Report: Nets re-thinking pursuit of Carmelo Anthony

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The tragic death of Carmelo Anthony’s sister — and the wise decision by the Nuggets to suspend trade talks while he was away from the team —created a de facto cooling of period on the spiraling trade talks for Melo.

It gave teams time to reassess. And with that — and the mixed signals that keep coming out of Denver — the Nets are re-thinking if they should be going after Anthony at all, according to Ken Berger at CBS Sports.

As a result of what one rival executive referred to as the Nuggets having “overplayed their hand” in negotiations with the Nets, frustrated New Jersey officials are in the process of “substantively” re-evaluating their pursuit of Anthony, a three-time All-Star who has refused to sign a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nuggets…

In view of their frustration, the Nets have not yet gotten to the point where they’re ready to pull all their chips off the table. But it’s clear that the Nets are “sick of the whole charade,” according to one source and have “backed away,” according to another.

The Nets reported offer includes rookie Derrick Favors and the expiring contract of Troy Murphy, plus draft picks. There are a variety of variations of this trade that involve other teams, but Favors/Murphy/picks remains at the core of it.

Denver has been patient, waiting for better offers to develop while trying to convince Anthony to stay with the team. But that’s just what the Raptors did with Vince Carter when he was angling his way out of Toronto and they ended up with a worse offer.

Now, remember to put all these rumors in the context of a negotiation. It is a negotiating tactic for the Nuggets, as they try to spur teams to make bigger offers. At the same time, a report of impatience on the part of the Nets gets leaked because they want to get this thing done and probably are getting frustrated waiting. They don’t want any big late offers, so they hint that their currently-best offer may come off the table.

In the end, Carmelo Anthony has the biggest hammer in the New Jersey talks — will he sign an extension to be with the Nets and spend a season and a half in Newark before the move to Brooklyn? If no, the Nets are out. If yes, this is still the most likely deal to get done.

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?