Basketball Hall of Fame nominees Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant
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Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh headline Basketball Hall of Fame nominees

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Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh all finished playing under very different circumstances in 2016.

Bryant completed a grandiose farewell tour. Duncan retired with minimal fanfare. Garnett got around to retiring shortly before training camp. Bosh suffered blood clots that prevented him from ever returning.

All four should all enter the Hall of Fame together.

The Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 2020 nominees today. The players on the list primarily for their NBA accomplishments (*first-time nominee):

  • Tim Duncan*
  • Kobe Bryant*
  • Kevin Garnett*
  • Chris Bosh*
  • Shawn Marion*
  • Ben Wallace
  • Chauncey Billups
  • Chris Webber
  • Tim Hardaway
  • Marques Johnson
  • Richard Hamilton
  • Mark Jackson
  • Michael Finley*
  • Buck Williams*
  • Dale Ellis
  • Muggsy Bogues
  • Marcus Camby
  • Mark Eaton

Duncan, Bryant and Garnett are locks. Bosh should be and probably is a lock, but he sometimes gets under-credited because he took a subtler role with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Heat.

Marion should probably make the Hall of Fame. The former Suns forward was ahead of his time in his versatility, and he was incredibly productive. In this deep class, he might have to wait.

Wallace, Billups, Webber and Hardaway each have borderline cases. Between the former 2004 Pistons, Wallace had a higher peak, and Billups had a longer prime. Webber blends those arguments. Hardaway deserves more consideration than he believes he receives.

After that, the nominees are uninspiring. If anything, they show the absurdity of the Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement process. Finley retired nine years ago, and Williams retired 21 years ago. Why are they getting nominated for the first time now?

Here are the other nominees (*first-time nominee):

North American Committee

  • Rick Adelman (Coach)
  • Fletcher Arritt (Coach)*
  • Johnny Bach (Coach)
  • Rick Byrd (Coach)
  • Irv Brown (Referee)
  • Jim Burch (Referee)
  • Hugh Evans (Referee)
  • Steve Fisher (Coach)
  • Cotton Fitzsimmons (Coach)
  • Ed Hightower (Referee)
  • Bob Huggins (Coach)
  • Herman Johnson (Coach)*
  • George Karl (Coach)
  • Gene Keady (Coach)
  • Ken Kern (Coach)
  • Rollie Massimino (Coach)
  • Bob McKillop (Coach)*
  • Danny Miles (Coach)
  • Steve Moore (Coach)*
  • Dick Motta (Coach)
  • Jake O’Donnell (Referee)
  • Jere Quinn (Coach)
  • Jim Phelan (Coach)
  • Digger Phelps (Coach)
  • Lamont Robinson
  • Bo Ryan (Coach)
  • Bob Saulsbury (Coach)
  • Norm Sloan (Coach)*
  • Eddie Sutton (Coach)
  • Rudy Tomjanovich (Coach)
  • Willie West (Coach)

Women’s Committee

  • Leta Andrews (Coach)
  • Jennifer Azzi (Player)
  • Swin Cash (Player)*
  • Tamika Catchings (Player)*
  • Becky Hammon (Player)
  • Susie McConnell (Player)
  • Debbie Miller-Palmore (Player)*
  • Kim Mulkey (Coach)
  • Kim Mulkey (Player)
  • Marianne Stanley (Coach)
  • Barbara Stevens (Coach)
  • Valerie Still (Player)
  • Marian Washington (Coach)

Contributor Committee

  • Marv Albert
  • Dick Baumgartner
  • Bill Bertka
  • Henry Bibby
  • Marty Blake
  • Vic Bubas
  • Wayne Duke
  • Lou Dunbar*
  • Bill Foster*
  • Harry Glickman
  • Marty Glickman
  • Simon Gourdine
  • Curt Gowdy
  • Tim Grgurich
  • Del Harris
  • Greg Heineman
  • Robert Indiana
  • Johnny “Red” Kerr
  • Bill King
  • John Kline
  • Red Klotz
  • Bobby Lewis
  • Herbert Livsey*
  • Jack McCloskey
  • Jerry McHale
  • Johnny Most
  • Dennis Murphy
  • Joe O’Toole
  • Billy Packer
  • Jack Powers
  • Dee Rowe
  • Zelda Spoelstra
  • Jim Valvano
  • Donnie Walsh
  • Jerome Williams

