After nine seasons as head coach, the Denver Nuggets have decided to part ways with George Karl, and move the team in a different direction.

During all nine season under Karl, the Nuggets failed to miss the playoffs a single time, leading their team into the postseason on a consistent year to year basis. Throughout his time in Denver, he compiled an impressive .608 win percentage during the regular season. His most successful season however, was this past season, as Karl led the Nuggets to a 57-25 record and the third seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, just three wins out of first place.

Karl’s contract with the Nuggets still had one season to go, yet the longtime coach was seeking a long term extension to keep him in Denver for years to come. Needless to say, Denver did not feel Karl deserved this extension following their fourth consecutive first round exit, and elected to go their separate ways.

The decision to not bring Karl back surprised fans all around the NBA, as the triumphant coach was fresh off his first Coach of the Year Award, and looked to be going nowhere but up in Denver.

There has been speculation that Karl will elect to retire, yet there has been no official word yet on his decision to search for a new head coaching job or not.

As for Karl’s replacement in Denver, the Nuggets have announced that they are searching for an “elite” coach to take his place. This leads many to believe that Denver will elect to hire a coach with a fair amount of NBA head coaching experience. Some names to pop up for the Nuggets right away have been former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy, current Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, as well as the legendary Jerry Sloan.

Although the Nuggets haven’t even begun the search for a new head coach, this is sure to one exciting story to follow, as the Nuggets are an enticing on the rise team, sure to attract several big name candidates.

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