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.
DeMarcus Cousins had a bitter exit from the Kings, but that won’t be the last they see of him.
Cousins’ Pelicans will host Sacramento tomorrow night.
Not that Cousins rushed to talk about the matchup.
Justin Verrier of ESPN:
Cousins is pretty funny when joking with the media, and his smile is contagious. Just listen to all the laughs Cousins generates as he goes through his shtick.
Bonus points to Cousins for eventually breaking down and providing real answers. Some of his relationships in Sacramento were clearly meaningful to him, and he wanted to acknowledge those — even if he’d prefer just to get past this awkward game and all the talk it invites.
Lauri Markkanen is 7-foot and made 42% of his 3-pointers this season.
That combination alone will have NBA teams drooling, and the Arizona freshman will capitalize.
Evan Daniels of Scout:
Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen is declaring for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent, multiple sources told Scout.
Markkanen seems pretty certain to get picked in the lottery, likely in the top 10.
Calling him a good shooter for his height undersells him. It’s not just he shoots so efficiently from deep, it’s that he can generate 3-pointers in so many ways — pick-and-pops, spot-ups, off off-ball screens and even running pick-and-rolls himself. Having the height to shoot over defenders is his most noticeable asset, but don’t undersell his mobility.
Markkanen also finishes well at the rim and offensively rebounds at extremely impressive clip for someone who spends so much time on the perimeter. Those interior skills instill belief he will eventually become a suitable defender.
There are a couple red flags. He’s old for a freshman, turning 20 before the draft. He leaves plenty to be desired defensively, especially due to his lack of strength.
But his size and shooting are tantalizing. That’s plenty for now.
Watch for Collin Sexton in the 2018 NBA draft.
In the meantime, the Alabama commit had all eyes — include Dwyane Wade‘s — on him with this pass in the McDonald’s All-American Game last night.
Carmelo Anthony scored just nine points on 12 shots in the Knicks loss to the Heat last night — well below his season averages of 22 points on 19 shots per game.
Anthony, via Ian Begley of ESPN:
“I see the writing on the wall. I see what it is,” Anthony said late Wednesday night. “I see what they’re trying to do, and it’s just me accepting that. That’s what puts me at peace. Just knowing and understanding how things work. I’m at peace with that.”
Is Anthony talking about just the Knicks’ final dozen games of this season, when they’re clearly interesting in testing less-proven players? Or is he referring to his entire tenure in New York?
Anthony has said he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks want to rebuild, and they’ll reportedly try again to trade him this offseason. Perhaps, this is Anthony indicating he’s warming up to the idea of allowing a trade.
Anthony’s and Kristaps Porzingis‘ timelines are barely compatible, if at all. It’d make sense for the Knicks to go in a different direction.
Could Anthony be at peace with that?