Chris Paul has a Magic preference

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After Chris Paul’s list of places he’d like to be traded to came out, the natural response was to seek out a preference of Paul, the Hornets, and King of Mardis Gras. Just as it was with LeBron, only without any sort of leverage on the part of the player, every city of fans believe they are the best fit for the young point guard. New Orleans probably feels strongest in that regard.

But Chris Broussard has a report tonight on what Paul’s preference is. You remember Chris, don’t you? He was the one who mentioned on a little 4-letter network that LeBron James would be joining the Miami Heat. So it’s been a pretty good month for Broussey’s track record. Can I call him Broussey? No? Okay, then. Either way, Broussard hasn’t done too bad this month.

And he reports that Orlando has supplanted the Knicks as Chris Paul’s preferred destination.

Before we get too far and I have to start ducking from the good people of New Orleans throwing  pint glasses of Abita Amber at me (don’t waste it!), let’s set something straight. Chris Paul can prefer New York. LA. Orlando. Manchester United. The New York Football Giants. The Monstars. It won’t matter if Dell Demps thinks that trading Chris Paul is madness. And it is.

You have to look at the offers. You have to consider it. You have to entertain the idea. But at the end of the day, you realize that you have David West, Emeka Okafor, two talented rookies, and that doesn’t add up to trading the best point guard in the league. If Demps realizes that, there’s no alternative. There’s no rationalization. They will not trade Chris Paul.

So we wait and hear more word out of Chris Paul’s camp, and wait to see if the Hornets blink.

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?