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George Karl
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

George Karl
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

George Karl is ready to emerge as a leading candidate on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ short list of top choices for the team’s open general manager position.

If only he can sway owner Dan Gilbert and other front office types he belongs in the mix based on their generic description of what the franchise now most needs.

Karl also meets the Cavs’ owner’s mandate for the spot being filled by an established NBA vet who has ties to the region or organization stemming from the two seasons he spent as coach of the team starting in 1984.

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, who last coached in the league in 2012-13 told ProBasketBall.com. “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,” added the man who was inexplicably fired by the Denver Nuggets one month after being named NBA Coach of the Year.

Still, and as if he needed any added confidence about his abilities, in recent years the 63-year-old Karl has watched one-time coaching rivals Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Flip Saunders and Danny Ainge rise to the heights of presidents of different organizations. In the face of such direct comparisons, Karl’s 1,131-756 record and 59.9 percent winning percentage would seem to speak volumes

Karl also wants the record to show his past battles with prostate cancer in 2005 and a scare with throat cancer five years later are no longer an issue for him as he is now completely healthy.

“Feel great and would love to expand the challenge of putting an organization together and bringing a fun committed basketball team to Cleveland,” said Karl, named NBA Coach of the Year in 2013 when he led the Nuggets to a 57-win season coaching the league’s then third youngest team.