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Scott Howard-Cooper

Talk of Evan Turner's lingering back injury is one of the many things overheard at pre-draft camp.
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The scoop out of Chicago: pre-draft camp happenings

Posted May 22 2010 8:44PM

• The best news to come out of Chicago is the news that will come out of Las Vegas: There is a good chance Nuggets coach George Karl will be part of the Denver contingent at summer league in what may be his first public NBA duties since cancer of the throat and neck forced him to take a sabbatical and miss the end of the regular season and playoffs. Karl in the stands at the two UNLV gyms, as long as his health continues to improve, would not be one of the highlights of summer league. It would be one of the feel-good moments of all 2010-11.

• Evan Turner, the Player of the Year from Ohio State, is telling teams there is no trace of lingering problems from the broken back suffered in an ugly fall Dec. 5. It comes with supporting evidence of several big moments after returning. NBA doctors will obviously do their own checks, measuring potential long-term problems in years and now how Turner feels nearly six months since the injury. The swingman most often compared to Brandon Roy because he can play point guard as well is all but locked in to the 76ers with the second pick.

• Big, big decision for (maybe) the Timberwolves at No. 4 or (probably) the Kings at No. 5. Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech has the edge to go third to the Nets as the first big man off the board, leaving the next clubs to make the call on DeMarcus Cousins of Kentucky, a potential force inside but facing a lot of skepticism about his maturity and commitment. Cousins laughingly blamed the media for the negative perception, said he has been dieting and working out hard since the end of the season... and then had the second-highest percentage of body fat among the 52 participants during the physicals. Said one executive of the questions Cousins is facing from teams: "If everybody is asking you if something's wrong, something's wrong."

• It gets especially interesting because the Kings can use the brute force. And Geoff Petrie, the head of basketball operations, will never shy from the tough, unpopular call. But Petrie does not draft questionable motors in the first round, and that's Cousins.

• Kansas center Cole Aldrich measured 6-feet-9 in socks and 6-feet-11 in shoes. No word on how fast the shoes had to be returned to Herman Munster.

• Barring an unexpected late change of thinking, John Salmons will opt out of the final season of his deal in Milwaukee and become a free agent. Salmons had been understandably hesitant about walking away from $5.8 million in this economy, but playing a major role in the Bucks unexpected surge to become an Eastern Conference factor made this the perfect time to strike. The Deer hope to re-sign him, and Salmons likes the relationship as well.

• Teams considered the combine so uneventful, and maybe worthless, that not every personnel boss attended this time. Ditto for head coaches. The most valuable aspect has become the meetings with prospects to gauge personalities. Basketball wise, there's little to nothing to be learned. The clubs would love a return to the days of five-on-five action and actual competition, but that won't happen as long as agents routinely hold players out to protect their stock.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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