Paul Allen says he’s not selling Blazers in open letter to fans

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This was not a good season to be a Blazers fan. They went into the season as a dark horse contender and ended it as a team that is rebuilding from the front office to the roster.

Owner Paul Allen admitted in an open letter to fans it was his toughest year of the 24 he owned the team.

In the letter, Allen talks about a few things, but one he makes clear is that he’s not selling the team.

Let me be clear and repeat what I’ve said before: The team is not for sale. I’m working hard to get this team back on track. No offers have been made to buy the team and none have been solicited. As I told reporters in the Rose Garden in December, there could come a time when I decide to sell the Trail Blazers. Many factors would go into that decision, including my health, the team’s economics, and the progress I can see on the court. (On the first item: I’m feeling good these days and have remained in remission for two years.)

Allen then walks through the decisions to reshape the team from earlier this year — the firing of Nate McMillan, the search for a GM and how they move the team forward.

Going into next season, it’s a priority for us to improve defensively, to play better and more consistently, and to win on the road.

One thing we are not going to do is to spend money like there is no tomorrow, and calls to do so just don’t make sense. I’ve tried that path before — it doesn’t work and is not sustainable. We will follow a judicious and sustainable path going forward.

The Blazers are well positioned to move forward — they have LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, a number of picks, cap space and room to maneuver. Flexibility is a good thing, but doing something good with it is another issue. Questions remain about what is the road map for the future and who is drawing it?

Allen doesn’t give us any great insights in the letter, but Blazers fans may want to read it to see where his mind is. It’s a nice look at the past. The thing that matters more is future actions.

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.”