VIDEO: Highlights from Wednesday’s games
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Karl to have cancer-related prodedure — Twice already in his life, Sacramento Kings coach George Karl has stared down cancer and come out victorious over it. The coach has a third round of the disease to deal with, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, after Karl revealed after last night’s home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers that he is due to have a procedure on his throat today:
Karl, a two-time cancer survivor, addressed his health in an interview with The Bee after Wednesday’s 120-111 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Sleep Train Arena. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005 and with treatable neck and throat cancer in 2010.
“I’m having a procedure for a cancer in my throat,” Karl said.
When asked if the procedure was serious, Karl said “no” twice.
When Kings general manager Vlade Divac was asked if he was concerned about Karl, he said “of course, of course.”
“Coach told me the other day,” Divac said. “I told him to take as much time as he needs. … We probably won’t know the results for a couple days.”
Divac had told Karl before the season if he ever needed to take time to rest that would be OK; that discussion was not related to cancer.
Divac reiterated the team would not rush Karl back.
“He doesn’t know how long (the procedure is) going to take, whether it’s one hour, two hours, three hours,” Divac said. “We have practice, and I told him, ‘I’ll be there. You have to just do your thing, and if you need more time, don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it.’ ”
Karl has missed just one game this season. He did not coach the Kings’ loss at New Orleans on Jan. 28 due to food poisoning.
The Kings host the Orlando Magic on Friday night and the Utah Jazz on Sunday.
Sources with knowledge of James’ intentions informed cleveland.com that the four-time MVP made it known to Cavaliers’ management and Johnson that he would slide to power forward on a permanent basis to open up a starting spot for his former Olympic teammate.
“All I care about is winning. That’s all that matters to me,” James confirmed to cleveland.com. “A piece like Joe, you know what it does to your team and if he was concerned about playing time or concerned about starting, then I’ll sacrifice. I’ll sacrifice to get a guy like that to help us try to win a championship.”
James, until recently, has never been keen on the idea of accepting a full-time role of operating out of the post and absorbing the physical pounding that comes with the position. But understanding what’s at stake, he’s willing to try pretty much anything if it translates to more wins for his team.
“Man listen, I’ll do anything to win. I’ll kidnap my momma to win,” James said to cleveland.com with a deadpan expression on his face.
Changing positions illustrates James’ urgency of winning a title for the city, completing a storybook ending. Selfishness wouldn’t assist in taking down the mountains waiting in the Western Conference. It’s going to take buy-in and selflessness.
Would James have made such a considerable sacrifice in years prior?
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t answer that, but I know I’ll do it now,” he said to cleveland.com. “I mean, you’re trying to make a push. We’re in March. You get a guy like Joe Johnson, you get a guy that can change your team for the better. I wouldn’t have a problem with [moving to the four].
“If he wanted to come in and start and we wanted to keep J.R. [Smith] in the starting lineup and if Double-T (Tristan Thompson) or Mozzy (Timofey Mozgov) had to come off the bench in order for Joe to start and slide Kev [Love] to the five, I would have done it.”
No. 3: Colangelo to announce 12-man Team USA roster in June — NBA stars here and there — from Paul George to LeBron James to Carmelo Anthony — have chimed in about how willing (or, perhaps, iffy) they are about playing for Team USA in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The job of the final cut for the roster won’t be decided by tryouts but rather by a conversation between USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski. Colangelo opened up about that process, where it is headed next and some other 2016 Olympic details to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed Wednesday that he’s sticking to his plan to unveil the 12-man roster that will represent the United States at the Rio Olympics in late June.
Appearing as USAB’s representative at the U.S. Olympic Committee’s quadrennial media summit in advance of the Summer Games, Colangelo reiterated what he’s been saying since August about choosing a final roster without holding tryouts in July, telling ESPN that “I never wanted to put a player in a position where he was so-called ‘cut.'”
“Let’s put it this way: If we brought ’em all to camp and then we decided which 12, that would be really difficult, because we’d have to deal with them one-on-one. We said we would do the following: We would look at this season and the outcome of their seasons, their health status, their state of mind, whatever, and come to a conclusion on the 12.
“No one gets cut; people are selected.”
“I’m not really talking to any of the players relative to where are they in terms of their thought process,” said Colangelo, who in December joined the Philadelphia 76ers as chairman of basketball operations in addition to his duties with USAB and overseeing the Basketball Hall of Fame.
