Denver Nuggets‘ players and fans were shocked to discover on Thursday morning that the NBA Coach of the Year would not be returning to Denver next season. George Karl is out for the Nuggets and it comes after the shocking departure of the Executive of the Year, Masai Ujiri.
In getting rid of two instrumental parts in the Nuggets foundation, is president Josh Kroenke to be praised or admonished?
The team had its best regular season in franchise history, but once again an early exit in the postseason seemed to overshadow that fact. The Golden State Warriors proved to be a formidable foe and gave even the San Antonio Spurs a rough time in the semifinals.
However, nothing can remove the sting of defeat and making the playoffs the last 10 seasons was not sufficient enough to land Karl the contract extension he wanted and reportedly asked for.
Having the Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year both leave the same team immediately after receiving the awards has got to be a first in NBA history, but all is not lost. Unless, of course, Andre Iguodala decides he wants out now too.
It seems members of management couldn’t get over the fact that Karl didn’t equate the amount of money JaVale McGee is making to the amount of playing time he received. The parties have parted ways with both giving praise to the other on social media.
It’s been rumored that Karl may end up in L.A. coaching for the Los Angeles Clippers, or there is even the possibility of the Memphis Grizzlies and the Nuggets essentially trading coaches with Lionel Hollins ending up in Denver. It’s too early to say who will end up on the sideline for the Nuggets next season, but hopefully the change will be good. Fingers crossed for Phil Jackson (haha, yeah right).
Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson took to Twitter to express their disbelief and just like the fans, they are wondering about the future. It seems that the Nuggets will retain their roster for the most part, and hopefully Iguodala decides to come back and help the team push for another playoff berth.
As soon as the season was over for the Nuggets, many (including myself) must have been furious with Karl, but it all can’t be blamed on him. He’s a Hall of Fame Coach and has battled cancer twice, so there’s no questioning his integrity and passion for the game. It’s a shame it couldn’t work out here in Denver for him, and hopefully the next coach that comes in can handle the expectations and legacy Karl left behind.
Coach Karl turned the Nuggets franchise around and is the second-winningest coach in team history. Without him, the Nuggets would not be where they are now, and he deserves all the praise he receives.
For the Denver Nuggets, it’s time to move on to hopefully bigger and better things. Heck, maybe even a trip to the semis.