Could George Karl return to the Cavs?

 George Karl Cavs

There have been no shortage of George Karl discussions when it pertains to the Cleveland Cavaliers and their recent (four years worth of) struggles, but we may finally have something tangible to cling to. In a report from Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Schmitt Boyer, in the event that Dan Gilbert and his ownership team wish to hire a team president—they’re all the rage, after all—Karl would love to be considered.

“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.

Karl’s first head coaching job in the NBA was with the Cavs back in 1984-85. His maiden voyage started with a rough 0-9, but finished with a record of 34-27 over the last four months of the season, clinching a playoff spot. As Boyer mentions, Karl was famously carried off of the floor on the shoulders of his players following the playoff-clinching  14-point win over the Nets. Unfortunately, that euphoria was short-lived as he was fired the next season following a 25-42 season, one of just three years in his 25 that a  Karl-led team didn’t make the playoffs. Karl also coached in Golden State, Seattle and Milwaukee with his SuperSonics team making the NBA Finals in 1996, only to run into the same buzzsaw as the Cavs had for so many years, losing to a recently unretired Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games.

The most prominent former head coach to land a Team President job is Phil Jackson who was recently added to the fold in New York. Flip Saunders has a simlar role in Minnesota with the Timberwolves, while Larry Bird has long been a part of the Indiana Pacers front office. There is no word on whether Gilbert and his team have plans to go down this route.

[Related: George Karl spoke, I listened]

Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images

  • thenoclist

    Yes, please.

  • Harv 21

    C’mon, Mary, just because Karl rang doesn’t mean there’s any indication Gilbert would consider this. No one thinks hiring excellent old coaches and hoping they have the different skill set necessary to run an organization is a smart move. Especially when there’s no reason to think he’s lost the coaching bug, having just left the ranks involuntarily.

    Here’s a more likely Gilbert move: hiring someone who’s shown the ability to excel at the available position. Otherwise, it’s almost like you’re asking a Mike Holmgren to sell loges and run a draft. And beware the guy who contacts reporters to throw his hat in the ring. He probably jonesing to get back to the NBA, anyhow, anywhere.

  • Steve

    Maybe I’m still scarred from Holmgren, but count me as one who is hugely skeptical of expecting great coaches to be great executives.

  • Lunch

    Hmm… Mike Holmgren 2.0? At this point, I’m very skeptical that he’s the right man to run the Cavs.

  • Steve

    Almost completely agree. Except for the “hiring someone who’s shown the requisite skill set for the position”. I think Gilbert shoots from the hip a bit too much with his front office organization.

    And speaking of Dan, does he plan on commenting anytime soon on this past season or the future of the franchise?

  • Harv 21

    but as head coach? Abso-tutely. Watching cranky ol’ George butt heads as he tried to impart a little Dean Smith into Kyrie and Dion would be vastly more entertaining than what we endured this season. Maybe that’s a low bar but it’s a height the Cavs have set for us the last few years.

  • Harv 21

    see, I’m not sure yet but suspect that while his words start at the hip his hires are those whom he feels he already knows: Grant, Brown Part II, attempted hire of Izzo. The GM hire will help us get a better fix.

  • Steve

    I’m skeptical of a head coaching change, as I think it would reinforce to those two that they’re going to be placated by the franchise, but if they bring in Karl, that might be the kick in the rear that this group of players needs.

  • Lunch

    If he has a sound system on offense AND defense that puts the team at the top of both stat categories, then you might be onto something.

  • Harv 21

    agree on all

  • Steve

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of the idea of him going with who he knows, and not just because that looks like it could be Isaiah Thomas.

    Agree on the GM.

  • Harv 21

    as an aside, can someone pleeease hand Ben Poquette his warm up pants. Disturbing.

  • Lunch

    Afraid of a little leg skin, or are you referring to George Karl whose secretly trying to discover if Ben is hiding his family jewels?

  • Harv 21

    Hmm, come to think of it I’ll take Hidden Hand for one hundred, Alex.

  • mgbode

    he will likely comment the Thursday of the NFL draft round1 (at least if he’s smart about it).

  • Steve

    That would be for the best in his case.

    I’m wondering if he has any more grandiose promises that will do nothing but make it harder on his employees to get their job done properly.

  • Pat Leonard

    I believe it’s affectionately known as “man thigh”.