The Denver Nuggets made a shocking move on Thursday when they fired head coach George Karl. The 62-year old coach had been with the team since 2005. What really made the move puzzling is that Karl was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year for the 2012-2013 season back in May.
Karl took the Nuggets to the postseason every year in his eight seasons with the team, though they did lose in the first round of the playoffs the past four seasons. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the issue had to do with Karl’s contract situation more than the team’s play on the court.
Karl was entering the last season of his deal with Denver, which is a situation that has made him uncomfortable throughout his career. Rather than coaching the team under a one-year contract, Karl was likely going to pursue an extension during the offseason. Apparently the Nuggets were not comfortable giving him one and decided it was time to part ways.
At least two players who are currently on the Denver roster, Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson, were left scratching their heads after the move.
So we lost a GM now a coach what’s next!?
— Kenneth Faried (@KennethFaried35) June 6, 2013
In a text message, Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson said, “All of this is crazy and unexpected, don’t know what to say.”
— Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews) June 6, 2013
Faried is referring to former Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri leaving to take a job with the Toronto Raptors last week. Wojnarowski is reporting that Denver is interested in Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw and Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins as possible replacements for Karl. Time will tell if another coach can have the same type of success Karl had with a roster that lacks star power.
As for Karl, his name was recently mentioned as a possible candidate for the Los Angeles Clippers vacant head coaching job if the Nuggets decided not to give him an extension. Expect those talks to heat up in the coming days.Google+