Report: Nets using taxpayer mid-level exception on Bojan Bogdanovic

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The Nets bought the No. 31 pick in the 2011 NBA draft, selecting Bojan Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic – not to be confused with Bogdan Bogdanović, who was choked by his coach and then drafted by the Suns at No. 27 this year – has played in Turkey since.

Now, the Croatian will join the NBA.

To sign him, like any second rounder, Brooklyn must use cap space or an exception. Cap space is off the table for the Nets, who are headed toward another year deep in the luxury tax, and the minimum-salary exception is not enough to lure Bogdanovic.

That means Bogdanovic will take the Nets’ primary tool for upgrading their roster.

ESPN New York:

A league source told ESPNNewYork.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk on Monday that European sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic will sign a three-year contract with the Nets for the taxpayer’s mini mid-level exception. The deal includes a third-year player option, the source said, that could make it worth $10.3 million.

The full taxpayer mid-level exception (taxpayers’ and mini are redundant in that except) is worth $3,278,000 starting and $10,550,175 over three years. I’m not sure whether Bogdanovic got the full amount and Youngmisuk just rounded or whether Bogdanovic accepted slightly less.

Bogdanovic taking $10.3 million rather than $10,550,175 won’t give the Nets any more flexibility to sign free agents. They’ll still have only minimum-salary contracts to offer free agents.

Looking for more downside for Brooklyn? There’s no guarantee the 25-year-old Bogdanovic will even help the Nets. Though he shot 41 percent on 3-pointers each of the previous two years, Bogdanovic hit just 29 percent of his shots from beyond the arc last season. That’s a glaringly low mark for a supposedly strong shooter.

Bogdanovic has expanded his game, but with Brooklyn facing limited means to upgrade beyond him, he faces pressure to translate his other skills to the NBA. That might be an uphill battle.

If Bogdanovic is the best the Nets could do with their MLE, it’s probably time to pay Paul Pierce.

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?