George Karl Should Be on Top of Clippers' and Grizzlies' Wish Lists

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJune 6, 2013

DENVER, CO - APRIL 30:  Head coach George Karl leads the Denver Nuggets against the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 30, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

After surprisingly being let go by the Denver Nuggets, George Karl shouldn't be out of work for long.

The 62-year-old has proven his worth as a coach over the years. This past season, he won the NBA Coach of the Year award after leading the Nuggets to a 57-25 record and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

Despite this, the Nuggets were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. This result had become too frequent in Denver. Karl had led the Nuggets to the playoffs in every season since taking over coaching duties in the 2004-05 season, but they advanced past the first round just once in that span. 

So, on Thursday, team president Josh Kroenke, via, officially announced the franchise's decision to part ways with the coach:

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. 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 also released a statement on Twitter:

With that, we have the reigning Coach of the Year looking for new employment, and there are a couple of talented teams that could benefit from adding Karl. 

George Karl loves coaching athletic players. He's proven that he can take them, apply their skills in playing tough defense and mold them into a complete team. Both the Clippers and Grizzlies would be excellent fits for Karl. 

ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Clippers had their eyes on Karl even prior to this announcement. He also notes that the Grizzlies have yet to commit to the idea that they will part ways with coach Lionel Hollins but that they "will speak to George Karl."

Also, USA Today's Sam Amick reports the two sides have already had a discussion.  

Karl would be an excellent hire for either franchise. He is an NBA veteran and a proven commodity. Both teams have the type of roster that Karl has shown he can have great success with.

Karl is a quality coach who helped the Nuggets overachieve despite the lack of an elite player on the roster. Give him Chris Paul with the Clippers or the emerging Marc Gasol in Memphis, and Karl could help either franchise take the next step.