Herb Simon

Vince Carter, Chauncey Billups Among Hall Of Fame Finalists

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 14 finalists for 2024 on Friday evening (via Twitter), with former NBA stars Vince Carter and Chauncey Billups among the nominees. Billups is currently head coach of the Trail Blazers.

Here’s the full list of finalists:

  • Chauncey Billups — Five-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA, two-time All-Defense, one-time champion, 2003/04 Finals MVP (Pistons)
  • Vince Carter — NBA-record 22 seasons, 25,728 career points (23rd in NBA/ABA history), eight-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, 1998/99 Rookie of the Year
  • Michael Cooper — Five-time NBA champion, eight-time All-Defense, 1986/87 Defensive Player of the Year (all with the Lakers)
  • Walter Davis — Six-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, 1977/78 Rookie of the Year, Suns‘ all-time leading scorer
  • Bo Ryan — Former head coach of Wisconsin, four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year
  • Charles Smith — Winningest high school head coach in Louisiana history
  • Seimone Augustus — Four-time WNBA champion, eight-time All-Star, 2006 Rookie of the Year
  • Marian Washington — Longtime former head coach of Kansas (women’s)
  • Dick Barnett — Two-time NBA champion, one-time All-Star, three-time NAIA champion at Tennessee A&I
  • Harley Redin — Former men’s and women’s coach of Wayland Baptist University (Texas)
  • Michele Timms — One-time WNBA All-Star, Olympic bronze and silver medals with Australian national team
  • Doug Collins — Former NBA player, coach and broadcaster *
  • Herb Simon Pacers owner *
  • Jerry West — Four NBA championships as an executive with the Lakers (he’s already in the Hall of Fame as a player) *

* Nominated as contributors

The Class of 2024 will be unveiled on Saturday, April 6 during the NCAA’s Final Four. The enshrinement ceremony for 2024’s Hall of Fame inductees will take place on Saturday, August 17.

Unbelievable,” Carter said of being a finalist, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “You look in the crowd, you see Hall of Famers, and the opportunity … I mean, you can’t beat that. You can’t beat that. It’s a proud moment.”

Everybody that enters the NBA … it’s their dream. It’s basically basketball heaven to be in the Hall of Fame,” Billups told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter links). “That was never my goal when I was playing. I just wanted to try to win and be the best teammate I could be. … I’m just humbled by today. Just being close to it is an honor. I know I’m not there, but I’m closer. It’s a straight honor.”

According to Reynolds, four others were honored by the Hall of Fame as well. JoAn Scott, the NCAA’s vice president of men’s basketball, received the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. J.A. Adande and Debbie Antonelli received the Curt Gowdy Awards for print and electronic journalism, respectively, while Slam Magazine and the television show “NBA Inside Stuff” received the award for transformative media.

Central Notes: Rales, Cavs, LeVert, Wade, Bogdanovic

Businessman Steven Rales is expected to become the minority owner of the Pacers, according to a statement from Pacers Sports and Entertainment chairman and owner Herb Simon (Twitter link).

After considerable discussion, Steven is going to become a minority owner of 20 percent of the franchise pending league approval,” Simon said. “The Simon family is as committed to Indiana today as we have been since we moved here from New York in the 1960s.

A story from The Athletic’s James Boyd provides background on Rales, a 72-year-old founder of Danaher Corporation, a life sciences organization. Rales is a DePauw University graduate and has “strong Indiana connections.”

