Free Darko has been the joking rallying cry since he was taken No. 2 ahead of, well, a ton of All-Stars. He’s such a bust the list gets even longer when fans start mocking. Darko Milicic, wasn’t he the guy in front of Sam Bowie, who was in front of the GOAT? Jokesters, Darko has heard all of it, but he doesn’t need to know every word to know the sentiment behind it: How is he still in the league? Now with the Celtics he took the lead from new teammate Jason Terry‘s media session guidebook and said that he’s willing to do anything to fit into a successful team. Anything. “I’ll do whatever it takes, whatever I need to do to help this team,” he told CSNNE.com “So now, if I have to go kill someone on the court, I’ll kill someone on the court.” It’s kind of a curious way to put it when you consider Kevin Love was talking about Darko when he said he was happy Minnesota rid itself of “bad blood” this offseason. … Bad news in Dallas where a day after Chris Kaman hurt his back in the Mavericks’ first training camp practice, Brandan Wright injured his quadriceps, too. Remember that bubble wrap order we told them to put in yesterday? Make it a double. … The Heat did a lot of things this summer besides rip the Larry O’Brien-sized monkey off LeBron’s back, but most importantly, they changed public opinion about how to win without setting traditional roles. Erik Spoelstra calls it hoops without positions, which works great for Chris Bosh because he apparently can’t gain weight or bulk, so he’s become a floating 4/5 man. We bet the Raptors had every expert in muscle building and retention in Canada flown in to try and create Bosh the frame to play center but he says he gave up on it about three years ago. Bosh gets killed for what he isn’t but we watched him knock down crucial 18-22 foot jumpers in the playoffs last year that were game-changers. Is he the beginning of the “spread offense” look of college football in the NBA, where size isn’t as good as speed? … Hit the jump to hear about Nuggets’ cover being blown. …
George Karl is one of our favorite basketball interviews. We have a feeling he’s like what Gregg Popovich would be like — brutally honest because he’s secure in his job while pulling from a depth of hoops knowledge like a mining shaft — if Pop actually gave interviews. So Karl — whose son, Koby, made the Blazers’ training camp roster on Sunday — gave a thoughtful interview to the Denver Post before the Nugs hit training camp. What jumps out the most is how Karl considers this attention after the Howard-Bynum-Iguodala trade to be anathema to what he’s trying to construct. He said he hates hearing about how the Nugs are the “darlings” of the league. “I like being under the radar or people telling us we’re going to be bad,” is what he told the Post. Look, the Nugs are going to get their airtime as the Other team out West and were certainly factored into a number of storylines in the summer but trust us, like a third-party presidential candidate come this fall, the Lakers and Thunder will crush his team’s window of attention soon. That’s not a death knell for the Nugs, just that even if they play well, Karl will still have his peace and quiet playing in the shadow of OKC and LA. … The other thing about the interview is how he wants the season shortened by 20 games. The league is too hard set with its records to make everything start from a new slate, but it is an interesting idea. … Dirk Nowitzki is still having a hard time coping with the loss of Jason Kidd and Jason Terry. He’s called them brothers and warriors only about a week after taking a veiled shot at people from last year’s team who wanted out and let it be known. Lesson learned: if you’re tight with Dirk he’s tight with you forever. … Speaking of the Heat, LeBron James said he’ll be taking training camp a little easier this year and will sit a preseason game to keep himself fresh. After five months of mind-blowing basketball by LBJ, we think it’ll be just fine if he marinates a little in the preseason. … We’re out like the U.S. Ryder Cup lead.
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