Recently, it has been known that John Calipari has piqued interest in jumping ship from Kentucky, after only one year, for the professional ranks of the NBA. I am not going to fake my feelings for Calipari, I hands down do not respect him or like him. Not only do I think he is unbelivabley shady (both of his final four appearances have been rescinded by the NCAA), but I believe he lacks a clear strength as a basketball coach from an x’s and o’s standpoint.
Having said that, I will try to unbiasly delve further into the potential of this marriage between the Bulls and coach Cal.
After a highly unsuccessful stint with the New Jersey Nets, and looking to be a lifetime Hall of Fame run at Kentucky, why would Calipari show interest at the NBA and why would the Bulls be interested?
This answer is actually two-fold. For one, the Bulls can offer more money than Kentucky. NBA head coaching salaries can average around $4-$5 million/year and go as high as $12 million for somebody like Phil Jackson. By jumping to the NBA waters, Calipari could potentially make significantly more money.
Secondly, and the more likely the scenario, Calipari is putting his name into the coaching search in order to get more money from Kentucky. The “ol’ Gene Keady” move has been used by college coaches for decades; pretend you are interested in another coaching position and your current AD ups your contract. We have already seen Kentucky move with the AD talking about restructuring his deal to a lifelong contract.
The free agency summer of 2010 is by far the most lucrative free agent season we have seen in the NBA and probably in all of sports ever. The Chicago Bulls are one of a handful of teams that can make an offer to a marquee free agent with a max contract. The Bulls already have an intisive pacakge with Derrick Rose running the point and a young front court with players like Noah and Gibson, add Calipari’s gift of recruiting and you have a match made in heaven. If anybody can recruit Wade, Bosh and Lebron to the Bulls, I would put my money on Calipari first, it would be like betting on the favorite in a horse race to show.
On the flip side, how quickly would Calipari break the NBA rules on tampering? Unlike the NCAA, David Stern will not up with his BS and the consequences will be far dire than losing a few scholarships. Try draft picks, excessive fines and the inability to sign the free agent that was surrounded in the tampering allegations. Can Calipari recruit legitimately? That would be a question the Bulls front office would have to engage.
Is it just a matter of time before the NCAA cracks down on Calipari severely? Is that why he would be willing to jump ship to the NBA?
I have zero proof in this pudding, but Calipari has put together back to back unbelievable recruiting classes at UK. Maybe Calipari knows that he is just a matter of years, months or days away from the NCAA finding out, and the coach being put on probabtion for quite some time. What better way to avoid these penalties (and save face) then to jump to the NBA and sign a huge contract. I can’t imagine Calipari being more attractive as a coach than right now and what better way to avoid possible suspensions from the NCAA then get out of college coaching altogether.