Simon originally purchased the Pacers for $10.5MM in 1983 alongside his brother, Mel. According to Forbes estimates, the Pacers are now worth $2.9 billion, ranking 27th of 30 NBA teams. Simon will remain the controlling owner and, according to The Athletic, many believe his son Stephen will succeed him in that role in the future.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers lost to the rebuilding Trail Blazers on Thursday, continuing a disappointing start to the season for Cleveland — the team is hovering just above .500 through 19 games at 10-9. According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, the Cavs held a lengthy team meeting after the loss. “We’ve said this since the beginning, we want to be a championship-caliber team. We’re not playing like it,” star guard Donovan Mitchell said. “This is the worst loss of the season. That’s it. Let’s go. We’ll be fine. We’ll fix it.
  • The Cavaliers will be shorthanded against the Pistons when the two division rivals square off on Saturday, as guard Caris LeVert has been ruled out with a left knee injury, Fedor reports. There’s no definitive timeline for how long LeVert will be out, but he missed back-to-back games with the same injury in November, Fedor observes. Cleveland also remains without Dean Wade, who is missing his sixth straight game with an ankle injury.
  • The Pistons listed Bojan Bogdanovic as probable on Friday, meaning he remains on track to make his season debut against the Cavaliers on Saturday, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski. It was previously assumed that Bogdanovic would indeed play on Saturday, but the official status designation all but confirms it. Detroit didn’t win a game in November and is currently amid a 16-game losing streak.

Pacers’ Herb Simon: “We Can Build On The Go”

Don’t count on the Pacers tanking anytime soon under owner Herb Simon, even if Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star believes they should strongly consider it.

Simon invited five local media members, including Doyel, to discuss the team and the recent report from The Athletic that the Pacers are open to a roster shakeup. The Athletic’s story characterized the Pacers and Simon as increasingly open to a rebuild, despite having resisted going that route in the past. But the 87-year-old pushed back against that notion, suggesting that he’s still opposed to the idea of a full-fledged rebuild and wants to remain competitive even if the club makes a few roster changes.

We want to be as far up in the draft as possible because we want to win as many games as possible,” Simon says. “I just don’t play the game that way (tanking). I don’t think about it. Maybe I should think about it, but I don’t.

I don’t want to see it,” he added. “And if I don’t want to see it, the fans don’t want to see it. Why would we want to go through a rebuild when we can build on the go? That’s the talent. Donnie (Walsh) did it all the time. Larry (Bird) did it. Kevin (Pritchard) will do it. We can do it.”

Simon told reporters, including Doyel, “I love our little team,” adding that he believes the Pacers have had some bad luck in close games and can turn things around without doing anything drastic. It remains to be seen whether he’ll adjust his stance by the trade deadline or whether Indiana will prove him right.

Here are a few more interesting quotes from Simon’s media session:

On the Pacers’ ability to acquire top free agents, which they’ve historically been unable to do:

I don’t believe in the premise (that top free agents won’t consider the Pacers). We’ve had people like David West who wanted to come here. We’ve had our share of good players. Maybe the top three or four players may not want to come here because they want to go to a better climate or pay less taxes or whatever reason. I don’t use that as an excuse.

“… I think it’s blown out of proportion. If it’s the right situation and we pay the right price, we can get most every player, I believe. I don’t see that … I’m not going to pull the small-market (self-pity) thing. I’m not concerned about it. We have a wonderful environment here for players. They treat them very well. They’re taken care of properly. And (players) love being here.”

On his willingness to spend, despite not paying the luxury tax in more than a decade:

I didn’t build a practice facility not to spend money. We didn’t rebuild this arena not to spend money. I had to put money in that. We’re building a beautiful plaza for the public. We try to be good citizens, and you’re just picking one point: ‘Why aren’t we paying (luxury) taxes?’ We’ll pay taxes when it’s the right time to pay taxes.”

On his desire to win a championship in Indiana:

I’m not crying poverty, ‘Woe is our small market.’ I’m proud of this market. This is a basketball market, and we’ve had tough times and we’ve had good times and we’re going to have good times again. If I can hang around long enough, maybe we’ll even win a championship.”

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Central Notes: Grant, Simon, McGee, Bucks

After signing a $60MM deal with the rebuilding Pistons this offseason, forward Jerami Grant is getting the increased offensive role he was hoping for when he left the championship-contending Nuggets, per Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.

“It’s definitely a bigger role for me, that’s one of the reasons why I came here,” Grant said. Through his first four games for the Motor City, all losses, the versatile wing is tops among the Pistons in minutes played (149), three-point attempts (30), and free-throw attempts (21), as well as shot attempts and makes (66 and 31). He is also averaging a career-high 37.3 MPG.

