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James to make Lakers debut in Portland

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Oregon -- It's not going to be just a game when the Los Angeles Lakers invade Moda Center Thursday night to face the Portland Trail Blazers in the regular-season opener for both teams.

It will be a happening.

It's the first game in the splendid 16-year NBA career of LeBron James that the future Hall of Famer will be wearing the uniform of a Western Conference club -- the Lakers, with whom he signed a free-agent contract during the offseason.

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G League to offer $125K to top prospects

MIAMI (AP) The G League will begin offering "select contracts" worth $125,000 next year to elite prospects who are not yet eligible for the NBA, a move that could slightly lessen the handful of one-and-done players at the college level.

There is no determination yet on how players will be identified as potential targets for such a contract. The G League said Thursday that it is establishing a working group to develop that process and other criteria, and that there will be no cap on how many players could be signed to a select deal.

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Nuggets give Malone contract extension

DENVER (AP) The Denver Nuggets agreed a contract extension with coach Michael Malone, who was in the final season of a four-year deal.

The team didn't release details of the extension, but ESPN reported the extension was for two seasons.

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Simmons, Embiid power 76ers past Bulls

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Ben Simmons had a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists and Joel Embiid had 30 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Chicago Bulls 127-108 on Thursday night.

Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 30 points in their season opener.

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Howard misses Wizards opener due to back

WASHINGTON (AP) Dwight Howard sat out the Washington Wizards' season opener Thursday night with what the team said is a sore buttocks.

Washington's new starting center missed all of training camp and the entire exhibition schedule. He did not participate in any practices at all until Monday.

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NBA website has more officiating info

NEW YORK (AP) The NBA is getting even more transparent about the calls its officials make.

The league has revamped its nba.com/official website, adding video archives of plays that merited reviews as well as detailed breakdowns of the responsibilities of officiating crews working each game.

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Leonard has 24 in debut to lead Raptors

TORONTO (AP) Kawhi Leonard helped the Toronto Raptors extend their success in season-opening games.

Leonard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in his Toronto debut, Kyle Lowry scored 27 points and the Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-104 on Wednesday night, extending their streak of opening-night victories to six.

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Davis, Mirotic help Pelicans rip Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) Anthony Davis couldn't help but notice James Harden's freshly minted MVP trophy sitting at midcourt before a ceremony during warmups on Wednesday night.

After Harden hoisted the trophy for the first time before the Toyota Center home crowd and received a few MVP chants throughout the night, Davis began to make an MVP case of his own.

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DeRozan leads Spurs past Wolves, Butler

SAN ANTONIO (AP) DeMar DeRozan responded to a trade he didn't want with his usual boundless energy and fearless style in the fourth quarter for San Antonio. Jimmy Butler hasn't received a trade he's requested, and turned in a similar performance for Minnesota.

DeRozan had 28 points in his San Antonio debut, LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and 19 rebounds and the Spurs overcame a 23-point performance by Butler in a 112-108 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night in a matchup of teams coming off a tumultuous offseason.

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Mitchell's big 4th helps Jazz beat Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Donovan Mitchell wasn't happy with Utah's sporadic defense and neither was coach Quin Snyder.

Good thing the Jazz had plenty of scoring options to make up for it.

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