Coaching at the pro level is never easy. Just ask George Karl. He won this year’s NBA Coach of the Year award, but now he will be looking for a new gig. Today the Denver Nuggets announced that they fired Karl.
The Nuggets team president Josh Kroenke talked about why Karl was let go. He released a statement saying, “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. 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.”
Even with losing his job, George went to Twitter to thank the Denver fans. He tweeted, “I want to thank Nuggets fans for their support over the past 8 yrs. The karma on the street was incredible. Denver will always be home.”
It seemed Karl did not live up to the team’s expectations when he and team were bounced out early in this year’s playoffs. I remember listening to an interview just after the team got ousted in the first round by the Golden State Warriors, if felt as though George could see the writing on the wall. He kept saying that it has been a great ride and was very proud of his teams past and present. It was like he knew he would be out of a job in Denver.
The Nuggets have had some issues come playoff time. They could not get past the first or second rounds, which would add more pressure for Karl and the team to succeed the following year. Karl has a record of 1,131-756 in his career as a head coach. During the playoffs is another story. He is 80-105.
It seems that Karl was not just fired for the issues the team had in the playoffs, but it also dealt with his relationship with upper management. There were going to be issues with George’s contract since he was looking for an extension and the team did not want to give him one. The front office didn’t want contracts disputes to be a distraction for next season so the let him go.
The front office failed in one aspect. There will be some distractions as the players are scratching their heads about their coach getting fired. Some of the players let their out their frustration to the media.
Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried went on Twitter and wrote, “So we lost a GM now a coach what’s next!?”
Ty Lawson sent a text to The Denver Post that said, “All of this is crazy and unexpected, don’t know what to say.
Granted they have the entire offseason to get over losing Karl as their coach and work with the new coach. So it shouldn’t be too much of a distraction next season. Unless the newly hired coach can’t get along with the players. Then there will be some issues.
Where will Karl go now? According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne Karl is looking at the Los Angeles Clippers coaching vacancy. While other sources are saying that he could coach the Memphis Grizzlies.
It seems that Clippers are saying that Karl will be a candidate who will be “strongly considered.” While the Grizzlies still have Lionel Hollins as their head coach, Karl’s availability might tempt Memphis to let Hollins go and hire Karl.
Players like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard might not be the only people in the NBA to make headlines this upcoming offseason. Now that Karl is a “free agent,” teams will be trying to woo him to be their next head coach.