Posted June 14, 2013

George Karl: Nuggets were ‘very stupid’ to fire me

NBA
George Karl was fired by the Nuggets shortly after being named NBA Coach of the Year. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

George Karl was fired by the Nuggets shortly after being named NBA Coach of the Year. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

When Nuggets president Josh Kroenke informed George Karl, he was being fired as coach, the recently named NBA Coach of the Year maintained his reputation for being blunt: “I think I should tell you, I think it’s very stupid.”

Karl slammed the Nuggets for his firing and discussed his future in an interview with The Denver PostHere are some excerpts:

On Karl’s feelings upon being fired:

“I’m not going to stand here and justify my (playoff) record,” Karl said, but he believed the franchise was on an upward tick, “and to blow that away, it leaves you helpless, speechless, powerless, sad, a lot of words.”

Did Karl see his firing coming?

“I never had a meeting where there was disappointment, in that part of it, voiced to me. I heard through whispers. I’m sorry that 57 wins doesn’t make you happy. I think it was a special season because of the connection this team has with each other and with the coaching staff and with the city. The fans like this team. The staff likes each other. And to blow up that connection is, in my opinion, extremely disrespectful to coaching.”

Karl on his relationship with the Nuggets front office:

“What I’ve loved about being here is with (the different front office regimes) is I felt we were all equal. This year, after the trade deadline, all of a sudden, I felt like Masai (Ujiri, the general manager) and Josh were over here, and I didn’t feel very equal.

“In the past, Stan (Kroenke, the team owner) would listen to all of us. I know I can be fired and the voices behind closed doors can be against me. But this year, I just felt that at the end, for a team that had so much success, unity and karma, I felt that Masai and Josh drifted into a direction that was difficult to understand.”

THOMSEN: Nuggets face uncertain summer with George Karl, Masai Ujiri gone

Did Karl want a contract extension in Denver?

“I didn’t demand an extension. I said to Josh, ‘I will coach this team next year, I’m excited about coaching this team next year, but in the last year of a contract, there are things that could happen.’ I didn’t say they would happen, I said they could happen. I said I didn’t think I deserved a three-year extension, but it’s a signed contract (with an option), so let’s compromise. I don’t think I deserved to get my option picked up, even if we won in the first round (of the playoffs), but there’s a middle ground. The thing that annoys me every day still is the fun connection we have with this team. They think they can unplug us and plug somebody else in, and I’m going, ‘Wow, that is not respectful of the coaching profession.’ “

Karl said he had already had preliminary discussions with the Grizzlies and Clippers about their head coaching positions — and that he wants to coach a contender:

“I want to coach three to four (years) at least. But I want to coach a good team. I don’t want to coach a rebuilding team.”


12 comments
Jeff S
Jeff S

Awful move by the Nuggets.  Maybe Byron Scott is the answer!

joeshine730
joeshine730

Karl was an average pro coach who just coached a long time winning 1 game losing a game. get rid of the bum.

joeshine730
joeshine730

Karl is like an old bald tire get a new one. guy never won playoff games.

vgutz9
vgutz9

That's Why I Love My Spurs....  Coaching Continuity, Great Scouting and a Sense of Ownership Amongst All Involved with the Team...

RobertM
RobertM

I simply agree with Karl. 

Azeron
Azeron

Go Nuggets!  I think it was a mistake to fire Karl, however as fans we must move on and hope for a miracle.

Mark112
Mark112

Karl can't win the big one (or even the pretty good sized one) and the owners and fans are sick of it (in Denver and back in Seattle). I used to claim that George was a better coach than the fake Zen Master but I only look like an idiot when I say it now  Hubie Brown is/was a better coach than both of them.

ShawnKemp2012
ShawnKemp2012

What is happening to the NBA?  Players spend half their time on the floor flopping around like a fish on land...coaches get tossed like candy wrappers...and everyone dresses like a queer Steve Urkel.  I don't get it.  

MichaelWallis1
MichaelWallis1

@vgutz9, you are forgetting that George Karl did have nine years to get the Nuggets to the NBA finals and he never did that. 

MichaelWallis1
MichaelWallis1

@RobertM, I do agree that Karl is a very good coach but he did have nine seasons to take the Nuggets to the NBA finals. It wasn't like the ownership didn't give him a chance to succeed.