Over the weekend, there were reports that the Cavaliers are looking at George Karl for a newly created position of President of Basketball Operations, and even an interview in the morning newspaper in which Karl said he would be interested.
Immediately, there was reaction, and some of it was negative, comparing it to the Knicks move hiring Phil Jackson to the same position, a move for which they received some criticism.
Columnist Terry Pluto said if the Cavs were to hire Karl, it should be to coach the team, that’s his area of expertise.
The problem is the former Cavs coach has had some health issues over the past decade and may not want to deal with the travel and time commitment a coach has to do.
So, should owner Dan Gilbert hire Karl?
The answer here is a resounding yes!
The reason is we feel Karl, along with Larry Brown, has one of the best basketball minds in the country. He and Brown learned the game at North Carolina from Frank McGuire and Dean Smith, and in his last six seasons at Denver, the Nuggets had winning percentages of over .550 each season.
The other thing with Karl that is appealing is he is flexible. He’s won with different types of teams, from his Western Conference champion Seattle teams that featured Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton to his team oriented Nuggets squad that won 57 games last season.
We can understand folks being critical of the Jackson hire in New York because he’s only had success with one type of team, that being dominated by the best player in the sport, whether it be Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, or Kobe Bryant.
Perhaps his philosophy will work with the Knicks, because they have a premier talent in Carmelo Anthony, but Jackson has never worked with a different type of team in all his years in the NBA.
Karl came into his first job, coincidentally with the Cavaliers, with certain concepts on how the game should be played. They started out 2-19, before the coach adapted, letting World B. Free play like the scorer he was in exchange for effort on the defensive end.
Those Cavaliers rebounded to make the playoffs.
Today’s Cavs need help and why not pursue someone who has a ton of experience and success around the NBA game. He would be an asset to the organization.
Let Karl write his own ticket, if he wants to coach, fine. If he wants to work with acting GM David Griffin, that works as well. If he can shed some light on the psyche of today’s NBA players, then utilize that ability. After all, he’s been around the league for 40 years.
He may not be a traditional executive, but based on the Cavs’ success over the history of the franchise, why go the tried and true route. There is no harm in being a little innovative.
And bringing in a basketball mind like the one George Karl has is something this organization should hardly refuse. It shouldn’t be about egos, it should be about results, and if Karl can help the Cavaliers win games as early as next year, then why not hire him?
He would provide an alternative to the corporate speak we heard in last week’s press conference with Griffin.