Early African-American Pioneers Committee

  • Clarence “Puggy” Bell
  • Sonny Boswell
  • Bill Garrett
  • Inman Jackson
  • Clarence “Fats” Jenkins
  • Bucky Lew
  • Davage “Dave” Minor
  • Hudson Oliver
  • Al “Runt” Pullins
  • James “Pappy” Ricks
  • Paul Robeson
  • Eyre Saitch
  • William “Wee Willie” Smith
  • International Committee
  • Patrick Baumann*
  • Tal Brody
  • Jackie Chazalon
  • Alphonso Ford
  • Giuseppe Giergia
  • Semen Khalipski
  • Vladimir Kondrashin
  • Toni Kukoc
  • Marcos Leite
  • Shimon Mizrahi
  • Aldo Ossola
  • Amaury Pasos
  • Dan Peterson
  • Manuel Sainz
  • Togo Soares
  • Ranko Zeravica

Veterans Committee

  • 1936 US Olympic Team (Team)
  • 1964 State Department Basketball Ambassadors (Team)
  • 1965 World University Games Team (Team)*
  • Tom Blackburn (Coach)*
  • Ron Boone (Player)
  • Sid Borgia (Referee)
  • Frank Brian (Player)
  • Joe Caldwell (Player)
  • Mack Calvin (Player)
  • Darel Carrier (Player)
  • Jack Coleman (Player)
  • Bob Dandridge (Player)
  • Charles Eckman (Referee)
  • Leroy Edwards (Player)
  • Leo Ferris (Contributor)
  • Clarence “Bevo” Francis (Player)
  • Buck Freeman (Coach)
  • Donnie Freeman (Player)
  • Travis Grant (Player)
  • Bob Grody (Player)
  • Robert Harrison (Player)
  • Flo Harvey (Player)
  • Dick Hemric (Player)
  • Cam Henderson (Coach)
  • Robert Hopkins (Player)
  • Lou Hudson (Player)
  • Warren Jabali (Player)
  • Jimmy Jones (Player)
  • Charles Keinath (Player)
  • Kentucky Wesleyan 1966, 1968, 1969 (Team)*
  • Freddie Lewis (Player)
  • Jim Loscutoff (Player)
  • Loyola of Chicago (TEA)
  • Billy Markward (Contributor)
  • Ed McCluskey (Coach)
  • Ray Mears (Coach)
  • Francis Meehan (Player)
  • Donald “Dudey” Moore (Coach)
  • Willie Naulls (Player)
  • Philadelphia SPHAS (Team)
  • Mel Riebe (Player)
  • Glenn Roberts (Player)
  • Holcombe Rucker (Contributor)
  • Kenny Sailors (Player)
  • Fred Schaus (Contributor)
  • Kenny Sears (Player)
  • Frank Selvy (Player)
  • George Senesky (Player)
  • Paul Seymour (Player)
  • Charles Siler (Contributor)
  • Talvin Skinner (Player)
  • Ken Suesens (Player)
  • Dick Van Arsdale (Player)
  • Tom Van Arsdale (Player)
  • Perry Wallace (Player)
  • Frank Walsh (Contributor)
  • Willie Wise (Player)
  • Max Zaslofsky (Player)

Women Veterans Committee

  • Alline Banks Sprouse (Player)
  • Edmonton Commercial Grads (Team)
  • John Head (Coach)
  • Pearl Moore (Player)
  • Nashville Business College (Team)
  • Lometa Odom (Player)
  • Harley Redin (Coach)
  • Teresa Shank (Player)
  • Hazel Walker (Player)

Joel Embiid out for 76ers-Knicks, evaluations ongoing

Joel Embiid
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Joel Embiid left the 76ers’ loss to the Cavaliers last night with a shoulder injury.

How much time will he miss?

Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

With Ben Simmons already sidelined, Philadelphia faces a talent deficit against many teams. Maybe not the Knicks. But many teams.

Of course, after getting routed by Cleveland yesterday, the 76ers can’t take any victory for granted.

More than anything, Philadelphia needs time for its somewhat-ill-fitting players to gain chemistry together ahead of the playoffs. That can’t happen with Embiid and Simmons sidelined. It’s getting late, but it’s not too late – depending on Embiid’s and Simmons’ eventual diagnoses.

Even if Al Horford plays better at center without Embiid and Tobias Harris plays better at power forward, the 76ers will face disruption when Embiid and Simmons return to full strength. Or, worse, Embiid and Simmons won’t return to full strength this season.

Estimates on NBA players using marijuana: 50%-85%

Marijuana enthusiast and former NBA player Stephen Jackson
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Even as marijuana becomes increasingly legalized around the country, the NBA still bans the drug.

Why hasn’t the players’ union fought harder to eliminate draconian penalties for weed?

Maybe because so many of its members just use marijuana, anyway.

Tom Haberstroh and Monte Poole of NBC Sports:

Six different NBA players, who did not want to be identified, estimated that the percentage of active players using marijuana in some form – buds, edibles, concentrates, CBD oils, lotions, patches – was at least 50 percent and as high as 85 percent.

