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April 23, 2013

Ex-Charlotte Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap mentor George Karl on the firing

    Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, one of Mike Dunlap’s mentors, was saddened but not particularly surprised Dunlap didn’t get a second season as Charlotte Bobcats head coach.

            Dunlap’s only NBA experience previous to the Bobcats hiring him was two seasons as one of Karl’s assistants. Dunlap was fired Tuesday after a 21-61 initial season.

            “His team, I think, fought hard,’’ Karl said during the media availability prior to game two of the Nuggets-Golden State Warriors playoff series. “(But) I can’t deny when they got cracked in the face they gave up on the game.’’

            The Nuggets beat the Bobcats by 22 and 14 points last season.

            Karl and Dunlap traded text messages Tuesday. Karl indicated Dunlap is headed to Hawaii for a vacation and “I would recommend he go there and spend an extra week.’’

            Karl said that being fired in a situation like this is mostly a disappointment but also
somewhat of a relief.

            “About 80 percent of Mike Dunlap is sad and despondent because he wants to…continue coaching in the league,’’ Karl said. “There will be a piece of him that is relieved.

            “In general, we get paid a lot of money to do a very difficult job. Sometimes it’s not an appropriate or thankful job.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on April 23, 2013 at 10:33 PM | Permalink


This team is a disaster.
Dunlap oftentimes looked lost on the sidelines.
It seemed like his hiring was due to other candidates not being particularly interested.
So what happens now that they have just gone through another Sam Vincent type experience?
Trade Henderson and try to get something worthwhile.
Somehow get a meaningful addition in free agency.
Immediately cut away the dead weight.
Please get an effective coach who you will want to retain.

Posted by: BD | Apr 23, 2013 10:53:47 PM

Was it because he was CHEAP?!? They would have to go to a JuCo or D2 to get a head coach for less. He trained the young ins on the team and kept us in the lottery. Job done. He gets an NBA HC on the resume that wasn't terrible and enough coin to spend an extra week in Hawaii. A round for all on MJ.

Posted by: Sports don | Apr 24, 2013 12:22:39 AM

It's time to rebrand. Go back to the Hornets, and attempt to start over. This brand is damaged goods. While winning does cure everything, it'll take years to build a consistent contender. But with the Hornets change, a new coach, and a few decent draft picks, they'll get a "do over" quickly.

Posted by: B Greene | Apr 24, 2013 8:17:30 AM

Can someone explain to me why fans think rebranding to the Hornets will make a difference. They will be the same awful team with an owner who is the greatest basketball player ever but has a questionable management resume since he took Kawme Brown as the #1 pick with the Wizards. Unless he has a big name coach on deck and willing to spend money and serious about building a team, the Bobcats, Hornets or whatever you want to call the team will still stink...NO IF"S AND'S or BUT'S ABOUT IT!!!!

Posted by: K_rich | Apr 24, 2013 8:29:10 AM

I'm available in case anybody is interested.. Just as much NBA HC experience as NFL GM experience when I was hired there. Look how well it turned out!

Posted by: Marty Hurney | Apr 24, 2013 8:41:13 AM

Please shut up about the Hornets! That is so played out. The name wont make the team better. I agree with K_rich. Priorities people, priorities.

Posted by: JMays95 | Apr 24, 2013 8:54:14 AM

I was surprised by the firing.

The players are ones who gave up in multiple games this season, but they cant be fired as easily.

The NBA is a complete joke with how the players dictate where the want to play and who they want to be their coach.

Posted by: Adam Morrison | Apr 24, 2013 8:57:26 AM

Please shut up about telling people to shut up who want a name change.

You transplants don't seem to understand the significance, history, and culutre behind the name "hornets". You probably are the same people who only comment when the Bobcats lose. You probably can't even name five people of the roster.

Posted by: D.W.G. | Apr 24, 2013 9:14:44 AM

as one of my sons said, you can't cook dinner if you don't have any groceries.
also time for Rod Higgins to go.

Posted by: Bart | Apr 24, 2013 9:17:08 AM

bob and mike have been killers for the team here. I can't think of one thing either of them has done right.

he's got a no brainer to do one thing right, HORNETS. start there MJ.

