Kevin Johnson, other Suns among 2013 Hall of Fame nominees

Kevin Johnson is among several former Phoenix Suns players and coaches nominated to enter the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with the 2013 class. On Monday, NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper released the list of players, coaches and contributors who are candidates for the Hall of Fame.

A Suns ring of honor member, Johnson is joined by former Suns coaches Paul Westphal and Cotton Fitzsimmons along with former player Paul Silas. Johnson is the second in Phoenix history in assists behind Steve Nash and spent nearly his entire career with the Suns after being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Fitzsimmons had three stints as the Suns’ head coach (1970-72, 1988-92, 1996) before turning to the broadcast table. He was the NBA Coach of the Year twice.

Westphal is another ring of honor member after playing and then coaching Phoenix to its two NBA Finals appearances.

Silas played for Phoenix from 1969-1972.

Thirty-one candidates were chosen by the North American committee, and the list will be whittled down to a group of finalists after a nine-member panel reviews each individual. Players will need seven points to become finalists, at which point they will be reviewed by a separate 24-member committee — players must earn support from 18 of the 24 members to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Other notable names nominated for the class of 2013 included players Gary Payton, Vlade Divac, Mitch Richmond and Tim Hardaway.

Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, former NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik and referee Dick Bavetta are candidates for the contributor section that could be inducted.

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