George Karl doesn’t see the Knicks getting past the first round of the playoffs

The Knicks have been the most exciting team in the NBA to watch since Jeremy Lin exploded onto the scene, but how far can they ride the momentum train? The biggest concern at this point is the return of Carmelo Anthony. If Anthony and Lin can coexist, the Knicks could be in for a successful run this season. After Monday night’s loss to the Nets, New York is 0-for-1 since Carmelo’s return. Whether or not they can put it together over the course of the next couple months and become a championship contender remains to be seen, but Nuggets coach George Karl doesn’t expect it to happen.

“The thing I don’t like about the situation is all this stuff is happening with very little practice time,” Karl said during an interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio Sunday. “So you’re kind of meshing different personalities and different people on the court, and you’re going to have to do it on the job, in the game situation, and that’s how you’re going to have to do it. That’s not the easiest thing to do from a coaching standpoint.

“I don’t think they’re going to get out of the bottom half of the draw, so I think they’re going to draw one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference (in the playoffs). I’ll be honest with you, I think it’s going to be very difficult for them this year to put the pieces together to figure out how to beat one of those top three or four teams.”

That isn’t going to please Kenyon Martin, who recently blasted Karl for talking about his former players. Karl’s opinion, however, is one that is shared by a number of people around the league. Teams like the Bulls and Heat have at least a full season of playing together under their belts. Come playoff time, that experience goes a long way. Jim Boeheim believes Carmelo will have no problem at all playing alongside Lin, so we will have to wait and see while the cobwebs clear. If Melo wants to hog the spotlight in a way that many have accused him of doing in the past, the Knicks will have trouble come playoff time.

Kenyon Martin: George Karl needs to keep his mouth shut about his former players

George Karl has been adamant about the fact that he is more relaxed this season. Now that the Nuggets are without a true superstar, Karl has more control over his locker room and a team that is more willing to buy into his philosophy. With a record of 17-15, Denver has exceeded expectations through the first half of the shortened season. One of Karl’s former players, Kenyon Martin, feels that the Nuggets coach should stop talking about what a hassle his former players were.

“Man, listen, George needs to keep his mouth shut, first and foremost,” Martin told Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick. “Melo don’t play there no more. So Karl shouldn’t be commenting on Melo. If George was such a great coach, then Melo would want to stay. He wouldn’t want to leave.

“If the organization was ran right, he wouldn’t want to leave, so it ain’t Melo. With Melo, not one time when he was there did he bring that in the locker room when all that stuff was going on. Not one day. Everybody made it a bigger deal than it had to be. That’s a good kid. They act like this kid was a cancer, like he came in there and destroyed the locker room and made everybody hate him. No, it wasn’t nothing like that man. And it bothers me for people to be talking about how he’s a selfish player and he has to defend himself.”

Melo may not have discussed wanting a trade in the actual locker room, but there was no question the issue became a cloud over the organization. Karl said this season that he grew tired of the whole situation with Melo last year, but who wouldn’t? It can be almost impossible to do your job as a coach with a disgruntled superstar on the team. In a certain sense, Martin is right. Karl needs to let it go and focus on the team he has now. That doesn’t mean Carmelo was completely innocent, either.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

George Karl Says He Got Tired of Carmelo Anthony Talk, Wants to Beat Knicks Badly

Most coaches would pretend that a regular season game against one of their former superstars is just another game on the schedule. But that’s not how it is for George Karl. Karl rarely hides what he is feeling, so it should come as no surprise that he spoke candidly this week when talking about the Carmelo Anthony situation in Denver last year. Judging by what he said, there are hard feelings.

“What happened with ‘Melo last season, that got old,” Karl told reporters this week according to the NY Daily News. “That got old fast.

“Friends and people who played with you, you actually want to beat them more than you want to beat your enemies. You want to beat people that you were close to at one time and now you’re battling them. Because you know them a little bit more and they know you a little bit more. You get more animated to kick their butt when you play them.”

Meanwhile, the Nuggets are supposed to be rebuilding in the wake of the trade while the Knicks were expected to become an Eastern Conference powerhouse.  That has not been the case through the first portion of the season.  Denver is sitting at a comfortable 10-5 while New York is dealing with a heap of frustrated fans and a 6-8 record.  If the Nuggets go on the road and continue their early-season success in Madison Square Garden Saturday night, it will be the highlight of the young season for Karl and company.

