Although acting Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin seems to the be the favorite to take over the job full-time, a big name candidate has thrown his hat into the mix. In speaking with Mary-Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer, former Denver Nuggets head coach and current ESPN commentator George Karl would be interested in becoming president of the Cavaliers. In theory, his role would be similar to what Phil Jackson’s role with the New York Knicks.
“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 told the Plain Dealer via email. “The year off has been enjoyable, but there is no question I have missed the gym, the games and being a part of a team and organization.”
Karl has a connection to the Cavaliers organization. His first ever head coaching job came in Cleveland way back in 1984-85. Karl lead Cleveland to the playoffs that season, but was fired the next season after starting the year 25-42. In 25 years on the NBA bench, the 1985-86 Cavaliers were one of only three teams that Karl failed to lead to the playoffs. In his most recent coaching gig, last season with the Denver Nuggets, Karl was named NBA Coach of the Year, but was fired just a month after the season ended.
Karl also famously battled cancer twice. He had prostate cancer in 2005 and throat cancer in 2010. He says that he is healthy now.
“Feel great and would love to expand the challenge of putting an organization together and bringing a fun committed basketball team to Cleveland,” Karl said.
The idea of Karl in Cleveland is interesting. For starters, it would fit in with the idea that Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert has been looking to make a big name hire to replace Chris Grant and the Cavaliers reportedly would have been interested in Jackson before he was hired by New York. The Cavaliers have also been linked to former Knicks president Isaiah Thomas and recently fired Detroit Pistons president Joe Dumars. If Gilbert did decide to hire a president, former Cavs coach Mike Fratello could be another option, albeit a less flashy option .