Karl Follows Ujiri Out The Door

MIAMI — The Coach of the Year curse usually doesn’t strike so fast.

George Karl is out as coach of the Denver Nuggets, news first reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski

With one year left on his contract, Karl was pushing for a contract extension and ownership was unwilling to make the commitment. With a sense that Denver could be facing a year of acrimony with the 2012-’13 NBA Coach of the Year, CEO Josh Kroenke decided to part ways with Karl.

For Kroenke, this was a bold move for the franchise, but multiple sources said that Karl had been so unhappy about going into the final year of his contract without a new deal that things could’ve become untenable with him.

Nuggets management believes it can attract an elite coach with its talented, young roster.

Denver made the decision official just before noon ET. Karl becomes the third coach in NBA history to win the Coach of the Year award and not return to the same team the following season. And Denver, with Masai Ujiri having left for Toronto, is now without a top executive and a coach.

The list of teams looking for a new coach already includes the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and probably the Memphis Grizzlies, who have given other teams permission to talk to Lionel Hollins. The Hawks, Bobcats, Cavs, Bucks, Suns and Kings all hired new coaches since the season’s end.

Karl could now become a candidate for some of those open jobs and he’s got quite the resume, having compiled a 1,131-756 (.599) record with five different franchises and having only missed the playoffs once in the 22 seasons he has completed (he was twice fired mid-year).

He earned his first Coach of the Year award by leading the star-less Nuggets to 57 wins and the No. 3 seed in a tough Western Conference.

“That’s a huge surprise,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the news Thursday morning before Game 1 of The Finals. “He’s an all-time great head coach, so I don’t know how you could do much better. But I don’t know the circumstances, so I’m not going to say anything else besides that.”

In his 21 full seasons, 18 of Karl’s teams have ranked in the top 10 in offensive efficiency and nine have ranked in the top 10 in defensive efficiency. In each of his nine seasons in Denver (one partial and eight full), the Nuggets have ranked in the top five in pace.

But he’s been knocked out in the first round in 13 of those 21 trips to the playoffs. He’s taken his team to the conference finals four times and The Finals just once (in 1996 with the Sonics).

George Karl’s NBA coaching career

Season Team W L Win% Pace Rank OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
1984-85 CLE 36 46 0.439 105.1 12 103.0 16 105.1 13 -2.1 16
1985-86 CLE* 25 42 0.373 104.6 15 102.9 15 104.8 14 -1.9 16
1986-87 GSW 42 40 0.512 104.7 9 105.8 10 108.1 20 -2.3 16
1987-88 GSW** 16 48 0.250 104.7 4 101.6 21 109.5 22 -7.8 22
1991-92 SEA*** 27 15 0.643 98.1 16 107.5 9 105.8 13 +1.7 12
1992-93 SEA 55 27 0.671 98.7 16 109.1 5 102.3 3 +6.8 2
1993-94 SEA 63 19 0.768 97.6 14 108.3 2 98.9 4 +9.4 1
1994-95 SEA 57 25 0.695 98.1 3 112.0 1 103.1 8 +9.0 1
1995-96 SEA 64 18 0.780 96.4 3 107.8 7 99.0 2 +8.7 2
1996-97 SEA 57 25 0.695 89.8 16 108.2 3 99.5 6 +8.7 3
1997-98 SEA 61 21 0.744 92.4 19 108.5 3 100.4 10 +8.1 2
1998-99 MIL 28 22 0.560 89.6 22 102.4 6 99.5 14 +2.9 10
1999-00 MIL 42 40 0.512 95.5 16 104.9 3 104.9 26 0.0 17
2000-01 MIL 52 30 0.634 94.7 10 106.3 1 101.2 17 +5.1 3
2001-02 MIL 41 41 0.500 92.8 18 104.2 7 103.9 23 +0.4 15
2002-03 MIL 42 40 0.512 92.9 19 106.2 2 105.3 28 +1.0 15
2004-05 DEN**** 32 8 0.800 96.1 5 103.4 13 100.7 8 +2.7 7
2005-06 DEN 44 38 0.537 96.6 2 102.8 18 102.1 12 +0.7 15
2006-07 DEN 45 37 0.549 100.2 2 104.9 9 102.7 9 +2.2 8
2007-08 DEN 50 32 0.610 102.3 1 107.6 11 103.2 9 +4.4 11
2008-09 DEN 54 28 0.659 97.0 5 107.5 7 103.5 8 +4.0 7
2009-10 DEN 53 29 0.646 97.3 5 108.7 5 104.7 16 +4.0 11
2010-11 DEN 50 32 0.610 97.9 3 109.5 1 104.8 16 +4.7 8
2011-12 DEN 38 28 0.576 96.7 2 106.5 3 103.4 19 +3.1 9
2012-13 DEN 57 25 0.695 97.8 2 107.6 5 102.0 11 +5.6 5

*Fired after 67 games
** Fired after 64 games
*** Took over after 40 games
**** Took over after 42 games
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
All stats (other than wins and losses) are for the team’s full season.