Posted by: big gulps | Apr 24, 2013 9:36:03 AM

One good thing Dunlap can hold on to. Things generally look UP for folks who LEAVE the Charlotte Bobcats. It's nice to see all the 'incompetent and lack of talent' former Bobcat players on playoff teams and in prime time. Charlotte NBA is a training ground for younger players and a refuge for retread, ready-to-be-shuffled-out veterans. That's the direction of the Charlotte Bobcats as set forth by Higgins, Cho and MJ. Either play their way or play somewhere else. And blame the coaches. Did they learn this behavior from their moms? Probably not.

Posted by: Rob | Apr 24, 2013 10:05:50 AM

One thing consistent about the Bobcats...ownership. The bad kind. Sadly, this won't change until the huge ego is satiated and interests shift elsewhere. That day when Stern gave it to RJ was a bad day for Charlotte and the day RJ gave it to MJ even worse. The Queen City deserves better.

Posted by: eduardo | Apr 24, 2013 10:20:12 AM

I wish coach Dunlap the best in his future endeavors. Higgins and Cho hinted at player dissatisfaction as one of the reasons for the firing but I think it might go further than that. We may never know the real story. This summer will be the true litmus test for this organization: new coach, draft, free agency, trades. If they get those right, things will be looking up. If they fail on any one of those it could be the beginning of the end of the NBA in Charlotte.

Posted by: apauldds | Apr 24, 2013 10:26:34 AM

Ok I agree with the firing for several reasons:
1) How he played rotations and managed playing time.
2) Zone for how long?? does he know the NBA?
3) Lack of followership. Not just BG but clearly many others on the team.
4) results. We could have won 5-10 more games with smarter coaching. Trust me I watched and attended almost all of them.

With all that said I am worried that we are a revolving coaching door and why did they hire this guy in the first place. 10 months?? really!!

They need to convince and up the pay and get a really good coach who players will respect and do a 3-5 year contract. Show players and everyone you are commited.

We now have cap space and lots of draft picks with more coming in this supposedly amazing 2014 draft (heard that before though) so get a coach who will work with the same team for 5 years.

Posted by: Season Ticket holder for now | Apr 24, 2013 10:27:57 AM

Enough with the Kwame Brown selection. Does the Portland GM get crap for picking Greg Oden? I never hear anything about that.

Posted by: Everette Brown | Apr 24, 2013 10:31:14 AM

there is NO comparison between dunlap and sam vincent. that's like comparing rod higgins and daryl morey as GM's.

they fired the guy for long practices? because thomas, gordon and haywood hated him for sitting them? because he micromanaged too much?!

he improved winning % by 15% while getting younger. nobody does that. and he managed to keep us in the top 5 of the draft while doing so. That was exactly what we wanted him to do. he deserved another year.

Cho is wading into dangerous waters with this move. I sure hope they fired him because they already have a replacement lined up. We're still the bobcats and we still struggle to draw good talent who can choose to go elsewhere. We had a guy who was getting the job done and we told him thanks but no thanks.

you gotta give a guy more than 1 year. jesus. imagine if the nba only gave jordan one year. or kobe. Popovich went 17-47 his first year as head coach of the spurs. won a title 2 years later after drafting tim duncan.

patience was on the menu and they just made THE MOST impatient move.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 24, 2013 11:08:14 AM

What a terrible decision. What did they honestly expect him to do? And really Season Ticket HOlder for now.. 5-10 more wins? I disagree completely, and wonder how that would have even saved his job. This team was pathetic, and we all knew it. I really don't think it was entirely HIS decision to play the young players all the time, management had something to do with that in playing for the future. If they really wanted to win now (say 5-10 more games, right season ticket holder?) management would've had Dunlap play the vets more mins, but they didn't. I've been a fan since day one, and will always be, but what a joke of a franchise up to now.

Posted by: EZ there Cat Fans | Apr 24, 2013 2:39:26 PM

And how do you blame THIS coach when looking around the playoffs at our former players starting and playing big mins.
Raymond Felton & Tyson Chandler - Starting for Knicks
Gerald Wallace - Starting for Brooklyn
DJ Augustin - Valuable bench player for Indiana
EVEN NAZR MUHAMMAD played big mins the other night for the Bulls
Stephen Jackson - though just cut, played for the Spurs
Boris Diaw - Starting for Spurs

But YEAH, lets blame a coach after one year.

Posted by: EZ there Cat Fans | Apr 24, 2013 2:45:22 PM

and zone defense is what won the mavericks a championship so let's throw that water on some of these idiotic comments too.

players hate tom coughlin. he has 2 superbowl rings. Not every coach who you like is right for the job and not every coach who you hate is a bad leader. Some guys earn respect with time. I think dunlap would have earned the respect out of the guys that mattered after next year.

