Report: ‘No chance’ Kevin Love stays with Timberwolves

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The Kevin Love saga marches on, and there’s likely not going to be an official resolution reached for at least another month, while newly-signed players in both Cleveland and Chicago — the most likely destinations for Love to land in any trade — are forced to wait a league-mandated 30 days before they can be dealt.

In case the Timberwolves are thinking about letting this drag on even further, and possibly entering the season with Love still on the roster in hopes that a strong start might change his mind about being open to re-upping in Minnesota, well — that ship has apparently sailed.

From Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Basketball Insiders):

If the Timberwolves are still hoping they can persuade Kevin Love not to opt out of his contract after next season, they can give up hope.

The all-star forward is adamant about leaving, either by forcing a trade or on his own. For a variety of reasons, there is no chance he will change his mind.

Had the Wolves, however, given Love a maximum five-year contract instead of four years in 2012, he would not have wanted out of Minnesota.

There was a time when that last part might have been true, but I’m not so sure the franchise’s failure to lock up Love on a max extension really is factoring that much into his decision at present.

Minnesota’s inability to make the postseason, failure to surround Love with a consistent level of talent, and revolving door at the head coaching position are all likely bigger issues for him now than the fact the team (under a now fired GM in David Khan) failed to offer him the full contract extension he was seeking.

The Timberwolves playing in a small market where no free agents will willingly sign certainly doesn’t help, and the fact that Love is looking at immediate championship contention playing alongside LeBron James in Cleveland is better than anything Minnesota could offer — which is why the decision he’s already made to leave one way or another is an easy one to justify.

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?