Pitino, who has taken six teams to the Final Four, is a finalist for the second consecutive year. He coached Kentucky to the 1996 NCAA championship.
Payton played 18 seasons, mostly with Seattle, in the NBA. He average 16.3 points a game in 1,335 games and was selected for the All-Star Game nine times.
Joining Payton as first-time hall finalists are Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Tom Heinsohn, Sylvia Hatchell and Dawn Staley.
A finalist needs 18-of-24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The class will be announced April 8 and induction ceremonies will take place Sept. 8 in Springfield, Mass.
The Hall of Fame, in a release, also said five people were directly elected hall members. They are: Roger Brown, voted in from the American Basketball Association Committee, Richie Guerin from the Veterans Committee, Oscar Schmidt from the International Committee, Russ Granik from the Contributors Direct Election Committee and Edwin B. Henderson from the Early African-American Pioneers Committee.