Kurt Helin

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LeBron James endorses Hillary Clinton for president

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“Only one person running truly understands the struggles of an Akron child born into poverty.”

With that line, LeBron James endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. He wrote an op-ed that has appeared on Business Insider and will run in the Akron Beacon Journal on Monday.

Few NBA players — or professional athletes for that matter — will endorse anyone in this race. Colin Kaepernick certainly has not. Without a doubt there are a few Trump supporters among NBA players (and more than a few owners — Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert recently hosted a Trump fundraiser in Ohio). But LeBron is a popular figure in a swing state, amplifying his voice on the issue.

Here is part of what he wrote:

I support Hillary because she will build on the legacy of my good friend, President Barack Obama. I believe in what President Obama has done for our country and support her commitment to continuing that legacy.

Like my foundation, Hillary has always been a champion for children and their futures. For over 40 years, she’s been working to improve public schools, expand access to health care, support children’s hospitals, and so much more….

Finally, we must address the violence, of every kind, the African-American community is experiencing in our streets and seeing on our TVs. I believe rebuilding our communities by focusing on at-risk children is a significant part of the solution. However, I am not a politician, I don’t know everything it will take finally to end the violence. But I do know we need a president who brings us together and keeps us unified. Policies and ideas that divide us more are not the solution.

Republican nominee Donald Trump leads in Ohio polls, and there are reports the Clinton campaign is pulling back from the state to focus on other swing states (her path to winning does not need to include Ohio).

In what is a contentious election, it would not be a surprise to see some NBA players endorse one candidate or the other. None of which likely carries much weight with voters. Certainly, LeBron in Ohio carries more than most.

Darren Collison gets off easy with eight-game suspension for domestic violence

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The Kings have caught a break. When the Hornets’ Jeff Taylor accepted a guilty plea for domestic violence several years ago, he got a 24 game suspension.

This summer Kings’ point guard Darren Collison accepted a plea deal in a domestic violence case (one misdemeanor charge) involving his wife that also included 20 days in jail (although he will not serve his time in a traditional jail) and three years probation.

However, Collison will only be suspended eight games to start the season (less than 1/10th of the season), something first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN and now confirmed by the league.

This is a suspension without pay that will cost Collison $380,000.

The Kings released this statement.

“Domestic violence is a serious issue and directly contradicts the values of the Sacramento Kings. Darren has taken responsibility for his actions and will work to raise awareness of this critical issue in the community. We support the NBA’s decision on this matter.”

The NBA does independent investigations of these cases and does consult with a panel of experts in the domestic violence field when coming up with these recommendations. Here is a portion of their press release on how they got to this number.

Based on this investigation, consultation, and a careful weighing of all the facts and circumstances, the NBA determined that an eight-game suspension was appropriate.  Among other factors, the NBA took into account the conduct and its result, the player’s acceptance of responsibility, his cooperation with both law enforcement and the NBA, and his voluntary participation in counseling in addition to the court-mandated program.  

I don’t doubt they put thought into this incident, and that it is different from the Taylor case. Collison is not the player you’d expect to be in this situation if you talk to him, and I think the Kings handled this well. Regardless of the circumstances around it, domestic violence is a serious issue nationally and in professional sports. It is unacceptable behavior, and this punishment from the league feels light.

 

The Kings have Ty Lawson, Isaiah Cousins, and Jordan Farmar at the point until Collison returns.

Rumor: Looking for another wing, Bucks have talks with Hornets about Jeremy Lamb

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With Khris Middleton out until well after the All-Star Game following surgery to repair a torn hamstring, the Bucks have been rumored to be in the market for another wing player. Rashad Vaughn is going to get a lot of run as will Jason Terry, plus rookie Malcolm Brogdon will get a chance. But even as a committee, that is a steep drop off from Middleton.

Over at the blog of Racine Journal-Times Bucks beat writer Gery Woelfel, he takes a stab at wings the Bucks may consider trading for. While there is a lot of interesting speculation about guys like Ben McLemore and Nick Young, there is this nugget:

There have been whispers the Bucks and Hornets have had conversations about a deal in which the Bucks would get Lamb and big man Spencer Hawes for Greg Monroe.

The Bucks have been looking to move Monroe since the middle of last season, and this would represent a great haul for him. Lamb is a solid wing who gave the Hornets more than 18 minutes a night off the bench and 8.8 points a game. He’s not a great threat from three, he needs to work on his defense, but he’s a solid NBA rotation player.

I’m not sure why Charlotte would do this deal. Yes, Monroe is an upgrade over the Cody Zeller/Roy Hibbert rotation they have up front now, but is it worth giving up Lamb in the process? Lamb is on an affordable contract for two seasons after this, while Monroe can opt out and be a free agent next summer, then potentially walk away from Charlotte.

Just know that there will be more Bucks trade rumors, between Monroe and the wing spot they are active right now.

 

LeBron James, some Cavaliers were at Kanye West show, hung with him in Cleveland

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Team bonding exercises are important in training camp — do things off the court where the players develop chemistry. Teams go bowling or go to dinner or…

Go to a Kanye West concert. Then hang out with the star himself. Together they run this town.

Via USA Today’s Alysha Tsuji (and Eye on Basketball)

We know that Tristan Thompson, Richard Jefferson, Dahntay Jones, and the unsigned J.R. Smith were all there — but was Iman Shumpert? He’s naked in Kanye’s “Fade” video, but he can’t make the show?

After the show, the whole clique got together.

Derrick Rose makes odd statement about “penitentiary work outs”

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Sometimes Derrick Rose phrases things poorly. Or at least oddly.

The latest in a long line of those phrases came Saturday. Tuesday the Knicks tip-off their preseason schedule in Houston, but also Tuesday the civil trial where a woman is accusing Rose and some companions of rape starts in Los Angeles. Rose plans to fly with the Knicks to Houston, and it is possible this just gets settled out of court (it would be far from the first case settled at the last minute).

Rose was asked about staying in shape if he has to spend time in Los Angeles at the trial, and that’s where the odd answer came, in, via Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“No, I do penitentiary workouts, bro. I be in my room doing pushups, sit-ups. I got it from Lamar Odom. From when I played in my first World Championship team. The way he prepped himself before games, it was kind of like mini-workouts before the game.”

Anyone who travels and wants to stay in shape gets what Rose is trying to say — there are plenty of exercises that can be done in a hotel room. You don’t need much room for planks. Stretching and flexibility work can be done anywhere.

This reminds me of the “I want to walk at my son’s graduation” comment — his underlying meaning makes a lot of sense, but the phrasing of it seems odd.

One other thing we know about Rose: He doesn’t read about or care what anyone thinks of what he says. He’s not obsessed with his image. He knows who he is.

We’ll see if Rose is playing in Houston on Tuesday. Rose and the Knick are going to be one of the more interesting teams to watch on the court — and how all those pieces fit together — this season.