Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi to miss World Cup for France, out 2-3 months with shoulder injury

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France was already having a tough time of it this World Cup. The defending EuroBasket champions are without Tony Parker, Joakim Noah and a host of other key players from that tournament are taking this one off for France.

Now another blow: Center Ian Mahinmi has an injured shoulder and is out for the World Cup. Worse news for the Pacers is he could be out 2-3 months, which likely means most of training camp and likely into the start of the season.

Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports got confirmation of the news from the man himself.

“Yes, [the news is true],” Mahinmi wrote to VigilantSports.com early Friday. “I will be back in Indy sometime this week for (further) exam on my shoulder…”

Mahinmi felt a sharp pain in his left shoulder and then had an MRI later that afternoon, which revealed the injury was severe enough to keep him out of the FIBA World Cup, according to the French Federation of Basketball.

The Pacers have been some of the biggest supporters of their guys going out in international basketball, with former Team USA member and now Pacers president Larry Bird leading the way. But the Pacers have now lost Paul George (likely for the season) and now Mahinmi.

It’s already going to be a rough season for the Pacers. This doesn’t help matters any.

Mahinmi is a key rotation big man, coming in behind Roy Hibbert so the Pacers could use him. He’s had shoulder problems in the past, including at the end of last season. With this he’s not going to miss many if any games that matter, but it’s just another setback. But one the Pacers don’t need.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.