ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Denver Nuggets coach George Karl was Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels’ special guest Wednesday.
Both men were jokingly asked if Karl was at Dove Valley to seek advice on how to handle a superstar who wants out of town. The Nuggets are trying to persuade All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to sign an extension.
McDaniels, who has sent Pro Bowl players Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall packing in his short time in Denver, feigned ignorance on the matter.
Karl said he didn’t know how to answer the question, either, but added: “Fortunately, it’s not my expertise or my realm of responsibility. My realm is to try to convince Melo to stay. And I’ll continue to do that when I have those opportunities.”
McDaniels invited Karl to spend the day with him and his staff, and Karl brought along an assistant that helps prepare scouting reports to pick up tips from the Broncos. Karl sat in on team meetings, watched practice and also planned to address the team.
Karl, a two-time cancer survivor, just came off a week’s vacation as he prepares to return to coaching full-time after fighting throat-and-neck cancer in the spring.
“I’m a big fan of his and what he’s done in his career,” McDaniels said. “He’s overcome a great deal of adversity … It’s just a great privilege for our team to have him around us. He’s been in the meetings, he’ll be at practice, just sharing his experiences and I’m trying to pick his brain in terms of just dealing with this level of coaching and whether it be the NBA or the NFL.
“They’re just paying attention to some of the things that we do to try to get our team ready to go and like I said, it’s kind of a full circle because I’m going to pick their brains and see if there’s anything that we can do better that they know,” McDaniels said.
That didn’t include any advice on how to handle Anthony, who’s been the subject of trade rumors all summer as a three-year, $65 million extension sits on the table without his signature.
Anthony has said he’s just taking his time making a decision, but fearful fans point to him putting his Denver-area mansion up for sale amid reports he’d like to take his game to the Big Apple, where he and TV personality LaLa Vazquez were married over the summer.
“My job, any time I talk to Melo or talk to his people, is to try to convince him that we won 53 games last year and we’re very capable of being a lot better than we were last year,” Karl said. “Some of the bombs that hit our team injury-wise and my situation, we kind of need to stay together, in my opinion.”
Karl said he played quarterback in his youth and loves football but never could have coached it.
“No, the hours would not scare me. It’s pretty sophisticated, man. When you walk in here, you’ve got to learn a new language,” Karl said.
Karl has visited the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns during his previous NBA stops in Wisconsin and Ohio but had not visited the Broncos since his hiring in Denver in 2005.
“Hopefully, Josh and I will spend some time together and develop a relationship,” he said. “If we can be friends with one another, I’d like to and hopefully they have a great year and then he can come see us play great basketball.”
Karl is a Pittsburgh fan and didn’t mind ‘fessing up to McDaniels.
“Yeah, he’s from Ohio, man,” Karl said. “The first coach I ever did this with was Marty Schottenheimer. My biggest memory of Marty was when I got fired in Cleveland, him coming to my door with a case of Coors Light saying, ‘I guess we got to hang out today.’”
Karl said he wasn’t sure if any Broncos could play for the Nuggets.
“I don’t know. Ryan (Clady) probably plays too much basketball,” Karl said of Broncos’ All-Pro left tackle who blew out his left knee while playing hoops six months ago.
Karl was recently cleared by his doctors to return to coaching.
“Realistically, my situation is doctors say 10-12 months before you’re 100 percent, and my mouth is probably my only worry about training camp, my voice, how long it’s going to last,” Karl said. “And it still has an inconsistency where sometimes it feels good and sometimes it feels crazy. But energy-wise, I’ve been a director of basketball, not a coach of basketball. I tell my coaches what to coach and then I get about an hour and 20 minutes of practice. But I think I’ll be fine.”
One concession Karl will make is not flying out with his team after the first game of a back-to-back set so that he can get a good night’s rest and then meet up with his team the next day.
Other than that, he said it’s full steam ahead.
“Basically, they feel getting back to your normal routine if you can handle the stress is a positive,” Karl said. “I don’t think I’m a stress person, but obviously when you get cancer twice you’ve got to put that on the tablet and say stress is a part of breaking down your immune systems. But I’m trying to be as healthy as I’ve ever been.
“I’ve been scared now a couple of times. And I think my love for the game of basketball, I’d go crazy if I didn’t do it. … If the doctors, said, ‘Hey, man, I think you should stop.’ I would. But right now that hasn’t even come up.”