There’s a negative side to having a coach put together a successful season: all of a sudden he becomes a targeted acquisition.
This isn’t a problem if you’re Kansas or Duke or North Carolina. It’s not an issue if the coach in question is a Lute Olson or a Jim Calhoun, legends that are inseparable from their program.
It does, however, become a bit of a nuisance for guys like Kevin Ollie and Fred Hoiberg. Both are former NBA players that have long been considered to be future coaches at the highest level. Hoiberg turned Iowa State into a Big 12 contender in four years, which was enough to get him named as a favorite for a job — Golden State — that hadn’t even come open yet. That was the second time that his name had been bandied about as a potential replacement at the NBA level.
For Ollie, it was only a natural thought that he would be interested in replacing Mike D’Antoni with the Lakers. He’s a UConn alum, but he’s also a native of Southern California that grew up at a time when Showtime was at its peak. That’s what it wasn’t a surprise when FOX Sports’ Bill Reiter tweeted out that Ollie ‘plans to visit‘ with the Lakers in the coming weeks about potentially moving back west. Reiter also said that Ollie is planning on staying at UConn, but that he ‘wants to listen’ and ‘have a conversation’ about the opening.
Ollie denied the report on twitter on Tuesday afternoon, and he may be telling the truth.
But he’s also in the middle of trying to leverage a surprising run to the 2014 national title into a bigger contract with the school.
And what better way is there to gain leverage in contract negotiations than to say, ‘hey, the Lakers are courting me.’ After all, Mike D’Antoni was making $4 million-a-year.