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After nine seasons, the Denver Nuggets have parted ways with coach George Karl, who recently won his first Coach of the Year award after leading the team to 57 wins this season.
With one year left on his contract, Karl has sought an extension but team ownership wasn't willing to commit to him for the long-term, thus leading to the separation.
"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," team president Josh 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," he added.
Karl became the third coach in NBA history to win the Coach of the Year award and not return to the same team the following season.
Karl's departure came days after general manager Masai Ujiri packed his bags and agreed to a deal with the Toronto Raptors.
"I want to thank Nuggets fans for their support over the past eight years. The karma on the street was incredible. Denver will always be home," Karl said in his Twitter account.
Karl could become a candidate for open spots with the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and probably the Memphis Grizzlies.
Karl has compiled a 1,131-756 (.599) record with five different franchises and having only missed the playoffs once in the 22 seasons he has completed.
However, he's been knocked out in the first round in 13 of those 21 trips to the playoffs. He's taken his team to the conference finals four times and the Finals just once, in 1998 with the Sonics.
"That's a huge surprise," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the news before Game 1 of The Finals. "He's an all-time great head coach, so I don't know how you could do much better."
Meanwhile, several media outlets reported that Denver plans to reach out for permission to speak to Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw and Grizzlies mentor Lionel Hollins.
Nuggets Part Ways with Coach George Karl