George Karl is out as Nuggets head coach

June 6, 2013

What can the NBA Coach of the Year award get you?

Unemployment apparently.

Denver Nuggets President Josh Kroenke announced today that Coach George Karl will not return for the final year of his contract in 2013-14.

“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.”

The move was shocking considering that the highly-respected Karl  just came off a successful 57-win regular season and a number 3 seed in the West with his hustling, uptempo-oriented team.

In fact, Karl, 62, was named the 2012-13 NBA Coach of the Year this past season precisely for his team's quality year.

The Nuggets' success was especially impressive because Denver had lost one of its top players, Danilo Gallinari, to a season-ending knee injury earlier in the season.

With no genuine MVP-level star on his roster, Karl utilized a fast break style of play tailor-made for the talents of his athletic players and the thin air of Denver.  The result was an exciting team that pushed the ball in transition and got easy baskets, while also physically wearing down its opposition.

Hired on Jan. 27, 2005, Karl orchestrated one of the most successful eras in Nuggets history. He guided Denver to nine consecutive playoff appearances and a regular-season record of 423-257. His victories rank second in franchise history to Doug Moe (432).

However, Denver lost to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs this year, which ultimately was the problem for Nuggets' management. The Nuggets advanced past the first round once under Karl, reaching the Western Conference finals in 2009.

Still, do not expect Karl to be out of a job for long.  The Los Angeles Clippers already are reported to have expressed a strong interest in Karl and will likely interview him in the next few days.

On the surface, a Clipper-Karl union would appear to be a good fit, given that the Clippers also have a roster of young, athletic players.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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