Kentucky coach John Calipari could be on the NBA's radar again.
John Calipari has a pretty good thing going at Kentucky.
He's a god. Big Blue Nation realizes how good they have it because what they had before Calipari wasn't much fun. He gets close to the pick of the litter in each recruiting class. And he's at a place that's a career job.
The next stop after Kentucky should be retirement on a golf course somewhere.
But other destination jobs exist in basketball, and the idea was floated on Thursday that one of them could be calling for Calipari in the near future.
CBSSports.com's NBA columnist Ken Berger speculated that the New York Knicks will make a run for Calipari once the impending doom plays out in New York this season.
Sound crazy? It's Nov. 21 and the Knicks have played just 11 games, but the pieces are in place to make this happen, as Berger lays out.
Basically, the Knicks are in bed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which represents Carmelo Anthony. Bleacher Report's Howard Beck provided some insight on that agency's influence in New York, after CAA's pull got former Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald replaced by Steve Mills, whose top credential was that he's buddies with William Wesley, aka "Worldwide Wes."
Where else have you heard that name?
He's Calipari's boy. And he also works for CAA, which represents Calipari.
"That's what Wes will be pushing," an NBA executive told Berg of the Knicks' pursuit of Calipari. "That's what CAA will be pushing."
So, imagine Calipari wins a second national title this season, the Knicks implode, and then they back up the money truck to Calipari. Because all great coaches have egos, he takes the job because he wants to prove he can win in the NBA. Remember, the New Jersey Nets fired him 20 games into his third season in 1998-99.
This could happen, right?
Let's hope not. Because whether you love or hate Calipari, he's great for college basketball.
He is the best promoter in the game, and his teams either make you envious, angry or joyous. No matter which reaction you have, you're tuning in.
It's good for college basketball for Kentucky to be good. Just like it's good for college basketball for North Carolina, Kansas, Indiana, Duke and UCLA to be good, and it's good for those programs to be coached by stars.
Did you watch last Tuesday's Champions Classic? Probably. There were four blue bloods in Chicago coached by four of the game's most famous coaches, and all four of those teams have great players. And great players playing great players coached by great coaches makes for good basketball.
But...he cheats. And that one-and-done approach is just bad for college basketball. So if he leaves, good riddance.
That may be the response of many. But guess what? As Calipari likes to say, he didn't create the rule; the NBA did. And those kids are not going to mysteriously go missing from the college game once Calipari leaves.
But what could go missing is Kentucky.
If the Knicks pursued John Calipari, should he go?
Remember when Rick Pitino left UK for the NBA? That was bad for the college game too. I realize Tubby Smith won a national title the next year, but Kentucky was not Kentucky without Pitino.
UK would go out and get an up-and-coming coach, but that did not guarantee the program wouldn't take a massive nosedive (see: Billy Clyde Gillispie).
So Cal, if the Knicks come calling, please say no.
You're a great coach, recruiter and promoter. You get great players to play together and play hard. But John Wooden, Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson together in their prime couldn't turn the train wreck in New York into a champion.
Stay at UK. Win a few more titles. Let them build your statue in Lexington. Because college basketball, whether anyone outside of BBN wants to admit it or not, is best with you in it.