The John Calipari rumors started early this year.
According to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé would like to make Calipari an offer “he simply cannot refuse” should he and the front office make a coaching change. With current head coach George Karl being scrutinized for the Kings’ slow start to the season, Sacramento could be in the market for a new head coach in the near future. Bucher says that the question is when, not if, Sacramento makes a change.
Kentucky currently has 21 former players in the NBA, and most of them played for Calipari. His on-court success and the relationships with players are just two of the reasons why Calipari would appeal to an NBA franchise. That’s perfectly understandable.
What isn’t understandable is why Sacramento would be appealing to a head coach who, in his first run at the NBA, took over a rebuilding job in New Jersey that culminated with his firing after 2.5 years at the helm in 1999. Sacramento has won fewer than 30 games in each of the last seven seasons, and they posted their last winning season (44-38) in 2005-06.
Add in the fact that Fred Hoiberg and Billy Donovan, both former college coaches, landed much better NBA jobs this offseason (Chicago and Oklahoma City, respectively), and it’s hard to believe that Calipari wouldn’t be able to do better than Sacramento if he were to entertain the possibility of returning to the NBA.
And even if the “offer he simply cannot refuse” were to include some extravagant perks, he’s got a damn good job in Lexington, Kentucky. It’s probably a better than coaching the Kings. He gets high-level recruiting classes that lead to annual contention for a national title, as the Wildcats have reached the Final Four in four of the last five seasons, and he’d give that up for a franchise that is currently dealing with instability in its leadership?
DeMarcus Cousins is a franchise changing talent and an enigma that, thus far, only Cal has been able to solve. It makes sense that the Kings would target him, but regardless of how Cal feels about his former center, does he really want to hitch his NBA hopes to a carriage led by Cousins and Rajon Rondo?
If the report of Ranadivé looking to make a run at Calipari is true, given what the head coach currently has at his disposal the offer he “cannot refuse” better be a good one.
Because my guess is that this news is only going to get Cal a raise at UK.