Hall of Fame declared “safe zone” for players, management

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Starting Aug. 11 and running for three days a number of men and women will receive the highest honor for their contributions to basketball — they will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

It’s a celebration that usually brings former and current players, coaches and other team management all to one place to honor the greats of the game. But with David Stern’s draconian ban on interaction between teams and players — threatening a $1 million fine to teams — how is that going to go down this year?

Without a hitch, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

‘‘We have been declared a ‘safe zone’ in terms of current players interacting with NBA team managers,” Hall of Fame president and CEO John Doleva said in an interview Thursday. ‘‘We’re a separate entity from the NBA anyway. Our program is to always honor basketball at every level and the individuals who make it great.

‘‘So we have not been told there will be any restrictions about [management] and current players interacting or any seating restrictions at our reunion banquet, our pre-enshrinement cocktail and the enshrinement ceremony itself. NBA-TV cameras will be free to interview people, including current players.”

So, sanity.

Among those being inducted this year are Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman (that should be an interesting speech), Artis Gilmore, Arvydas Sabonis, and coaching legend Tex Winter. Also, Chauncey Billups will be honored for his charity work — and Mike D’Antoni can talk to him without fear of reprisal. Wonder if Billups would prefer the $1 million threat back in that case?

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.