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Coach Cal to the Nets?

Dec 27, 2012, 4:08 PM EDT

John Calipari

John Calipari has coached in the NBA before.

After he took UMass to the Final Four in 1996, Cal left for the league, taking over the New Jersey Nets and hanging around for less than three seasons. He was fired 20 games into the 1998-99 campaign, and after spending a year as an assistant with Philadelphia, Calipari returned to the amateur ranks.

First Memphis, and now Kentucky.

But it seems like the rumors that involve Cal making a return to the NBA pop up every year. Back in 2010, less than a year after he left Memphis, Cal’s name was in the mix for the Nets opening. In April, just days after winning Kentucky’s eighth national title, Cal was thought to be a contender for the opening with the New York Knicks.

Adrian Wojnarowski wrote this in a terrific column before Cal spurned the Knicks’ advances:

Calipari had complete control of the franchise but little control of himself. He is securer in his insecurity now, but a desire to return to the NBA has never left. He has his NCAA championship now, and the New York Knicks have three necessities that Calipari desperately needs: a vacancy, a big stage and a blank check.

Why am I bringing this up now?

Well, earlier today, the Nets fired head coach Avery Johnson. And that undoubtedly means that Calipari’s name is going to be brought back up again, only now his friendship with Jay-Z — remember Kentucky played Maryland in the college opener for the Barclays Center? — will be thrown into the equation.

So is there a chance that Coach Cal will be heading up the Nets? According to Ken Berger, no. None at all:

John Calipari? Given minority owner Jay-Z’s relationship with the Kentucky coach … oh, let me stop myself right there. Sources say the answer to whether the Nets will consider Calipari is an unequivocal no. Moving on …

I guess that’s that.

With the recruiting class that he has coming in next year, I don’t think it would be smart for Cal to leave. A perfect season is a real possibility.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. Eric Angevine - Dec 27, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    To my mind, the things that currently make Cal a great college coach don’t translate to the NBA at all. Pictures of Cal with Jay-Z help him land recruits – it’s just another night out on the town for an NBA star. Kentucky’s first-class facilities are the baseline of luxuries for the pros. I just don’t see it.

  2. cmart0907 - Dec 27, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    When recruits visit uk they fall in love with the facilities ..they have basically they own dorm building. Showers made for 7footers…beds made for 7footers. Everything is living in high class at uk thats what brings in them top tier recruits they fall in love with the facilities and how they will be living for atleast a year. And its uk…if i was a top high school baller and coach cal offered me a scholarship i will commit the same exact day. No way cal leaves uk for the nets. He is getting paid 6mil a SEASON!!!!!!!!

    • dlmzzz - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:08 AM

      You do realize that even a middle tier NBA program can afford to pay a coach far more than ANY college team, even Kentucky, right? The Knicks will be paying 6mil per year to the coach they just FIRED. You think they won’t want to pay more if that’s what it takes to get a big name coach? If the Nets decide they need to hire a bigger name coach than the Knicks, you think they won’t do it?

  3. metalhead65 - Dec 28, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    he is not going anywhere for now. he makes more than his players at uk so until the ncaa comes calling and based on his track record they will. so enjoy the records and title while you can uk fans they won’t be there forever. see resulting penalties at previous stops and that is your future.

  4. drewvt6 - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Cal has to have somewhere to run when the next round of NCAA sanctions follow him into town…

  5. ryanpmcvey - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    It’s the Pete Carroll syndrome. If there’s any NCAA people sniffing around then he’ll weasel out of there leaving UK in shambles.

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