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George Karl says he wants to coach next season, but health will determine

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In one sense, George Karl is just like Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and JR Smith — who knows if they will be back with the Nuggets next season.

Except Karl is for a refreshingly non-monetary reason, as he told the Associated Press before the game. It’s all about his health.

“At the end of the year, if my health is more important, then I’ll walk away from the game of basketball,” Karl said. “I’m not saying that’s what I want. But I’m not saying that I haven’t thought about that more than any time in my life.

“So, I don’t think (what the front office decides) matters a lot to me, because as much as they’re evaluating me and what they want to do with me, I’m probably evaluating what I want to do with me….”

“I mean, would I bet on me not coaching? I wouldn’t bet on me not coaching. I think I’m going to be coaching,” Karl said. “But there’s still a lot of steps. There’s some hurdles I’ve got to jump through, there’s some hoops I’ve got to jump through.

“I’m fired up. I think I’ve got great people behind me. I’ve got great support, the spirit of karma of what’s going on in my life has been a blessing. So, I’m feeling pretty good about my chances. But in the same sense, there is some things about stress and getting your immune system working the right way that has been brought to my attention.”

Karl returned to the bench this season after missing the second half of last season with throat cancer. He is a two-time cancer survivor and this season his perspective on the game and coaching seems different. He has clearly tried to keep the stress down, a Sisyphean task for an NBA coach.

All of it — the health, the family, the love of what he does — carries over to whether or not he comes back or not, regardless of the makeup of the team.

And regardless of being contenders or rebuilding, the Nuggets would be better off with him on the bench. Providing he wants to be there.

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.


Stephen Curry drops 30 on Portland in preseason (VIDEO)

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Somebody is in midseason form.

Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.

Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.