Report: Milwaukee Bucks, Drew Gooden agree to five-year, $32 million deal

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gooden.jpgEveryone who had Drew Gooden in the office pool as the first free agent to sign a deal, come on up and collect your money. Anyone? Hello?

The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed on a five-year, $32 million deal with Drew Gooden, according to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo. That is the full mid-level exception deal. No deal can formally be signed until July 8, but everything is in place. If there is one deal you can expect to get traded, it’s this one — Gooden has already been with eight teams in eight NBA seasons.

Gooden, who finished last season with the Clippers, is looking for stability after hopping around like the NBA was a game of Frogger for the past few seasons. He will be paired along the front line with Andrew Bogut and will be catching passes from Brandon Jennings. And be grabbing the rebounds on Jennings missed midrange jumpers.

Gooden gives you solid, slightly above average play at the four spot. Last season he averaged nearly 11 points and 8 rebounds a game in 25 minutes, with a PER of 16.9. He shoots 48 percent and can get to the line. Like we said, all solidly above average.

Last year, the best offer Gooden could get was one year at $4 million. The question becomes: Is Gooden that much better than what the Bucks already have? They started Ersan Ilyasova in front of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute last season. Right now Gooden that much of an upgrade that he’s worth all the extra money?  It was expected Mbah a Moute would get more burn this season, and Gooden is a veteran who shoots at a higher percentage and rebounds better than him. Today. But this is about to be Mbah a Moute’s third season and he should improve and give quality minutes at the four, and for a lot less money (he’s still on a rookie deal). Plus Luc is a better defender. The four was not really a weak spot for the Bucks last year.

But they are locked in with Gooden now. At least until they trade him.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?