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Detroit – Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy isn’t trying to be political rabble-rouser, he really isn’t.

But he is a man of passionate convictions, so when he’s asked a political question, he doesn’t hold back. At least he hasn’t lately.

Before the Pistons played the Cavaliers Monday night, Van Gundy was asked about President Donald Trump’s recent Twitter battles with LaVar Ball, father of UCLA basketball LiAngelo Ball, who was accused of shoplifting and arrested in Japan, and running back Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch raised Trump’s Twitter ire by standing for the Mexican national anthem Sunday and sitting for the American national anthem.

Van Gundy’s response to Trump’s social media outbursts was classic.

“I don’t get it,” Van Gundy said. “I just don’t get it, I really don’t. Look, you are the president of the United States, the leader of the free world. There has to be something more important than getting into it with LaVar Ball and Marshawn Lynch. There has to be something else that you can spend your time on as president.

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“I don’t know what it is – North Korea? Trade pacts? There just has to be something. That can’t be at the top of your priority list, I wouldn’t think. But obviously, it is.”

Van Gundy was asked to pen an essay for Time Magazine on his views on athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. He essentially called them patriots.

“Patriotism is caring so deeply about your country that you take it as your duty to hold it accountable to its highest values and to fight to make it the very best it can be,” he said. “Under this definition, these athletes and coaches are role models of American patriotism.”

Notable

Center Jon Leuer (left ankle sprain) was out again Monday, missing his ninth straight game. He was scheduled to have another MRI on Monday, but Van Gundy didn’t have any information on that before the game.

Twitter @cmccosky

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