George Karl’s current battle with throat cancer will have some fairly profound implications. The most notable of which will likely have nothing to do with basketball at all. But that hasn’t stopped Karl from keeping his eye to a potential return to the Nuggets later this season, optimally in time for Denver’s postseason run. From Joanne C. Gerstner of the New York Times’ Off the Dribble blog:
Karl underwent surgery Monday to have a feeding tube inserted. He…is undergoing a series of 35 radiation and chemotherapy treatments, with the procedures leaving his stomach in a delicate state…Assistant coach Adrian Dantley took over Karl’s duties in against the Timberwolves. The Nuggets expect Karl to be back for Friday’s game in New Orleans.
Karl understands how tough his fight will be. He overcame prostate cancer in 2005. “Cancer is a vicious opponent,” Karl said Feb. 17, during a press conference that revealed his condition. “Even the ones that are treatable, you never get a 100-percent guaranteed contract.”
Obviously these things are better left in the hands of Karl’s doctor of choice, but I will say this: if George, the Nuggets, or any of the Nuggets faithful out there expect Karl to go back to business as usual with ongoing radiation treatment, they’re sadly mistaken.
Coaching in the NBA is already an endeavor that requires endless energy and more hours than there are in a day. If that energy is sapped through medical treatment, not only will Karl be required to micromanage his staff in order to accomplish his usual tasks, but he may lose some of his passion for coaching during this particularly draining period.
That said, if you’re a believer in the power of positive thinking, then the very fact that Karl and the Nuggets are operating under the assumption that he’ll be there is a good thing. Maybe he will be, and maybe he won’t, but it can’t help to have that carrot dangling overhead.
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.