Talks between George Karl and the Denver Nuggets have progressed to the point that Karl could be installed as the Nuggets' new coach by the end of the week, league sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday night.
Karl is perhaps best known for coaching the SuperSonics from 1992-98 where he led Seattle to a berth in the 1996 NBA Finals. Karl also coached the Bucks from 1998 to 2003.
An announcement is possible Thursday, according to one source close to the negotiations, which potentially sets up Karl to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night in his Denver debut. Karl was dismissed by the Bucks after the 2002-03 season and has worked as an ESPN analyst for the past season and a half.
Karl and Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe met for the first time Monday night in Chicago, and ESPN.com reported Tuesday that the sides promptly began trying to hammer out a deal.
Speaking to ESPN.com earlier Wednesday, Karl described the opportunity to coach the Denver franchise as one of his three dream jobs in basketball, along with San Antonio and the University of North Carolina, his alma mater.
"Because of my ABA roots, the Spurs and the Nuggets have been the teams I've dreamt about coaching probably more than any other teams in the league," Karl said." ... The Nuggets would be a great fit for me, and they're a team I'd like to coach."
Another attraction is his relationship with Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, a friend and business partner of Karl's.
Denver is 4-10 since interim coach Michael Cooper replaced Jeff Bzdelik, who was fired Dec. 28 after the Nuggets fell to 13-15.
The Nuggets, according to sources, want a veteran coach to toughen up an underachieving (and injury-ravaged) team that sits at 17-25, well off the pace expected for a club billed as a contender for a top-four slot in the West.
Karl, 53, has coached four NBA teams (Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle and Milwaukee) to a record of 708-499. In Denver, he'd be expected to bring discipline to a young team and help re-establish Carmelo Anthony as a rising star after a bumpy start to Anthony's sophomore season.
"The conversation was that it could happen in the next 10 days or not happen at all," Karl said Wednesday afternoon, insisting that the sides don't have a done deal. "The whole spectrum was discussed. They could keep Cooper; they could wait till the summer or they could change [coaches] now. That's what they're figuring out."