You can be sure NBA teams will come knocking on UConn coach Kevin Ollie’s door

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During a recent ESPN/Grantland Bill Simmons podcast, Kevin Durant sang the praises of his former teammate Kevin Ollie — “[Ollie’s] mindset, his professionalism, every single day. And we all watched that, we all wanted to be like that, and it rubbed off on Russell [Westbrook], myself, Jeff Green, James Harden.”

That would be Ollie the head coach of the UConn Huskies, your NCAA national champions.

Now let’s play a hypothetical game: Say you are one of those teams that in 2016 is going to try and pry then free agent Kevin Durant out of Oklahoma City, and for fun say you are in the next couple years hiring a coach to lead that team…

You can bet NBA teams are going to knock on Ollie’s door. Starting this summer.

NBA GMs were (anonymously, of course, otherwise they get a massive fine) telling Jeff Goodman of ESPN that the league will come after Ollie soon.

“It’s just a matter of time,” said one NBA general manager. “The league will come calling. He’s a great communicator and has a calm demeanor. This win alone, however, doesn’t just tilt the scale. It breaks it.”

“He would be excellent,” another GM said following Monday night’s victory. “He’s a stud. He understands the NBA, he’s a leader, has faced adversity and fought through it.”

One NBA executive told me that whichever team (or teams) makes a run after Kevin Durant when he becomes a free agent, “will throw the whole ATM after [Ollie].”

Money is one thing NBA teams can offer — Ollie will make $1.3 million next season at UConn (without bonuses) and a number of NBA teams can and would crush that offer.

That doesn’t mean Ollie wants to leave UConn, a place that as an NBA player he would say he wanted to return to, calling it “home.” It does mean that UConn would be wise to give the man a raise and put some healthy buyouts in his next contract.

But that is not going to stop the NBA from calling. The question is what does Ollie want? Right now he is the guy with all the leverage. And an NCAA title.

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.