The Denver Nuggets have informed head coach George Karl that he will not return for the 2013-2014 season, in what would have been the final year of his contract. Karl was reportedly pushing for an extension, but the team denied his request.
Karl leaves Denver with the distinction of being arguably one of the best coaches in the history of the franchise, as he led the team to the playoffs in every season where he was at the helm. However, Karl could never get to the pinnacle of the sport with his young, athletic, and talented Nuggets squads. He lost in the first round of the playoffs every season in Denver with the exception of 2008-2009, when the Nuggets were eliminated in the Western Conference Finals.
That inability to reach the NBA Finals may have been the reason for Karl’s firing, although it is very surprising nonetheless. Karl is coming off one of the best seasons of his NBA coaching career, the first in which he was named NBA Coach of the Year.
As for where Karl will move on to, he is very intrigued by the available Los Angeles Clippers position, after Los Angeles recently fired head coach Vinny Del Negro. The Clippers are interested in Karl as well, as Los Angeles had preliminary conversations with the Nuggets last week. A source who has knowledge of the Clippers’ thinking said that Karl will be “strongly considered” for the Clippers job.
The Memphis Grizzlies could be another possible destination for the longtime coach, as the Grizzlies’ coaching situation is very much uncertain at this time. Memphis is still deciding whether to retain head coach Lionel Hollins and Hollins has said repeatedly that he wants to remain the Grizzlies head coach. However, it appears that Hollins’ days in Memphis are numbered. NBA sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein that the Grizzlies will engage in discussions with Karl now that he is available.
Karl is definitely one of the hot commodities on the NBA coaching market, and it will be very intriguing to see where he lands next, and what direction the Nuggets will go without Karl on the Denver bench.