In the midst of the agonizing Masai Ujiri drama Nuggets fans are forced to endure, reports have surfaced that the Los Angeles Clippers have taken notice of none other than Denver head coach George Karl. After getting rid of Vinny Del Negro, the Clippers are looking for a new head coach, and while Karl is not at the top of the team’s wish list, they are allegedly considering asking the Nuggets for permission to talk with Karl.
Chris Broussard, ESPN, had the following to report in a recent piece:
One source added that Paul is also steering clear of the Clippers’ search for a new coach. The Clippers have a short list of current ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy, Brian Shaw and Byron Scott, according to a source. They are also considering asking the Nuggets for permission to interview coach George Karl, a source confirmed.
Clearly, Karl is not the primary candidate, but wait — there’s more. Adrian Wojnarowski has apparently stumbled upon information that Donald Sterling and Co. might envision Karl in another role with the franchise:
Denver coach George Karl, voted the NBA’s Coach of the Year, has been discussed as a possible candidate within the Clippers’ front office, sources said.
Basically, the Clippers just want Karl on their side. So the question is, do the Nuggets allow Clippers such luxury? There are a couple of ways to look at this.
On one hand, it would seem mad to let go of the Coach of the Year, who is coming off a year in which his team had the best regular season in franchise history. However, the season ended with yet another first round exit, leaving Denver fans disenchanted and in an all too familiar state of dismay. You can always point towards the narrative of Danilo Gallinari and the detrimental effect his absence had on Denver’s championship aspirations, but facts will remain facts.
And the fact is that the Nuggets have enjoyed moderate regular season success under Karl and made the postseason in all of the nine years he has been at the helm. While remaining competitive and making the playoffs consistently over such a long period of time is an admirable accomplishment, being forced to admit defeat in the first round has become tedious and unfulfilling. In the last nine seasons, Karl has eight first round exits to his name.
Karl is a very good coach, but his playoff record paints a vivid picture. His system is more fit for running circles around bad teams in the regular season, than sustaining a high level of play in the postseason.
At this point, the Clippers’ interest is just a rumor, but if Josh Kroenke gets the call, what should his reply be? Considering how the season went and with Masai potentially departing, I think most would be surprised if the Nuggets granted the Clippers permission to interview Karl.
As Woj kindly points out in his piece, Karl is usually eager to ink an extension before going into the final year of his contract, so a decision needs to be made on the coaching front one way or the other.
What do you think? With all the coaching movement around the league right now, should Denver let go of Karl and join the party, or sign up for another three years of potential postseason mediocrity?