Wilkens open to coaching again

Publish date:

Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens has agreed to serve as a consultant to the South Korean National Team and said he's open to returning as a coach in the NBA.

Wilkens, 72, will head to Seoul on June 4 for a week to help the team's coaching staff put together a roster that will scrimmage NBA players in the Las Vegas summer league.

"They asked me to take part, so I met with their commissioner and the coach and we have had conversations," Wilkens told SI.com "We are working on finalizing it right now."

The question, of course, is whether this is a precursor to Wilkens attempting to get back into coaching?

Wilkens, who retired from coaching in 2005 after 32 seasons in the NBA, finished with 1,332 career victories, in addition to a title with the SuperSonics (1979) and a Coach of the Year award with the Hawks (1994). This year he was surpassed by Warriors coach Don Nelson for most career wins (1,335).

Nelson remains the Warriors' coach, but the team is currently for sale and if a new owner is able to purchase the team by August, it is believed Nelson will be fired as the new owner tries to get his own people in place. If that's the case, and if Wilkens is able to land another job, he would be able to reclaim his title as the league's winningest coach.

"If the situation was right, I certainly would consider [coaching again]," Wilkens said. "I have not explored it. But Cleveland certainly has a good team. So does Chicago. A few teams are good and need coaches. Let's see how everything shakes out and then we'll see."

Wilkens, one of three people to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, last was a head coach in New York in 2004. After the Knicks got off to a slow start, Wilkens resigned in January 2005 amid criticism the game had passed him by. In November 2006, he was hired as vice chairman of the Sonics' before being named President of Basketball Operations in April 2007. He resigned three months later.

Wilkens' knowledge of the game, as well as past international success -- he was an assistant with the 1992 Dream Team and coached the 1996 U.S. team to a gold medal -- prompted officials from the South Korean National Team to call.

"I am going to enjoy it," Wilkens said. "I think I can help them. They are going to bring about 25 players in to Seoul and work them out and I will be there to watch and talk about who will help their team.

"Once we form a team, I will work with them on their defense. Maybe some offensive stuff. Basically, I think that they are not really big so defensively we will probably be aggressive and try to be creative."