Cavaliers coach David Blatt: ‘This war is Israel’s most justified war I can remember in recent years’

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David Blatt coached Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel before becoming the Cavaliers’ head coach. He is American-born and Jewish. He also holds dual-citizenship in the United States and Israel, and while he is here coaching his family has remained in Israel.

There, I think we established most of Blatt’s relevant biases up front.

Blatt recently gave his opinion on the conflict in Israel. Blatt, in a Q&A with Yoav Borovitch of Globes, an Israeli publication:

Do you support the operation?

“Absolutely. In my opinion, this war is Israel’s most justified war I can remember in recent years. I’m really sorry about what’s happening in Gaza, but there’s no doubt that we had to act there, so that Israel will have quiet there once and for all, and we can live in peace.”

Do you feel support for Israel in the US?

“There’s support, although sometimes it’s not enough. In my opinion, though, there’s more support this time than before.”

Many people want professional athletes and coaches to use their platforms for political purposes. Michael Jordan received a lot of criticism for his “Republicans buy sneakers, too” quote (which he might never have said).

But for those who want their sports figures to delve into politics, there’s typically a subtext to the desire – only when the athlete or coach takes the popular stance. Athletes like Muhammad Ali have seen their reputation enhanced over time as their political views have become more accepted. During his career, Ali was not viewed nearly as favorably.

In that reality, Blatt puts himself squarely on the line.

Opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the United States and abroad, is divided. Blatt will gain supporters and enemies with his quote.

Maybe Blatt is too close to the situation. Maybe he’s too far removed.

Maybe his perspective is better than ours. Maybe it’s worse.

Maybe he’s right. Maybe he’s wrong.

Regardless, Blatt is putting himself out there in a way few NBA coaches do.

PBT Extra: One last mock draft of NBA lottery

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DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).

After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.

Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.

Report: Dewayne Dedmon opts in for $6.3 million with Hawks

AP Photo/Todd Kirkland
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The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.

And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.

He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.

Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.

If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.

Nick Young says ‘everybody needs to do cocaine,’ later insists he was joking

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.

Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.

Young, via TMZ:

“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”

Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.

Report: 76ers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.

Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.

So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.

Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.