When Gary Payton was a rookie with the old SuperSonics, he faced a challenge when he went up against the division-rival Warriors, who boasted a backcourt of Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond as two-thirds of their "Run TMC" combo. Now, all three players could be a few weeks away from election to the Hall of Fame, as today the Hall announced the finalists for this year's class. Other finalists with NBA ties include Tom Heinsohn, Maurice Cheeks, Spencer Haywood, Bernard King, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian. A pair of ex-players have already made it into the Hall's class of 2013 as direct-elects from the ABA and Veterans committees, respectively: Roger Brown and Richie Guerin.
Another Pacific Division point guard from Payton and Hardaway's vintage is making news this evening, and there's more on him and others right here:
- Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson is conducting closed-door meetings with NBA officials at the All-Star Game as he attempts to keep the Kings in town, as Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee details.
- Dwight Howard is adamant about waiting until the end of the season to decide where he'll sign in free agency, notes Sam Amick of USA Today. Even as it appears Howard will remain with the Lakers after the trade deadline — discussion of a trade to the Celtics notwithstanding — the star center's refusal to commit to staying in L.A. beyond the season leaves the Lakers in a precarious situation, observes Michael Wallace of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Looking ahead to the 2014 World Cup, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com that Stephen Curry is in the mix for Team USA. Howard-Cooper adds that fellow Warrior David Lee is also drawing consideration, as is Pacers All-Star Paul George.