On Calipari, the NBA and the Knicks
April, 8, 2014
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesPeople always say you can count on two things in life: death and taxes.
Well, we think it’s time to add a third item to that list: rumors of John Calipari leaving his college coaching job for the NBA.
It happens around this time almost annually: Kentucky’s season ends and Calipari will deny rumors that he is going to leave the Bluegrass State for an NBA gig.
Most recently, the rumor mill churned out a Calipari-to-the-Lakers scenario, put forward by Kentucky broadcaster and former Wildcats player Rex Chapman.
Calipari -- and Chapman -- have since scotched the story.
Calipari insisted to ESPN’s Jeanine Edwards on Monday that he would be back at Kentucky next season.
"No. I'm right [here] at Kentucky," Calipari said. "I got the best job. I've got a good group of kids. Love what I'm doing. Speculation? That's there every year I coach."
It’s funny how quickly things change.
Back in February, Calipari was on the short list of names that the Knicks were expected to chase to replace Mike Woodson.
In January, the Knicks, via a third party, reached out to Calipari to gauge his interest in coaching the Knicks next season, a league source familiar with the scenario told ESPN New York.
At the time, Calipari was under heavy fire because Kentucky was underperforming.
The league source says Calipari was intrigued by the possibility of coaching Carmelo Anthony. Both Anthony and Calipari, it should be noted, are represented by Creative Artists Agency.
The conversations never went any further than a feeling out by a third party. In other words, nothing serious.
A few weeks later, the Knicks announced that they’d hired Phil Jackson to serve as president of the organization.
That essentially ended any possibility of Calipari coming to the Knicks.
More likely candidates now include names like Steve Kerr and Kurt Rambis, men who have ties to Jackson and have an intimate knowledge of the triangle offense.
It's highly unlikely that a big-name coach like Calipari or Jeff Van Gundy will coach the Knicks without having at least some control over personnel decisions. With Jackson installed as president, the next Knicks coach won't have control over such decisions.
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