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Karl was rooting for Thunder in Finals

The Sports Xchange

--The Oklahoma City Thunder bolted in 2008 from Seattle, the team George Karl coached from 1991-98 and led to the 1996 NBA Finals. But that didn't prevent Karl from rooting for the Thunder in the NBA Finals against Miami.

"I'm OK with what's going on, but I don't have a great identity that Oklahoma City is Seattle," said Karl, who in the past has had mixed feelings about the SuperSonics moving to Oklahoma City. "I look at them as a great team. They've done a fantastic job."

A key reason Karl is pulling for the Thunder is they are coached by Scott Brooks. He was Karl's assistant with the Nuggets when he took over in January 2005.

"I like them," Karl said of the Thunder as the Finals were beginning. "I want them to win. I want them to win for Scotty. I want them to win because they're in the Western Conference. I have tremendous respect for them. They've done an absolutely fantastic job."

Karl did say the exposure Seattle got during the Finals could help the city's quest to get another team.

"I would think so," he said. "The combination of the economy coming back and Seattle maybe getting a new building and a movement of wealthy people wanting to bring a team back to Seattle ... I hear there's more voices talking about wanting to bring the team back."

--Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari was involved in a question-and-answer session with players in June at the adidas Eurocamp in Italy. Among the topics Gallinari discussed was the hurdles European players face in adjusting to the NBA.

"It's tough for European players to go to the NBA because you have to earn your respect," said Gallinari, a native of Italy. "They don't respect you at the beginning. They say, 'Who is this guy? He's coming here to get our jobs.' So you've got to earn the respect. From the first practice, they're going to hit you and do everything to make you sit on the bench (so they can) play. That's normal."

Gallinari said those in the NBA don't care how much hype a European player might have.

"You are a very good player in Europe, but you are nobody in the states," Gallinari said. "(NBA scouts) know you very well. They come here, they scout, they have everything. They write down your left hand, your right hand, what you do, what you don't do. So when you get (to the NBA), they have information. But that information, it can be true, or it can be not true."

Many of the players Gallinari spoke to will end up being selected in the June 28 NBA draft.

"The truth of the matter is, we've regrouped and reshaped our team in a very positive way. I feel as confident with this team as the year when we went to the Western Conference final from the standpoint of where our future is." -- Nuggets coach George Karl, feeling as good about an NBA offseason as he has since the Nuggets made it to the West final in 2009.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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