Toni Kukoc

2021 Hall Of Fame Class Announced

As expected, Paul Pierce, Ben Wallace and Chris Webber will be part of the Class of 2021 for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

They will be joined by Chris Bosh, coaches Rick Adelman, Jay Wright and Bill Russell, and WNBA players Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson.

Among former players, Bosh is the only name that hasn’t been reported already. He is best known as part of the Big Three in Miami that made four straight Finals appearances and won two NBA titles early last decade. He played 13 NBA seasons, with the first seven coming in Toronto before getting a chance to join LeBron James and Dwyane Wade with the Heat.

Bosh is an 11-time All-Star and was a second-team All-NBA selection in 2007. A medical condition ended his career early, and he was elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.

Adelman made two trips to the NBA Finals and is the ninth-winningest coach in league history with 1,042 career victories. He played seven seasons in the league, but made his greatest impact as a coach, guiding the Trail Blazers, Warriors, Kings, Rockets and Timberwolves.

Wright has been the head coach at Villanova since 2001 and has more than 600 career wins. He has led the Wildcats to three Final Fours and captured NCAA titles in 2016 and 2018.

Russell was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975 for his legendary playing career, but he was also a pioneer as a coach. He took over as player-coach of the Celtics in 1966, becoming the first Black head coach in North American professional sports. Russell had a 341-290 coaching record and won a pair of NBA titles.

Griffith is a seven-time WNBA all-star and was captured the league’s MVP, Newcomer of the Year and Defensive Player awards in 1999. She was named Finals MVP in 2005 after leading the Sacramento Monarchs to their first WNBA championship.

Jackson was an Australian star who won three silver medals in the Olympics. She’s among the WNBA career leaders in games, minutes, field goals and three-pointers and helped the Seattle Storm win two titles, capturing Finals MVP honors in 2010.

Several other players were also voted into the Hall, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter links):

  • International Committee: Toni Kukoc.
  • Contributors: Val Ackerman, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Howard Garfinkel.
  • Veteran’s Committee: Bob Dandridge.
  • Women’s Veteran Committee: Pearl Moore.
  • Early African-American Pioneers: Clarence Jenkins.

Photo courtesy of USA Sports Images.

Central Notes: Thompson, Landry, Kukoc

Negotiations between the Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson aren’t as contentious as they may seem, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his NBA AM piece. It simply comes down to Thompson’s desire for a deal approaching the max and the Cavs’ desire to curb their tax bill, as Kyler explains. Indeed, the sides aren’t as far apart financially as it seems, a league source said to Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops last week, as Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops relays. Thompson doesn’t appear eager to take the team’s qualifying offer and push the possibility of a larger payday back to next year, but insurance policies are available that Thompson could buy if he fears he wouldn’t get the kind of deal he’d be seeking in 2016, Kyler points out. See more from around the Central Division:

  • Marcus Landry‘s new contract with the Bucks is for one year at the minimum salary and is non-guaranteed, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It has limited injury protection, Pincus adds, so that would indicate that it’s an Exhibit 9 contract that would hold Milwaukee responsible for no more than $6K should Landry get hurt while playing for the team. “It’s not impossible to make [the regular season roster],’’ Landry told Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. “Guys get traded, teams make moves. I just have to hold up my end of the deal. I’m what they like to call a gym rat and I’m going to try to be in their gym as much as I can though training camp. I’m excited for this opportunity, very excited.’’
  • Playing for the Bucks is a “dream come true” for Landry, as the Milwaukee native also told Woelfel for the same piece. Landry made it clear to agent Keith Kreiter that he he wanted to play for his hometown team, and Kreiter worked with the Bucks over several weeks to engineer a deal, Woelfel writes.
  • The Bulls have hired Toni Kukoc as a special adviser to president and COO Michael Reinsdorf, the team announced. Kukoc’s duties will be wide-ranging and include “relating to the international players on our team.” The native of Croatia joins former teammate Scottie Pippen, who holds the same title for the organization.