Ben Wallace

Hall Of Fame Unveils 13 Finalists

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced 13 finalists to be considered for induction this year, including four newcomers, according to a league press release.

The list includes eight players, four coaches, and a referee.

The new names under consideration are Marques JohnsonJack Sikma, Ben Wallace and Paul Westphal. The other players on the list include Bobby Jones,  Sidney Moncrief, Chris Webber and Theresa Weatherspoon.

The four coaches hoping for enshrinement include Leta Andrews, Bill Fitch, Eddie Sutton and Barbara StevensHugh Evans is the referee who made the short list.

Potential honorees are eligible on the ballot for Hall of Fame enshrinement after three full seasons of retirement.

The Class of 2019 will be announced at a press conference in Minneapolis at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in April.

Among the newcomers, Johnson’s resume includes reaching the All-Star game five times and being named 1979 national collegiate Player of the Year. Sikma, who played for the Seattle SuperSonics, was a seven-time All-Star. Wallace made four All-Star appearances and was named Defensive Player of the Year four times with the Pistons. Westphal, also a longtime coach in the league, was a five-time All-Star.

To make the Hall of Fame, a finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee.

Pistons Notes: Jackson, Casey, Griffin, Wallace

Some time off has done a lot of good for Pistons guard Reggie Jackson, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. After missing 37 games with a severely sprained right ankle last season, Jackson mostly stayed away from basketball this summer. He talked with new coach Dwane Casey, watched the new assistant coaches conduct drills and spent time with teammates, but he didn’t subject the ankle to the stress of competitive basketball.

“Probably didn’t heal the way everybody thought it might once we had time off,” Jackson said. “Just haven’t been able to get on the court, but been doing everything I can to get healthy.”

Jackson didn’t need surgery, but he did undergo a process that he described as similar to the platelet-rich plasma injection he had on his knee two years ago. He said the rest has been good for the ankle, and there’s now a “night and day” difference compared to last year.

There’s more tonight out of Detroit:

  • Jackson is also touting the new system that Casey brought to Detroit, relays Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News. During a public appearance today, Jackson said the abundance of wings on the Pistons’ roster will help with the transition to the new approach, which is based on quick ball movement and 3-point shooting. “Playing in this system, this new type of flow is going to take us some time to adjust,” Jackson said. “But I think it’s something that, as it shows promise for fans that the pieces can work well within what coach does, it’s going to be about getting acclimated, getting trust.”
  • Casey is impressed by the thorough nature that Blake Griffin takes to offseason workouts, Langlois adds in a separate story. Casey called Griffin a “leader by nature” and will be counting on him to assume a larger role in his first full season in Detroit. “Like [former coach/executive] Stan [Van Gundy] said last year, him coming in mid-season like that is almost impossible to come in and establish himself as a physical leader or leader by example or by your words,” Casey said. “He’s done a lot of things as far as this summer organizing workouts in L.A. and doing different things to show his leadership.”
  • Former Pistons star Ben Wallace has taken on a front office role as a part owner of the G League Grand Rapids Drive, writes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Wallace is returning to the game after several years away and hopes to eventually land a role with an NBA team. “I’m pushing all of my chips into the middle of the table,” Wallace said. “I definitely want to learn the business side of basketball. I’m working with a great partner in [Drive owner] Steve Jbara, who is teaching me a lot about the business side of basketball. I’m working guys out, I’m having executive meetings, I’m selling tickets, I’m doing the whole nine.”

And-Ones: Canada, Blatt, HOF, Dixson

Per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, former Indiana University basketball player and Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald has been named the new president and CEO of Canada Basketball.

A native of Chicago, Grunwald was hired by the Raptors in 1994 as the team’s vice president for legal affairs and assistant general manager under former college teammate Isiah Thomas. Grunwald took over for Thomas in a few years later, eventually orchestrating a trade for Vince Carter that led to three straight playoff berths from 2000 to 2002.

Since that time, Grunwald has been heavily involved in all things Canadian. He obtained Canadian citizenship in 1999, served as the president and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade, and even spent time as the Athletic Director at McMaster University in Ontario.

“I’m honoured and proud to have this opportunity to work with Canada Basketball,” said Grunwald in a press release announcing his hiring. “This is an exciting time for the sport in our country and I look forward to working with the entire basketball community to continue the tremendous progress the sport has made here at all levels.”

Here are a few more items from around the basketball universe:

  • Former Cavaliers and current Olympiacos head coach David Blatt has called for an end to the dispute between FIBA and the EuroLeague, per Antigoni Zachari of EuroHoops. Saying the conflict is a matter of egos and political designs, Blatt iterated how the two organizations ongoing spat is not good for the sport of basketball.
  • In addition to Shawn Marion, who we highlighted here, Joe Nguyen of The Denver Post also opines that the following players could find their way into the Hall of Fame next year – guards Chauncey Billups, Tim Hardaway, Sidney Moncrief, and Kevin Johnson; and forwards Chris Webber and Ben Wallace.
  • Less than two weeks after working out for the Hawks, undrafted rookie Dikembe Dixson has signed with the Lebanese Basketball League’s Hoops Club, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Dixson, 22, posted career averages of 17.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in his three seasons at UIC.

