Shocking report: Orlando Magic won’t pursue Dwight Howard in free agency

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And by shocking, we mean surprising that this is something that needs to be reported at all.

It hasn’t been all that long since Dwight Howard spent an entire season holding the Orlando Magic hostage, taking a relative eternity to decide whether he should stay or go elsewhere.

Howard had the option of simply letting free agency take its course, but instead opted in for the final year of his contract late last season, before changing his mind once again and forcing his way out of town.

The fences haven’t come close to being mended between Howard and the Magic organization, who fired its head coach and general manager as a result of last season’s fiasco, and possibly did so to placate Howard in a last-ditch effort to convince him to stay.

All drama aside, the fact remains that Howard will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. It’s safe to say things haven’t gone as planned in Los Angeles thus far, so Howard may in fact be in play when many believed that signing long-term with the Lakers was a foregone conclusion.

In case you had any doubt, the Magic won’t be one of the teams lining up to court the All-Star big man for his services.

From Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

The Orlando Magic won’t attempt to convince Dwight Howard to rejoin their team when Howard becomes a free agent in July, an NBA source with knowledge of the Magic’s thinking told the Orlando Sentinel.

Magic officials are said to believe it’s too soon to try to bring back Howard after the acrimonious eight months between his Dec. 2011 trade request and the deal that sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Although no one believed Orlando would get in business with Howard ever again after what he pulled last year, this report makes it somewhat official.

As if there was any doubt.

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?