Report: Nets to target free agents Kevin Garnett, Ersan Ilyasova

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Dwight Howard is still the guy at the top of the Nets most wanted list.

But he is not going to be there when the Nets start playing in Brooklyn next season, so the Nets are looking at some other potential free agents who could pair well with Deron Williams — who they are desperately trying to keep.

How about Kevin Garnett? If hot him, maybe Ersan Ilyasova? That’s what the New York Daily News is reporting.

According to multiple sources, the Nets – who will have roughly $8 million to work with this summer after renouncing the rights to Kris Humphries — are targeting power forwards Kevin Garnett (restricted) and Ersan Ilyasova (unrestricted) in free agency.

Ryan Anderson (restricted) is the other top power forward available – and would certainly be a welcomed upgrade — but the Nets want a stronger rebounder to play alongside Brook Lopez.

Garnett says he wants to retire a Celtic. They may well bring him back. I think if the right offer from a team where he could win another ring came along, he could change his mind. That team is not the Nets, however.

Ilyasova however would be a better fit next to Williams (if they can keep D-Will from bolting to Dallas, which is another issue). Ilyasova can stretch the floor (shooting 40 percent from three this season) and is very effective as a spot up shooter and working off the ball as a cutter. He’s not as effective as you think as the roll man (shooting 33 percent in that position, according to MySynergySports) but he can get you some offensive rebounds. He’s pretty good on the glass in general. Oh, and he’s 11 years younger than Garnett.

Ilyasova is going to be a nice pickup by somebody this summer. For the Nets? Well, they need to do something because they traded their pick (top 3 protected) to Portland for Gerald Wallace.

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?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”