Chest bump to I Am a GM for the story

George Karl Says Nuggets Lost to Jazz Because They Thought They Were Too Cool After Beating Heat

The Nuggets lost to the Jazz at home on Sunday, 106-96. Denver head coach George Karl has a theory as to why. When a team loses in the NBA the excuses usually range from a lack of focus to turning the ball over too much. Karl, however, believes that beating a certain team from South Beach on Friday had a lot to do with Sunday’s loss.

“I probably blame it on our NBA cool,” he said according to the Denver Post. “We thought we were cool after kicking Miami’s butt, and we got embarrassed. The NBA game does it quite frequently. If you think you’re better than you are, or think you’re cooler than you are and you don’t think you have to put in the hard work to win games, you get embarrassed. We got embarrassed.”

He may have a point.  Everyone wants to beat the Heat — especially a young team like Denver that is looking to silence the critics and prove they can win games without Carmelo Anthony.  That being said, I’m not sure how embarrassing a loss in game 13 of an NBA season can be.  It’s a long year, and I doubt anyone thinks the Nuggets are pathetic for dropping an early-season game to the Jazz.

If I beat a team with a guy who says stuff like this and does stuff like this, I’d probably take a couple days off too.

Chest bump to I Am a GM for sharing the story with us

George Karl: Screw All the People Who Think You Need a Superstar to Win a Title

Last season, the Nuggets lost Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks. The move left the team without star power, but Denver still finished the season with an impressive 50-win total. The Nuggets lost to the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs, but head coach George Karl remains excited about this year’s team despite its lack of a true superstar.

“I think, I hope, as I am preaching to the team is the Denver Nuggets is going to be out being a team” Karl said in an interview with KKFN in Denver that Sports Radio Interviews shared with us. “It has nothing to do about individuality and basically screw all the guys out there that think you gotta have a superstar to win a championship. I’m just not into the hype. … I’m excited because if Oklahoma City is the darlings of the NBA and we are not that far from them.”

Denver recently inked Nene Hilario to a five-year, $67 million deal, so he is obviously someone who is being paid like a superstar that they think they can build a contender around. With a mix of young players like Ty Lawson and veterans like Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets should be far from a punching bag in the Western Conference.

Teams with superstars generally succeed in the NBA — especially in a seven-game playoff series.  That being said, a superstar can emerge over the course of the season.  If Chris Paul went to the Lakers the Western Conference picture would be a bit clearer, but instead he was traded to the Clippers which should make them a contender as well.  Karl is a good enough coach to keep the Nuggets in the hunt and lead them to the playoffs once again.

George Karl: 1996 Sonics Were Top 20 Team in NBA History

If you’re scratching your head right now thinking that’s a pretty bold statement, you’re not alone. When you think of the best teams in NBA history you immediately think of the Bulls, Celtics, Lakers, and maybe the dominant 76ers or Bucks. But you probably don’t think of the Seattle Sonics.

Former coach George Karl thinks you should.

Karl was on hand for Sonics night at Safeco Field in Seattle Friday night and he joined Dave Sims in the broadcast booth on Root Sports. He was asked for his standout moment in Seattle and mentioned his ’95-’96 Sonics team.

“Playing in the championship round in the NBA Finals against Chicago and Michael’s team. I thought our team and their team should be in the Top 20 teams in NBA history even though we didn’t win a championship. They won 73 games and we won 64.

If Nate McMillan would have been healthy I thought it would have been a very equal series. The opportunity to play in the Finals is an honor and a privilege — it’s amazing how few people get to be in that situation.”

[Read more...]

George Karl Rips Pau Gasol Trade

To refresh your memory, first it was Spurs coach Gregg Popovich who bashed the Pau Gasol trade, saying there should be a trade committee that must approve deals. Pretty much anyone who’s seen the Lakers play since Pau (long as you’re not a Lakers fan) has to be upset with Memphis for giving up Pau for nearly nothing. Count Nuggets coach George Karl as one still in disbelief over the trade, as he mentioned to ESPN in an interviewed aired during the Nuggets/Spurs game Friday night:

“I’m with Pop on the Gasol trade. [The Nuggets media relations director] told me about the trade, I said ‘the league can’t let that happen. There’s no way.’ That’s not going to happen. I swear, I said ‘there’s no way that’s happening.’ It was like a gift — Christmas come early. It was a surprise package underneath the tree.”

We’ve broke down some of the recent one-sided deals in the NBA back when Popovich made his comments, but at least some of those teams were getting back at least one useful player, as opposed to Memphis which really got nothing. So, the question must then be asked: is David Stern really using his power to pull these strings? Something tells me the answer is yes.