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Pistons to retire Richard Hamilton’s jersey

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The Pistons retired Ben Wallace’s No. 3 and Chauncey Billups’ No. 1.

Next up from Detroit’s 2004 championship team? As expected, Richard Hamilton’s No. 32.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club will honor and retire the jersey for Richard Hamilton during the 2016-17 season.  Hamilton will be honored during a halftime ceremony on Sunday, February 26 at 6:00 p.m. when the Pistons host the Boston Celtics at The Palace.

“Our franchise has a great legacy and it’s important to recognize the players who made our organization successful both on and off the court,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores.  “Rip’s numbers speak for themselves.  He was a top performer year in and year out, from the regular season through the playoffs and especially during the championship run of 2004.  He was relentless on the court and equally passionate about his teammates and the community.  We are excited to honor his success.”

Hamilton spent nine seasons with Detroit (2002-2011) leading the Pistons in scoring during eight of those nine seasons. He is one of just six players in Pistons’ franchise history to reach the 11,000-point plateau and one of five players to score 50-plus points in a game (51 at New York, 12/27/06).   During his tenure the club made six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals (2003-2008), two trips to the NBA Finals (2004, 2005) and won the NBA Championship in 2004.  Hamilton was also named an NBA All-Star in three consecutive seasons from 2005-08. In 631 games as a Piston, the Coatesville, PA native averaged 18.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game and ranks sixth in points, free throws made and field goals made, seventh in assists, minutes and three-point field goals made and 10th in games played in franchise history.

“Detroit is where I celebrated the greatest achievements in my pro basketball career and to be recognized by the organization in this way, I’m honored,” said Hamilton.  “I look forward to sharing this experience with all the fans who supported me throughout my years as a Piston and look forward to celebrating in The Palace one final time. Yessirr.”

I would’ve retired Wallace’s and Billups’ numbers and left it there, but I also don’t have a problem with this approach – including the trickle-down effects. If they’re retiring Hamilton’s number, how can they not retire Rasheed Wallace’s? And if they retire Wallace’s number, how can they not retire Tayshaun Prince’s?

Hamilton cut tirelessly around off-ball screens for years in Detroit, a credit to his phenomenal conditioning. He was so smooth, he made mid-range shooting, face masks and the phrase “Yessir” cool. Hamilton’s best moments came in the 2004 Eastern Conference finals, when Hamilton’s scoring ability stood out in a hard-fought, grinding, defense-first matchup with the Pacers.

But his final years with the Pistons were so ugly, they bought out a hefty portion of his contract to dump him. It tarnished his legacy in Detroit. Time was necessary to heal those wounds.

Now, everyone can focus on the good times – and there were far more of those than bad. Hamilton helped turn the Pistons from good to great with an endearing style, and it’s nice to see him honored.

Devin Harris’ brother dies in car crash

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Just awful news for Devin Harris.

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News

The brother of Mavericks’ guard Devin Harris died Thursday afternoon after an early-morning crash on Central Expressway, officials said.

According to police, at about 1:40 a.m. Thursday morning Bruce Harris, 38, and a 36-year-old male passenger were in their disabled vehicle in the north bound lane of Central Expressway just south of Walnut Hill. A 23-year-old male driver of an Acura sedan and a 23-year-old male passenger were traveling north bound on Central Expressway and struck the back of the disabled vehicle. The impact caused the gas tank of the disabled vehicle to rupture and catch fire. All occupants were transported to Presbyterian Hospital.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban details his two lottery-reform ideas

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NBA lottery reform passed 28-1-1 with the Thunder opposing and Mavericks abstaining.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wasn’t against changing the system. He just had his own ideas of how to do it.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Cuban pitched other members of the league’s board of governors on a system in which the draft is abolished, with teams getting a pool of money to sign rookies based on their records.

“The team with the worst record gets the most money and the team with the best record gets the least money,” Cuban said. “It’s like a free agency. It makes it a lot harder to tank because you don’t know if you get the best players if you’re horrible all the time. “Nobody liked that at all, not a single person.”

Cuban’s other idea was to lock the team with the worst record into a draft slot — either third or fourth — to force teams to compete to avoid being at the bottom. That idea never got discussed in the board of directors meeting.

