George Karl on coaching Kings: “If they’re interested in me, I’m interested in them”

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As the NBA comes to grips with Sacramento’s surprising mid-season firing of coach Mike Malone, the natural question becomes “who is next?”

Well, technically its former Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, who will be the interim coach and is expected to ride out the season. But nobody thinks that’s the long-term answer, so the question is “who is really next?”

ProBasketballTalk has been told the Kings have a strong interest in George Karl, something that multiple other reporters have heard and publicized as well. Karl has lobbied for other NBA coaching jobs recently and Monday was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and said the Kings are a team that he would be interested in.

Karl said he’s open to starting a dialogue whenever the Kings want. Which maybe should be sooner rather than later.

Back in the 2012-13 season Karl led the Nuggets to 57-wins and was named NBA Coach of the Year. They played an exciting, up-tempo exciting brand of basketball. What the Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé wants. It’s not what they have the roster for, but it’s what he wants. Today anyway.

Karl said recently he wants one more three-to-five years stint as a head coach, he wants one more chance to coach a team and win the one thing that has eluded him, an NBA title. Which is why if the Kings wait until next summer things could get interesting — Sacramento might not be the only team knocking on Karl’s door then. And if we wants to chase a ring there may be teams closer to that goal than Sacramento right now.

There are other rumored names. Chris Mullin is the guy Ranadivé seems to trust most and if he wants to be coach (or GM, or both) he might get that gig. Mark Jackson and Vinny Del Negro’s names also have come up.

But we heard what Ranadivé wants is Karl.

Just be warned Mr. Ranadivé, Karl is a veteran coach who is not going to put up kindly with meddling owners, especially ones who would go chase something like a trade for Josh Smith when that was obvious to everyone he’d be a horrible fit with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. Karl wants his owners to be owners, not play fantasy basketball.