Bulls GM says fans can expect Carlos Boozer back

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Bulls fans have turned Carlos Boozer into their whipping boy — all problems seem to be his fault, from issues like consistent post scoring to NATO summit protestors. To me, Boozer has seemed like what he always has been and Bulls fans sound like Jazz fans three years ago.

But sorry Bulls fans, Boozer is coming back.

While there have been calls from fans to use the amnesty clause on him, GM Gar Forman told The Mully and Hanley Show on 670 The Score, as transcribed by CBS Chicago.

“I think Carlos had a very productive year,” Forman said. “You look back, he’s the only guy on our team that played every game and practiced every day on a team that won more games than anybody in the NBA. He was our second leading scorer and our second leading rebounder. We’re looking forward to Carlos continuing to make progress. I know the last game clouds it a little bit, but he was very productive in the games before that. Even in that last game, in 27 minutes, he had 13 boards. I anticipate Carlos being with us and having another productive year next season.

“We’re happy Carlos Boozer is here and we like the core of the team that we have under contract.”

The problem with using the amnesty clause on Boozer is that you can’t just swap out his salary. Next Year Derrick Rose will start the first year of his five-year, $95 million deal, which means even if you amnesty Boozer the Bulls will be over the salary cap and only able to use things like the mid-level exception to bring in players. You can’t just bring in another $15 million a year free agent, that’s not how it works.

It might not be shocking to see the Bulls amnesty Boozer in a year or two to make sure they get under the luxury tax threshold. But to do now wouldn’t work because you can’t replace him and, despite what some Bulls fans think, they are not better off without him. That’s an efficient 15 and 9 a game you have to replace.

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?