The Sacramento Kings have gotten off to another slow start this season, with their record standing at 4-9. Were the season to end today, the team would be out of the playoff picture. Team owner Vivek Ranadivé has pinpointed the problem on coach George Karl, with whom he has feuded for the past year, and he appears to be ready to make Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari “an offer he simply cannot refuse.”
The report comes from Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report.
This report was followed up by an editorial from Raphielle Johnson of NBC Sports’ College Basketball Talk in which the following was discussed: would Calipari even want to return to the NBA?
It’s certainly a tempting prospect, Calipari leaving a perennially contending college squad in Kentucky for a known rebuilding project in Sacramento. He coached the team’s star big man DeMarcus Cousins at Kentucky some years back, as well as Kings rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein. Kings point guard Rajon Rondo is also a former Wildcat, though he did not play for Calipari.
But look at it this way: Johnson cites former college coaches in Fred Hoiberg and Billy Donovan who took on top NBA jobs this year in Chicago and Oklahoma City, and those are much more desirable destinations than Sacramento.
Given the fact Calipari served a two-and-a-half year tour in the NBA coaching the then-New Jersey Nets back and going 72-112 before being fired, Calipari has plenty of reason to stay at Kentucky.
And now, let’s talk about the most important part of any move: money.
Calipari signed a seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension with Kentucky back in 2014. After leading the Wildcats to the Final Four last season, he signed a one-year, $8 million extension to add onto that deal.
To make a jump to the NBA, Calipari would have to receive a deal that pays him an amount likely greater than or equal to what he earns at Kentucky, not to mention added perks like an ownership stake or complete personnel control.
On top of that, Calipari is a legend in Lexington. His teams have made the Final Four in four of the past five seasons, including winning it all in 2012, and he manages to attract the best recruits in the country year after year.
The NBA is a whole different ballgame, where the thrill of the recruiting chase would be limited to a small window in the summer as opposed to year-round like it is on the collegiate level.
Thus, though Ranadivé can dream, there is little reason to believe that Calipari will leave a cushy gig at Kentucky when Sacramento needs a few years to rebuild.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports