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Charlotte Hornets unveil new court design for next season (PHOTOS)

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The NBA’s Charlotte franchise ditched the Bobcats and returned to being named the Hornets, in a rebranding effort that will begin in earnest next season.

It’s already begun in terms of the name change becoming official, and we recently got a glimpse of what the newly-designed uniforms would look like, with three versions in white, purple and teal all on the slate for next year.

The final piece was to see how the team would unveil its new home floor, and the design is glorious.

From the official release:

The floor, which features the team’s primary logo at center court, has a cell pattern stained in the wood and includes a teal border and purple free-throw lanes.  Both baselines have the words “Charlotte Hornets” in the team’s font.  The design includes a pair of Buzz City logos inside the three-point line on either end in a show of civic pride, as well as the team’s Crown CH logo at center court on the apron.  The Time Warner Cable Arena logo appears twice on the court as it has in the past. …

The Hornets’ wood playing surface is constructed from northern hard maple and was manufactured by Cincinnati-based Robbins Sports Surfaces.  The floor is made up of more than 200 sectional panels, each of which are 4 feet by 8 feet and weigh approximately 175 pounds.  It features a revolutionary locking system designed to speed up arena changeovers and provide a tight, monolithic appearance.  The floor is designed to enhance the safety, comfort and performance of the players as it will absorb about 60% of a player’s impact energy.  The intent is to provide a surface that allows for exciting play while at the same time reducing wear and tear on the players’ bodies.

As with the team’s overall brand identity and uniforms, the court was designed in collaboration with senior executives within the Hornets organization; Jordan Brand, a division of Nike; and the NBA’s Global Merchandising Group. Both Jordan Brand and Nike have a long history of working with professional teams and universities in developing brand identities and utilize some of the world’s most highly recognized designers.

Check out the photos below.

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Kings’ Rudy Gay suffers apparent torn left Achilles tendon, would be done for season

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This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.

Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.

Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.

Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings,  and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.

Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.

That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).