DENVER — George Karl is out as Nuggets coach less than a month after being named the NBA's coach of the year, the team announced Thursday.
Karl led Denver to playoff berths in all nine of his seasons. His 423 wins trail only Doug Moe's 432 in team history. But it advanced out of the first round just once (2008-09 West final). This season, the Nuggets won a franchise-record 57 games but lost to the No. 6-seeded Warriors.
Denver also has lost general manager Masai Ujiri, who took the same job with Toronto this week.
Karl, who had a year left on his contract, did not respond to calls or emails but thanked fans via Twitter.
Recent reports said the Clippers might be interested in Karl for their vacancy. The Nets and 76ers also have openings. And the Grizzlies have given coach Lionel Hollins permission to speak with other teams.
"George has been an instrumental part of our success over the past decade," president Josh Kroenke said in a statement released by the team. "We appreciate everything he did to keep us among the top teams in the Western Conference."
Flopping: Commissioner David Stern said penalties aren't strong enough to stop flopping but doesn't know if they will be strengthened. The league implemented a system this season to crack down on exaggerating contact to fool referees, including a $5,000 fine for a second offense in the regular season and $5,000 fine for a first in the playoffs. There were 19 warnings and five fines in the regular season. Six players, including LeBron James, have been fined in the playoffs. "You're not going to cause somebody to stop it for $5,000 when the average player's salary is $5.5 million," Stern said. "Anyone who thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason."
Replay: The league said it is examining ways to streamline the process in hopes of cutting down on the delays caused when officials go to the sideline to look at a call. One option, it said, is a system similar to the NHL's in which officials at an off-site control room look at plays.
Toronto name change? Toronto team president Tim Leiweke said the organization is considering dropping the name Raptors. There is no timetable for a decision.