The Cleveland Cavaliers may have failed to make the playoffs for their fourth consecutive season, but that doesn't mean interested parties aren't lining up to mold this young group into a winner.
According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer, former head coach George Karl would be more than happy to talk to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert about assuming the role of president of basketball operations: "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."
Schmitt Boyer also mentions former Cavs coach Mike Fratello, who led Cleveland to four playoff appearances in six seasons during the 1990s, would also be interested in the position.
Perhaps Karl and Fratello would like to follow in the footsteps of Phil Jackson, who recently took the job as president of basketball operations with the New York Knicks.
While neither coach has Jackson's championship rings, both have quite impressive coaching resumes.
Fratello put together a 667-548 record (a 54.9 winning percentage) in 17 NBA seasons, with 11 postseason appearances, though he hasn't coached since 2007.
Karl was a coach as recently as the 2012-13 season, when he won the NBA Coach of the Year award. He compiled a 1,131-756 record (and a 59.9 winning percentage) in 25 NBA seasons. His greatest achievement came in 1996, when he led the Seattle SuperSonics to the NBA Finals before falling in six games to an old Cleveland menace, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
The 62-year-old Karl actually began his head coaching career in Cleveland, in 1984-85. His first team started 0-9 and 2-19 but went 34-27 over the last four months, clinching a playoff spot. He was fired the next season, however, after the Cavs started 25-42.
In February, Karl's agent, Warren Legarie, let it be known that his client wasn't interested in returning to the bench for a rebuilding team, per the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda. Apparently, he has either changed his mind, or he feels differently about taking on the role of team president for a losing club.
What could be standing in the way of either of these former Cavs coaches becoming team president? How about the fact that the position does not yet exist, per HoopsRumors' Chuck Myron:
"The job they appear to have in mind would be team president, though owner Dan Gilbert hasn’t indicated whether he wants to create that job to oversee the GM position, which David Griffin currently occupies on an interim basis."
Also, the team has yet to speak to Karl about any position, per Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio:
Been told #Cavs have no plans to talk to George Karl about any position at this time. Plans vague, but team will not be rushed, source says.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) April 25, 2014
Previous tweet not meant to say #Cavs will never talk to George Karl. Too many people reading it that way. "At this time" means just that.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) April 25, 2014
While there is no guarantee of any change in Cleveland's front office this offseason, ownership would be wise to make a quick, decisive move in the near future. If Gilbert feels David Griffin is the man for the job, then make him the full-time GM; if there is real interest in Karl or Fratello, then Gilbert should send out feelers soon.
This is an important summer for the franchise, and there is little time to waste.