Report: Josh Smith tells Hawks to trade him

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Josh Smith has been a borderline All-Star for years in Atlanta but that is different from being happy — he feels he is the scapegoat of the Hawks problems among the fans and media. He doesn’t feel like he has the backing of the organization or that they do things like promote him as an All-Star.

Those frustrations have bubbled over to him requesting that Hawks trade him, ideally before the March 15 trade deadline, according to Michael Cunningham at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Even as Josh Smith is having a strong season for the Hawks he has let the team know he wants to be traded as the March 15 deadline approaches, according to people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking….

As the trade deadline approaches, the Hawks have taken calls from teams interested in acquiring Smith—Golden State is among the teams who have inquired. But the Hawks so far have given no indication that they intend to part with Smith, who likely would command a high price in a trade.

Smith is making $12.4 million this season and a fully guaranteed $13.2 million next season. That may make him challenging to move as teams have been slow to take on salary at the trade deadline due to the new CBA. That said, there are not a lot of big men as productive as Smith so there will be interest.

Smith should have made the All-Star team this year and is averaging 16.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. He’s athletic and can run the floor and might fit best with a team that takes advantage of that. Smith is a force around the rim who has an unfortunate addiction to shooting long two pointers — he is taking six shots a game between 16 feet and the arc this season and hitting just 31 percent of them. He’ll take about one three a game too even though he is shooting 28 percent on those.

There certainly would be interest in Smith, if not at the deadline then next summer. With it sounding like he wants out the Hawks will need to move him before next year’s trade deadline or risk getting nothing for him. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get moved in the next six days.

The Hawks have been active, however, looking for a taker for Kirk Hinrich as well, according to multiple reports.

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.