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LeBron James on Donald Trump: “He’s kind of used sports to kind of divide us”

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LeBron James does not shy away from social issues, and knows his status and reach give him some power. He has used that to call President Donald Trump a “bum” before.

Doing rounds of media following his non-profit foundation partnering with the Akron School District to open a new school aimed at helping the most at-risk youth in his hometown, the topic of Trump came up again (on CNN with Don Lemon).

Once again, LeBron did not hold back.

Also from that interview (hat tip TMZ):

“When you’re a part of sports, it just brings so much camaraderie and so much fun. We’re in a position right now in America, more importantly, where this race thing has taken over because I believe our president is kinda trying to divide us.”

Kinda?

”He is (trying to divide us). I don’t want to say kinda. He’s dividing us, and what I’ve noticed over the last few months is that he’s kind of used sports to kind of divide us.”

“That’s something that I can’t relate to because I know that sport was the first time I was ever around someone white. And I got the opportunity to see them and learn about them and they got the opportunity to learn about me and we became very good friends, and I was like ‘oh wow this is all because of sports.’ Sports have never been something that divides people, it’s always something that brings someone together.”

LeBron is right, the President and others want to use sports — specifically, the NFL’s anthem controversy — to both divide the nation and rile up his base. There is no nuance to the conversation, no back-and-forth, no dialogue.

There will be no meaningful repercussions for LeBron speaking out against the president. For one, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has encouraged players to use social media to be involved in causes, he will back LeBron. Jeanie Buss will not say anything as the Lakers’ owner (and unlike the NFL, elite NBA players have the power in that relationship). Most importantly, the NBA and NFL have very different fan bases, and the younger, more urban, more diverse NBA will mostly just nod in agreement with him.

LeBron is going to keep speaking his mind, and Los Angeles he could have even a larger megaphone.

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.