Jamahl Mosley, a Knicks coaching candidate, is in his sixth season on Rick Carlisle’s Mavericks staff. The 41-year-old has emerged as one of the league’s top young assistants destined to take the next step.
However, it was legendary coach George Karl — not Carlisle — who gave Mosley his first job in the NBA, hiring him to work out Nuggets players in 2006 for the paltry salary of $25,000.
Mosley, a 6-foot-8 star power forward at the University of Colorado, was with Karl from 2006-10, going from player developmental coach to bench assistant coach in their last two seasons together.
“I thought he had a great connection with today’s player,’’ the retired Karl told The Post from his home in Denver. “He was hungry. He was big in player development, then toward the end of his time, we gave him scouting reports, game-plan responsibilities. He was really good with basketball intellect and really good with players. That’s the combo you need in today’s world and changing attitudes of the young players.”
In Denver, Mosley worked closely with Carmelo Anthony — a client of Leon Rose, now the Knicks president. Mosley’s been a guru in Dallas for Luka Doncic and was the same for Dennis Smith Jr. before his trade to the Knicks.
“He’s a young man that’s worked extremely hard to build up his reputation as a great young coach, great communicator,” Carlisle said last week on a Dallas radio station. “I don’t think he’s going to be with us much longer, honestly. Whether it’s the Knicks or somebody else, this guy is going to be a head coach sooner than later. The opportunity to talk to the Knicks is one that he’s earned.”
When Mosley joined Karl’s staff, he had recently ended his playing career in Europe — and proved invaluable in practice drills. Tim Grgurich, Karl’s longtime player-developmental guru, took Mosley “under his wing.’’
“The thing I saw in Jamahl, we’re a staff that likes to go on the court and work,’’ Karl said. “We don’t believe in Club Med workouts. Players like to shoot jump shots and go at their own pace. I’m a believer to go at game speed in everything and put defenders on you in drills. Jamahl could do that because he was still a pretty good player and was big, and covered big and little guys. He had a lot of versatility for our staff. He picked up all the lingo quickly and showed he’s very bright.”
And now Karl believes Mosley is head-coaching material.
“It was his daily enthusiasm and desire to put in the time to be a really good coach,’’ said Karl, who hosts a podcast “Truth and Basketball.’’ “He reminds me a lot of coach [Dwane] Casey when I had him in Seattle and Terry Stotts [Karl’s assistant in Seattle and Milwaukee]. They both went on to be very good head coaches, and like them, Jamahl is defensive-minded.’’
Karl believes Mosley has a good foundation with himself and Carlisle as mentors. In Dallas, Mosley has served as Carlisle’s defensive coordinator.
“Both Denver and Dallas won a lot of basketball games when [Jamahl] was there,’’ Karl said. “Rick is different than I am but that makes you a better coach when you learn you can do things differently and still be successful.’’
Rose is interviewing 11 candidates with Mosley one of five assistants without head-coaching experience. Mosley is also one of the four black candidates. The NBA entered the season with just eight African-American head coaches.
“I’m a big fan of what is happening with our country, which needs to wake up,’’ Karl said. “We’ve been unfair and unequal to African-Americans. The NBA is 90 percent black. Yes, they need to be given more positions of power and influence and we need more black owners, too.’’
Karl ranks sixth all-time in career NBA coaching victories (1,175). He texted Mosley last week, telling him how much he deserves head-coaching interviews. Last season, Mosley turned down a chance to interview with the Cavaliers. Mosley was a Cavaliers assistant from 2010-14, leaving Karl for a big pay raise.
Before Mosley left for Cleveland, Karl said he instilled in him the knowledge to keep the game simple with an emphasis on communication.
“You got to have a good philosophy but every coaching staff has that,’’ Karl said. “It’s the energy and passion you bring that makes it work. I don’t think there’s smarter coaches than other coaches. The coaches that communicate what they want and get a commitment from [the players] to do it is what makes it work.”
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