Report: Trail Blazers signing Steve Blake

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The Trail Blazers used their mid-level exception on Chris Kaman, removing their biggest weapon for re-signing Mo Williams.

That leaves Portland in need of a backup point guard.

Enter Steve Blake.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

The full bi-annual exception pays $4,247,465. I’m not sure whether Berger was rounding or Blake took a little less. Obviously, that small difference doesn’t matter much.

Blake is a familiar face in Portland, where he’ll join the Blazers for his third separate stint. This time around, he’ll back up Damian Lillard.

Blake finished last season in Golden State, somewhat adequately filling the Warriors’ need for a backup point guard. But it should be telling they prioritized an upgrade at that spot this offseason, signing Shaun Livingston. At 34, Blake will likely fall short of his previous production in Portland, so the Trail Blazers shouldn’t expect too much. He’s an above-average backup at this point, but not much more.

For the record, this doesn’t change what Portland can offer Williams. His non-Bird rights still allow room for a four-year, $13,588,848 contract with the The Trail Blazers. But considering Portland just filled his role and he can likely make more elsewhere, Williams is likely moving on.

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?