Report: Lakers, Byron Scott agree to four-year, $17 million deal to coach team

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Byron Scott is in a tough position as the Lakers coach. Right now he is essentially a placeholder.

But a well-paid placeholder as the Lakers and Scott have reached a deal, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to terms on a four-year, $17 million contract with Byron Scott to be their next head coach, sources told ESPN. The Lakers hold a team option on the final year of the deal.

The buzz around the league the debate was over years, not dollars. The Lakers are trying to figure out who their next star will be and then once they get that what system best fits that star. That system may or may not be something you want Scott to coach, but they didn’t want a long-term committment to him in case they need to go another direction. The Lakers preferred a two-year deal, Scott likely wanted four, this is a compromise.

Our own Brett Pollakoff detailed why the Lakers ultimately settled for Scott (if you’re the leading candidate yet it took three months before they picked you, they settled). For one thing, this is the guy Kobe Bryant wanted. Still, it’s not going to be easy for Scott. The Lakers are going to spend the next couple years working to get another superstar or two, the guy or guys to be face of the franchise after Kobe Bryant steps away. Until then they do not want to commit to a specific style of play or format, they want to be flexible. Scott has to be that guy, hold the fort until we get the stars in place and know who we want to be.

That’s not how the Lakers will sell it. They will sell “he’s part of the family.” They will sell player development and defense as his skills, even though at his last couple stays those things never really surfaced.

But the Lakers got their man. Kobe’s man. A guy who has been to the Finals as a coach (even though his star player ran him off after that), a guy with rings as a Lakers player, a guy who is part of the family. That is what they can sell.

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?