George Karl confirms he wants to return to coaching (he wants the Laker to call)

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He’s a coach with 25 years experience in the NBA and a .599 winning percentage. His teams have gone to the playoffs all but three of those 25 seasons, once all the way to the Finals. His teams play an up-tempo, entertaining style of basketball.

George Karl is available and why his name is slow to come up in some coaching searches around the NBA is a little confusing. He’s not the guy to call if you’re a bad team looking to develop young players, but if you’ve got a more veteran squad and want to win, he should be on your short list — the guy won the Coach of the Year award just before Denver fired him.

Karl wants back on the bench, something he said while interviewed on the NBA channel on SiriusXM, as transcribed by ESPN.

Current ESPN analyst George Karl confirmed Thursday that he’s interested in a return to coaching after saying in an interview on SiriusXM Radio earlier in the day that he’d “like to get back in the gym.”

“I’m enjoying my role at ESPN,” Karl said in a statement. “I’d be interested in the right coaching opportunity, but I respect the coaching profession too much to become a distraction to the process.”

Karl is not a fit for every NBA job that is open. Detroit, for example, would be a bit awkward.

But what about Minnesota? Or the Los Angeles Lakers? With L.A. there are natural ties, Karl pointed out.

“Mitch Kupchak [Lakers general manager] and I were roommates in college and Mitch has been a very good friend of mine for years,” Karl said on “Off The Dribble” on SiriusXM. “Have I talked to Mitch in the last couple of weeks? No, I haven’t.”

We will see if Karl lands anywhere, I’m not sure he’s a great fit for the Lakers (not bad, better than the last guy, but not great).

But his name should come up more than it does. The guy can flat out coach.

Report: Dennis Smith Jr. rejoins Mavericks after reconciling with Rick Carlisle

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Second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr. has been rumored to be on the trade block. The Dallas Mavericks guard hasn’t seen eye-to-eye with coach Rick Carlisle, and several teams have expressed interest in Smith. It appeared that Smith was all set to join another team as part of a swap as we approach the trade deadline.

A report on Sunday on the latest from Dallas has changed all that. According to The Athletic, Smith and Carlisle have had productive talks and the 21-year-old is set to rejoin the team for their game on Tuesday.

Via Twitter:

Smith hasn’t made the kind of leap the Mavericks were hoping for. Despite an offensive explosion across the league, he hasn’t seen his advanced numbers experience a significant bump. Smith’s flaws are that of a young player — shooting and decision-making — so any additional communication with coaches will be a good thing for him.

Who knows is he and Carlisle can ever heal the wound fully, but it felt too soon to press the eject button on a Top 10 pick like Smith for Mavs fans.

Lakers PG Lonzo Ball will miss 4-6 weeks with ankle sprain

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The Los Angeles Lakers have been dealt another injury loss.

Lakers PG Lonzo Ball, part of the young core the team is trying to develop around LeBron James, suffered an ankle sprain against the Houston Rockets on Saturday. The team release via their website said Ball would be re-evaluated but could mis 4-6 weeks.

Via Lakers:

Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, who was injured in last night’s game at Houston, underwent an MRI which revealed a Grade 3 left ankle sprain. Ball is expected to miss 4-6 weeks and updates will be provided as appropriate.

Ball had to be carried from the court after he collided with James Ennis during a play in the third quarter. Ball appeared to step on Ennis’ foot when the Rockets player tried to cut him off from the basket.

LA has had a rough go of it since LeBron injured his groin some 13 games ago. The Lakers have also been without Rajon Rondo, and have had a tough time winning games. The team, once thoroughly in the playoff race, has now dipped to ninth place in the West.

James and Rondo have been cleared for basketball activities, and they need their veteran leadership now more than ever heading into the All-Star break.

Watch the Bulls’ tribute video for Dwyane Wade

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Dwyane Wade is a Chicago native but the Miami Heat guard only played in the Windy City for a short amount of time. Wade was a member of the Chicago Bulls for 60 games in 2016-17 despite having signed a massive contract with the team in July of 2016.

Wade is now back where he belongs in Miami, and he’s been on a bit of a farewell tour across the NBA. As such, the Bulls felt it prudent to show a little tribute video for Wade before the final game he was to play at United Center.

Via Twitter:

How Bulls fans feel about Wade probably depends on who you ask, but a tribute video from the organization is a classy touch no matter what.

Wade has done jersey swaps with players around the league and in Chicago he got a special one: Benny the Bull.

‘One Piece’ fans are trying to get Steven Adams into All-Star Game

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There’s been a lot of clever NBA All-Star marketing over the years. Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum did a “Napoleon Dynamite”-themed video for his buddy Damian Lillard this season. The Toronto Raptors made a faux-vintage action figure ad for Kawhi Leonard.

Now it appears that anime website Crunchyroll is trying to get “One Piece” fans to vote for Oklahoma City Thunder big man Steven Adams.

Adams is a fan of anime, and has professed his admiration for the show “One Piece” before. Adams made mention about how he was watching the show instead of Kevin Durant‘s debut with the Golden State Warriors a while back. In turn, Crunchyroll — a streaming site — made a video trying to get people to vote for Adams in the NBA fan vote.

Via Twitter:

That’s pretty good, but will it be enough? We know the fan vote gets wild, especially with favorites who are sort of undeserving (Derrick Rose and Luka Doncic come to mind). Could a big push from the anime crowd help Adams, who is an excellent player but who has never been an All-Star, notch his first bid?