Danny Ainge doesn’t want to trade Pierce, but he’ll listen to your offer

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With Rajon Rondo out for the season and three weeks to the trade deadline, all eyes in Boston fall on GM Danny Ainge:

Is he going to blow the thing up? And if he does, would he really trade Paul Pierce? A guy who wants to retire a Celtic?

Ainge was on WEEI radio and said he doesn’t want to trade Pierce, but…

Here’s the transcript, via Celtics Hub. Ainge was asked if he has talked to Pierce about a trade:

“No, because nothing has been talked about with Paul or discussed. Nothing is close to being done. I too, would like to see Paul Pierce retire as a Celtic. That would be great. We are all attached to Paul. He’s been great for the city, the franchise, each of us individually, he’s been a true pro. Having said that, if something came up I would talk to Paul, but my job is do what’s best for the Boston fans, and what’s best for the Boston Celtic team, regardless of my personal ties and personal relationships with players.”

Ainge never shows his cards in these interviews but I believe him here. He doesn’t want to trade Pierce, but if some team calls up with a great offer he has to consider it. That’s what any GM should do.

But when it comes time to pull the trigger on a guy the franchise and fan base is sentimentally attached to (plus can still play the game), that’s another story. I just don’t see him trading Pierce. The thought of him in a color other than green just seems wrong.

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?