George Karl to go for 1,000th win Tuesday in Charlotte

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Right now, six coaches in NBA history have had 1,000 or more wins —Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson, Larry Brown, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan and Phil Jackson. Elite coaches.

Soon that will be seven, as George Karl stands at 999 and ready to walk through that door. He told FanHouse he’s not convinced he belongs.

“There’s no question I’m going to stick out in that group,” Karl said…. “(People might say), ‘Karl, how’d he get there? Did they give him a couple of hundred wins or something?”’

Karl is a scrapper — a guy who started 2-19 with his first NBA head coaching gig, bounced around between a number of teams and is a two-time cancer survivor. A guy always looking forward.

So it shouldn’t be a shock told Chris Tomasson of FanHouse he just wants to move forward and get that 1,000th win Tuesday night in Charlotte (against 1,000-win club member Larry Brown).

“I would probably like it in Charlotte and get it over with, and have some beers and keep our momentum going,” said Karl, whose Nuggets (13-6) have won seven straight games.

Karl’s first head coaching job was with the Cavaliers in 1986, but he was eventually fired. It happens to every coach, and you learn to fight through it to move forward. There were stops in Golden State, Seattle and Milwaukee.

Karl is settled in Denver, talking contract extension with the franchise. But right now he is focus is not on 1,000, it is on how to take a team that is hot and won seven in a row and turn them into a squad that can challenge the Lakers in the Western Conference playoffs.

Because he’s always looking forward.

Are Bulls and Dwyane Wade moving toward a buyout?

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About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.

Have the two sides progressed since?

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.

Expected by whom?

People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?

Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?

For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.

A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.

LeBron James’ camp already shooting down leaving-Cavaliers rumor

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LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers

Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.

New Orleans Saints fire Pelicans’ team physician

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The Pelicans have been crushed by injuries the last few years.

Why? That’s an incredibly complex question.

But the New Orleans Saints – who share an owner (Tom Benson), a front-office leader (Mickey Loomis) and other staff with the Pelicans – have found culprits for their own injury woes.

Mike Triplett of ESPN:

The Saints have fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri, per source, after it was discovered that CB Delvin Breaux has a fractured fibula and will require surgery expected to sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. Breaux was originally diagnosed with a contusion

Suri is a Pelicans team physician.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Fairly or not, Suri – after the Saints deemed him unacceptable – will be in the crosshairs if he keeps his job with the the Pelicans and their injury woes continue.

Rumor: LeBron James ‘100 percent’ leaving Cavaliers next summer

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Chris Sheridan was ahead of the crowd in 2014, reporting LeBron James would likely leave the Heat for the Cavaliers – which obviously happened.

But Sheridan called it a “90 percent chance,” a small – but large enough – hedge. He also said LeBron would announce the decision on LeBron’s personal website. Of course, LeBron revealed his choice in a Sports Illustrated essay.

So, maybe Sheridan knows what he’s talking about. Maybe he doesn’t.

But the longtime NBA writer just fanned the flames of the already hot LeBron-leaving-Cleveland rumors.

Sheridan:

Of course, the denials came quickly.

There have already been plenty of warning signs about LeBron’s relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, which didn’t restart in a great place.

It’s entirely believable LeBron would leave Cleveland, in large part due to Gilbert.

But it’s also fun to speculate about that salacious storyline.

Maybe Sheridan or his source got carried away for that very reason. Or maybe they know something.

Neither possibility should be discounted.