On Calipari and NBA Rumors

by:Matt Jones05/19/15


Here is the deal on Calipari and NBA Rumors…they won’t go away until Calipari gets to a time that no NBA team could possibly want him (aka where Rick Pitino is now). John Calipari is an attractive NBA candidate and no matter what he says, people will link him to NBA jobs. Some of that is natural…with so many players in the league and with a reputation as a coach that can get elite players motivated to the highest level, NBA teams will always look like an attractive option. Plus, when Calipari was at Memphis he famously said that he wasn’t interested in any other jobs before taking the UK job very soon after. That is the price of coach speak. Even as Calipari denied publicly today that he was interested in the New Orleans job (or any other job), there will be those that he nevertheless cannot convince.

For me, the future of Calipari at Kentucky is very simply. I think Calipari is very happy here and is content being the coach at UK in a way that may not have even been the case two years ago. Whereas a couple of years ago the idea of going to the NBA one last time was appealing to Calipari, now I think he would be happy finishing out his time in Lexington. But, I won’t say it is certain Calipari retires at Kentucky. If the perfect job in the perfect situation came about, then Calipari would listen. If (a) a contender for the title wanted to (b) give Calipari total player control and (c) pay him more than he is paid at Kentucky in (d) a location that Calipari desires, then it would not surprise me if he took that job. But that situation would be very rare and grows even rarer by the year.

You will constantly read and hear from “sources close to Calipari” what he is going to do or what he is thinking. I trust almost none of them. In your own life there are probably only a couple of people who really know what you are thinking but many more who believe they are “close” to you. Coaching is no different. Last year Calipari considered the Cleveland job for 10 days and it never leaked until he had already turned it down. His circle is small and those that know don’t say and those that say don’t know. This season, I will only be watching the Chicago and Cleveland jobs for Calipari. If those two jobs come open AND they have interest in Calipari, I think he would consider it. But it isn’t clear that either will come open (yet) or that he would decide to take either at this point. If Calipari gets through this summer, I like the chances of him being at Kentucky for the rest of his career. But there will be nothing that will stop us from going around this coaching rumor merry-go-round again and again for some time to come.

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