What active players are bound for basketball’s Hall of Fame?

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Chris Mullin is in. So is Artis Gilmore. Arvydas Sabonis is in (more for his European career than what he did in the NBA after that). Dennis Rodman will join them (in spectacular fashion).

Those are the NBA players entering the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame on Friday. All of them deserving.

But what current NBA players should make the Hall of Fame?

Chris Tomason compiled a list over at Hoopshype that we generally agree with. We’ll work off that.

There are some gimmes that nobody is going to question (or at least they shouldn’t): Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Kidd.

From there LeBron James is almost certainly in even at this midpoint of his career (two-time league MVP, seven time All-Star, and the best player in the league for a number of years). Dwyane Wade is a little more of a question mark but he’s right there and if these Heat do win rings he becomes a lock.

The other two of the Celtics “big three” — Ray Allen and Paul Pierce — also are almost sure things. Ray Allen is the league’s three point make leader and one of the best pure shooters the game has ever seen (not that those credentials helped Reggie Miller this year). Pierce has been the face of on of the biggest franchises in the NBA for a decade, is a nine-time All-Star and is a finals MVP.

What about Steve Nash? As Tomasson notes, he built his resume after age 30 and is now a two-time MVP (even if you question if he deserved those MVPs, he’s got them and they count). To me he’s a bubble guy, but the old guard sportswriters love him so no doubt he’ll get in.

What about Vince Carter? Eight-time All-Star, rookie of the year, Olympic gold medalist and one of the most dynamic athletes of his generation. But will a legacy of not having the best work ethic and abandoning teams hurt his chances?

Carmelo Anthony has some Olympic gold but may need more NBA hardware to get the call. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol also need a little more resume padding — some rings and Olympic medals — but they are both on the bubble as well (Gasol in part because of international influence). Chris Bosh and Chris Paul are in that boat too, they need rings and more on the resume.

There are great young players like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose out there, but it is way too early to start talking Hall with them.

The guy I don’t know deserves it but may get the call anyway — Chauncey Billups.

Devin Booker to play in Suns’ opener Wednesday

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Devin Booker — the Suns’ newly minted max contract player — had been working hard to recover from off-season hand surgery in time for the opening of the season (the original timeline after surgery had him missing the first week or two of the season).

Looks like he made it, according to coach Igor Kokoskov, via Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.

Booker is young, 21, and hopefully he just healed quickly. There is no reason to rush Booker back here, the Suns need to approach this season with a long-term view, not thinking win now.

This is going to be an interesting young Suns team with Booker, rookie Deandre Ayton, Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren, Mikal Bridges, and now with some veteran voices in Trevor Ariza and the newly added Jamal Crawford in the locker room. This team is not playoff bound in the West, but nightly they will be improved and not a pushover.

Portland, NBA community react to passing of Paul Allen

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For 30 years, Paul Allen has owned the Portland Trail Blazers. In that time the team made the NBA Finals a couple of times, was a model of consistency making the playoffs 23 times, and providing a city unforgettable memories filled with some of the biggest personalities and best players in the game.

Allen passed away Monday, losing his battle to cancer. He was just 65 years old.

It has led to an outpouring from the entire NBA community, especially around Portland.

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer – in business, philanthropy and in sports,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small.  He was generous with his time on committee work, and his expertise helped lay the foundation for the league’s growth internationally and our embrace of new technologies.  He was a valued voice who challenged assumptions and conventional wisdom and one we will deeply miss as we start a new season without him.  Our condolences go to his family, friends and the entire Trail Blazers organization.”

Russell Westbrook listed as out for season opener vs. Warriors

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No Russell Westbrook. No Andre Roberson. Maybe no Steven Adams.

This is not what the NBA had in mind when they sent Oklahoma City to Golden State for the second game of the NBA’s opening night doubleheader on national television. But, that’s the reality due to injury.

Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery on right knee back on Sept. 12 and it was expected to be re-evaluated around the start of the season. However, with the marathon of the NBA season about to start no way the Thunder were never going to rush him back, national television and the Warriors or not. While it’s less than ideal, getting it dealt with and missing training camp and a few games is better than to risk something worse during the season (or miss a month of the season in a Western Conference where there is little margin for error because of the depth of quality teams).

The Thunder called it “maintenance,” but this is Westbrook’s fourth surgery on that knee, although it’s the first in more than four years. His issues with this knee date back to the 2013 playoffs when Patrick Beverley crashed into it and tore the meniscus.

Westbrook is about to turn 30, has some heavy-usage miles on that body, and just signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension.

Alvin Gentry: Pelicans wouldn’t trade Anthony Davis for anyone – ‘not even Beyonce’

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Pelicans star Anthony Davis said he’s the best player in the NBA.

His coach, Alvin Gentry, agreed then expanded.

Gentry:

If you don’t want to call him the best player, I call him the most valuable. Because if you can trade him for anybody, then he is the most valuable guy. Not that we would ever consider that. Don’t you guys take some kind of spin and put it on top. There is no one in the league that we would trade him for. There is no one out of the league. Not even Beyonce. If we wouldn’t trade him for her, then he’s probably untouchable.

I’d trade Davis for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who’s also in the MVP race, even younger and locked up an extra season.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and James Harden are better, older and locked up for longer than Davis. I’d probably trade Davis for LeBron or Curry, though not Harden.

Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum are worse, younger but also locked up for longer than Davis. I probably wouldn’t trade Davis for any of them, though the additional team control makes it worth considering.

Really, Davis is already at the point – as few as two years from unrestricted free agency – trade speculation hits high gear. The possibility of him leaving New Orleans high and dry in 2020 is too great to ignore.

As far as Davis for Beyonce… I guess it depends on your priorities.