NBA Rumors: Jay Wright's Retirement Believed to Be 'Sincere' Despite Coaching Buzz

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 4, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 02: ead coach Jay Wright of the Villanova Wildcats looks on in the first half of the game against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal at Caesars Superdome on April 02, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

NBA teams reportedly think longtime Villanova head coach Jay Wright is "sincere" in his desire to spend some time away from basketball after announcing his retirement last month.

ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz reported Wednesday that front offices are still going to keep close tabs on Wright under the belief his "competitiveness could entice him in the future to dip his toe in NBA waters."

The 60-year-old Pennsylvania native hasn't shut the door on eventually making a jump to the NBA.

Last week, Wright explained on ESPN's Keyshawn, JWill & Max that he was looking forward to the respite from coaching but wasn't sure what the future held.

"Right now I definitely need a break," he said. "Right now I'm looking forward to this [special assistant] position at Villanova. But honestly, down the road, I'd be lying—I don't know what I'm going to feel like."

He added an NBA job isn't in his imminent future but noted it's something he's "always thought about" and pointed out how he enjoyed coaching top-level players as an assistant coach with the 2021 men's U.S. Olympic team.

Wright has never coached professional basketball. He spent 11 years as a college assistant before taking the head coaching job at Hofstra in 1994. After seven seasons with the Pride, he took over at Villanova in 2001 and enjoyed over two decades of success.

He compiled a 642-282 record (.695 winning percentage) at the college level and captured two national championships with the Wildcats in 2016 and 2018.

The 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee would immediately become one of the most coveted coaches available if he expressed interest in returning, either in the NBA or back in college.

It doesn't sound like that's going to happen for the 2022-23 campaign, but interested teams will likely circle back next offseason to see whether he's ready for a comeback.

A successful NBA stint would further Wright's legacy as one of the generation's best coaches.