The Denver Nuggets have fired NBA Coach of the Year George Karl after he led them to a 57-win season.
Denver Nuggets President Josh Kroenke announced the move on Thursday. Multiple reports suggested that Karl was seeking an extension, but was refused. He was in the final year of his contract.
"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," Kroenke said in a statement. "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."
Karl follows general manager Masai Ujiri out the door. The NBA's Executive of the Year left to become the Toronto Raptors' executive vice president of basketball operations.
The 62-year-old Karl may not be out of work long. The Los Angeles Clippers had spoken with the Nuggets about Karl, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne reported earlier this week, but hadn't officially requested permission for an interview.
The Memphis Grizzlies reached out to Karl soon after he was let go to discuss the possibility of him replacing Lionel Hollins, whose contract expires this month and isn't likely to be renewed, according to a USA Today Sports report.
The Grizzlies have already granted Hollins permission to speak with other teams, and one of those teams may be the Nuggets. Memphis vice president of basketball operations Stu Lash is a fan of Karl from their days together in Denver.
Karl was named the NBA's top coach following a 57-win season. The Nuggets were seeded third in the Western Conference, but lost in the first round to the Golden State Warriors.
The Nuggets will immediately begin their search for Karl's replacements. NBC Sports reports that Denver is targeting Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw, as well as Hollins.