While he prepares for next Olympic Qualifiers to be held here in Argentina in September’s first two weeks, Carlos, as most of Argentinean NBA players, are enjoying some holidays and talking with the press.
Aside from big expectations for the tournament (the so called Golden Generation will play officially again in Argentina after 10 years), lockout is one of the main concerns they are asked about, especially because players need to be insured while playing the tournament.
Yesterday Carlos said in a local radio show that he intended to keep playing if the lockout continued. When asked about posible destinations, he mentioned Italy–he has an Italian passport and his wife is from there--and also Argentina ("Why not?" he said). In these days, some rumors from the Turkish and Argentinean press also suggested that Besiktas, the Turkish team that signed Deron Williams, was also interested in his services (apparently depending on the result the Kobe transaction) and was offering big money. Carlos has not publicly said anything about it.
Maybe I’m wrong, but the Besiktas situation reminds me of the Khimki experience, the Russian team Carlos played in before coming to Milwaukee. Even though he had a huge salary, the experience was far from good. And he has repeatedly said how well treated he feels in Milwaukee, so I will be fairly surprised if he chooses to have a contract that could somehow put at risk what he has achieved here.
On the contrary, I believe him when he says he doesn’t want to stop playing. And Italy and Argentina seem to be two places he can leave without any consequences when the lockout finishes. We’ll see.
07/22/2011 Update: "In Milwaukee I'm the happiest player of the world"
Today Carlos answered some questions about this issues to Basquet Plus website, and more or less confirmed what I wrote . Here's the translation
Media say Kobe Bryant asked for one million dollars to play in Besiktas Turkey and they offered him 500 thousand. Deron has already signed and they say the executives are thinking about you. What do you know about this?
It came to me via twitter, I read it there. I don’t know anything from my agent, which hasn’t been contacted. Personally I know nothing. I’m without worries and what I want is to play the Olympic qualifiers. After that I’ll make a decision. I talked with my agent and if lockout continues, I want to play somewhere. I’m not saying yes or no to Besiktas. I want to go to some good place and not ending in one like Khimki, which aspired to be top of the line, but was not there. In my condition I want to be in a team that can fight for something and at the same time has the peace of mind and certainty I can go back to NBA when it starts again. My dream is to be there and I’m completely happy in Milwaukee, where I have contract for another year. The ideal situation for me is lockout being canceled.
I imagine Turkey, as it was Russia, may be a difficult society for you to adapt
It’s tough. When lockout came out, I told my agent in Argentina and the American ones where were the places I would like to go if something was offered; if not, I don’t want to be reached. Besiktas may be interesting but you travel to a place where you don’t understand the language, you don’t understand what is written, and that is complicated. Estambul has an European side, where we played World’s second fase, and I have good memories. But officially I know nothing. Meantime, I don’t stop to think anything of these questions.
Do you daydream about coming here (to Argentina) to play in the league if lockout continues?
Yes, of course. I want to play basketball and I will not stand still. There are many options and I don’t want to close any door. If there’s an option to play int the (Argentinean) League, it would be a nice option. Being close to my family, play in a warm place after being playing for the last 8 years in places with 20 grades below zero. But first of all, I want to play Olympic Qualifiers and then see what decision I make. For me, the better and easiest solution is the lockout to end, so I can continue to be a Milwaukee player, and keep being the happiest player on earth. After that, if something happens and I have to walk in another way, I’ll see which my options are.
Meanwhile, I translated the part of the central article of Basquet Plus last edition, the only basketball magazine we have here, where Carlos talks about last season. Nothing very new but you’ll find some colorful details about his injury and walking his dog around Milwaukee.
The fourth musketeer
Carlos Delfino had a very special season: started very well, continued it with serious health problems and it’s going to end it with an Olympic qualification party in Mar del Plata.
Carlos Delfino’s stay in Argentina will be longer than usual, so he takes the chance for doing everything he likes: being with his family, fishing and watching Unión (local soccer team), his passion. And in his Santa Fe, relaxed, he talks about a peculiar year.
What’s your season balance?
For me is very positive because I ended playing. After the Worlds I thought I was going to have a good season, solid. And when on the first week of competition happened what happened, I thought it could end. Some pessimistic people even thought my career could end. I didn’t gothat far. That’s why I tell you it was a positive season: because I was able to play again. I did it well and could forget about the injury. Because until I came back there were a lot of doubts: if I would be able to play, to shoot, if I could handle a strong blow, everything… and that's only concerning sports. Because questions were also raised about if I could drive a car, listen to loud music… so it was positive in the end.
I don’t want to recall bad memories, but what did it happen exactly?
It was a blow. I keep it in my mind. I know how it happened. Last year I had the same injury and the problem was that Haslem fell over my neck and I lost conscience for a few seconds. This time, when I hit myself with a knee after drawing an offensive foul, I stayed on the floor, I stood up a little bit dizzy, and when the referee asked me if I was OK, I said yes. Two minutes remained for halftime. I went to the locker room and I told the trainer my head was aching. He immediately asked me if it could be the same thing that happened last year and I told him no, because symptoms were not the same. He gave me a pill and put some heat on the area. It was the first game on the road: October 28th. I finished playing and my head continued aching. I went to sleep. My old man was arriving that night. I slept two hours. I went to fetch my old man and the pain continued. I thought it was because I had finished playing. Next game, I played fine and just before it finishes, I receive an elbow blow in my ear. I told the trainer, who is from Colombia, that it was hurting. I had a bruise. He told me to put ice. I kept sleeping badly, we trained, we traveled, and I woke up in the morning and felt that the light bothered me. From Boston we went to Indiana, we had a day free and I slept form the beginning to the end, like 15 straight hours. That got me in a good mood. But I went to play and the neck was hurting, I was dizzy, everything waswrong. They applied laser in my neck. I played, and about 8 minutes before the end of the game I receive a blow in my cheekbone, an NBA classic. The game finished and before the next one, I told the Colombian trainer what was happening to me. And he told me too many concussion symptoms existed. I was feeling like a buzz. He didn’t want me to play. But I went out to play and when they introduced me, I didn’t understand a thing. Everything moved. I played the first half and stopped. I couldn’t go on. Next day they took me to the hospital, they studied me and they see there was no blood clot. That was good news. They kept me shut down for two weeks. I couldn’t go out of my room. The problem had been the first blow. That was the one that weakened me. The second one was the knock out.