“When I see players it’s more about relationships and being cordial and so on and so forth. There will come a time and place when we will have conversations and then we’ll know. At some point I need to know.”
Asked how close he is to knowing the 12-man roster already, Colangelo said: “I play that game in my own mind almost every day. And it changes every other day in my mind. We’ve got so many great players and they all want to participate. We may be in for a surprise or two at the end of the day, where someone is not going to make themselves available, but because of the depth on this roster, we could take a few hits and still be in great shape.
“So I’m just keeping all my options open. And I’m interested always to hear other people’s opinions, but you can trust me: I’ll make the final decision based on what I think is right for us in conjunction with Coach K and our staff … what’s the best 12 to put us in the best position to be successful? And I’ll go right back to something we said many years ago. It’s not an All-Star team. It’s: ‘Let’s put a group together that puts us in this best position to win.'”
As with 2004 in Athens, Team USA plans to house its players in Brazil from both the men’s and women’s basketball teams on a cruise ship docked in Rio to ensure maximum security.
“We have sent our people [to Rio] on four or five occasions,” Colangelo said. “We have researched everything we could on accommodations. And we made our decision as to what we’re going to do.
“Bear in mind that, since ’92, [USAB’s] basketball teams haven’t stayed in the Olympic Village. Also bear in mind that basketball is one of only two sports that runs the entire length of the Olympic [Games].
“Because of the high visibility of our athletes, we’re better served by [going] above and beyond what the Olympic people provide for us in the way of security and so forth. We do our own things to make sure we’ve protected our people. There’s a big investment here that we’ll have in Rio. … We will not be in the Village, but our players will be in there a lot, like they have been in the last two Olympics.”
After the team is chosen, Krzyzewski is scheduled to gather the squad in Las Vegas in mid-July for a brief training camp, with exhibition games to follow in Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago and Houston before the Yanks head to Rio in early August.
No. 4: Carlisle accuses ref of baiting Williams into getting tech — The Dallas Mavericks are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase and remain in the No. 7 spot after last night’s home loss to the Detroit Pistons. In the throws of last night’s defeat, point guard Deron Williams picked up a technical foul in the third quarter after a timeout, one that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle feels Williams was baited into. Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News has more:
Deron Williams picked up a rare technical foul during the third quarter and his coach felt like it was completely undeserved.
Rick Carlisle said that referee David Jones “baited” Williams into the technical, which came during a timeout, several possessions after Williams had taken some hard hits on drives but received no whistle from the refs.
Said Williams: “I’ve never commented on officials in my 10-year career and I’m not going to start now. Things happen during a game. I got T’d up. That’s all there is to it.”
Neither would Jones speak to a pool reporter dispatched to the referees’ locker room.
“For the first time in a 33-year NBA career, I saw a referee make a point of going out of his way and walking into our huddle and baiting one of our guys into getting a technical,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my years. I don’t see how that can ever be excusable. So there are a lot of things happening right now and we’ve got to rise above them.”
Carlisle picks his spots when it comes to talking about officiating. But when he does, he usually doesn’t sugarcoat things.
Asked how Jones had baited Williams, he said: “I’m not getting into that, but he clearly did. He went out of his way, could have walked away from it, made a point of going back and I said, ‘I got it, I got it, let it go.’ He goes, ‘no, I got it.’ And he walked essentially into our huddle and baited Deron Williams into getting a technical. And I don’t think that’s right.
“An official’s job is to defuse the situation, not to blow it up. And the referee we’re talking about is an experienced guy. But I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Carlisle did say that any problem with the refs was no excuse for, and didn’t have anything to do with, his team’s fourth consecutive loss.
“Those kind of things, right now, we got to rise above them,” he said.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: ICYMI, Stephen Curry banked in another ridiculous shot at the buzzer … Speaking of Curry, he has more 3-pointers in the last two seasons than Michael Jordan made in his career … Peter Holt has stepped down after 20 years as CEO of the San Antonio Spurs … Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mario Chalmers suffered a foot injury last night vs. Boston … Metta World Peace thinks he can play a couple more years in the NBA … The Detroit Pistons should be getting sharpshooter Jodie Meeks back in the lineup any day now … Kings.com catches up with former shooting guard Doug Christie …