“Now all of the sudden, if it’s close at the end, you’re going to see teams play as hard as they can because if they end up with the worst record, they don’t get the best pick,” Cuban said, explaining the logic of his idea.”You basically eliminate them from getting the best player. Everybody else would just be the way it is now.

“Adam didn’t like that. That never got to the board of directors, but that one was my favorite. I brought up [the other proposal], but after that one got shot down, I didn’t bring up the other one. When I got no response on the one, I just dropped the other because it was obvious that what they had proposed was going to pass.”

Strange tactic to introduce the most radical plan first and then not propose a more moderate solution because the first idea gained no traction. It’s almost as if Cuban just wants to be a contrarian

Neither of Cuban’s plans would completely solve the issue, because both still incentivize losing.

In the first, worse teams would still get more money to spend on rookies. There’s also stronger incentive to tank when an established successful franchise is positioned to do so for a single year. Rookies won’t be scared off by an injury-plagued season that devolved into a horrific record. Armed with money to spend and banked credibility, those teams can swoop far down then vault right up.

It’s also important to remember the NBA isn’t simply 30 teams competing against each other. It’s also a single business competing against other forms of entertainment. It’s bad financially for the league to have markets that feel hopeless, even if they’re poorly managed. Giving bad teams a little extra money to spend on rookies might not be enough for them to land young players who instill hope.

In the second idea, teams would still jockey to be second-worst vs. third-worst, third-worst vs. fourth-worst, etc. – just as they do now. Bad teams would have to be more careful, but there’d still be plenty of late-season games where a team is clearly better off losing – the same games that create a perception problem now.

Are either of these plans better than the current system? Maybe. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey believes there’s still time to implement reform better than the just-passed measure.

I’m convinced the league will let several years play out under the new system before even considering an alternative – Cuban’s or otherwise.

GM Bob Myers: Steve Kerr can coach Warriors ‘as long as he wants’

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Rick Carlisle coached 13 seasons, including seven in Dallas, when the Mavericks stated he could coach them as long as he wanted.

Steve Kerr needed just three seasons with the Warriors.

Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:

Kerr has done an amazing job in Golden State, implementing a pace-setting offense predicated on movement and fine-tuning a quality defense.

It helps to have great players like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and eventually Kevin Durant. But Kerr has maximized them. He has also played a prominent role in establishing a productive culture throughout the entire organization.

Of course, health is the big catch. Kerr has missed significant time the last two years due to complications from back surgery. He’s looking forward to a long career, but those headaches and pains aren’t far in the rearview mirror.

Kerr clearly knows how to win with this super team, not necessarily as easy of a task as it appears. He has more than earned the right to stay on the bench for the Warriors’ next iteration, whenever that comes.

Hotshot coaches can fade quickly, but Kerr has established an unprecedented amount of goodwill so quickly. Hopefully, he stays healthy enough to take up Myers on his pledge.

Report: NBA not headed toward 1-16 playoff seeding

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league would continue look at 1-16 playoff seeding.

Ken Berger of Bleacher Report:

Silver is well-intentioned on this issue, and open-minded, too—as he is on most agenda items that could, in theory, make the league better. But despite his willingness to discuss postseason reformatting, multiple people familiar with league discussions say it’s not anywhere near the top of the agenda.

After its analysis of the issue in ’15, the league concluded that, for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t sensible to change the playoff format. The two key factors, according to league sources, were 1) travel; and 2) a belief among league officials that conference imbalance was a temporary trend that would correct itself, as it typically has in the past.

For playoff qualification to truly be fair, teams would have to play a balanced schedule. As is, teams play teams in their own conference 52 times and teams from the other conference 30 times.

More 10 p.m. starts on the East Coast and 4 p.m. starts on the West Coast would hurt TV ratings.

Plus, as relative conference strength exists now and has existed for several years, 1-16 playoff seeding would make it harder for bigger Eastern Conference markets and easier for smaller Western Conference markets to qualify for the postseason.

Quality of competition matters, and there would be value in the NBA building a playoff field of its 16 best teams. But follow the money. There isn’t nearly enough urgency with this issue to overcome the direct financial setbacks reform would cause.