Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando because they didn’t let him run the team badly

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See, here’s my problem.

Carmelo Anthony had it right. For all his ego, for all the manipulation, for holding the Nuggets and the news cycle hostage for six months, he had it right. It was quiet. He never committed to the Nuggets, kept it quiet, didn’t make it worse. Melo knows it’s a business and acted as such. Anthony was cold, calculating, and brutal in his decision making.

Dwight Howard wants you to like him. It’s not enough that he plays basketball better than all but about maybe two people on Earth, he has to be loved. And as abandoning the franchise that has repeatedly gone into the luxury tax, and gone to the voters to get you a new arena is typically frowned upon, Dwight is doing the whole big long act. There’s a whole speech you’re supposed to give, about how much you love the city and the fans, about how hard it is for you. None of this ever stops the departure, mind you, it always happens along the same timeline.

But Dwight’s a little different in one way. He’s not blaming it on business, or his heart, or wanting to win. No, no. He’s doing it because he didn’t get to play general manager. From ESPN:

Dwight Howards trade demand from the Orlando Magic is due in part to the organization not granting his requests for specific trades and signings over the last several years, the All-Star center said Sunday night.

Howard requested a trade during several meetings last week and has been given permission by the Magic to have contact with the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. He went public with the demand Saturday and then followed that up with a strong explanation Sunday, referring to an eroding relationship with Magic general manager Otis Smith.

“If you dont have a good relationship with the people you work with, how are you going to get better?”– Dwight Howard”Im pretty sure if you go down the line of teams, every GM has a pretty good relationship with not just the best player but all the players,” Howard said. “If you dont have a good relationship with the people you work with, how are you going to get better?”

via Dwight Howard of Orlando Magic cites poor relationship with GM as reason for trade demand – ESPN.

To be fair, Howard pretty explicitly said he didn’t want to be the GM.

“I’m not a GM, I never said I wanted to be a GM,” Howard said.

“What I said was I want to be involved. Everybody has a right to be involved. … I should want to be involved. I should want to say ‘hey, this is what we need, this is what we need to do.’ If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have said anything. Obviously I care enough about this team that I’ve asked them and I want to be involved. If you don’t like something, you’d just walk away. If you want to be involved you’d do anything you can. If you don’t get it, what do you do?”

via Dwight Howard of Orlando Magic cites poor relationship with GM as reason for trade demand – ESPN.

One slight problem.

Dwight Howard’s input is pretty well worthless.

It’s not really his fault. It’s hard to really be up on analyzing player trends, thinking of the total team concept, working on scouting and statistical analysis when you’re dunking the bejesus out of people. And yet multiple reports have indicated Howard was upset with the amnesty clause being used on Gilbert Arenas. Reports indicated Howard was upset at the trade of Rashard Lewis. In short, this comes across as Howard wanting to bring his friends in, and being upset when management wanted to manage, and wanted their player to play.

It’s one thing for stars to be consulted on deals, to be made aware of decisions. But there’s a big gap between that and having influence. Howard has his own agenda, he’s always had his own agenda, and it involves commercial appeal. And that’s great! He’s a genuinely funny, lovable guy. But don’t lie to the fans, don’t lie to the media, and don’t lie to yourself. Melo played it cold, because that’s what the situation required. Howard trying to play the victim is like someone being upset they got a paper cut while causing a car wreck.

If you’re going to blow the tracks, don’t blame the conductor.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

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Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

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.