Andrew Bogut not worried about contract extension with Warriors

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Andrew Bogut is entering the final season of his contract with the Warriors, and is feeling 100 percent healthy for the first time in over two years.

How healthy Bogut can remain and how much he impacts the Warriors’ expected playoff run will go a long way in determining whether or not he’s back with the team next season — or even if he makes it to the end of this one.

An expiring contract like Bogut’s — which is on the books for $14 million this year — is a tempting asset for teams out of serious playoff contention that would like to clear salary cap space for the following season to pursue some high-priced free agents. The Warriors will have options before the trade deadline passes, but if Bogut proves productive, it’s likely they’d keep him for the duration.

Whatever transpires with Bogut’s contract, it’s not something he’s focused on. It’s the first time in his career that Bogut will play in a contract year, but he believes the situation will take care of itself.

“I’m a firm believer that’ll take care of itself,” Bogut said, via Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. “I’m not the type to go into the front office, slam my fist on the table, and say ‘I want this, I want that.’ I respect the organization and what they’re doing, and I believe they respect me and the way I’ve handled the injury. In due course, it’ll take care of itself.

“I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve played in a contract year. After my rookie deal, in my third year I got an extension, so I was never in a contract year. This is the first time I’m going through this, but it’s still basketball to me. I’m going to do what I have in the past — come in early, try to help the younger guys, workout hard … try to win games.”

Bogut’s best season statistically came in 2009-10 while playing for the Milwaukee Bucks. He finished that year with averages of 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.5 blocked shots in 32.3 minutes per game.

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 Cavaliers 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. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.

Instead, look at his 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.

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.