NBA Notebook: Harpring Still Injured but Not Ready to Retire
The forward, who might not play this season due to knee and ankle injuries, told FanHouse on Tuesday he expects the Jazz to release a statement later this week or early next week on his status. Harpring said he's been told by Jazz officials and his agent, Richard Howell, not to divulge what the statement will say.
Harpring, though, confirmed he still wants to play. "I'm not retiring,'' said Harpring, 33, who has played 11 NBA seasons, the past seven for Utah.
He was asked if he wants to play this season.
"I would love to play,'' Harpring said.
Harpring, though, declined to answer when asked if he will be physically able to play this season.
Indications are Harpring's injuries might keep him from playing in the final season of his contract, one paying him $6.5 million. With retirement not apparently a desire for Harpring, he could end up being used in a trade with a team looking for an expiring contract.
If Harpring doesn't play this season, the Jazz could end up collecting roughly $3 million in insurance on his contract. Since he is one of Utah's five highest-paid players, the Jazz are required to carry insurance on him, which would start paying 80 of percent of his salary after 40 games have been missed.
Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor and Howell did not return phone messages Tuesday.
FanHouse first reported in October that Jazz officials were going to wait until December before a determination was made on Harpring, who has not been with the team all season, having remained in his hometown of Atlanta. O'Connor told FanHouse then it doesn't matter if Harpring wants to play if he's physically unable to do so.
"It doesn't matter whether he wants to play,'' said O'Connor, saying Harpring, who has had two microfracture surgeries on his right knee and numerous surgeries on both ankles, needed to get to the point where joints "don't swell up on him.''
O'Connor said then "it would be difficult for him to get back into any kind of shape for the season'' if Harpring wasn't ready by mid-December. That drop-dead date is approaching, and there have been no indications of Harpring being ready.
A.I. Debut Against the Nuggets?
If Philadelphia signs Allen Iverson, his first game could be Monday at home against Denver, the team he played for from 2006-08. Nuggets coach George Karl would prefer Iverson wait a game.
"I would rather let it be the next team,'' said Karl, knowing the enthusiasm in Philadelphia would be tremendous since Iverson starred with the 76ers from 1996-2006.
Interestingly, the next game for Philadelphia is Wednesday at home to Detroit. Iverson balked about coming off the bench last season with the Pistons and did so again earlier this season with Memphis before the Grizzlies let him go.
"I think the big thing with A.I. is, can he be happy?'' Karl said of Iverson possibly returning to Philadelphia. "If he's going to play angry and frustrated and disappointed like he's played the last year, I don think it's healthy for anybody.''
Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony told FanHouse he doesn't see any problems with his former teammate possibly going to the 76ers.
"I don't think they would have picked him up if they would think it would be difficult,'' Anthony said.
Anthony also doesn't see any problem with Iverson taking Philadelphia's offer of a minimum contract that is not guaranteed.
"He's doesn't care about no money,'' Anthony said. "I don't think it's about the money.''
'Melo Wants LeBron in Contest
Count Anthony among those wanting Cleveland star LeBron James to compete February in his first dunk contest during All-Star Weekend.
"I hope so,'' Anthony said. "He mentioned before that he might. I want to see that.''
But don't count on Anthony ever competing.
"I ain't getting in a dunk contest,'' he said. "I'll sit there and watch it ... Because (dunking) ain't what I do. You got people who do that.''
Nelson Back Thursday
Assistant Keith Smart, Golden State's acting coach for five games while Don Nelson battled pneumonia, said Nelson definitely will be back for the Warriors' next game, Thursday at home against Houston.
"He just got real sick, but he's doing fine right now,'' Smart, who has been talking regularly with Nelson, said before coaching his final game in place of Nelson on Tuesday at Denver.
Karl plans soon to touch base with Nelson, 69, a good friend.
"Pneumonia is not a good thing for old people,'' Karl said. "If you don't do it right it gets real serious ... I won't send him flowers. I'll probably give him a call.''
Chris Tomasson can be reached at fanhouse.com or on Twitter @christomasson.