Mike D’Antoni isn’t concerned about his job security

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With Donnie Walsh out in New York, immediately the questions turned towards the future of Mike D’Antoni. Yes, D’Antoni was part of the Knicks’ resurgence. Yes, D’Antoni was instrumental in their playoff run. And yes, he has several years left on his contract. But this is the Knicks we’re talking about and if anything, they’re always good for drama in places where there should be none.

The New York Post spoke with D’Antoni following Walsh’s departure from President to advisor last week, and the Knicks coach isn’t concerned about his job.

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said he is not worried at all about being back next season, though his greatest ally, president Donnie Walsh, is leaving on June 30 after turning down James Dolan’s contract-extension offer.

D’Antoni has the support of Walsh, who will stay on next season as a consultant and Garden sports president Scott O’Neil, and he expects to meet with Knicks owner James Dolan shortly.

It is unclear if a contract extension would be discussed, but one source said Dolan likes D’Antoni a lot. D’Antoni has one year and $6 million left on his contract, and Dolan is not keen on eating it during a lockout-shortened season with revenues down.

via Knicks coach not concerned about losing job – NYPOST.com.

In traditional Knicks terms, this pretty much guarantees D’Antoni will be fired in a week. Kidding. But the reality is that D’Antoni has managed to take a team with glaring weaknesses and get the most out of them, again. And he’s still being undermined.

The New York Times reports that D’Antoni is under pressure to hire an defensive specialist as an assistant coach. That’s more fuel to the fire of rumor that says D’Antoni is under increasing pressure to move away from his plans, and that his input is limited in front office decisions. D’Antoni is safe, for now. But you have to wonder at what point trying to appease an ownership group that is as unpredictable as Dolan’s is going to make it not worth it for him, or how long until ownership gets impatient with not winning titles with two stars, no matter what they gave up to get them. It’s an impossible situation in New York, and with Walsh out, things only got tougher.

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?