Associated Press

Steve Kerr urges youth to keep working for change on gun violence

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NEWARK, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr believes the voices of America’s youth are finally being heard enough to create real change when it comes to gun violence.

Kerr told students at a Bay Area high school that safety in schools should be their “No. 1 issue,” urged them to vote and consider what they might be able to do to make gun safety and awareness a priority.

Kerr, the Golden State Warriors coach who has been outspoken on many social justice issues , drew a big crowd and a standing ovation before sharing how his life was affected by gun violence more than three decades ago when his father was shot dead in a terrorist attack.

“I’m not here because I’m the Warriors coach. Actually I am, because I wouldn’t have been invited. I’m here because I’m a citizen of this country and we’re a democracy and when people say stick to sports, stick to coaching, that means nothing,” Kerr said Monday at Newark Memorial High School. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to speak on something that’s very important to me.”

Kerr joined U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and students from throughout the South Bay to discuss the issue. Also in attendance was Matt Deitsch, 20, whose younger brother and sister stayed locked in closets during last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“I think he sees what so many of us see: There’s a moment in this country that can make a difference,” Khanna said.

Deitsch identified himself as the oldest member of the “Never Again” movement. He and others in his group plan to march in Washington, D.C., on March 24.

“It will change things because the youth is mobilizing at a rate that scares the status quo,” said Deitsch, who noted: “This is affecting all communities. It can happen anywhere.”

Kerr believes young people will help create change. “All I’ve really done is expressed my outrage and my concern,” he said.

Kerr said he’d like to do more, perhaps getting “my team involved.”

“I have been truly inspired by what I’m seeing lately from the kids at Douglas High School,” Kerr said. “I’m inspired by what’s happening. It feels real. For the first time, it feels like something’s happening.”

Kerr’s father, Malcolm, president of the American University of Beirut, was murdered in Beirut when Kerr was 18 and a freshman at the University of Arizona.

“I know how the Parkland families feel, or the Aurora families, or Sandy Hook,” Kerr said. “I know what it feels like. I met family members from Las Vegas. I know what that feels like. It’s awful. It’s devastating. It’s horrible.”

 

Report: Jimmy Butler to miss Minnesota media day, not participate on court to start camp

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The dumpster fire in Minnesota just got a little hotter.

What had been reported as something that could happen — Jimmy Butler missing the start of training camp — has come to reality. Butler has been given permission to miss media day and will not participate on the court to start camp, reports Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Skipping media day is an effort to dampen the circus… good luck with that.

Not participating to start the camp is Butler’s way of exerting pressure and trying to get traded sooner rather than later.

In a meeting last Tuesday in Los Angeles, Butler asked for a tradespecifically to the Clippers/Nets/Knicks. That was the start of a week where things devolved quickly in Minnesota, including social media drama with Andrew Wiggins and rumors about Towns’ girlfriend being at the heart of the problem.

Thibodeau has forcefully shot down any other team that even tried to start a trade discussion, and would rather quit than move him for a rebuilding package of picks. Part of that is good negotiations, right now offers are not going to be that good, and part of it is Thibodeau realizes his job on the line and this team is not as good without Butler.

With Thibodeau wanting no part of trading Butler, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor — who has a rocky relationship with Thibodeau — is fielding trade offers and is taking charge of the situation, a bad sign for Thibodeau.

Looming over all of this is the future of the franchise — Karl-Anthony Towns has a $158 million contract extension sitting on the table, but told management he can’t coexist with Butler and reportedly will not sign the new deal until the Butler situation is resolved.

Sources around the league think Butler will get moved, but the demand for him is not as strong as the Timberwolves would hope. Teams that want him think they can get him as a free agent and are not offering much, others will not throw in much for a potential rental. Beyond that, teams are worried that if they sign or re-sign Butler next summer to a deal (the team with his Bird rights can offer five-years, $190 million, others can offer four years at $139 million) they will regret the finals year or two of the contract, because while Butler is just 29 he has Thibodeau miles on him and has battled some injuries, including last season.

Adam Silver defends penalty to Cuban for Mavericks’ misconduct

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NEW YORK (AP) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he didn’t suspend Mark Cuban because the Mavericks owner was never directly implicated in the misconduct toward women within his organization.

Silver acknowledged Friday that Cuban should have been more aware of what was going on, but felt a suspension wasn’t warranted being that Cuban wasn’t accused of anything by any of the more than 200 people interviewed in a report into the team’s workplace that was released this week.

Silver also cited Cuban’s response to the original “Sports Illustrated” report detailing years of examples of a hostile workplace for women on the business side of the team, and the organization’s cooperation with investigators afterward in choosing not to hand down further punishment.

Cuban agreed to contribute $10 million to help further the cause of women in sports and raise awareness about domestic violence. Silver could have only fined him $2.5 million under NBA rules.

 

Kings’ Bogdan Bogdanovic tweaks knee in FIBA qualifying, to have surgery

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This is why NBA teams don’t love it when their players go off to the national team over the summer.

Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic tweaked his knee playing for Serbia Monday, and now is going to have to have surgery on his left knee. It’s described as minor, but it’s still surgery. Here is the Kings’ release:

Sacramento Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic exited Serbia’s 91-65 World Cup Qualifying victory over Estonia on Monday after experiencing left knee discomfort early in the first quarter. Further evaluation revealed a minor injury to his left knee. On Monday, a minor arthroscopic procedure is scheduled at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, to be performed by Dr. Riley Williams. Bogdanovic is expected to make a full recovery and an update will be provided when it is available.

Bogdanovic had surgery on this same knee just after the season, and while this is considered less serious it’s still something to watch. Don’t expect to see him on the court preseason. The Kings have media day Monday and open training camp on Tuesday.

Bogdanovic, a 6’6″ sharp-shooting wing, averaged 11.8 points a game and shot 39.2 percent from three last season, making second-team All-Rookie.

Suns officially sign De’Anthony Melton for two-years, $2.3 million

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The Phoenix Suns are very high on De’Anthony Melton — he was the guy for the future they wanted when they took on Ryan Anderson‘s contract from Houston.

Friday, the Suns made it official and signed Melton.

If you’re wondering about the money…

Melton is a 6’4″ guard who could be a future backcourt mate with Devin Booker. Unless you’re a recruiting junkie, you probably first heard his name as the player in the middle of the NCAA/FBI recruiting scandal. He fell to 46th in the draft. However, at Summer League he showed why he was highly recruited and what he could become as a pro, averaging 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, showing potential as both a three-point shooter and defender. It’s just Summer League, and Melton looked like a guy who missed a season of play at times, but the potential is there.

The Suns are going to get to explore that potential at a reasonable price for a couple of seasons.