Reports: John Wall, Wizards near five year, $80 million deal

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Would you give John Wall more than Stephen Curry got a couple years ago? More than Rajon Rondo?

It’s certainly a risk, but the Wizards have their reasons and it looks like it is going to happen.

The Wizards and Wall are close to a five-year, $80 million deal, something first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN. Then Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports followed up with more details.

The Wizards will make Wall their designated franchise player, allowing him to get the fifth year on the extension, sources said.

The Wizards and Wall’s agent, Dan Fegan, have until Oct. 31 to complete an agreement on the rookie extension for Wall to avoid restricted free agency next summer, but are moving swiftly to reach a deal.

It’s a near max deal for Wall, who is in Las Vegas this week as part of the Team USA minicamp.

If that seems like a lot, remember J. Michael of CSNWashington.com called called this back during the season and explained why. You have to remember where Washington was just a few years ago — they had the worst locker room in the NBA, with the Gilbert Arenas gun incident just being the most famous of the problems. It was a roster that was not professional in preparation or on the court. It was a mess.

Wall was part of changing that culture — even through injuries he has been professional, worked on his game and tried to improve. He has been great in the locker room. That matters for the culture of the Wizards going forward.

The Wizards think he is going to be the guy from the end of last season on the court, too — in in his last 20 games his jump shot was falling and he averaged 23.9 points per game on 48.3 percent shooting and 41.7 percent from three, and he added 7.8 assists per game.

At that level of production Wall would be worth the money (and the Wizards would be a playoff team). But they are paying him for more than that.

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?