The guy got hired because he said he knew exactly how to get the most out of kemba. He proved that VERY clearly.

this team NEEDED 4 hour practices and some negative re-enforcement. Why on earth would player evaluations lead to a coach being fired when the players doing the evaluating are either A) on their way out the door or B) too young to know what's good for themselves.

the only real opinion I would value would be gerald henderson's. Kemba, biz and mkg MAYBE but realistically only henderson matters.

Oh byron mullens complained that coach was too hard on him? no effing ish he was hard on you. he was trying to get you to be what you are capable of being.

horrible move. Alvin Gentry or Lawrence Frank are probably the best we can do. and there's no guarantee there. I don't van gundy or byron scott or brian shaw would take the job. Especially not when they know how long other coaches have lasted on the job. Brown had 2.5 years. Vincent 1. Silas 1.5. Dunlap 1. Bickerstaff.....3?

Who wants to work here knowing that? Dunlap could have been our popovich had he been given the time. the guy KNEW basketball and they didn't give him enough time to learn being an NBA head coach.

I fully expect them to let henderson walk in free agency, draft mclemore, hire avery johnson and continue to blow important decisions over and over and over again with knee jerk reactions all over the place. AWESOME. I hope I'm wrong.

I'm voting for noel. curry. frank. in that order of priority.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 24, 2013 5:16:49 PM

I didn't say I wanted us to win those games but did you see his line ups at the end of those games... I mean it was stupid. And he never played MKG consistently at all.
Players developed in spite of him not because of him.
Now I agree this is in no means a team with the right coach that was playoff bound. Far from it.
But we still only won 21 games folks...how hard was it to improve over last year...really

Posted by: Season Ticket holder for now | Apr 24, 2013 5:18:43 PM

how was it stupid? he went small because nobody else could score and we were down. when he had better options, he didn't go small.

And I don't think he played MKG inconsistently at all. maybe when he was hurt, but the rest of the year.....he started....didn't finish. almost every game was that way unless he was playing the 4 in that small lineup due to a favorable matchup.

he did not cost us 5-10 games as the coach. that is insane. by that argument you could say that he won us 5-10 games because of the way he helped improve kemba's game and catered to him.

there were 5-10 games we should have won that we lost where we were ahead by a lot and blew a big lead. that wasn't on him. that's because we're young and young talent doesn't know how to put teams away. he did everything he could in those situations to stop the bleeding. call the timeouts, sub out the guys that are getting killed, try and get back to the bread and butter plays that got you ahead, switch up the defense to stop what they're doing to get back into the game. they just got outplayed or rather.....the cream rose to the top on those occasions. 1 of those times was against miami. did dunlap have anything to do with that game at all? he and spoelstra could have been playing golf.

sam vincent did IDIOTIC things and deserved to be fired immediately (playing felton at the 2, okafor at the 4, etc). Dunlap did what he had to with the hand he was dealt and should have been dealt a 2nd hand before determining whether he belonged or not.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 24, 2013 6:11:04 PM

Dunlap was fired exactly for the reason Cho told the ticket holders......He wasn't going in the same direction..and he wasn't. Dunlap failed miserably at implementing the basic nba principles and schemes. Had he followed his mentor Karl , he would still be here. Karl implied it wasn't working. You don't play zone as much as he did which lost 15 games by large margins. You sit the guys who won't defend. Mullens and Walker played matador defense all yr. They never stayed in front of their men. Dunlap sat Mullens but not Walker. I agree with others that opposing point guard penetration was terrible by Walker and at times Sessions. If they got 2 fouls, they would play not to foul and steered clear of their man to stay on the floor.

Equally, there was no pick and roll offense. This was pitiful. Walker as we know got screens but never passed off. Even a shooting guard at point can't do this . I looked at every game. He never passed to a roller over 5 times in the entire year but Dunlap foolishly said nothing. How do you think the other players felt . And he had the keys . These are nba strict principles which a coaching friend of Mj s told him were blatantly violated so he had to go. All the other stuff was an aside. To be sure, watch the changes made by an experienced coach . I agree that the first thing that happens is that the point guards will be forced to distribute to get everybody on this team going as McRoberts did in part with his arrival . Small ball is dead and the one on one forcing shots at the rim all game by the small guards is history. This was the biggest cancer with this team. The bigs tho limited , paid the price and sat while this park ball played out. All of them cn make a layup. Except the one Dunlap had on the floor starting , named Biz or Brickyombo.

