Draymond Green says don’t count out Warriors, as if anyone actually had

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Professional athletes will go to ridiculous lengths to find slights they can use as motivation.

Enter Draymond Green.

Last week gambling sight bovada.lv ranked the Warriors third in their odds to win the NBA title, behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and re-loaded San Antonio Spurs. Basically, the odds makers are saying the Warriors are title contenders — but Green sees an insult there, as reported on CSNBayArea.com.

“Everybody already said we’re not the favorite — we can’t do this, we can’t do that — so there will definitely be a chip (on the shoulder) there for sure,” Green said on KNBR 680-AM Wednesday night. “We’re the defending champs and everybody is counting us out already after the moves the Spurs made.”

Counting you out? That’s rather a reach. Good luck finding a prognosticator that does not call the Warriors a title contender — including the gambling site he mentions, which has Golden State at 5-1 to win it all, ahead of the Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, and a host of other teams that think they have a shot.

I think the Warriors are serious title contenders, but I’m not going to pick them to win it all. I may not pick them to get out of the West. The road to a repeat is hard and they are not used to having this target on their back. That’s not an indictment of them so much as a realistic look at the West — any of the Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, and Rockets could come out of the Western Conference and nobody would blink. Those five teams are all tightly bunched. (I’m not sold on Memphis being on that tier.)

Which means the margin of error for contenders in the West is miniscule. Which means luck is going to be a bigger factor than normal. Last season the Warriors were lucky in terms of staying healthy while the teams around them collapsed. They were fortunate based on the final day of the regular season to avoid the Spurs and Clippers in the playoffs. That’s not to diminish the title the Warriors earned, but luck plays a role in any team winning it all.

Will the Warriors be that lucky again? Maybe. But the Spurs or Clippers or someone else may be as well. Then after the West beats itself up, they will likely face a fresher Cavaliers team in the Finals.

But if that is motivation for you Draymond, go for it. Whatever works for you.

WNBA suspends Riquna Williams 10 games for domestic violence

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NEW YORK (AP) The WNBA has suspended Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams 10 games for a domestic violence incident.

The WNBA handed down the suspension Tuesday. Williams was arrested on April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.

The league conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the WNBA said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun.

The WNBA also will require Williams to participate in counseling.

Williams’ suspension will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.

Report: Bulls signing Luke Kornet for guaranteed $4.5M over two years

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Just three 7-footers have averaged 3.5 3-pointers per game and made 35% of them each of the last two seasons:

The Bulls will now have most of them.

Markkanen is Chicago’s top young player. Kornet will join him with the Bulls next season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

I’m a little surprised Kornet got more than his minimum ($3,383,360 over two years). But it’s worth taking a flier on him.

In addition to his outside shooting, Kornet has shown good timing as a shot-blocker in two seasons with the Knicks. The 24-year-old must get stronger and improve as a rebounder to play major minutes.

But the Bulls won’t have to press him into action. They also have Thaddeus Young, Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio as bigs.

Pistons claim Christian Wood off waivers

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The Bucks waived Christian Wood late last season to ensure avoiding the luxury tax. The Pelicans claimed him. Wood had played well in limited minutes with the 76ers, Hornets and Bucks and in the NBA’s minor league since going undrafted in 2015.

New Orleans gave him his biggest opportunity yet. In 24 minutes per game over eight games, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds.

But the Pelicans filled their roster for next season and waived Wood.

Detroit will take advantage.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has claimed forward/center Christian Wood off waivers.

Wood’s $1,645,357 minimum salary is unguaranteed until the regular season. So, Detroit could still waive him before the season. But it seems he’ll at least go to training camp and get a shot at a regular-season roster spot.

The Pelicans also could’ve kept him through the preseason then waived him before the regular season. They seemingly did him a favor of allowing him to get somewhere he has a realistic chance of sticking.

Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will start in the frontcourt for the Pistons. Markieff Morris and Thon Maker appear to be first in line is backups.

But don’t be surprised if Wood earns playing time. At minimum, the 23-year-old should provide nice depth at both power forward and center.

The Pistons have also now acquired four members of last year’s Bucks – Tony Snell, Thon Maker, Tim Frazier and now Wood.

Knicks: Reggie Bullock has spine injury

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Reggie Bullock had his agreed-upon salary cut by more than half with the Knicks. He’ll reportedly miss at least a month of the regular season.

All because of a mysterious health issue.

The Knicks have finally disclosed what’s happening.

Knicks release:

Reggie Bullock underwent successful surgery today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a cervical disc herniation. The team will plan to provide an update on his rehab and progress around the start of training camp.

Bullock is a good shooter from the wing. New York could use him. Many teams could use him.

But Bullock must get healthy first.

At this point, we probably shouldn’t expect much from him any time soon. The best indication: how eagerly his agent praised the Knicks for their handling of this situation. Again, Bullock settled for less than half his initially agreed-upon salary.