Posted June 13, 2013

George Karl out as Nuggets coach

Denver Nuggets, George Karl, Rob Mahoney
Denver Nuggets George Karl has been named NBA Coach of the Year for the 2012-13 season

George Karl led Denver to the playoffs nine years in a row. (Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

The NBA’s Coach of the Year is out of a job.

The Nuggets continued their offseason shakeup Thursday by parting ways with coach George Karl after nine seasons, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and later made official via press release from the team. The news comes just days after Denver lost its general manager, Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri, to the Raptors.

Karl, 62, was named Coach of the Year last month after leading the Nuggets to their best NBA season in franchise history. But Yahoo! Sports reported that Nuggets ownership wasn’t ready to fulfill Karl’s request for a contract extension, and the team didn’t want an “unhappy” Karl serving out the last year of his contract in 2013-14.

Of course, the prologue to this decision does not merely include Ujiri’s exit. After winning 57 games and earning the third seed in the Western Conference, the Nuggets lost to the underdog Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. Denver was outplayed and outcoached over the course of the six-game series, and Karl in particular drew blame for the defeat.

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried tweeted his reaction to the Yahoo! Sports report about Karl:

Nuggets reserve Quincy Miller also responded to the news:

According to Yahoo! Sports, the timing of Karl’s release is no accident, as the Nuggets are set to contact the Grizzlies about coach Lionel Hollins (whose contract with Memphis expires June 30) and the Pacers about assistant Brian Shaw. Both have been linked to various coaching vacancies and are very much in demand after deep playoff runs.

Karl, meanwhile, is already atop the Grizzlies’ list of potential replacements for Hollins, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, and has drawn some interest from the Clippers as well. A source told Grantland’s Zach Lowe that Karl will not reunite with Ujiri in Toronto this summer.

Karl took over as Denver coach in the middle of the 2004-05 season. He went 423-257 with the Nuggets and led them to the playoffs all nine seasons. But Denver advanced in the postseason only once, in 2009, when the team made the conference finals.

He has also coached Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle and Milwaukee. Karl is 1,131-756 in 25 seasons as an NBA coach.

Along with their front-office and coaching overhaul, the Nuggets also face important decisions with their roster. Two players who had prominent roles this season, Andre Iguodala (who is likely to opt out of the final year of his contract) and Corey Brewer, are set to become free agents.

22 comments
6marK6
6marK6

I hear indignation from non-Nuggets fans, but I wonder if they would be singing the same tune if their team had only got past the 1st round once in the last ten years. Something tells me they would be discontented.

JosephYu1
JosephYu1

its organizations like this that will never win a nba title... your head coach who has been your rock in your organization for a better part of a decade is axed without justification?  Loser move!

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

YCMTSU.....come back to Milwaukee. The land that made you famous......YIKES!

geoAZ
geoAZ

Reminds of the guy who dumps his wife for his secretary, who's cheating on her husband and then is amazed, when she leaves him !!

6marK6
6marK6

That guy's post-season record was awful. I mean, he has been in Denver for ten years, and made it out of the 1st round once? You can flame Denver all you want, but what was he building towards?

JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

Maybe he forced their hand because he wanted a different job. If he didn't this move is hard to explain.

WCJohnson2
WCJohnson2

Nuggets Reasoning: We need more of a Coach-of-the-century kind of guy.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

If he wants to coach again, it won't take long for him to get another job.

Jeff63
Jeff63

what's next? they gonna burn down the arena?

bronzestar19
bronzestar19

all karl does is win with no superstars,granted he has carmelo,but look what happened to knicks with him and all that talent,nuggets just don't spend the bucks 

Holden
Holden

@6marK6 Only Nuggets fans could even come close to naming most of the players on the roster!  Karl won COY for taking a thrown-together squad further than any "expert" reckoned he could take them.  The Nuggets started the season with 17 of its first 21 games on the ROAD, and still won 57 games.

They had very little inside presence and ZERO All Stars, yet put together a very nice regular season.  The playoffs separate the men from the boys...but is Karl the reason for the Generals--oops, I meant the Nuggets--failures, there?  I think...not.

Ujiri's departure came down to money...I suspect Karl's departure had as much to do with his displeasure over that development, as did his contract status.  Nuggets fans' indignation over playoff failures isn't aimed at the coaches or players...we're indignant about the team's unstated mission--"win, lose or draw, don't spend any more than necessary."

It's the same story with all Kroenke-owned teams...look at what's happened to the two-time Stanley Cup champs, the Avalanche.  The Kroenke formula works--for the Kroenkes.  I can't blame them for wanting to make money...it's just HOW they do it--with no regard for the long-suffering fans of the teams in which they've invested--that grinds my gears.

6marK6
6marK6

@JasonMacBride He wants the Clippers job, but if they fired Del Negro because they were not happy with his post-season performances, how can they rationalize hiring Karl?

utoo
utoo

@bronzestar19yeah look what happened. Knicks had their best record in over a decade and pass the first round while Karl, heavily favorites couldn't pass the first round yet again. Karl is 21-39 in the playoffs.

JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

@6marK6 @JasonMacBride I think you are right on both points. Still, I've always thought a team should have a better person in mind and on the hook before they fire a coach. I'm not sure the Nuggets fit that description here.

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

@utoo @bronzestar19 The Knicks may have had their best record of the last 10 or more years but you also gotta remember, the Knicks really sucked.  Now they only kinda suck.

Just kidding.  They suck.

tomy12
tomy12

@utoo @bronzestar19 not sure if you watched the series.. GS was a force not to be reckoned with.


they had a bad matchup, can't fault the coach on this year's outing

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

@utoo @nfinitwordsfoto @bronzestar19 More than half the league makes the playoffs.  The NBA playoffs are almost on the same level as "every kid gets a trophy".  

I'm not impressed by making the playoffs.  Sorry, Knicks suck.

utoo
utoo

@tomy12 @utoo @bronzestar19 GS got hot but Denver was still the favorite. So it is ok for Karl to lose in the first round but not ok for Melo to lose in the second round even though Indian got hot and even took Miami to 7 games.