  1. Strictoses says:

    Don’t mourn, either way this discission was up in the air as the Nuggets lost year after year their first playoff series.
    Very good coach, but Hamilton and Fournier where rarely used , those kids did’t devellope like they used to do under
    the wings of a coach who sees talent and and sacrifice a couple of minutes of Lawson and Miller.

  2. pekku le tip says:

    I think he would be perfect for the Clippers. We would be up for a treat if that happened!

  3. awesome guy says:

    i think he should replace D’Antoni and go to LAL

  4. Damn, too bad-def denver’s loss. Karl is one of the best coaches, i’m sure he’ll be signed quickly somewhere-like within the next few weeks.

  5. Edjumacator says:

    Karl is 80-105 .432 in the Playoffs. First ever to coach a #! seed to defeat by a #8…etc. etc.

  6. Al says:

    TORONTO should sign Karl, move Casey to defensive coach and we’re stacked at coaching positions. Then sign up or trade for Pau Gasol and we’re a tough team!

  7. Patty says:


  8. balltrim says:

    too bad for coach Carl. still Nuggets forever – lets get Hollins perfect fit for our young squad

  9. Kamote says:

    MJ should let Karl develop his team, have Charlotte do something worthwhile for once.

  10. Gene says:

    One thing is certain: George Karl is a good coach, but not a great one. If a team has championship ambitions and dynasty building, he is not the one. On the other hand he will get a team into the playoffs, something that happens for half the teams in the league. His record speaks for itself, and if the same standards are applied, he has never WON anything.

  11. Clippersfan4471 says:

    Coach Karl should go to the Clippers and hopefully can bring Corey Brewer with him??

  12. Tom says:

    Dumb move, Karl’s a fantastic coach

  13. Fuuu says:

    A good coach and a greater men, but honestly he kind have been striking out with the nuggets..

    ii admit i dont know his carrer later than that but with the nuggets he had a lot of potential, and the greatest home advantage, soo wining percentage in the regular season dont teel all the story, and this year was the prime example of that!

    Hope you go to a new team and prove me wrong (just an expression he doenst have to prove anything to anybody lol)

  14. Someone says:

    poor guy…first Jordan then Kobe

  15. victorfernandesvieira says:

    COME ON! What are the Nuggets DOING?!?!?!?!? I thought they were ready for another step forward next year, but this move throws them way back in the road to contention! Just sad 😦

  16. DANN-E says:

    LAKERS PICK UP KARL!!!! dang, George has always been a great coach, its kinda surprising.. but i can see why, Nuggets didnt make it as far as expected, but the West is soooo tight, its crazy how talented that western conference is.

  17. Faried35 says:

    Just relax everyone. Apparently when Ujiri left Karl became unsettled and hence this so called firing might not actually be a firing but an mutual decision to part ways. Karl wants a championship and since he is such an elite coach dont be surprised if he goes to somewhere like the clippers or a big market team where he will get attention for his work. Both parties will benefit. Nuggets because they are a young team that possibly needs a new coach to liven things up!!! GO Nuggets!!!

  18. sandy says:

    “Nuggets management believes it can attract an elite coach with its talented, young roster.”
    I don’t get it. Nuggets already had an elite coach.

  19. mj13 says:

    the lakers?

  20. Sinastac says:

    all the nuggets have to do now is try to get permission to talk to d’antony……

  21. Tim says:

    RIP javale mcgee

  22. Just go to the Lakers!!! I think he’ll end up with the Jazz though.

  23. PISTONS4LIFE says:

    Coach Karl would be a perfect fit for Detroit. He’s great at developing young talent and making a team lacking in superstars successful.

  24. l-train says:

    Coach Karl to Sixers. LETS GO!!!

  25. terrell says:

    Karl will be a great fit. They should forget about shaw and take a proven winner. This may save joe d job.

  26. Skolimowski says:


  27. Sick Nuggets Fan says:

    This is disgraceful. He took an extremely young team that cannot shoot AT ALL and won 57 games in the regular season. Every intelligent Nuggets fan knew they would struggle in the playoffs without a half court offense. Karl did the best he could using the only skill his team had, which is speed. In fact, he overachieved in the regular season so much that it cost him his job. I am so ashamed to be a Nuggets fan right now.

  28. NYCBBallFan says:

    Team Management needs to more realistic. You don’t fire the coach who led your team to 50+ wins just because they got bounced early in the playoffs by a good team (coughClipperscoughDevercough).

