Another week, another round of rumblings around John Calipari and his potential trip to the NBA.
This isn’t the normal kind, though, not after the Brooklyn Nets canned coach Lionel Hollins after a 10-27 start and reassigned general manager Billy King, who will help with the search for the next coach, according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. Said search figures to include Kentucky’s Calipari, as sources told Wojnarowski that brass within the organization continue to like the idea of bringing around Calipari:
One of the major influences in the search process promises to be Nets CEO Brett Yormark, who has remained an immense ally of Kentucky coach John Calipari since Calipari’s late 1990s tenure as Nets president and coach. Yormark has remained a proponent of making a lucrative offer to bring Calipari back to the Nets in a dual president and coaching role, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The connection certainly makes sense. The cash? Maybe not. In a different report, Wojnarowski revealed Calipari spoke with Sacramento but the finances didn’t work out. Neither did conversations with Cleveland, putting any NBA team interested in his services at an ultimatum, per Wojnarowski: “He wants the 10 years and now the $12 million a year that Phil Jackson makes to run the Knicks.”
One could debate all day about whether an NBA team should throw that sort of cash at Calipari. For his part, though, Kentucky’s leader took to Twitter to dispel any rumblings about his future:
You may have heard me say this before: I absolutely have the best coaching job in sports and I plan on being at Kentucky for a long time.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 11, 2016
I am not negotiating with ANYBODY. My total focus is on this team and winning the next game. — John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 11, 2016
Fine, but remember—the NBA’s the wonderful land of the “what ifs?” Calipari has plenty of former players he surely wouldn’t mind coaching at the next level. In fact, sources mentioned he might have had an interest in inking a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans to get back together with Anthony Davis.
About the Nets. Even Wojnarowski brings up the future trips to free agency for big names such as DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall. Should Calipari somehow land in Brooklyn, odds are the Nets would find themselves as heavyweights in the free-agency lottery. Call it a potential breath of fresh air for an organization that over the hears has sacrificed every bit of future outlook for the present, coughing up seven first-round picks under King and helping someone such as 34-year-old Joe Johnson remain as one of the league’s highest-paid players. The glitz of the big city, Jay-Z and everything else hasn’t panned out as some might have hoped.
So no, it isn’t hard to see why Calipari’s name would pop up right now. The Nets haven’t said his name outright, but the odd timing of the organizational restructure suggests those in charge are ready to take a new approach. Approach, as in struggling to get big names to come to town so grab a big-name coach to lure the players who would otherwise take a rain check.
Calipari’s sitting pretty with the No. 9 Wildcats at 12-3. He’ll do nothing short of throw denials this way and that until the season concludes. As prior reports have shown, though, the offseason over the past few years has seen him at least flirt with the idea of the pros. Who can blame the Nets for possibly getting out in front of this backed by the deep pockets of Mikhail Prokhorov? The man seems to want geography, cash and access to some of his former understudies. Brooklyn might hit all marks on the checklist, which would explain the sudden shifts within in the organization.