Are changes in Sixers front office a Doug Collins power play?

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Doug Collins is getting a lot of credit for taking a rag-tag bunch of young and mismatched Sixers and turning them into a pretty good team. A team with Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday and a team on the rise.

He may be trying to parlay that success into more power in the organization under the new ownership.

We told you yesterday that the Sixers had started early looking for Rod Thorn’s replacement as GM and that former Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry was in the mix. Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports says this is all part of a Collins power play.

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins is making a push for increased organizational power and has been a driving force behind the movement to replace team president Rod Thorn, league sources told Yahoo! Sports…

Collins wants increased power, sources said, and ultimately wants a new GM to answer to him. Ferry, who was the Cleveland Cavaliers’ GM from 2005-2010, is reluctant to accept the job without an ability to report direct to ownership, sources said. So far, Ferry has been on a fact-finding mission to understand the dynamics around how the organization will restructure the front office.

There have been plenty of rumors around the league that Thorn and Collins have a prickly relationship, and former GM Ed Stefanski had been a buffer, according to Woj. But he is out so someone needs to step in.

Ferry is right to take his time — he is back as a key guy behind R.C. Buford in San Antonio, he likes it there. He’s been a GM before and he knows he’s not going to take another job if he doesn’t want to be part of the working environment.

And it’s fair to ask what kind of working environment the Sixers front office would be right now.

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?