By now you’ve probably read, or at least heard about, the new Yahoo! report saying John Calipari wants $12 million over 10 years to return to the NBA. Calipari was quick to shoot down the story with a tweet reading, “I absolutely have the best coaching job in sports and I plan on being at Kentucky for a long time.”
“I am not negotiating with ANYBODY,” he said.
That tweet is comforting, but it really doesn’t mean anything. If Calipari sees a golden opportunity to go to the league, Calipari will go to the league. Simple as that.
But the Brooklyn Nets do not provide a golden opportunity. It’s hardly an opportunity at all.
Here’s why he isn’t leaving for that job, $120 million or not…
Brooklyn has no hope for an immediate turnaround. Long-term not looking promising, either.
Philadelphia and Los Angeles are the two worst teams in the NBA, but those teams have plenty of young talent to, potentially, get things moving in the right direction in the near future.
Brooklyn, on the other hand, has 14-year veteran Joe Johnson, 10-year veteran Jarrett Jack, one of the Lopez twins, Thaddeus Young and Andre Bargnani. Its young guys? Markel Brown, Shane Larkin, Chris McCullough and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Meh.
But what about the monster draft class entering the league next summer?
Yeah, about that. The Nets gave up its first-round pick to the Celtics as part of the deal for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Its second-round pick will likely belong to the Clippers from the Reggie Evans trade of 2012.
Next season, the Nets’ first-round spot goes to the Celtics again, still from the Garnett-Pierce deal, and its second-round pick goes to Atlanta from the Joe Johnson trade. In 2018, guess what? Its first-rounder belongs to the Celtics as part of the, yep, Garnett-Pierce deal.
Brooklyn won’t make a first-round pick until 2019.
Kentucky will be absolutely loaded next season. More so than usual.
John Calipari has arguably his best class ever, and that’s saying something. He has already signed five of the top 16 players in the 247Sports rankings and rumor has it the nation’s No. 1 center wants to jump on board, too.
Needless to say, Cal’s looking forward to coaching Kentucky in 2016-17. The players he has coming in are the perfect mold for the system he likes to run: long, super-athletic frontcourt players and two guards who can create for themselves. It’d be tough to leave that roster and yet another legitimate shot at a national title behind.
He has “the best basketball coaching position in the world.”
Whether you believe him or not, Calipari has said many times he has “the best basketball coaching position in the world.”
For the 100th time, I have the best basketball coaching position in the world. I am not looking for any other coaching position.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) June 30, 2015
His job security in Lexington couldn’t be higher and he is one of the top two or three coaches in the college game. Once Coach K hangs it up, which may be soon, Cal’s current hold on the recruiting scene will likely turn to complete dominance. He’s almost assured a title-contending team every season until he retires.
On the flip side, his potential success in the NBA is full of unknowns and far from a sure-thing. The challenge may entice him, but why leave the gold standard of college basketball to try it out?
The Nets are, and always will be, the second team in town.
The move to Brooklyn put the Nets in Knicks territory, securing its place as second-fiddle behind the Big Apple’s team. Phil Jackson has the Knicks trending upward with 19-year-old Kristaps Porzingis as its centerpiece, while Brooklyn heads the opposite direction.
John Calipari’s ego won’t accept being the younger brother, and the Nets will always be the younger brother. That is the Knicks’ city.
On the contrary, here is why he would do it…
That is a ton of money.
Assuming Brooklyn’s psychotic billionaire owner is willing to pay Calipari the $120 million he demands, Cal will take Greg Popovich’s throne as the highest paid coach in the NBA. It will also make him the highest paid coach in all of American sports.
Cal may say it’s not about the money, but this little tidbit from Wojnarowski’s report suggests otherwise:
One minority owner with the Kings, who was part of multiple calls with Calipari, told confidants, “He kept saying it wasn’t about the money, but he kept talking about the money.”
And $120 million is A LOT of money.
The northeast is his home.
Before going to Memphis in 2000, Cal spent his entire career in the northeast. He was at Massachusetts for eight seasons, New Jersey for three and then a brief stint in Philadelphia. Not to mention, he was born and raised in Moon, Pennsylvania, a short, six-hour drive from the bright lights of New York City.
He will get the power he wants.
Each time a new Cal-to-the-NBA rumor emerges, it includes the small caveat he wants complete control of the franchise if he is ever going to make that jump. Brooklyn is desperate and likely willing to hand him the keys to the sunken ship. With that power, Cal would do all he can to sign his old Kentucky players, namely DeMarcus Cousins or John Wall, who will soon be free agents. Anthony Davis would be his pipe dream, but that ain’t happening.
He wants to prove he can win.
Of all the success Cal has had in his career, his short run in the NBA was a complete fail. It’s the one wrong on his resume and he is eager to make it right.
Going back to that ego thing, a part of him has always wanted to prove he can be successful in the pros, just for the sake of showing he can do it. Larry Brown, his mentor, is the only coach to win titles in the NCAA and NBA — think Cal wouldn’t like to join him?
My uninformed opinion: There isn’t enough money in the world to coach the Brooklyn Nets. Not when you’re making $7-8 million per year to win all of the time at Kentucky — “the best basketball coaching position in the world.”