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Karl has low level talks with J.R....

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In my Sunday column in which I praised George Karl for the effort he's put forth during the first quarter of this NBA season, I noted that Karl still deserves criticism for the way he's handling shooting guard J.R. Smith. I stand by what I said about Karl's coaching effort, but if ever Nuggets fans needed evidence of how ridiculous this relationship between him and J.R. is, I cite the Rocky Mountain News' Chris Tomasson's 12/5 article revealing that Karl delegates assistant coaches to "deal with guard J.R. Smith."

Rarely do we as fans get such a candid take on a coach/player relationship. And while I appreciate Karl being honest with the press, I don't agree with the way he's "dealing" with J.R. Smith.

First off, the Nuggets aren't the Broncos with 53 players to deal with and assistant coaches who communicate with various position players. Last I checked, there are only 12 to 15 players on a basketball team and I always assumed that the head coach actually, you know, talked to his players directly.

Secondly, is it just me, or is this whole situation akin to how the United States deals with North Korea and Iran? Rather than have "top level" talks between our President and/or Secretary of State and their leaders, we instead send "low level" diplomats and intermediaries which gets us absolutely nowhere.

To quote former US Secretary of State James Baker: "You don't just talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies, as well." Meaning, if you talk to your enemies directly and they still don't comply or agree to a middle ground solution for which you're asking, then you can punish them, place sanctions on them, and so on having taken the high road in the first place.

Karl should take Baker's advice, sit down with J.R., sort out whatever issues they have and see if J.R.'s returns the favor with improved, more disciplined play on the floor. If J.R. doesn't respond or blows the opportunity, at least Karl can say he reached out.

The last thing we need is for the Karl/J.R. relationship to deteriorate like Karl's did with another star shooting guard, Ray Allen. I just hope its not too late.