Posted by: Iron man | Apr 24, 2013 6:52:46 PM

did you watch any of the games? almost our entire offense was pick and rolls. It's not dunlap's fault that biz is 20 and still has a ways to go as a finisher on the roll end of that. it's also not dunlaps fault that mullens doesn't have any balls. or that brendan haywood is horrible. or tyrus thomas frail. he got josh mcroberts late and all of sudden we were highly improved. imagine what would happen if we had an elite post player or if he was given the time to develop biyombo into one.

It's also not dunlap's fault that he had to play zone so much because outside of 5 guys on his roster, the other 10 guys were defensive liabilities. They definitely didn't play as much zone as you're making it out to be. and the dallas mavericks won a championship 2 years ago playing A TON of zone.

certain things he did had to do with playing the hand he was dealt. others, sure he needed to improve on. that's what season 2 is for. they made another knee jerk reaction in a situation that called for patience. the same patience they've been preaching. if we won 21 games while playing talented veterans, you fire the guy no question. you improve your winning % by 15 points in a year AND GET YOUNGER you give that guy an extension.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 24, 2013 8:56:53 PM

Hopefully we can build for the future with a core of good players-Walker,Henderson,McRoberts-and win more games next year. Get rid of those complaining veterans- Thomas, Gordon - and move on with some more fresh young talent. The fans will suppport an improving team and this is possible next year.

Posted by: robert troup | Apr 24, 2013 9:00:51 PM

This recent blunder, whether it's Dunlap's firing or hiring, is akin to peeling off a bandage only to see not health and regeneration, but an ugly wound underneath.

There is a dramatic display of ineptitude within the head office of our basketball team.

How many more mistakes can this franchise afford to make?

Posted by: The Dark Kinght | Apr 25, 2013 3:13:45 AM

I think we should use Rod Higgins as coach and then he can fire himself

Posted by: TrueBBallFan | Apr 25, 2013 9:54:20 AM

I don't recall any fans lobbying to keep the Hornets name in Charlotte before the team left for NOLA. Look at all the whining about it after the fact. Recall Cleveland aggressively fought to retain the Browns name for their future replacement team. Charlotte did not.

If the Hornets name returns to Charlotte when looking back in 20 years at historical records may have to be qualified as the "old Pelican-Hornets" or the "old Bobcats-Hornets".

The name "Bobcats" seems in line with the other big cat team in this town; the Panthers. If the name changes or not I will support this same team. I just hope the team can stay here.

Posted by: hackercrft | Apr 25, 2013 1:31:01 PM

Sadly regardless of what any of us think I do believe we can all agree the mess still isn't cleaned up and we are still years from being anything but bottom 5 lottery bound.

Posted by: Season Ticket holder for now | Apr 25, 2013 2:40:50 PM

Firing the coach will change nothing. That is painfully obvious. I am not sure why Bonnell never writes about the management in place there. Probably has some side deal. Not covering it shows a complete lack of integrity. Surprised his editors don't do anything about it. 4 coaches in 4 years or whatever it is. Dunlap is not the story.

Posted by: Symbiotic | Apr 26, 2013 9:43:44 AM

it will change something. CONTINUITY.

Successful teams have continuity. Kemba will now have his 3rd coach in 3 years. I feel a regression coming on. Gerald (whether we keep him or let him walk as we tend to do) will have his 4th coach in 5 years. Guys can't even get to the nuance level of a coaches system. They get a year, maybe a year and a half to learn it and then in the offseason when they can apply the system to their workouts (knowing where they'll get the ball, what they need to work on, etc.) they find out they have to learn a new system.


being a bobcats fan is insanely depressing.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 26, 2013 5:09:12 PM

True story! Bobcats have a list of fans who want to be contacted if they rebrand! The amount of people on the list is larger than current season ticket holders! That's why you rebrand! True story!

Posted by: joe cool | Apr 27, 2013 5:06:33 PM

Michael, please hire Alvin Gentry!

Posted by: RP | Apr 27, 2013 7:16:45 PM

joe cool - any "fan" who buys season tickets based on the colors and mascot is not an nba fan. you are delusional if you think THAT is going to drastically grow the fanbase. Sure there will be an initial boost from the gimmick but it's not a sustainable boost.

Their target demo are people that love basketball. People that like sporting events. People that like to go out, get food and drinks, be seen, see people, have a good time.

Not people that like purple and teal.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 28, 2013 6:26:55 PM

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