The working theory on what makes Kentucky head coach John Calipari so attractive to an NBA team is his connection with the former UK stars currently in the NBA.
Anthony Davis, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Julius Randle, Karl Towns.
And DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins, as most know, is one of the most difficult stars in the NBA. He’s an elite talent, a top ten player in the league when he wants to be, but there’s always something standing in the way of him becoming that player. The latest fiasco? The disjointed relationship between the star and his new coach in Sacramento, George Karl. That drama was the fuel behind the rumors that the Lakers were going to put together a package, including the No. 2 pick, to ship to Northern California in exchange for the big fella.
And that drama is likely what is fueling the latest rumors, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports on Tuesday: Sacramento in interested in hiring Coach Cal. It would take quite a bit of money — more than $10 million annually, according to Woj — to hire Cal, and that’s before you consider what it would take to nix Karl’s contract. But no coach in the country has been as effective as Cal at keeping Cousins even keel.
The NBA is a players’ league, and if that’s the money that it would cost to hire a coach that would not only keep Cousins in Sacramento, but also keep him under control, it would probably be worth it.
This is not the first time that Cal’s name has popped up in the NBA rumor mill. He was believed to be interested in the opening in New Orleans, where Davis plays, and he turned down an eight-year, $60 million contract to coach the Cavs last season, prior to LeBron’s decision to return to his home-state. Cal coached the Nets for three years in the ’90s and has had his name tied to opening with the New York Knicks multiple times as well.
As he has done in the past, Cal responded to the report on twitter.
“For the 100th time, I have the best basketball coaching position in the world,” Cal wrote. “I am not looking for any other coaching position. Since he bought the team, [Kings owner Vivek Ranadive] and I have talked on and off about [DeMarcus]. [Vivek] has asked me what I thought about [DeMarcus] and I told him he would be an all-star, and I was right. In the last two weeks, we’ve also talked a bunch about the draft and on draft day, obviously because of [Willie Cauley-Stein].”
“At no time has [Vivek} offered me a job. I WILL BE AT KENTUCKY.”