You win 57 games and get the third seed in the conference playoffs. Your guy is named Coach of the Year, your G.M. is named Executive of the Year. So what do you do?
Start over, of course.
The Denver Nuggets made the dubious move on Thursday to fire coach George Karl after nine seasons. Reports say Karl was going into his contract year and, unwilling to extend his contract, the Nuggets didn’t want an unhappy coach. So they let him go.
Meanwhile, general manager Masai Ujiri left to take a similar job in Toronto.
Then there’s the fact Andre Iguodala and Corey Brewer are likely to become free agents.
So it looks like the Nuggets will be retooling.
The Jazz? They’re resetting.
The Denver switch can’t be good news for Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, who has been under considerable pressure for not making the playoffs this year. While he has had just one full season to coach the Jazz, missing the playoffs in two of the three years, and getting swept in 2012, means Corbin is under the microscope, too.
On top of that, the Jazz have only five players from last year’s team under contract, with Marvin Williams (who is having offseason Achilles surgery) holding a player option.
So the Jazz, too, are likely to be in overhaul mode.
That’s not terrible news for the Jazz, who will have vacancies and cap space this July when free agency begins.
Considering the Jazz have had little success with the current group, it makes sense to make big changes, though I’ve said before that Corbin deserves one more season to pull together his young team. Jazz management can surround him with the best talent it can find to augment it’s “Core Four” – Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter.
Denver went nearly a decade with Karl and felt it needed to move ahead. But it is breaking up something that was successful. The Jazz? They’re likely restarting whether they want to or not. Which is a good thing. It’s been proven what they can and can’t do with the current group. Time to revamp. If Corbin doesn’t succeed in 2013-14, it will probably be time to revamp there, too.