George Karl cleared by doctors, will be back on Nuggets bench

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Thumbnail image for George_Karl.jpgThis may be the best news we’ve heard all summer.

From the Denver Post comes the official word from coach George Karl.

“It’s official,” George Karl said Thursday just before taking off for a long Labor Day weekend with family. “I’ve been cleared to go for it. My PET scan came back great.”

Karl will be back on the Nuggets’ bench come the fall. That had been expected, even by Karl, as reports on his recovery had been good all summer. But there needed to be the final, official word. Now it’s here.

As anyone who has dealt with cancer in their family can tell you, the road is not over for Karl, who has fought off cancer twice now. There will be a lot more tests and monitoring.

“In three months, I’m going to have another PET scan,” he said. “I’ll probably have three or four more PET scans in the next year. And then the second year it won’t be that many, it might be only two, but you’ve still got to go through them.

Not everything is right in Karl’s world, however. This was throat cancer he was fighting, so the chemotherapy and treatments were aimed there. That affected his ability to eat and drink severely, he’s still on soup and cottage cheese and other softer foods.

And then there is the other thing it took away.

“I’ve had a beer and it tasted awful,” he said. “It tasted so bad that I actually had to ask, ‘Are you sure the beer is good?’ It tasted like I was drinking Alka-Seltzer. So that was disappointing. I’m going to wait a little longer, because the taste of beer is really important to me. I want that one to get back.

Damn cancer.

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.

Just a reminder that Joakim Noah would like some more run

Joakim Noah
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Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.

And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.

Three thoughts here.

1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.

2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.

3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.