The day when George Karl leaves the Denver Nuggets will be a sad one. Karl, who is the third-best coach in Nuggets history behind Larry Brown and Doug Moe, will hopefully retire rather than get fired.
Since taking over the team from Jeff Bzdelik and Michael Cooper back in 2005, he has led the team to the playoffs each year with one berth in the Western Conference finals back in 2009.
Karl has been nothing but good for the Nuggets, who, only two seasons before he came in, finished with the second-worst record in the NBA.
Hopefully Karl won't be leaving anytime soon, but when he does, the Nuggets should look at these coaches to replace him.
Stan Van Gundy may be dealing with the possibility of being fired because his best player has a better idea of who should be coaching the Magic, but in Denver, because nobody other than owner Josh Kroenke and GM Masai Ujiri controls the team, Van Gundy wouldn't have to worry about an inmate running the asylum.
Van Gundy is one of the best coaches not named George Karl in the NBA. He managed to bring the Orlando Magic into the NBA Finals back in 2010 and has made them a perennial contender every year.
A guy like him would be perfect to lead the Nuggets after Karl.
Assuming Billy Donovan's five-year ban from the NBA is over, he could potentially lead the Denver Nuggets to the promised land.
Donovan, who led the Florida Gators to the NCAA Championship twice, has what it takes to be a quality NBA coach and, as pointed out before, the starless Nuggets would be a perfect launchpad for him.
In addition, one of his former Gators plays for Denver: Corey Brewer, who was the 2007 NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Sam Cassell is the assistant coach for the Washington Wizards, serving under Randy Wittman. While the Wizards have the second-worst record in the NBA, Cassell would be an ideal candidate to coach the Nuggets in the future.
Cassell coaches with a fire in his belly, and players like him. Having tasted success with the Boston Celtics, Cassell knows what it's like to be on top of the world and at the bottom of the barrel. He is a players' coach who knows the game well enough to have a positive impact on any team. He is worth a second look.
Mike D'Antoni may have already coached for the Nuggets, but that was back in a strike-shortened season with a completely different roster.
D'Antoni certainly had problems with large egos this year—among the worst of them, Carmelo Anthony. Now that D'Antoni is out of New York and Mike Woodson is surprising everyone, it may be time for D'Antoni to head back west. It's safe to say he could handle the Nuggets, as they play like a well-oiled machine.
In all likelihood, Mike Woodson will not return as coach of the Knicks, as Jerry Sloan is high on their radar. While he may be back on the bench with the team, when Karl has to go, the Nuggets should ask him immediately.
Woodson has shown he doesn't need Linsanity in order to stay alive and can function with his current stars. Similarly, the Nuggets have no need for stars as of right now. So all gimmicks aside, Woodson may have a shot as a replacement for Karl.