There’s more out of the NBA’s Central Division:

  • After 79-year-old Pacers executive Donnie Walsh announced he would be vacating his position as team consultant, team owner Herb Simon released a statement praising the longtime Indiana staffer. “Over my thirty-year relationship with Donnie, I have been amazed to watch him help lead this organization to what it has become,” Simon said in part.
  • New veteran Cavaliers reserve center JaVale McGee adds championship pedigree in Cleveland, writes Joe Gabriele of Cavaliers.com“I didn’t realize how good of a passer he was, I didn’t realize the touch he has around the rim with the little floaters and the hooks,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff commented. “I think he’s definitely been a pleasant surprise all the way around.” The 7’1″ big man is averaging 10.5 PPG on 63% shooting from the field during the club’s 3-1 start this season.
  • The Bucks are striving to develop consistency after an offseason roster overhaul, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN. The club is currently off to a bumpy 2-3 to start their 2020/21 season. “I can speak for my team and for myself: I really feel like us having this different variety of teams and games really helps us,” new starting point guard Jrue Holiday said. “Even just having a back-to-back in a playoff-type atmosphere, early, is very, very good for us.”

Central Notes: Bucks, Lamb, Pistons, Pacers

The Bucks, who had been hoping to lock up Giannis Antetokounmpo to a super-max contract extension this summer, are one of many NBA teams whose future will be complicated by the current hiatus and the potential loss of revenue associated with it, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As Pincus details, a significant loss of revenue for the NBA would compromise the league’s ability to continue increasing its cap substantially over the next couple years. That would, in turn, create uncertainty about Antetokounmpo’s long-term earning power on a super-max deal that begins in 2021/22, and could have a major impact on Milwaukee’s ability to navigate the cap and the luxury-tax line.

Here’s more from around the NBA’s Central division:

  • It fell through the cracks to some extent last week due to the NBA’s suspension, but Pacers swingman Jeremy Lamb underwent surgery to repair his torn left ACL and torn meniscus. He’ll be out indefinitely, according to the team. Given the serious nature of his injury, it seems safe to assume Lamb won’t return until sometime in 2020/21 no matter when the ’19/20 season resumes.
  • James Edwards III of The Athletic examines how the COVID-19 situation may specifically impact the Pistons, exploring whether Derrick Rose could now return this season (yes), whether Christian Wood‘s free agency value will be impacted at all by his positive test for coronavirus (no), and more.
  • Pacers owner Herb Simon is giving financial add to the part-time workers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse affected by the NBA’s stoppage, tweets Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. Meanwhile, the Bucks announced (via Twitter) that they’ll match the donations their players make to part-time arena workers at the Fiserv Forum.

Pacers Owner Issues Statement On Tampering Case

Shortly after the NBA announced that it had fined the Lakers’ $500K for violating the league’s anti-tampering policy, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said that his club accepted the NBA’s findings. However, a report over the weekend suggested that Pacers owner Herb Simon may consider separate legal action against the league and the Lakers.

Issuing a formal statement today via the Pacers’ website, Simon insisted that’s not the case, indicating that he and the franchise are content with the league’s decision.

“Contrary to a published report, I would like to emphatically state that neither I nor the Indiana Pacers have ever considered any legal action toward the NBA or the Los Angeles Lakers regarding the recent decision and penalty concerning tampering charges,” Simon said. “We agree with the NBA’s findings and we want to put this issue behind us.

“Even though the Pacers were put in a tough position, we feel extremely fortunate to end up with two exceptional players in Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Their youth and talent, when coupled with our returning players and other players acquired over the summer, offer tremendous promise for our franchise and our fans.”

As we detailed on Tuesday, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has offered to pay the team’s $500K fine out of his own salary, despite the fact that the franchise was technically penalized for GM Rob Pelinka‘s prohibited expression of interest in Paul George to agent Aaron Mintz. Johnson also spoke publicly about George during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, but the NBA only issued the Lakers a warning for Johnson’s comments.