NBA Karl out as Bucks seek new coach
Very little is left of the team that reached the Eastern finals two years ago.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Bucks wouldn't say whether George Karl resigned or was fired.
General manager Larry Harris did make it clear that the team wanted a new coach.
"We felt that we needed someone in here this year and for years to come," Harris said Sunday. "I'm confident we will get someone that fits the mold of where we're going and the direction that I have and the organization has."
Little is left from the team that reached the Eastern Conference finals just two years ago. The Bucks finished 42-40 last season, losing to conference champion New Jersey in the first round of the playoffs.
All-Star guard Ray Allen was traded to Seattle in February for Gary Payton. His backcourt partner, Sam Cassell, was shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves last month.
Payton leaves for Lakers
Payton, an unrestricted free agent, decided not to stay and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Plus, general manager Ernie Grunfeld left two weeks ago to become president of basketball operations with the Washington Wizards.
Even the Bucks owner, Sen. Herb Kohl, negotiated selling the team to Michael Jordan before deciding to take the team off the market last month.
Now Karl is out the door after five seasons. He was expected to make an NBA-record $7 million on the final year of a two-year contract. Harris said the team will honor that deal.
"Personally and professionally, I have enjoyed five good years here," Karl said in a statement released by the Bucks. "I'm grateful for the opportunity that Sen. Kohl gave me to come to Milwaukee."
Karl's agent, Bret Adams, declined to comment and said Karl was unavailable.
Harris called Karl "a tremendous coach whose achievements speak for themselves."
Team wanted new coach
But he said the team wanted someone who could give the Bucks continuity, especially with its new roster of young players.
"Having someone in place now and going forward was the most important thing," Harris said.
"We just felt that now was the time to do it."
Karl went 205-173 with Milwaukee, taking the team to the playoffs in four of his five seasons. The only coaches to win more games with Milwaukee are Don Nelson (540) and Larry Costello (410).
"We are a better organization for having worked with George," team owner Herb Kohl said. "Now we'll start a new chapter and will seek to stay competitive and improve with a new coach."
Karl is the 13th-winningest coach in NBA history at 708-499. He also coached Cleveland, Golden State and Seattle.