Yesterday rumors started flying about Rick Pitino heading back to the NBA, to be the next head coach of the New Jersey Nets. Quickly denials from both Pitino's camp as well as the front office of the Net's organization were released. Pitino addressed the media by saying that "he" never had any "direct" contact with the team. What a way to dance around allegations. Either way reports stated the team really had no interest in Rick...."allegedly." Now in the last 24 hours the Net's head coaching job has become the most interesting job in the country.
New names are now surfacing from all across the college basketball landscape. This being said I still don't know if you can rule out Pitino still possibly leaving depending on how things play out. But now we are hearing rumblings about Duke head coach Mike Kzernjtuckysuzcksi (however you spell it) or as we all just call him Coach K. Would he leave his beloved Blue Devils for a big pay day and a shot at Lebron James or Dwayne Wade and possibly John Wall if the ping pong balls land just right? Maybe so, but he did have the opportunity to move to L.A. to coach a historic Lakers team who already had Kobe Bryant, and passed it up. He could have a change of heart and go for the glory. But that being said, as much as I don't like the guy I think he actually does like working with young athletes, being a coach/mentor to them and coaching at a place like Duke, which you have to respect.
The other college coach we've heard, and the guy I think would be way more likely to get this job, if it were to be a current college coach would be John Calipari. Calipari had already coached the Net's in the late 90's and was fired in 1999, but these are different times. Coach Cal is sort of the it guy right now at Kentucky and would be slick enough to move on to bigger and better things after only one year at UK, if the situation was right for him. He also has a solid relationship with Lebron James, who may consider the Nets when he becomes a free agent this summer. Also with the chance that the Nets will have a top pick in the NBA draft Calipari could acquire one of his current players he coaches now in either John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins.
Some may argue, why would an NBA team who needs to rebuild hire a college coach? When so many times it hasn't worked out in the past, and with 2 out of the 3 coaches mentioned for this job being the primes examples we speak of. Well, when Phil Jackson stepped down from the Lakers for the one year Kobe wanted nothing more than to have coach K on his bench. So if Lebron James being seen at Kentucky games means he would love to play for Calipari, then the Net's need not think too long and hard about offering Coach Cal their head coaching job, if nothing more to get LBJ into a New Jersey Net uniform. If it doesn't work out you fire the guy. At least you probably landed arguably the best player in the NBA....Plus it would be hysterical to watch Kentucky loose their Pride and Joy.
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