Central Notes: B. Wallace, Pistons, Cavs, LaVine

Former Pistons big man Ben Wallace is once again involved in the franchise, according to Peter J. Wallner of MLive, who reports that Wallace has reached an agreement to become part-owner and chairman of the Grand Rapids Drive. Wallace, who met with Drive season-tickets holders on Thursday, is expected to be formally introduced by the G League franchise next week.

“It was just the right fit,” Wallace said of his new role with the Pistons’ NBAGL affiliate. “It’s an opportunity for me to get back in basketball. It’s an opportunity for me to learn the business side of basketball, something I’ve wanted to do. And this gives me an opportunity to ease into it and learn as we go.”

Drive president Steve Jbara said he heard through a mutual friend with the Bucks that Wallace was exploring potential business options. As Wallner details, Jbara is looking forward to working with Wallace, who was a four-time All-Star during his career with the Pistons. “I told him, ‘You help me on the basketball side and we’ll make that partnership, and I’ll work with you on the business side and we’ll collaborate on everything,” Jbara said.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After going on a brief hot streak following the trade deadline, the Cavaliers are once again slumping, posting a 5-7 record since the All-Star break. Following Thursday’s loss to Portland, LeBron James pointed to Kevin Love‘s absence as one big reason for Cleveland’s struggles, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “It’s been a long time since I haven’t played with another All-Star on my team,” James said. “So, having Kev out has been very challenging for all of us. Kev has a big usage rate on our team. He’ll get the ball when things get tight, chaotic; we can throw it to him in the low post and get some things going.” Love is aiming to return from his hand injury next week.
  • It’s been a frustrating year for Zach LaVine, who missed much of the season as he recovered from ACL surgery and has been inconsistent for a lottery-bound Bulls team since returning. However, he’s looking forward to getting a full offseason with the Bulls, writes Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Of course, LaVine will be eligible for restricted free agency, but he’s considered a near-lock to remain in Chicago. K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune takes an early look at LaVine’s upcoming free agency.
  • Re-signing LaVine figures to be one of the Bulls‘ few moves in free agency, according to Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders, who doesn’t expect the club to do much shopping on the open market this offseason.

Renounced Players: Wednesday

As teams clear cap space to finalize signings and trades, it may mean renouncing Early Bird or Bird rights to their own free agents, in order to remove cap holds from the books. Once a player is renounced, his previous team has no more claim to him that any other team — he could still be re-signed, but it would have to be done using cap space or an exception. Some of those decisions are more notable than others, but for completion's sake, we'll track the latest of these cap-clearing moves right here:

Earlier updates:

 

Knicks Eyeing Another Point Guard

Citing a source close to the team, ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling reports that the Knicks are considering adding a veteran point guard to supplement Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni.  While injuries have decimated their frontcourt, Zwerling says a lack of free agent options has led the Knicks to consider opting for guard help.

Zwerling indicates that the Knicks are ideally looking for a point guard that has some speed and quickness, in contrast to the wisdom and decision making of the older Kidd and Prigioni.  The source points to Delonte West, Sundiata Gaines and Jannero Pargo as options, with West being the most likely.  While West has some issues – as evidenced by his absence from the NBA this year – the Saint Joseph's product would join a veteran roster in New York.  Meanwhile, all signs point towards Pargo signing a 10-day contract with Charlotte tomorrow.  So unless that deal falls through, the Knicks would have to hope the Bobcats let him walk once his contract expires if they want to pursue him.

Two of those veterans are injured big men Amare Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace, both out for the remainder of the regular season.  Zwerling says Mike Woodson remains committed to Wallace, probably making James White the odd man out should the team decide it needs a roster spot. 

Should the Knicks decide their need for frontcourt help is too pressing to consider anything else, Zwerling lists Henry Sims, Tony Battie, Josh Boone, Brian Cook, Dan Gadzuric, Troy Murphy, Ben Wallace, Hassan Whiteside and Sean Williams as potential targets.  While Sims provides the most intrigue of the bunch, Zwerling says the Knicks would prefer a veteran.

Odds & Ends: Morrison, Turkoglu, Lin, Ginobili

Let's round up a few odds and ends from a busy day around the NBA….

