George Karl hopes to return to coaching; he says he’s “angry” with how things ended in Denver
George Karl’s departure from the Denver Nuggets was rather an odd one given the fact that under his watch, the team finished with a franchise best 57 wins and looked like a contender to maybe come out of the Western Conference. In addition to that, the Nuggets also let go of their general manager Masai Ujiri, letting him skate up north to be the new general manager of the Toronto Raptors. The fact that Ujiri won the “Executive of the Year ” award and that Karl won the “Coach of the Year” award made the decision by the Nuggets to let both men go all the more perplexing, especially to George Karl.
Via Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, George Karl says about the Nuggets firing him:
“I was amazed at how quickly I accepted what happened,” Karl said, “because I had 8½ great years and last year was probably my most fun coaching any basketball team I’ve ever been associated with.
I don’t have a lot of bitterness other than I don’t understand. But not understanding — when you are working in a world of millions, millions, and millions of dollars, there’s a lot of things I don’t understand.
There’s a lot of contracts we give players that I don’t understand. There’s a lot of trades that I don’t understand. There are a lot of decisions I don’t understand.
I can’t deny there’s an anger and frustration. But there’s much more celebration in my heart than anything else…I’ve had a great career and I think I’m healthy enough and energized enough to go another four or five years, and hopefully someone else out there will think the same thing.”
I personally think Karl has handled this move by the Nuggets about as well as anybody could expect him to. Let’s be real, the Nuggets may have had the horses to win the Western Conference last season (maybe), but nobody was picking them to win the championship or anything. They didn’t have a definitive star, which made things more difficult and also their amazing record all the more impressive. The Nuggets may have found a great replacement in Brian Shaw, but that doesn’t mean that George Karl got a fair shake, either. Hopefully he can get a fresh start somewhere else and continue to do what he loves to do, which is to coach basketball and bring out the best in his players.
—Ben Parker: Follow me on twitter @nba_lord