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Around the NBA: Hall of Fame Nominees’ Announced; Christmas Day Games May be Postponed; Kerr N

Nominees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 have been announced. Included in this year’s list of first time nominees are Manu Ginobili, Tom Chambers and Lindsey Whalen. Candidates who have previously been on the ballot, Marcus Camby, Chauncey Billups and Swin Cash are also on the list of this year’s nominees. A press conference announcing the Finalists from the North American and Women’s committee for the Class of 2022 will hold during the NBA All-Star Weekend, scheduled for Friday, February 18th in Cleveland, Ohio. The Hall of Fame will also reveal the full Enshrinement schedule at the venue. The entire Class of 2022, including those selected by the direct elect committees, will be unveiled during the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans, Louisiana, in early April. The Enshrinement ceremony will take place in Springfield, Massachusetts, September 9-10, 2022.

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Newly Eligible Candidates for the Class of 2022. #22HoopClass 📰: — Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) December 21, 2021

THE LEAGUE HAS NO PLANS TO SUSPENED ON-GOING SEASON NBA commissioner Adam Silver has hinted that the league has no plans to suspend its season as COVID-19 surges through the league. “No plans right now to pause the season,” Silver said in an interview, Tuesday afternoon. “We have of course looked at all the options, but frankly we are having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now.” Silver’s position on not stopping play is in keeping with the memo the league sent to teams Sunday evening announcing new rules regarding replacement players, as teams now have much more flexibility to add them immediately upon losing players to the league’s health and safety protocols — and, once they have at least two players in them, are required to begin signing them. The NBA has had to postpone seven games over the past week — including five over the past three days — as the omicron variant of COVID-19 has swept through the league, just as it has throughout societies around the world.

“No plans right now to pause the season. We’ve, of course, looked at all the options, but frankly we’re having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now.” —Adam Silver on the state of the NBA at this moment. — ESPN (@espn) December 21, 2021

CHRISTMAS DAY GAMES TIME MAY SHIFT The 10 NBA teams with games scheduled on Christmas have been told by the league that shifting some game times is a possibility for the planned five-game slate, if virus-related issues force changes to the lineup. The league told the teams the priority is filling the ABC windows for Saturday’s games, which means the slots at 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern. For now, those games, in order, would have Boston at Milwaukee, Golden State at Phoenix and Brooklyn at the Los Angeles Lakers. The other games on the Christmas schedule are Atlanta at New York at noon Eastern, and Dallas at Utah at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. The league called the notion of shifting game times — which may happen if a game is postponed — a contingency plan in the memo distributed to the teams involved. Decisions on whether shifting times is needed could come as late as Friday. Any decisions made on Saturday to postpone a Christmas game would not impact the remainder of the day’s schedule, the league said.

The start time of some NBA Christmas day games could change if there's a need for postponement. 👀 — theScore (@theScore) December 21, 2021

JA RETURNS Grizzlies star Ja Morant returned to action Monday against the Thunder, his first action in 12 games since spraining his left knee on Nov. 26. Morant leads the Grizzlies in scoring (24.1 points per game), assists (6.8). Even without his prodigious offensive contributions, the Grizzlies went 10-2 during his absence — including an NBA-record 73-point rout of the Thunder on Dec. 2 — to reach fourth in the Western Conference. Morant finished with 16 points, six rebounds, eight assists, two steals and one block in 28 minutes as the Grizzlies fell 102-99.

Good to see Ja Morant back on the court 👀 More on his return off injury: 🎥 — The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) December 21, 2021

KERR TAKES REIGN AS USBMNT GAFFER The coaching staff for the 2022-24 USA Basketball Men’s National Team was announced when USA Basketball Men’s National Team managing director Grant Hill officially named eight-time NBA championship Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr to lead the USA Men’s National Team. Additionally, Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams will complete the 2022-24 USA National Team coaching staff as assistant coaches. The USA Basketball Board of Directors approved the selections, which, should the U.S. men qualify for the 2024 Olympics, will be subject to approval by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. “With today’s announcement, our men’s national basketball team begins its quest for 2023 FIBA World Cup and 2024 Olympic gold,” said retired Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, USA Basketball Chairperson. “On behalf of everyone associated with USA Basketball, I want to thank these four great coaches for stepping up to lead the young men who will proudly wear USA into international competition.” As head coach, Kerr will lead the USA National Team in 2022-24, which will include all USA Men’s National Team training camps, and, if the USA qualifies, the 2023 FIBA World Cup that is scheduled to be held in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia from Aug. 25-Sept. 10, 2023, and the 2024 Summer Olympic Games that is scheduled for July 26-Aug. 11 in Paris, France.

Why don't we go to Steve? The head coach of the 2022-24 🇺🇸 #USABMNT, @SteveKerr. — USA Basketball (@usabasketball) December 20, 2021
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