Karl won't return to coach Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets and head coach George Karl have parted ways.

Karl, who had one year remaining on his contract, was the NBA' top coach in 2012-13 after leading the Nuggets to a team-record 57 wins, a league-best 38-3 mark at home and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. However, Denver was ousted in the first round of the playoffs by Golden State in six games.

"I want to thank Nuggets fans for their support over the past 8 yrs," Karl wrote on Twitter. "The karma on the street was incredible. Denver will always be home."

There had been speculation that Karl wanted an extension, but the Nuggets also need to fill their general manager's position after Masai Ujiri left to take the vacancy in Toronto.

Karl joined Denver in January 2005 and guided the Nuggets to a record of 423-257 with playoff appearances in each of his nine seasons. However, the team was eliminated in the first round eight times and had its greatest success in the spring of 2009 with a trip to the Western Conference finals.

"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," said Nuggets president Josh Kroenke in a statement Thursday. "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."

Karl is the second-winningest coach in Nuggets history, trailing only Doug Moe's 432 wins.

The 62-year-old coaching veteran may not be out of a job long, as the Nets and Clippers are among the teams with openings. Philadelphia and Detroit also have vacancies to fill.

Karl began his long coaching career at age 33 in 1984-85 with Cleveland and has also been at the helm for Golden State, Seattle and Milwaukee in addition to his tenure in Denver.

In 1,887 games, he owns a record of 1,131-756 during the regular season. He is just 80-105 in the playoffs with 14 first-round exits in 22 appearances, and made his lone trip to the NBA Finals with Seattle in the spring of 1996.