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.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.