It’s official: Doc Rivers signs contract with Clippers

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UPDATE 7:38 pm: The Celtics and Clippers have both confirmed that Doc Rivers has signed to coach the Clippers, this is done.

One interesting side note on the compensation package deal — it specifies the two teams cannot trade players until after next season, not with a third team or in any other combination. There will be no Garnett trade for DeAndre Jordan. In theory the Lakers could get Paul Pierce if the Celtics bought him out and made him a free agent, but that is not happening, the Celtics will tried to trade both men to get something back for them.

Rivers spoke with Jackie McMullen of ESPN about why he made the move: “It was just time.”

3:35 pm: When things dragged out a little with the Clippers finalizing a contract with Doc Rivers there was a moment of hesitation — aren’t we past these days with the Clippers?

We are. It’s done. Doc Rivers has signed his deal with the Clippers to be their coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and now confirmed by other sources. Rivers has a three-year, $21 million contract with Los Angeles. He will be introduced at a press conferenced Wednesday.

Rivers’ arrival pretty much locks in what was already pretty set — you can expect Chris Paul to re-sign with the Clippers. He will become a free agent July 1 because he gets more money that way than just signing an extension, but he will be back. That alone is worth the money the Clippers are paying Rivers.

The Celtics will get a first round pick back from the Clippers, but the deal is a complex one, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com points out.

The Clippers are a roster on the cusp of contention (they won 56 games last year but were eliminated in the first round) and the feeling among Los Angeles fans is this puts them over the top. They think they are in the mix with the Thunder and Spurs in the West, the Heat in the East as contenders.

It’s not going to be that easy. The Clippers need a steadier defense and we’ll see if Rivers’ coaching can do that — he had great defenses in Boston with Tom Thibodeau as his assistant and Kevin Garnett in the paint. Can Rivers bring that to the Clippers without those two key elements?

The Clippers need to get more out of DeAndre Jordan — consistently and on the defensive end — to really made a difference (or move him to get a defensive anchor big man). Fans will put some of that on Doc Rivers, but it’s really on Jordan. Rivers will help the Clippers but they are a piece or two away from really contending.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

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Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

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.