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Calapari says he is not leaving UK for the pros, but speculation of the Bulls job continues


From all indications, John Calipari is not leaving Lexington this year to take ANY job in the NBA, yet the speculation will not die about Cals interest in the Chicago Bulls job.  As far as I know, Calipari is not even a candidate for the job, and I have no idea if the Bull’s brass is even interested in Calipari.  But that does not stop our friends at Rivals.com from having a full fledged forum on the matter today.

There were some interesting comments made, and unless I am missing something, there are a lot of ill conceived notions about our Coach Calipari and his allegiance to Kentucky.  Let’s take a look at what some of the rivals pundits had to say:

Of all the coaches in college basketball, Calipari seems the most likely to head to the NBA. But would he do it after one season? I don’t buy it. Someone doesn’t take a top-five job in college basketball – a job that may turn him into a legend – only to abandon it a year or two later. This news about Calipari and the NBA looks more like positioning for contract negotiations, a sad development in its own right. I could see him leaving for the NBA, especially to coach one of his own (Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall), but he has work to finish at Kentucky, and he knows it.

This was posted on rivals today but Fox apparently has missed the news that Barnhart and Calipari had been in talks about an extension for about two weeks now, which was before the Bulls job became open.  And I really don’t get the “sad development” that Fox was talking about.  Yes, Calipari is looking at a contract extension, but one that does not involve a raise.  I don’t consider that sad … I think it’s pretty damn refreshing myself.  But I do agree that Cal has work to do. 

I think Calipari knows he’s at a great place, but I also have to think Calipari – because of his connection to William “World Wide Wes” Wesley and Wesley’s connections to LeBron James – has to dream just a bit about coaching a Bulls team with James, who is a free agent, and Derrick Rose. I’m not sure Bulls officials necessarily see Calipari as the right man for the job. But, hey, if hiring Calipari somehow means you also get LeBron … . Still, I think Calipari will be in Lexington next season, coaching a UK team that once again is favored to win the SEC.

Too much speculation here, and yes, I am sure that if the Bulls have LeBron and Rose, that would be tempting.  I really have not read anything that states that LeBron is dying to play basketball for Calipari … it’s all just speculation.  Cal and LeBron are very good friends … but do you really want to work for your best friend?  I don’t buy the whole WWW connection in this either.  I think WWW and LeBron have their own agendas and neither of them involve luring Cal from Kentucky and then LeBron changing teams.  But that is just my opinion.

Why not? Calipari has moved around a bit over the course of his career, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if he makes one more move. I could see how he might want one more chance to prove himself in the NBA, particularly since the Bulls have enough talent and cap room to make a dramatic improvement next season. While it wouldn’t shock me to see Calipari on the Bulls’ bench next season, it still seems like little more than a remote possibility. I believe Calipari wants the national title that’s eluded him thus far in his career, and he knows he will always have a realistic shot at that prize as long as he remains at Kentucky. Even if Calipari did want to make the move to the NBA, there’s no guarantee the Bulls would be interested in hiring him. Calipari’s a much more proven commodity in college than in the NBA. Kentucky seems like the perfect fit for Calipari, though his track record suggests we shouldn’t be stunned if he already is growing restless.

These are the comments that really confuse me the most.  Megargee tries to play it like Cal is this great carpet bagger of a coach, or a modern day reincarnation of Larry Brown (yes, I know Brown is still around).  If we look at Cal’s record, we see 8 years at UMass, 2.5 years at New Jersey (where he was fired) and 9 seasons at Memphis.  Yes, it looks like Calipari may get the “seven year itch”, but to suggest he is restless at the premier job in college basketball is absurd.  Nothing in Cal’s history suggests he would be seeking to leave Kentucky at this time.

By comparison, let’s take a look at Rick Pitino’s coaching career and see how much he has moved around.  Pitino spent 5 years at Boston, went to the Knicks as an assistant coach for 2 seasons, spent 2 seasons at Providence, back to the Knicks for 2 seasons, came to Kentucky for 8 seasons, back to the NBA and the Celtics for 4 seasons and now at Louisville for 9 seasons.  And just to point out, Pitino had just one 10 loss season at UK, his first, and has had five at the Ville.  Just thought I would add that there.

In comparison to Pitino, Calipari is a stable Able in job longevity.  Now I do think that once Calipari has won a title or two, he may look to add a NBA title down the road.  But I think we are pretty secure with Cal for the next few years at least.

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