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 NBA.com, 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:
I want to thank Nuggets fans for their support over the past 8 yrs. The karma on the street was incredible. Denver will always be home.— George Karl (@CoachKarl22) June 6, 2013
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.
Which team would be a better fit 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.