Kentucky head coach John Calipari has his name come up for NBA jobs every season. This year the rumors are starting early with the New York Knicks struggling with a 3-8 record. New York has had a few injuries this season and maybe when they get healthy things will turn around and Mike Woodson will keep his job so we won’t have to worry about Cal leaving Kentucky for the Big Apple.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com thinks it’s a good possibility the Knicks will go after John Calipari.
But the Knicks are all-in with CAA in ways that few of their rivals could even imagine. Days before training camp began, GM Glen Grunwald was pushed aside in favor of Steve Mills, who was brought back for a second tour of duty due to his institutional knowledge of the Garden and connections to the game’s power brokers — especially, William “World Wide Wes” Wesley, whose path to Garden influence was paved with the Anthony trade.
CAA, via Wesley, also represents a certain decorated college coach in Lexington, Ky. Given the path they’ve chosen, the Knicks can’t get any of the NBA-ready players on Kentucky’s roster, but they can get the coach — and are perhaps the only team positioned to pay Calipari what it would take. One league executive surmised that the bidding would start at $8 million a year.
“That’s what Wes will be pushing,” one of the executives said. “That’s what CAA will be pushing.”
Executives differ on whether Calipari would want full personnel control in addition to the coaching title. “He wants full control, bottom line,” one executive said. I agree with another exec who pointed out that, when it comes to the Knicks, it is understood that CAA has the power and that it would merely be channeled through Calipari. Either way, Calipari would instantly become the most powerful authority figure the Knicks have had since Isiah Thomas finally was run out of town. Somehow, that sounds just about right.
Never mind that Calipari’s last NBA coaching job, in New Jersey, was a debacle that swept him away in a toxic wave of paranoia. This only makes him the ideal candidate to work for the Knicks.
Will World Wide Wes persuade Calipari to take the Knicks job if offered? I don’t see any way Cal leave Kentucky any time soon. He seems perfectly happy in Lexington, and his son Brad is a junior in high school.
Big Blue Nation, I wouldn’t worry much about these rumors, you will continue to hear them as long as Cal is at Kentucky and having the success he is having. Calipari is not an NBA coach, he struggled in his three seasons as the Nets coach, but has had nothing but success at the college level. He has proven he can win in college no matter where he is coaching.