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George Karl confirms he wants to return to coaching (he wants the Laker to call)

May 9, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

He and Lakers' GM Mitch Kupchak go back to North Carolina together.... Tar Heels forever.

He’s a coach with 25 years experience in the NBA and a .599 winning percentage. His teams have gone to the playoffs all but three of those 25 seasons, once all the way to the Finals. His teams play an up-tempo, entertaining style of basketball.

George Karl is available and why his name is slow to come up in some coaching searches around the NBA is a little confusing. He’s not the guy to call if you’re a bad team looking to develop young players, but if you’ve got a more veteran squad and want to win, he should be on your short list — the guy won the Coach of the Year award just before Denver fired him.

Karl wants back on the bench, something he said while interviewed on the NBA channel on SiriusXM, as transcribed by ESPN.

Current ESPN analyst George Karl confirmed Thursday that he’s interested in a return to coaching after saying in an interview on SiriusXM Radio earlier in the day that he’d “like to get back in the gym.”

“I’m enjoying my role at ESPN,” Karl said in a statement. “I’d be interested in the right coaching opportunity, but I respect the coaching profession too much to become a distraction to the process.”

Karl is not a fit for every NBA job that is open. Detroit, for example, would be a bit awkward.

But what about Minnesota? Or the Los Angeles Lakers? With L.A. there are natural ties, Karl pointed out.

“Mitch Kupchak [Lakers general manager] and I were roommates in college and Mitch has been a very good friend of mine for years,” Karl said on “Off The Dribble” on SiriusXM. “Have I talked to Mitch in the last couple of weeks? No, I haven’t.”

We will see if Karl lands anywhere, I’m not sure he’s a great fit for the Lakers (not bad, better than the last guy, but not great).

But his name should come up more than it does. The guy can flat out coach.

  1. spursareold - May 9, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    The Lakers? I thought you said he wouldn’t be a good fit for a bad team that is rebuilding.

    • sportsfan18 - May 9, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Well, here IS what he said in the article about Karl coaching the Lakers… AND I quote…

      “I’m not sure he’s a great fit for the Lakers (not bad, better than the last guy, but not great).”

  2. romestar82 - May 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    love Karl as a kid watching him Coach the Sonics bring him to L.A and let’s win NOW !

  3. Wammy Giveaway - May 9, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Every time George Karl faced the Lakers in the playoffs, he automatically loses to them. He is 0-6 in a series against the Lakers in his coaching career:

    1987: 5th seed, GSW, second round (top seed, 5 games)
    1995: 4th seed, SEA, first round (5th seed, 4 games*)
    1998: 2nd seed, SEA, second round (3rd seed, 5 games)
    2008: 8th seed, DEN, first round (top seed, sweep)
    2009: 2nd seed, DEN, conference finals (top seed, 6 games)
    2012: 6th seed, DEN, first round (3rd seed, 7 games)

    * All games are best of seven, except for 1995, which was best of five for the first round only

    If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

  4. cruzan80 - May 9, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    One of the most overrated coaches….EVER.

    • sportsfan18 - May 9, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      You’re talking about Tom Coughlin right?

      • jimeejohnson - May 9, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        You’re either dumb or a Patriots fan (not mutually exclusive).

      • cruzan80 - May 9, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        1. I’m not a Giants fan (if thats what you were aiming for)

        2. Hard to call a guy with two Super Bowl victories “overrarted” but OK!

      • sportsfan18 - May 10, 2014 at 3:10 PM


        you are wrong on both of your counts

        I was only trying to tweak cruzan80 as I thought he was a Giants fan…

        Coughlin is a great coach.

        But Jimee, you REALLY thought I was ONLY one of the two options you listed?

        Life is more complicated than that… gotta bring more than two options to the table.. or leave yourself an out…

  5. bhunter1995 - May 9, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Please bring Karl to LA Mitch, look at what he did in Denver with that roster, 57 wins was excellent, he exceded all expectations with that roster and some. He is great with young players and isn’t set into one system like Antoni, he is a top five coach in the league and is a perfect fit for a young athletic team.

  6. Great Caesar's Ghost - May 9, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Sorry George, someone else will be bringing the upcoming Bucks squad to multiple championships. You had your chance.

    • jimeejohnson - May 9, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      Sounds like somebody had too much of Milwaukee’s finest: multiple championships? Start with the playoffs and go from there.

  7. chrisco716 - May 9, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    Karl was a perfect fit for the Nuggets playing high tempo at high altitude. The Pepsi Center was rocking with Karl as coach. Last year Karl won 57 games and this year Shaw won 36 with the same lineup. Despite great hopes starting the season, the Pepsi Center was empty this year with Shaw as coach. Everyone seems to love Brian Shaw and they don’t seem to like George Karl. I don’t get it. Denver fired Karl because he lost in the first round of the playoffs to a Warrior team shooting out of their minds from long range. But Karl took a team without a single all-star and won 57 games and the #2 seed in the incredibly talented west. Denver ownership should not have blamed Karl for losing in the first round. Denver ownership should blame themselves for not getting and keeping all-star talent. What Karl did last year with no all-stars in the loaded western conference is incredible. Karl can flat out coach.

  8. SBoy - May 10, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    “George Karl is available and why his name is slow to come up in some coaching searches around the NBA is a little confusing.”

    Here is the reason…Great regular season coach… Underwhelming in the postseason.

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