Report: Lakers willing to offer Bynum, World Peace for Howard, if he will stay in L.A.

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Dwight Howard still has some leverage over in where he gets traded.

Not because the Magic give a rat’s a** what he wants, if they could trade him to a team from Siberia in the Russian league they would do it. Rather it’s because he can walk away as a free agent next summer from wherever he gets traded if he wants.

There are teams that might make a good offer for Howard if he would agree to sign an extension. Like, say, the Lakers. Check out this tweet from Jarrod Rudolph, who writes for Real GM and is well connected in Orlando.

Source: Lakers are prepared to offer the Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace to the Magic for Dwight Howard provided Howard signs extension… I’m told the Magic will include Jason Richardson in any deal for Dwight Howard.

The second part of that I’m sure is true — they want to ship Richardson or Hedo Turkoglu out with this deal. And while Richardson makes less per year he has a longer deal and is due more money in total.

But the extension… that’s not going to happen. Not exactly. First off, even if Howard decided he wanted to re-sign with the Lakers he would become a free agent then re-sign under Bird rights because he would get more money and more years. (It’s what Chris Paul is doing, he can sign an extension now for three years and $60 million or become a free agent after next season and re-sign with the Clippers for five years $105 million. Easy call.)

Howard has been dead-set against coming to the Lakers through the process. Reportedly it starts with Howard not wanting to follow in Shaquille O’Neal’s footsteps from Orlando to Los Angeles. But multiple reports also say Howard was turned off by a phone conversation with Kobe Bryant last year where Kobe allegedly said Howard would be the third offensive option on the Lakers (behind Kobe and Pau Gasol). He essentially said he would be the Lakers Tyson Chandler, or that’s how it was perceived. Howard wants to be the star where he goes.

So don’t bet on the Lakers winning this battle.

But the sweepstakes is on for Howard, and he still has a little control over the process.

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?