His flair and demeanor are a few qualities that make Rick Pitino a prime coaching candidate for any job in the country. Reportedly, the Louisville Cardinals coach is interested in the New Jersey Nets coaching vacancy. We have seen this before.
Pitino, after raising a Kentucky program back from the dead, bolted for the NBA to coach the Boston Celtics for four years that he has been quoted saying "it was the biggest mistake of my coaching career."
Pitino, during his four year span in Boston, accumulated a 102-146 record and was given the boot after failing to reach the playoffs in his fourth season. A coach who had everything he would ever need at Kentucky left for the money and the fame of the NBA.
He now finds himself in a somewhat similar position, only now he isn't the man in the spotlight in the state of Kentucky which could be a reason for the speculation. Pitino, a hall of fame coach without a doubt, has loved the attention and glamour he has received while coaching in the state of Kentucky.
The question is whether or not Pitino really wants to test the NBA. He is no longer the top man in Kentucky and he really may not further himself anymore at Louisville. In the NBA the spotlight once again will be placed on him. He will have a chance to redeem an NBA coaching career that suffered greatly from coaching in Boston.
Reports have stated that Pitino has denied the rumors of him taking the Nets head coaching job and said he has not spoken with the team. You can read into that as much as you want but this is a very appealing offer placed in front of one of the greatest head coaches in college basketball history.
I do believe however, that Pitino will play it safe and understand that history can repeat itself. He has it made at Louisville. He has been winning ever since he came there including a couple of elite eight appearances and a final four.
He has taken the Cardinals to the NCAA tournament six out of the eight years he has been in Louisville. Which is a tremendous accomplishment within itself. Also, at Louisville, Pitino is able to recruit at the same level as Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
In order to pull Rick Pitino away from the college landscape the Nets would need to throw a very lucrative and enticing offer. With what Rick Pitino has been through this year, would it be surprising to see him try and get a new start and change the scenery? In the end "Slick Rick" will most likely stay put knowing that bolting for the NBA could just prove to turn into a massive headache.
Pitino is coming to an end of a stellar coaching career and it would be more likely for Pitino to take another head coaching job in college rather than leaving to take on the stresses of the NBA.