Reigning NBA Coach of the Year George Karl has been fired by the Denver Nuggets the franchise confirmed on Thursday in what has been viewed as a surprising move. Indeed, it seems the Nuggets are having something of a summer clear-out this year after recently losing Masai Ujiri (reigning executive of the year) to the Toronto Raptors.
One thing is certain; George Karl has not been removed due to what happened on the court this season. The 62-year old claimed victory in 57 games during the 2012/2013 season, a franchise record, and even more impressively he did this with a largely untested roster lacking in star power. Karl has been with the Nuggets for nine seasons, so what has prompted the franchise to dismiss the long standing tactician?
Rumbles around the front office suggest that Karl was pushing for a contract extension as he did not want to head into his final year with a new GM entering the franchise. If this prompted the Nuggets hierarchy to fire their successful coach then it is certainly a brave move, although potentially a foolish one. Nuggets President Josh Kroenke is also said to be unhappy about Karl’s apparent interest in becoming head coach at the Los Angeles Clippers, and adding the contract dispute to the mix merely pushed Karl closer to the exit.
The organization must now figure out how it will move on successfully without the current coach of the year, and indeed without the current executive of the year. It seems unlikely that the transition will be smooth meaning the Nuggets could endure a tough season in 2013/2014. Nevertheless, the franchise is now without George Karl, and Josh Kroenke thanked the outgoing coach for his service.
“George has been an instrumental part of our success over the past decade, and we appreciate everything he did to keep us among the top teams in the Western Conference,” Kroenke said. “He is a Hall of Fame coach whose legacy in Denver will last for years to come. George is a legend in the game of basketball and I could not have more respect for him as a person and coach.”