ANAHEIM — For all the talk, for all the build-up, the NBA league office memos, when the national anthem played before the first NBA preseason games, it looked a lot like last season.
In Anaheim, the Lakers and Timberwolves players stood at their respective free throw lines, locked arms, a few bowed their heads — exactly what was seen from teams around the league last season. Before the game the Lakers had talked of wanting to show support for other protests going on in the country.
At the Warriors first preseason game, the Nuggets players locked arms, and Golden State had announced before tipoff the players had decided not to protest the anthem. After the game Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he was proud of his team’s decision.
It’s very much unlike what had been going on in the NFL, where players taking a knee during the anthem has created a controversy, with players getting support from some quarters and anger from others — including President Donald Trump.
The NBA owners were concerned enough about the topic to discuss it at length during their recent Board of Governors meetings, according to a source with knowledge of the discussion. It was those talks that led to the memo (obtained by NBC Sports) that went out to teams on Friday night, which primarily suggesting that the organizations have discussions on the issue from ownership through the players. It also suggested things like having a player address the crowd before games, video messages, and did mention the league’s rule players must stand for the anthem.
While the controversy may not be going away in the NFL — and the WNBA has seen protests throughout the playoffs including teams leaving the court for the anthem — in the NBA opening night was business as usual. The league got what it wanted — a focus on the games.
“Ray Allen from long distance” with chip shot to save par at American Century Classic
“Ray Allen from long distance, how many times have we said that?”
Ray Allen had a good weekend at the American Century Championships, the former NBA sharpshooter and future Hall of Famer finished third in the celebrity golf event. One of the reasons he was there, this chip shot on 13 Sunday.
Former Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo won the event, with former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder was second.
LeBron James sits courtside for Lakers’ Summer League win
There are two, maybe three guys playing for the Lakers in Summer League likely to be sharing a locker room with LeBron James next season — Isaac Bonga and Josh Hart, with maybe Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and/or Alex Caruso. Only Hart could see the court much.
LeBron was still courtside on Sunday for a quarterfinal game at Summer League, showing his support and being a good teammate. He gave Hart a hug on the court. Brandon Ingram stopped by and talked with LeBron for a bit.
LeBron watched the Lakers continue their strong run through the Summer League, racking up a 101-78 win. LeBron was into it, when Mykhailiuk took a shot midway through the first quarter LeBron yelled, ‘cash only!” The shot was nothing but net.
The Lakers are on to the Summer League semifinals. Los Angeles won the Vegas Summer League last year.
After losing to his father in golf, Stephen Curry leaps into Lake Tahoe
Chimezie Metu showed some promise in the Summer League games he played for San Antonio, scoring 12.5 points a game on 55 percent shooting in Las Vegas, and 10.7 per game on 54 percent shooting in Salt Lake City. The second round pick of the Spurs (No. 49 overall) is raw and needs a lot of development, but he can get buckets. The potential is there.
That development is going to be on hold a while, as what was thought to be a sprained wrist has turned out to be a fracture.
After an examination Saturday, the Spurs medical staff downgraded second-round pick Chimezie Metu’s left wrist injury from a sprain to a fracture, a league source said Saturday.
Metu was injured late in the Spurs’ 95-90 win over Washington on July 8 at the Las Vegas Summer League, when he landed awkwardly after leaping to catch a lob pass at the rim. The 6-foot-10 big man finished the game but was sidelined for the remainder of the schedule.
After undergoing X-rays at the Thomas & Mack Center, Metu was diagnosed with a sprain. But Spurs’ team doctors suspected a possible fracture, which was confirmed after Metu returned to San Antonio on Saturday.
Metu should be good to go by training camp. Metu is hoping his summer and training camp play will earn him a roster spot, although the Spurs tend not to sign second-round picks the year they were drafted (they tend to let them spend a year or two in the G-League or in Europe). A lot of his chances on making the roster depend on any other moves the Spurs make this summer and what their roster looks like come the fall.