  • Blazers coach Terry Stotts told the media today that summer signee Adam Morrison has a "legitimate" chance to make the team, according to Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge (Twitter link).
  • Hedo Turkoglu says he'd like to finish his career with the Magic, tweets Joshua Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
  • Asked about the Knicks' decision to let Jeremy Lin walk in July, GM Glen Grunwald told the media that the Rockets made a commitment to Lin that New York wasn't prepared to make, and that Raymond Felton was a better fit for the Knicks. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the quotes.
  • Manu Ginobili expects to return to the Spurs if he continues playing when his contract expires at season's end, tweets Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.
  • Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal poses five burning questions facing the Cavaliers heading into the 2012/13 season. Among Lloyd's five: Whether Dion Waiters was the right choice in June's draft, and whether Anderson Varejao will finish the year with the Cavs.
  • Ben Wallace won't be in camp with the Pistons, since the team doesn't want to put him a position where it may have to cut him, tweets Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News.
  • Appearing on KJR in Seattle, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he didn't think any NBA owner would stand in the way of the city of Seattle getting another NBA franchise (link via Sports Radio Interviews).
  • Former NBA veteran Jayson Williams tells ESPN.com's Matt Wong that he's healthy and misses the NBA, but stopped short of saying he's interested in making a comeback.

Washburn On Grant Hill, Ben Wallace, Yi Jianlian

Grant Hill is telling new Clippers teammate Blake Griffin not to rush back from the medial meniscus tear he suffered in his knee over the summer, as Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe writes. Hill reflected on the surgeries that threatened his life and career, and said he'll spread the knowledge he's gained about preserving his body to his new teammates. “Blake’s a great kid, and I said, ‘Look man, take your time. If I learned anything, take your time,’ ” said Hill, who turns 40 on October 5th. “He wants to get back so fast. “I said, ‘I need you in June, I don’t need you in October.’ So he’s a great kid and got a great career ahead of him, and hopefully I can share a little about the highs and the lows and the things that I’ve gone though.’’ 

Washburn has more on Hill, and toward the end of his lengthy piece that rounds up news from the last week or so, he has a couple of noteworthy tidbits: 

  • Hill compared the Clippers' rivalry with the Lakers to the dynamic between Duke and North Carolina, and marveled at his own longevity. “To be turning 40 and having teams that are contenders trying to get me to play for them, it is humbling," he said. "It’s a great feeling and I’m glad that I am blessed and fortunate to continue to do it.” 
  • Washburn says Ben Wallace  is looking for a new deal, but if he gets one, it's unlikely to come from the Pistons. Wallace has been waffling about his retirement this summer, and if he returns, it's been widely assumed he would do so with Detroit.  
  • Scouts were "spooked" by Yi Jianlian's up-and-down performance for China in the Olympics, Washburn hears. They believe the 7'0" free agent lacks a true position and isn't tough enough to play in the paint.

Odds & Ends: Magic, Wallace, McCants, Johnson

Let's round up a few Friday afternoon odds and ends from around the NBA….

  • The Magic will hire former Hornets assistant James Borrego as an assistant coach for the coming year, according to an Associated Press report (link via The Sporting News).
  • In a piece for the Detroit Free Press, Patrick Hayes of PistonPowered wonders if it makes sense for the Pistons to clear a roster spot to bring back Ben Wallace. That, of course, assumes that Wallace wants to continue his playing career.
  • Former UNC star and NBA lottery pick Rashad McCants failed his physical with French team SIG Strasbourg, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes. Strasbourg was set to sign McCants, but will now take another look at the market for other options.
  • Joe Johnson talked to SI.com's Zach Lowe about finding out about being traded to the Nets, the team's expectations for 2012/13, and his contract.
  • The Warriors have hired Ellen Warner as the team's VP of Development, according to a team release. Warner will oversee planning, design, and construction of the club's proposed San Francisco arena.

International Notes: Gordon, Simmons, Wallace

With things relatively quiet on the NBA front these days, we'll keep track of today's international news and rumors right here….

  • Undrafted rookie free agent Drew Gordon has signed with Serbia's Partizan Belgrade, according to Sportando. The 6'9" forward out of New Mexico was ranked as this year's 56th-best prospect by ESPN.com's Chad Ford and played for the Mavericks at the Las Vegas Summer League, but won't be heading to camp with an NBA team.
  • Former NBA big man Cedric Simmons has signed with Enel Brindisi in Italy, according to Sportando. Simmons played for the Hornets, Cavs, Bulls, and Kings from 2006 to 2009.

Earlier updates:

  • Greek's Panathinaikos reportedly has some interest in Ben Wallace, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando notes. I imagine it's unlikely anything comes of this, since Wallace is said to be debating between retiring or returning to the Pistons.
  • Goran Dragic's brother Zoran Dragic played in the Las Vegas Summer League for the Rockets, but won't be coming to the NBA at this point. As Wendell Maxey writes at Ridiculous Upside, Spanish reports suggest Zoran is close to signing a two-year deal with Unicaja Malaga.
  • Ilkan Karaman, who was selected 57th overall by the Nets in the June draft, has officially signed with Fenerbache Ulker Istanbul, the team announced (link via Sportando). Brooklyn will retain the Turkish forward's rights if and when he eventually makes his way over to the NBA.