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Nuggets Exercise Option on Karl Contract

DENVER (AP) _ The Nuggets exercised their three-year option on coach George Karl's contract, keeping him with Denver through the 2009-10 season.

Under Karl, the Nuggets have enjoyed their best stretch since joining the NBA in 1976. He was hired Jan. 27, 2005, leading the team to a 76-46 regular-season record and .628 winning percentage,

``As we've said all along, we're committed to building a championship-caliber team,'' team owner Stan Kroenke said Tuesday. ``We believe today's announcement, coupled with the moves we've made throughout the offseason, will take us closer to achieving our ultimate goal.''

The Nuggets went 32-8 in 2004-05 after Karl's hiring and they won their first divisional title since 1987-88 last season despite a spate of injuries to their frontcourt.

This offseason, the Nuggets signed Brazilian forward Nene and star Carmelo Anthony to big contracts. Anthony signed a five-year, $80 million extension and Nene signed a six-year, $60 million deal.

``This franchise is moving in a great direction and I'm honored to be a part of it,'' Karl said. ``I look forward to continuing what we've started.''

Karl has 784 wins in his 18-season career, which has included jobs at Milwaukee, Seattle, Golden State and Cleveland, tying him for 12th in NBA history.
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