Friday, May 8, 2009

A Perfect Storm?

I can't help but look at this picture and see Back to the Future where all the faces are dissolving of Marty McFly's family members...

The "Pitino contemplates retirement" rumors turned into "Pitino to Sacramento" rumors in a matter of hours Thursday. KentuckySportsRadio, a site that I write for on occasion, first had a post earlier in the day saying there was a "buzz" around town and unreliable Louisville sources said Pitino was "contemplating hanging them up". The posts on KSR are very pro-Kentucky, almost to propagandist levels, so I just took it as blue-bloods being blue-bloods and wrote it off.

This actually seems to have some legs. The rumor became so rampant that UofL SID Kenny Klein's inbox was flooded by people wanting answers and it prompted a call to Pitino, who is in Florida for a charity event. According to The Courier-Journal's CL Brown, Pitino shot the rumor down as bogus through Klein and told KK to tell veteran writer Rick Bozich he'd be "stuck with him" for a while and he "wasn't going anywhere". A few hours later, Adrian Wojnorowski of Yahoo! reported that there has been mutual interest shown between Pitino and the Sacramento Kings which would reunite him with Francisco Garcia. Wojno cites many NCAA and NBA sources who say that both sides have been in contact. I asked a few of my media friends how serious I should take this and it was a consensus that if Wojnorowski is reporting it, it should be taken very seriously.

Pitino is going through one of the hardest times in his life and this recent situation might have caused him to take a step back and re-evaluate a few things. One being whether he would be able to overcome such an ordeal in Louisville - the smallest big-city in America. Various sources have told me that coach took the extortion fiasco very hard (obviously) and coach needed to get away from all the rumors and constant bombardment of questions, so he left town to escape. It's purely speculation, but there's a possibility he decided it was time to explore what else is out there.

These type of rumors come around every year. Last year, it was that idiot Greg Doyell saying Pitino was going to the Miami Heat, then the Arizona rumors this year turned out to be unsubstantiated as well. This is different though. All the recent mess combined with his son leaving for Florida, and his procrastination of naming a new assistant lead me to believe he might be more interested in this than any of the previous flirtations. With continued support from his family and the fans, Coach Pitino should be here for years to come. However, he did say he wouldn't coach for another athletic director and Tom Jurich has been rumored to be flirting with some big-money from UCLA. The waves, wind and lightning look to be on the horizon.

Wojnorowski does state that Pitino isn't the only candidate and Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. As of right now, former Wizards coach Eddie Jordan is the leading candidate. So this could just be a case of a college basketball reporter looking for some work during a dead time of year and stumbling across this. Pitino has always said he would listen if anyone was interested. Whether or not he goes any further into talks remains to be seen.

We all know Pitino failed miserably in the NBA with the Celtics, but he seems like the type of person that would like to atone his mistakes. Maybe I'm paranoid (very good odds), but this looks to be a possible "perfect storm" that leaves us scratching our heads and looking for a replacement. With the new arena coming very soon, new practice facilities and great support he has here in Louisville, I don't see him going anywhere unless he wants to start anew and can't take the heat for the Sypher situation. After Bobby Petrino, John L. and Pitino at Kentucky, I'd rather err on the side of caution.

There were rumors of a possible press conference tomorrow regarding either the Pitino/Jurich situations, but none has been confirmed as of yet.

Stay tuned in for more updates....

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