BOZICH | Calipari isn't bound for the NBA; End of story - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Calipari isn't bound for the NBA; End of story

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – John Calipari isn't going to New Orleans, Cleveland, Chicago, Orlando, Brooklyn, Los Angeles or any other NBA hot spot.

John Calipari will be going to Baton Rouge, Starkville, Gainesville, Athens, Nashville and every other Southeastern Conference address he owned last winter.

He'll be the coach at the University of Kentucky next season.

The NBA helped Calipari leverage a salary bump last season, a bump that made him no worse than the second-highest paid college basketball coach in the country.

The NBA likely helped Calipari squeeze another salary bump last week, a bump to $8 million, a raise that that likely made him one of the top 15 paid coaches in all American sports.

No NBA opening fits Calipari like the job the coach has today – coaching at the University of Kentucky.

End of story.

At Kentucky, Calipari has every recruiting advantage. In the NBA, Calipari has no recruiting advantages. He'd be just another coach in a league where a guy (Steve Kerr) who had never been a head coach until this season is the favorite to win the NBA title with Golden State.

At Kentucky, recruits hyperventilate when Calipari walks in the room. In the NBA, coaches are wise to hyperventilate when players walk in the room.

(The Pelicans' job is open because the franchise fired Monty Williams. Can you name the guy who preceded Williams? I could not. Eric Crawford could not. Tom Lane could not. It was Jeff Bower.)

At Kentucky, Calipari has won, won and then won even more. In the NBA, Calipari struggled, struggled and got pointed toward the door.


At Kentucky, Calipari is in charge. In New Orleans, general manager Dell Demps controls the roster -- and that isn't going to change.

In college basketball, the playing field is tilted toward programs like Kentucky. In the NBA, the playing field is as flat as the Rupp Arena court. You're never going to walk onto the court with better players at all five spots as Calipari did nearly every night this season.

I could tell you more. Like this nugget: Calipari has won better than 83 percent of his games at UK. He was a 39 percent guy in the NBA.

There's no reason to stretch my list to 10 items. If you live in Kentuckiana, you already understand that Calipari has a better job than anything the NBA could offer.

You didn't need to read the statement Calipari rushed out Tuesday afternoon after a media report linked him to the opening with the New Orleans Pelicans.

But here is it anyway:

"Even though Anthony (Davis) and Tyreke (Evans) are in New Orleans, I have no interest in coaching the Pelicans or any other coaching position. I have a great job and I'm happy at Kentucky."

The Pelicans' rumor had more juice than most Calipari rumors. Anthony Davis indeed plays there. He gave Calipari his NCAA championship at UK three seasons ago. Davis is the best under-25 player in the NBA, a guy with the skills and temperament to bring a championship to an NBA franchise, too.

Tyreke Evans, who played for Calipari at Memphis, is another fixture with the Pelicans.

I get it. The Pelicans are on the move. They won 45 games this season. (Only seven more than UK won, by the way.) They made the NBA playoffs. They played four reasonably tough playoff games against Golden State.

The Pelicans and New Orleans situation lacks the toxicity of the Nets and New Jersey, where Calipari lost 112 of 184 games in less than 2 ½ seasons as the head coach.

That's correct. Calipari lost 74 more games in less than 2 ½ seasons in the NBA than he has during six seasons at Kentucky.

Calipari loves to be loved. Nobody will love him more than Kentucky has loved him. There have been a few grumbles about the Final Four loss to Wisconsin, but it's not as if anybody is directing traffic to FireJohnCalipari.com.

New Orleans ranked 24th in the NBA in average home attendance. The Pelicans had a fantastic year – and still averaged about 7,000 fewer fans per game than Kentucky.

I'll give New Orleans two advantages: Anthony Davis and post-game restaurants.

Other than that, every other edge goes to the job Calipari has done so well that Kentucky helped bump him into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

Calipari is no dummy. He knows you don't trade the Kentucky job to direct a franchise that is the Other Team in a town that adores the Saints.

He'll be the coach at the University of Kentucky next season. End of story.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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