Winderman: It’s time for an NBA Hall of Fame

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OK, exhale. No, not from the disappointment that was the NCAA men’s championship game (Butler apparently couldn’t hit the exit on its way home, either), but rather from the Basketball Hall of Fame announcements.

Teresa Edwards, Goose Tatum and Herb Magee but no Reggie Miller, who didn’t even make it to the final round of balloting?

OK, enough already. Why isn’t there an NBA Hall of Fame?

There’s a Pro Football Hall of Fame that essentially is the NFL’s shrine.

There’s a Baseball Hall of Fame that is almost exclusively Major League Baseball.

But the NBA continues to share quarters with anyone who has achieved enduring success by tossing small ball through large hoop.

Here’s the issue:

There is a Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. It bills itself as “the only facility of its kind dedicated to all levels of women’s basketball.”

There is a College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City. It boasts, “You will immediately recognize that greatness lives here.”

There’s a FIBA Hall of Fame for international players in Alcobendas, Spain, “to preserve the heritage of international basketball.”

But Google “NBA Hall of Fame” and you wind right back in Springfield, Mass., at the Naismith Hall.

There you can find Sergei A. Belov, Carol A. Blazejowski, Kresimir Cosic, Joan Crawford (seriously), Drazen Dalipagic, Forrest S. DeBernardi, Anne T. Donovan, Paul Endacott, and, well that just gets us through the “E” portion of the inducted-players list.

There is no doubt that basketball success comes at all levels, all nationalities and genders.

But for an entity such as the NBA that so tries to distinguish itself among the major sports leagues, there’s something about following Goose Tatum on the podium, even if the next inductee is Dennis Rodman. Ditto for when Pat Riley had to sit through Dick Vitale’s history of his dipsy-doo dunk-a-roo life (Baby!).

No, the NBA is a large enough global brand to have it own hall of fame.

So let’s get this straight: Vince McMahon has his own (WWE) Hall of Fame and David Stern doesn’t?

No, don’t desert the Naismith Hall, but appreciate that NBA basketball is like no other brand of the game and deserves to be branded as such.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Are Bulls and Dwyane Wade moving toward a buyout?

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About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.

Have the two sides progressed since?

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.

Expected by whom?

People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?

Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?

For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.

A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.

LeBron James’ camp already shooting down leaving-Cavaliers rumor

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LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers

Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.

New Orleans Saints fire Pelicans’ team physician

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The Pelicans have been crushed by injuries the last few years.

Why? That’s an incredibly complex question.

But the New Orleans Saints – who share an owner (Tom Benson), a front-office leader (Mickey Loomis) and other staff with the Pelicans – have found culprits for their own injury woes.

Mike Triplett of ESPN:

The Saints have fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri, per source, after it was discovered that CB Delvin Breaux has a fractured fibula and will require surgery expected to sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. Breaux was originally diagnosed with a contusion

Suri is a Pelicans team physician.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Fairly or not, Suri – after the Saints deemed him unacceptable – will be in the crosshairs if he keeps his job with the the Pelicans and their injury woes continue.

Rumor: LeBron James ‘100 percent’ leaving Cavaliers next summer

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Chris Sheridan was ahead of the crowd in 2014, reporting LeBron James would likely leave the Heat for the Cavaliers – which obviously happened.

But Sheridan called it a “90 percent chance,” a small – but large enough – hedge. He also said LeBron would announce the decision on LeBron’s personal website. Of course, LeBron revealed his choice in a Sports Illustrated essay.

So, maybe Sheridan knows what he’s talking about. Maybe he doesn’t.

But the longtime NBA writer just fanned the flames of the already hot LeBron-leaving-Cleveland rumors.

Sheridan:

Of course, the denials came quickly.

There have already been plenty of warning signs about LeBron’s relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, which didn’t restart in a great place.

It’s entirely believable LeBron would leave Cleveland, in large part due to Gilbert.

But it’s also fun to speculate about that salacious storyline.

Maybe Sheridan or his source got carried away for that very reason. Or maybe they know something.

Neither possibility should be discounted.