There are several successful NBA executives who rode successful coaching careers into their front-office positions:
- Pat Riley
- Larry Bird
- Danny Ainge
- Flip Saunders
- Phil Jackson
It sounds like George Karl wants to follow in their footsteps.
George Karl has never met Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, but if Gilbert is looking for a prominent NBA veteran with ties to Cleveland to head up his franchise as president, Karl would love to be on the short list.
“Being a leader, running a team and organizing a group with the common goal of winning a championship would be the ultimate challenge in my career,” Karl said via email from Germany, where son Coby is playing.
I wouldn’t read too much into the Cavaliers specifically. They don’t have a team president, and we don’t even know whether they’ll keep general manager David Griffin or coach Mike Brown – let alone whether they’d restructure their front office to create a new position.
But this shows Karl is at least interested in moving to a front office.
Karl coached 25 years in the NBA before the Nuggets fired him following the 2012-13 season, a year he won Coach of the Year. He sat out this season, and he should come up for coaching openings. He’s a good coach without question.
But at 62, maybe he wants to ease into a less-demanding role. His history in basketball should buy him at least looks for executive openings, and then it will be up to him to prove in interviews his skills translate.
Does Karl still want to coach, or is he just open to any job that gets him back in the NBA? That’s something NBA teams with any opening should be exploring this offseason.