Kenny Payne has broken his silence in the midst of conversations with the New York Knicks. Hours after Jeff Goodman reported that Kentucky’s associate head coach was contemplating a job offer from the Knicks, he spoke with the Herald-Leader’s Jerry Tipton.
“All I can say is it’s not an easy decision,” he said. “And, hopefully, it gets resolved one way or the other here soon.”
Payne provided ammunition for optimists and pessimists. The following statement gives Kentucky fans a good reason to believe he will remain at UK.
“But I have a great job for a lot of different reasons,” he said. “And all I can tell you is that I’ve been blessed to be able to be in a position to help a lot of people. It’s more than just basketball with me when you’re in a position to help families.”
The optimist also notes that Payne’s son, Zan, still has two years of eligibility to play for UK. The pessimistic UK fan would argue that the job with the Knicks gives him a chance to coach some of his former Wildcats in the league. Julius Randle is currently a Knick and the organization is in the market for upcoming free agents like Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns.
“That is a unique situation,” Payne said of the chance to work with highly regarded players. “It’s hard to even fathom leaving Kentucky when you’re in a position like I’m in.”
Even the pessimistic quote gives UK fans a good reason to believe he’ll remain at Kentucky. Although, the Friday report that former Calipari assistant Bruiser Flint would happily leave Indiana to replace Payne at Kentucky does sound like a cart has been placed in front of the horse.
The more you read into the reports and the meaning behind Payne’s quotes, the more confusing the matter becomes. As Payne said, hopefully it gets resolved one way or the other here soon.