CRAWFORD | Same story, different money, NBA rumors a net gain fo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Same story, different money, NBA rumors a net gain for Calipari

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Bad odds: Powerball. Good odds: Alabama to beat Clemson in the college football playoff championship. Better odds: John Calipari being linked to NBA rumors every year.

The latest: Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski says — and again, if Woj says it, I can’t knock it — that the asking price of John Calipari for an NBA job is 10 years, $120 million.

Calipari dutifully knocked down the report on Twitter.

“You may have heard me say this before: I absolutely have the best coaching job in sports and I plan on being at Kentucky for a long time,” he Tweeted.

He added: “I am not negotiating with ANYBODY. My total focus is on this team and winning the next game.”

I feel for coaches when they’re put in this position. Do I believe an agent or someone connected to him has floated $120 million? Sure. Who wouldn’t float that kind of number out there, just to see.

Do I believe Calipari is actively seeking an exit from Kentucky? No way.

Do I believe Calipari should leave Lexington? No. He’d be crazy.

Now, sometimes people go crazy. Or sometimes they just want a new challenge. Sometimes they figure they’ve done all they can do, let’s see what else can be done.

Maybe, one day, that happens. Calipari always has said, his time at Kentucky is not forever.

But as regards Calipari, and Kentucky, and any other opportunity, Calipari is the right man, in the right place, at the right time. And when you get into that situation, you ride it.

Calipari is no longer in the position he used to be — of needing to prove himself. He’s in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s won a national championship. He’s coaching a perennial power. He gets the best young talent available every year. Some years, that talent is better than others. But he’s in the hunt. The days of John Wooden winning 10 straight are over. But he’s as close to perennially dominant as a college coach can probably get.

And if it’s about money, well, how much more does a person need than the nearly $9 million per year Calipari is in line to make?

Calipari has rebuffed the NBA before. Wojnarowski reported that Calipari told Sacramento Kings ownership last year that it would taken $11 million per year just to get his attention. Note, not to get him to leave Kentucky, just to get him to think about leaving Kentucky.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Woj, offered him $80 million over $10 years in 2014 but he didn’t bite — given that he’s in line to make $9 million a year at Kentucky.

So now he’s on the back page of the New York Daily News and in the headlines again. I guess, in some ways, its an enviable place to be.

But unless he’s just tired of the recruiting challenge or the demands at Kentucky — and he’s not under unreasonable pressure at the moment from any one at UK that I can tell, from fans to media to administrators — I don’t see it.

None other than Rick Pitino has said — leaving Kentucky for an NBA job, no matter how good, isn’t perhaps as good a deal as it looks.

I’m at a bit of a disadvantage when writing about Calipari. I don’t know him. Maybe, as Wojnarowski says, he does have a desire to give the NBA another shot. And he should go with good wishes if he does.

But until then, I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a guy who has refused to give what surely is $100 million or more in NBA offers the last two years even a serious look.

In the meantime, these NBA rumors don't hurt the recruiting efforts of Calipari like they might other coaches. He's going after guys who want to get to the NBA. Who better to play for than a guy the NBA wants every year? 

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