In those two weeks you received some treatment?
No, I was lying in my bed. I couldn’t go out to face the light. I felt like I had vertigo. They made me an appointment with a neurologist. They asked me to remember 12 words and to repeat them just when they finished spelling them. I couldn’t remember more than three. Again. I told them five. I was thinking to myself “I’m in the oven”. They made me take another test: I had to say words that started with C. I told them 3 in a minute. They gave me another letter. I told them four. Everything in English. He asked me if I could do better in Spanish. I told him yes, naturally. And I couldn’t say any word. The guy was laughing. And he tells me it’s not a matter of language, that my head was not working well. I went back to the dark and couldn’t do anything. I was photophobic. I live in a tenth floor with a beautiful view, but I had to stay in the room, I only woke up for dinner. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t force my view. If I wanted to remember something, my head started aching. Cell phone shut down. I slept during the daytime and was awake at night. During the second week I started walking the dog by night. And I saw people fishing by night. I thought maybe could be a good idea for me, in order to clear myself up. I told the Colombian, Sam, but he didn’t allowed me. So I went out with the dog every night.
I imagine you had some medication to calm you, to avoid going nuts…
No, you can’t. Because you can’t relax that much. You need to work your mind step by step so to sharpen it. Being careful no to cross the line to the opposite side. From there I went to see a guy that worked for NASA. They got me inside a sort of virtual reality cube and tested different things. This was in Chicago. They made me wear some dark glasses with cameras. They showed me some videos and my eyes went in every direction. I was in very bad shape. I went three weeks like this with different exercises. I improved my balance. We were in December. I tried to go and watch a game and I had to exit it. I couldn’t stand it. I went through two more weeks like this.
Was it a concussion, technically speaking?
And was it related in some way with last year’s blow?
No. A guy who works with football players told me the kind of blows you receive in basketball do not leave sequels which can last so long. But he told me if I continued to have concussions in the years to come then yes, we could be talking of something serious. So I didn’t knew if any new hit will cause me a concussion. But in that matter he left me without worries. We even thought to play with some kind of protection, but finally they told me not to, because it could cause more problems. Nevertheless, the league would have not allowed it. In Milwaukee they had bought like 20 XXL hats. Everybody laughed at me because they were too big. Even Scola saw one.
The last part of recovery before you came back was a pretty fast one.
Yes. At the beginning I rode the exercise bicycle for 10 minutes trying to reach 90 pulsations. First day, at 85, my head started aching. Second at 15 minutes and the same. At some point I started shooting to the rim and I realized I was feeling better than with bicycle. They wouldn’t let me run. But in a few days the situation changed. Salmons got injured, so we had a meeting with the neurologist, trainer, team doctor and me. I was feeling well. So they told me to start playing about 15/18 minutes.
I remember. In the second game you played 30 minutes.
In the first game I played 22 or 23. We won in Cleveland, so everyone was happy. In the second match I played 30. Trainer told me: “I thought we were going little by little”. But I was OK, happy. And in a few games I was fantastic. But a few days after I wasn’t able to move my legs. I was physically in very bad condition, but I got well in two weeks, and when I recovered rhythm I forgot about everything.
Was it special the day you came back?
A lot may have gone through your head.
Yes, emotionally it was a strong experience. When I played the first game, the coach sent me in during the first quarter. I had a little bit of stage fright. I was asking myself a lot of things like if I would do OK. I missed the first shot. The second one, in a reply, I made a three and I said to myself: “It’s done”. I remember every point I made in that game. I even dunked it. I was slow, but when I got well, I walked forward. These are the reasons for me to make a positive balance. More from a personal side than from a team one, as I usually do.
Well, putting aside this matter, it was a good season for you.
Yes. I had a lot of hope for this year. But we had many injuries; the team didn’t do very well. When the season ended, I turned over the page.
Your injury influenced the tam performance, but Milwaukee seems to be a team that lacks something. Because the team has talent, young players, athletes, a good coach, but it can’t find some regularity.
I think we lacked the chance to work together. The injury issue was very important, it killed us. There were players with whom I played, like Gooden, no more than 15 games. We didn’t have working hours. We lacked ensemble. We never had the chance to get together last year’s old core and mix it with the new players. This way it’s very difficult to get a playing style, an idea.
It’s a team that with another year of work has a big potential.
Sure. I watched the playoffs between Chicago and Indiana, and honestly I believe we were a better team than Indiana. We didn’t play well and we didn’t have the team together at any moment. And that frustrates me. But we have to keep the core. For sure there will be some movement but we must be intelligent and surround Jennings and Bogut, the core of the team. We must have better luck with injuries, because, as you say, the coach is a good one.