John Calipari: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Kentucky Coach's Future

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

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John Calipari has cemented the University of Kentucky as a perennial national title contender due to his status as college basketball's top recruiter, but the Sacramento Kings are reportedly trying to lure the 56-year-old head coach from his cushy position in Lexington.  

Continue for updates.


Kings, Calipari Deny Interest in NBA Move

Tuesday, June 30

The Kings denied they were trying to hire Calipari, according to James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom. General manager Vlade Divac called the rumors "absolutely not true," according to ESPN.com

"The only person in our organization who [handles] something like this is me," Divac said, per ESPN.com, "And I've had zero conversations with John Calipari. We have a coach here."

Calipari also took to Twitter to deny any interest in making a move:

Earlier in the day, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has been in talks with Calipari about the possibility of the Pennsylvania native both coaching and controlling basketball operations. A potential deal could be worth upward of $10 million per season.

Ranadive signed George Karl to a four-year contract in February. Their relationship has reportedly soured, though, due to Karl's interest in trading superstar center DeMarcus Cousins, per Wojnarowski.

Some have labeled Cousins a problem child, despite his immense talent. If anyone knows how to manage him, however, it is Calipari, who coached him at Kentucky.

While that link could make Sacramento an intriguing fit for Coach Cal, Adam Klug of The Doug Gottlieb Show is skeptical that Calipari would want to put himself in a possibly toxic environment:

It is clear that the Kings organization is dysfunctional, and while Calipari could add some stability by becoming a central authority figure, leaving Kentucky for an unknown would be a huge risk.

According to an interview with The Cats’ Pause (via Jason Ludlow of KSTV), Calipari recently downplayed the notion of leaving Kentucky for another position: "It took me 20 years to get the job. For me to leave something like this, you're going to have to uproot me. That's how I feel. My wife laughs about it. People are going nuts. They haven't figured this out?"

Calipari previously spent parts of three seasons as head coach of the New Jersey Nets from 1996 through 1999, going 72-112 overall (.391). He made just one playoff appearance and didn't win a single postseason game during that tenure, and he hasn't been a head coach in the NBA since.

His leaving Kentucky would be a significant gamble due to the empire he has built there and departing to lead a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2006 seems like a chance not worth taking.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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