Kurt Helin

Pacers, ABA legend Mel Daniels passes away


Think about all the great players who came out of the ABA — Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, George Gervin — then went on to legendary NBA careers.

Mel Daniels may have been better than all of them. At least he was in the AAA years — a three-time ABA champion with the Pacers, two-time ABA MVP, seven-time ABA All-Star, a force inside that averaged 18.4 points, and 14.9 rebounds a game. He played only one season in the NBA near the end of his career, but his contributions to basketball were so large Daniels was inducted into the Hall of Fame back in 2012.

Daniels has passed away, something first reported by Peter Vecsey:

There has been an outpour of appreciation for Daniels across Twitter. And also within the Pacers organization itself.

“I join our extended Pacers family in offering my sincerest condolences to CeCe and Mel’s family,” said Pacers Sports & Entertainment owner Herb Simon. “We will miss him greatly, but when we look at that Hall of Fame banner in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, we will be forever reminded of what he meant to this franchise.”

“We’ve lost a great one,” said Bobby “Slick” Leonard, who was Daniels’ coach on the three ABA Champions and joined him in the Hall of Fame in 2014.

It’s official: Pelicans sign Toney Douglas to help out at point

Elfrid Payton, Toney Douglas
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It’s now official: Nate Robinson is out and Toney Douglas is in.

As expected, the Pelicans have signed Douglas to step in at the point and help the banged up team. He will make up the point guard rotation along with Jrue Holiday (on a 20 minutes a night limit) and Ish Smith.

The Pelicans had Douglas previously, and while he isn’t a traditional playmaker he can hit some threes, fit in the system and play good defense. All things the Pelicans need right now.

New Orleans was looking depth at the one because both Norris Cole (high ankle sprain) and Tyreke Evans (knee surgery) remain out. The Pelicans have started the season 0-2 and looked bad in the process (including Anthony Davis, who has looked a little lost at times on the court, particularly on defense.


LeBron James says he plans to play all 82 regular season games

LeBron James


One of the goals for David Blatt and the Cavaliers this season is to get their key guys some rest and make sure that the core — specifically LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love — is rested and ready for the postseason. The Cavs will sacrifice regular season games to make this a reality. Their season starts in late April.

But that doesn’t make a good narrative. It’s not how LeBron wants to tell his story. So we get this today, from Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

We all see LeBron lying on the floor because of his back when he’s not in the game, right?

He may plan on it, but my guess is the number ends up being in the lows 70s. He has already said he would take time off if his body needed it — and after a while he will feel that way. I wouldn’t even be shocked to see a couple of weeks off for another anti-inflammatory back injection before the playoffs.

It wouldn’t sound good for the league if coaches and players were honest about the plans for rest during the season. If Gregg Popovich said “I only expect to play Tim Duncan 65 games at most this season” or if Byron Scott said that about Kobe Bryant, it would be a big screw you to the fans who spend good money on tickets to see those players. It’s not a narrative the NBA wants out there.

But it’s the reality. I’d be shocked if LeBron plays a full 82, regardless of his plans. Or even if his minutes stay at 33 or more a game.

NBA unveils new Christmas Day uniforms — they’re fantastic


Adidas may be on their way out the door as the NBA’s uniform manufacturer, but they nailed this one.

Check out the special Christmas Day game uniforms for this season, which the league unveiled on Friday. These uniforms use a script to spell out the team names across the front — plus they come with matching Christmas socks from Stance (the league’s official sock maker — they do good work). On the back is a small NBA logo in a red wax-looking seal — a nod to holiday greeting cards.

I’m no fashion critic but I know what I like, and I like these. A lot.Christmas Day Jersey 2015 Spurs 1

Here’s the Christmas game lineup (all times Eastern), which includes a Finals rematch, in case you were curious. Or, just keep scrolling to see more of the uniforms.

12 p.m. New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat (ESPN)

2:30 p.m.  Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder (ABC)

5 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors (ABC)

8 p.m.  San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets (ESPN)

10:30 p.m.  L.A. Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN)

Christmas Day Jersey 2015 Derrick Rose Laydown

Christmas Day Jersey 2015 Group

Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis with steal, spin, breakaway dunk (VIDEO)


He’s not exactly John Wall fast with the ball, but he got the job done.

Knicks’ rookie Kristaps Porzingis had the steal, spin move, and breakaway dunk all in slow motion against the Hawks on Thursday. It’s about the one Knick highlight out of the night (Porzingis had 10 points on 10 shots).

The speed of Jeff Teague (23 points) and Dennis Schroder (13 points) was too much for the Knicks, who were out of this game the entire second half as the both teams moved to 1-1 on the young season.