  29. UncleDrew2 says:

    well now is when the lakers should put their money on somebody. keep d12 and get george karl can be the best move for LA since they got Pau

  30. Sharm says:

    Wizards should hire him because of John Wall. Karl’s coached GP and Wall’s definitely got the physical tools, skills and mind set to be a Jason Kidd/GP type of player (with elite athleticism). Coach like Karl could do wonders for his development.

  31. FIRE MIKE (NO D) ANTONI says:

    LA should pick Coach Karl 🙂
    He’ll be a perfect fit for LA Lakers!

  32. Nolan says:

    looks like Phoenix picked their new coach too early. Karl is a great coach!

  33. drummaboy3 says:

    The Raptors should try to acquire him, that would be a good combination with Ujiri

  34. Paul says:

    COME TO THE PISTONS KARL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL i wish. Then we’ll have Phil Jackson and George Karl workin for us.

  35. James says:

    He should go to the Clippers,would be just like his ’96’ Sonic’s team. Instead of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp,there’ll be Paul and Griffin. Plus with Jordan in the middle,a good 5 was the only thing missing from that ’96’ Sonic’s team

    • Craig says:

      the best team they had there was 1993…where they got upset by Denver in the first round. they could have given the Bulls a run for their money…better team than 1996

  36. Daniel says:

    Ridiculous move! How would any other coach than George Karl do a better job?

  37. Common Sense says:

    I agree with Pop, I don’t see how they can do better…But maybe that’s what they are doing. Downgrading. They downgraded their talent, they downgraded their executives and now they are downgrading their coach. Maybe they are looking for a first overall draft pick so they are looking to tank 2013-2014 and they know Karl won’t allow his team to tank. They should hire Mike Dunleavy. He’ll know what to do… 🙂

  38. Kobez says:

    Masai Ujiri should give him a call. This is something the RAPTORS need. Their offense struggled alot and took a step back in terms of defense. Casey was an excellent defensive coach and won a title in that position with the Mavs. If the RAPTORS can bring in Karl, and move Casey to the defensive coach, this will be tremendous for the organization. Toronto can do big things very soon.

    • JDL says:

      Exactly what I said ;P

    • james says:

      that would be the best thing that would happen to toronto

      • Al says:

        You stole the words out of my mouth :)… Sign Karl, move Casey to defensive coach and we’re stacked at coaching positions. Then sign up or trade for Pau Gasol and we’re a tough team!

  39. blackandsilver,whatrymeswithsilver? says:

    there is 27 gm’s working overtime tonight. Of course Boston, San Antonio and the nuggets themselves being the only ones exempt.

  40. gbsweeze says:

    I love him but he can’t win a playoff series with that style of basketball

  41. WiganBaller says:

    wait what? how does that even happen, probably the first time in history that a coach gets sacked after winning coach of the year

  42. ??? says:

    Wow if i didn’t hate the nuggets so much I would be concerned.

  43. RaptorFan says:

    He should follow the top Executive and go to the raptors! I want to see raptors do good for once.

  44. JDL says:

    Lets get him signed up right now to the Raptors and make Casey our defensive coach like he was in Dallas. This would be a dream come true for the Toronto Raptors.

  45. JDL says:

    Im a happy man right now!!!

  46. Jo says:

    He should go to the sixers

  47. Kate Upton says:

    Lost the “Executive of the Year” in Ujiri, lost the “Coach of the Year” in Karl..what’s next for the Nuggets?

  48. JP says:

    Why do the NBA teams hate coaches so much? it seems like there’s been more changing of coaches for more and more teams than there used to be.

  49. King Gary says:

    absolutely crazy… clippers or memphis could strike gold. Karl really needs to prove he can win a ring already though, other than that big fan of his.

  50. Kyle Archibald says:

    Coach Karl should go to the jazz.

  51. Erlo says:

    Wow, this guy has done a great job for NBA teams. Someone hire this man. 60% win percentage over that many teams is just downright impressive.

  52. nikki says:

    now the lakers can hire him..im pretty sure he will do a better job than D’Antoni

    • EpicLakerFan says:

      I agree. Coach Karl likes going inside and taking smart shots. Which is great for Pau and Dwight. And it will help Metta’s and Kobe’s field goal percentage.

  53. bfG says:

    wha.. ehh. buuuttt…. WHAT ?

    • GARY BISH says:

      George karl isnt a good coah at all….deal with it

      • Chris L says:

        This is humour or what??!!

      • jst saying says:

        How can you say that. It’s not easy to get COY award. Besides he coached a team which has practically no all star and still finished 3rd in tough Western Conference. There are not that many coaches in the league who can do that.

    • Carmelo Antha knee says:

      I hated playing for that scumbag. He’s NOT a good coach. He just had a terrific player like ME carry that team all those years. psf good grief.