George Karl interested in return to NBA for the 'right' opportunity
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Away from the NBA for a year, George Karl has his sights set on a possible return to coaching.
Karl, a 25-year NBA head coaching veteran who currently works as an analyst for ESPN, told SiriusXM's NBA Radio earlier this week that he wants to get "back into the gym."
Karl said he has not yet heard from any teams with coaching vacancies but is hoping the phone calls from interested general managers will eventually come.
"I think the teams that have openings right now have a process," Karl said. "Some of the teams haven't gotten into the process at a high level yet ... I'll let the process happen. I would love the opportunity to talk with people when they think I'm a person who should be talked to."
Karl later addressed his comments on NBA Radio via a statement in a story by ESPN.com, reiterating his interest in coaching again.
"I'm enjoying my role at ESPN," Karl said. "I'd be interested in the right coaching opportunity, but I respect the coaching profession too much to become a distraction to the process."
Along with several other teams in need of a new coach, Karl's name has come up in the broad speculation of potential candidates for the Minnesota Timberwolves' vacancy.
The Wolves are approaching the three-week mark since Rick Adelman announced his retirement on April 21. In the weeks since, there has been relatively little news about any developments in the Wolves' search. Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has repeatedly stressed the team would take its time selecting a new coach.
1500ESPN.com contributor Darren Wolfson reported two weeks ago that multiple sources had indicated Karl would "love the opportunity to coach the Wolves" but had yet to be contacted.
Regardless if he would be the right fit in Minnesota, Karl has a Hall of Fame-caliber resume that is enticing. Karl's teams made the playoffs in 22 of his 25 seasons (.599 career winning percentage). He earned NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2012-13 after leading the Nuggets to a 57-win season, but he was fired after Denver was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round for the fourth straight season.
Whether or not the Wolves are among the teams who may consider reaching out to Karl, the 62-year-old coach is already anticipating being contacted by the Los Angeles Lakers.
"(Lakers general manager) Mitch Kupchak and I were roommates in college," Karl told NBA Radio. "Mitch has been a very good friend of mine for years, but have I talked to Mitch in the last couple of weeks? No, I haven't. I'm respecting that when the process occurs Mitch will probably give me a phone conversation along the way, because I do want to get back in the gym."