We don’t know how often players get caught violating the NBA’s marijuana program. The first (no penalty) and second ($25,000 fine) violations aren’t announced. The third violation (five-game suspension) is announced but not as specific to marijuana. I found just five suspensions in the last three years that match a marijuana violation.

Any discussion of the NBA’s marijuana policy ought to include a question: Why ban the drug?

Some want to present a clean image to fans. Some want to set a trap for players who are irresponsible enough to get caught.

But it’s hard to make the case this is about actually keeping players off marijuana. If so, the policy is drastically failing.

That survey was part of Haberstroh’s and Poole’s deep dive into marijuana in the NBA. I recommend reading it in full. The story of the one time Stephen Jackson – who said he smoked marijuana his whole NBA career – tried pain pills is particularly memorable.

Celtics assistant coach hit with 15-year show-cause penalty by NCAA

Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Celtics reportedly suspended assistant coach Jerome Allen about two weeks after he pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe while at Penn.

Now, Allen will have a tougher time if he ever wants to return to college basketball.

Allen was hit a 15-year show-cause penalty after he accepted $300,000 in bribes to get a wealthy Florida businessman’s son into the University of Pennsylvania.

The Quakers, out of the Ivy League, also were slapped by the NCAA with two years of probation, fined $5,000 and given recruiting punishments. Allen’s show-cause penalty is meant to limit a coach’s ability to work in college sports after breaking NCAA rules.

“While Penn Athletics and its men’s basketball program accept the penalties handed down by the NCAA, it is unfortunate that this process did not fully differentiate wrongdoing for personal gain versus wrongdoing for competitive gain in penalizing the institution in addition to the involved individual,” Penn said in a statement. “he University of Pennsylvania was harmed by the actions of its former head coach and the men’s basketball program received no competitive advantage. We are hopeful that this case will lead to changes in how the NCAA processes similar situations moving forward.”

Allen played for the Quakers between 1992–95 and coached the team from 2009–15. He went 66-104 with the Quakers. He was hired by the Boston Celtics in 2015 and remains on the coaching staff.

Allen was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay a fine last July in the college bribery case. Allen received a lenient sentence after testifying for prosecutors against Philip Esformes in a $1 billion Medicare fraud trial. Esformes was convicted in April of 20 counts including money laundering and obstruction of justice and awaits sentencing.

Allen testified that he accepted Esformes’ money to help the businessman’s son, Morris, gain acceptance as a “recruited” basketball player at Penn.

Rumor: Pistons told Lakers that Derrick Rose was unavailable in trade

Pistons guard Derrick Rose vs. Lakers
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The Lakers were interested in trading for Derrick Rose.

Why didn’t the Lakers land the Pistons guard?

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

From what I understand, when the Lakers called the Pistons and expressed an interest in trading for Derrick Rose, the Pistons said, “Hey, we appreciate you calling. But we’re not trading him. Dwane Casey likes him. We think he’s going to be important for us next year.” It’s not even about what the Lakers offered, it wasn’t enough. He wasn’t available.

The Pistons definitely had a high asking price for Rose, who’s locked up for a reasonable $7,682,926 next season. Rose is Detroit’s biggest draw and has a strong bond with Pistons executive Arn Tellem.

If the Pistons absolutely refused to trade Rose, that was an error on their part. They’re going nowhere this year, and it’s far from certain Rose will maintain his production at age 32 next season. Even if he does, the lacking rest of the roster probably won’t create a winner. The trade deadline might have been the time for Detroit to maximize its return from Rose. At the very minimum, it was worth seriously exploring.

But there are several possibilities that should stop you from blindly accepting this report at face value:

  • This might have been a negotiating tactic by the Pistons. Though that approach would have also made it more difficult to negotiate a satisfactory Rose trade, it could have pushed the Lakers into a great offer.
  • Maybe Detroit just didn’t like Los Angeles’ limited collection of tradable assets. Kyle Kuzma isn’t for everyone. What the Lakers interpreted as Rose being unavailable might have been more specific to them than they realized.
  • Perhaps, the Pistons – with Rose still in the fold – leaked this to show their commitment to him. That’d make them look bad in some corners for their stubborn loyalty to an aging veteran. But it’d sure make Rose feel appreciated.
  • Perhaps, the Lakers – who made no in-season trade – leaked this show their commitment to chasing a championship. This shows they tried and paints Detroit as unreasonable. Negotiating trades can be difficult (especially after Kobe Bryant’s untimely death). The Lakers have made only one real trade with Rob Pelinka running the front office, for Anthony Davis. That saga was full of complications. In the end, Los Angeles got Davis, but the Pelicans secured maximum return. If the Lakers look back and regret not adding a helpful player, this report pins blame on the Pistons rather than Lakers management for not getting a deal done.