Dick Bavetta, Rick Pitino, and more.

Chet Walker was nominated by the Veteran’s committee. Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis are on the ballot from the International committee and both really deserve to be in. The women’s committee nominated Tara VanDerveer and Teresa Edwards.

Voters for the Hall of Fame — their names are not public — will narrow this group down to a list of finalists announced All-Star weekend. Then the final voting takes place (people have to be on 18 of the 24 ballots) and those being inducted will be announced during the Final Four.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.