Kurt Helin

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13:  Customers try the new PlayStation VR at Sony Square NYC on October 13, 2016 in New York City.  Sony launched its $399 PlayStation VR that links to PlayStation 4  to give gamers a virtual reality gaming experience.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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NBA to broadcast one game a week in virtual reality

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If you’re already playing “Sonar” or “Feral Rites” or just “The Lab” in virtual reality, why not get a closeup look at Stephen Curry draining a deep three, or Rudy Gobert rejecting a shot at the rim. And I don’t mean in a video game.

The NBA is going to start broadcasting one game a week in virtual reality, the league announced Thursday. It has partnered with NextVR to broadcast at least one League Pass game a week in VR — the NBA is the first major professional league to do it (although NextVR did already do the U.S. Open tennis tournament, The Masters, and other big events).

If you have an NBA League Pass and a Samsung Gear VR headset (or compatible smartphone) you can pay to watch the games — but the first one is free. On Oct. 27 the Spurs visiting the Sacramento Kings fans can watch Kawhi Leonard shut down Ben McLemore in virtual reality for free.

From the NBA’s press release:

Fans with a Samsung Gear VR headset and a compatible Samsung smartphone can experience the free preview by accessing the NBA Channel within the NextVR app. Later this season, the offering will be expanded to support additional VR headset options.

The weekly games will be available as part of the NBA LEAGUE PASS full season package. Whether purchased through a third party distributor or directly through the NBA, fans will be able to authenticate their accounts by inputting their NBA LEAGUE PASS login credentials (obtained at NBA.com or the NBA App) within NextVR’s app.

The VR broadcasts will be fully produced with dedicated announcers, multiple unmanned camera angles and optimized graphics. Game breaks will be filled with in-venue entertainment, behind-the-scenes footage from the arena and VR-specific commentary.

Sounds promising.

I’m not about to speculate on the popularity of this, but smart move by the NBA to get out in front of this and try it. You have to love that the NBA is adventurous and will push the market, the NFL probably won’t try this until 2036.

PBT Podcast: MVP, Rookie of Year, other NBA awards predictions with Dan Feldman

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game 1
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Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, winners of the last three MVP awards, are on the same team now, throwing the race for the award this year wide open.

Ben Simmons likely will not play enough games to grab voters, so who wins Rookie of the Year?

It’s a wide open year for the NBA’s end-of-season awards, which makes for an interesting discussion when Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports predict them all in this latest PBT Podcast. They also discuss the Michael Carter-Williams for Tony Snell trade.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.

Pistons’ big man Aron Baynes has surgery to repair broken nose

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 13:  Aron Baynes #12 of the Detroit Pistons looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Pistons center Aron Baynes has had surgery to repair a broken nose.

Baynes was ruled out for Wednesday night’s preseason game against the Toronto Raptors. With a protective mask, he is expected to be available to play when Detroit opens the regular season next week at Toronto.

Baynes broke his nose in Tuesday’s practice and had surgery the same day.

The 6-foot-10 Australian played in the Olympics last summer. He averaged 6.3 points and 4.7 rebounds last season, his first with the Pistons after three with the San Antonio Spurs.

PBT Extra: What teams in West have a shot to knock off Golden State?

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If Golden State stays healthy, and if Draymond Green can not piss off his teammates too much, the Golden State Warriors should come out of the Western Conference to the Finals. They are the prohibitive favorite.

But they have a smaller margin for error than the Cavaliers out East, because of the powerhouse Spurs and Clippers.

I discuss that and why you should keep an eye on Utah and Minnesota this season in this latest PBT Extra

Derrick Rose found not liable on all counts in rape trial

New York Knicks basketball player Derrick Rose arrives at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. A six-woman, two-man jury has been seated in the trial of a civil lawsuit brought against Derrick Rose by an ex-girlfriend who alleges the NBA star and two of his friends drugged and sexually assaulted her. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

After deliberating for just three hours, a Los Angeles jury Wednesday cleared of Knicks point guard Derrick Rose of all counts in a high-profile civil rape trial, as reported by those in the courtroom. His co-defendants, Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen, also were cleared by the jury.

This means Rose will pay nothing to the woman who brought the lawsuit. This was a civil trial only, not a criminal one — there was no potential jail time involved. The Los Angeles Police Department does have an open investigation into the case.

A former girlfriend of Rose’s filed the lawsuit tied to a 2013 incident in Beverly Hills. (We will not publish the name of a woman in a sexual assault case, although because it was a civil trial the judge did use it in the courtroom.)

The suit claimed that Rose and two friends gang-raped the woman at her apartment when she was too intoxicated — she admits to drinking and thinks she was drugged — and could not give consent. She sued for $21.5 million. Rose and his attorneys claimed the sex was consensual, that the woman had sex with the men earlier in the night as well, and that the woman was seeking a payday.

The issue of consent was at the heart of the case — Rose said she consented, the woman said she was in no condition to give informed consent. Both sides tried to use texts between the participants that night to bolster their case. The jury ultimately sided with Rose.

The case was laid out in graphic detail by both sides in the courtroom, and while Rose was found not liable the image of him and his friends that night — by their own admissions to what did go down — was not pretty. In fact, what came out in depositions and in court was flat-out misogynistic. This hurt his brand, but Rose has long been less concerned about that than most any other NBA player. He did what he felt was right in this case.

How much this hangs over the head of Rose and is a cloud over the Knicks this season remains to be seen. Rose will not play in Thursday’s final New York preseason game according to Jeff Hornacek, but he will join the team, and they will try to catch him up on what he missed the past couple of weeks. The Knicks tip-off the season on the road Oct. 25 in Cleveland, watching the Cavaliers raise their championship banner and get their rings.