During the 2012-13 NBA season the Denver Nuggets, a team without the kind of superstar usually required to play at a high level in the NBA, put together a nice third-place Western Conference finish that resulted in an Executive of the Year award for general manager Masai Ujiri and Coach of the Year for George Karl. ANd now they’ve spent the subsequent offseason dismantling the whole apparatus.
First, they let Ujiri walk to the Toronto Raptors after Toronto reportedly offered him more than double what Denver would. Next came Karl.
Karl will not be brought back for the final year of his contract, source tells Y! Sports. He was informed this morning.
In final year of deal, Karl was pushing for a contract extension, and ownership wasn’t prepared to give it to him, source tells Y!
Denver believes it can attract an elite coach with its roster; simply didn’t want to deal with an unhappy Karl in final year of contract.
Although his job security was suspect ever since the Nuggets exited the playoffs during the first round, this still comes as a surprise: he’s the reigning Coach of the Year, and the Nuggets elected to part ways with him seemingly without a replacement lined up. Karl will likely have little trouble finding a job — there are already rumors that the Clippers are lusting after him, and if that fails, there are chairs in Brooklyn, Detroit, Philadelphia and possibly Memphis — not to mention the teams who might be inclined to make a change now that Karl’s available (cough, Oklahoma City, cough) — that need filling.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets will be competing against all of these other franchises for the available five-star candidates which, prior to Karl’s dismissal, included Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, the Van Gundy brothers, and embattled Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. If they miss out on those four, they could be forced to settle for a fired coach like Alvin Gentry, Byron Scott, or Vinny Del Negro (lololololol), which would have to be seen as a downgrade from Karl.
The Nuggets do have a nice roster. Speaking of which: one of that roster’s best players, Kenneth Faried, didn’t take too excitedly to today’s news.
Aside from that, one of their best players might not be available until February. So! Keep those egos in check, guys. You’ve got your work cut out for you.