Reports: Spurs making run at Ray Allen, who remains undecided if he will play anywhere

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Ray Allen was very comfortable and happy in Miami — he was playing on a contender in a warm-weather city with lots of great golf where his family was comfortable, and he was making more than the league minimum.

Then this summer happened.

Now Allen’s option involve making the league minimum and contending in cold-winter Cleveland, or maybe joining old coach Doc Rivers in warm-weather Los Angeles on a team already loaded at the two-guard spot (J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, plus you can play Reggie Bullock there or the three) in a deep Western Conference that will be hard to escape just to get to the Finals. Dallas has tried to get in the mix but are they really contenders?

Now throw San Antonio in the mix, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

On the court Allen could certainly fit in with the Spurs, and it’s not a cold city. But the offer will likely be for the minimum. And again, the West is loaded. Certainly the Spurs have set the bar in that conference but there are teams close to clearing it.

Nothing seems a good fit and retirement remains on the table, something reinforced by Stein and Alex Kennedy at BasketballInsiders.

Allen has to decide if he wants to put his body through the NBA regular season grind again to chase another ring. He’s not doing it for the money. Does he want to be away from his family that much? Has he reached the point in his life where that trade off is not worth it? What does he want to do post NBA?

Allen doesn’t have to make his decision yet, he’s got until training camps open and beyond. He can let things play out and join a team mid-season should he want. There is no pressure on him, save what old teammates and coaches try to apply.

This could play out for a while longer.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

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Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

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 Celtics 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. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s 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.