Kentucky coach John Calipari says he isn't interested in the New York Knicks or any other NBA team for the foreseeable future after rampant reports of his apparent interest.
Kentucky is the best job in basketball coaching, Calipari told ESPN. Why would I leave? We just won the national title. We're chasing UCLA.
The rumors of Calipari jumping to the NBA started just minutes after his team cut down the nets in New Orleans in celebration of the school's eighth national title. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski wrote an epic story detailing Calipari's prior stint in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets in the 1990s as background for his interest in a soon-to-be vacant Knicks job.
Calipari wants the next big, shiny thing - wants the biggest paycheck - and that's the Knicks now, Wojnarowski wrote. Out of UMass, the Nets gave him complete organizational control. It was a mistake. He abused the power, the way that he abused people. Calipari was forever trying to prove he belonged, and would need this time in the NBA to understand that less is more.
Calipari was fired in the middle of his third season with the Nets, but has considerable more acumen and prestige this time around. He has multiple former players in the NBA that will vouch for him to no end in addition to a strong connection to the most powerful man in basketball --- William Worldwide Wesley. He's older, more mature and could be a great draw for a Knicks organization that feeds off of star power.
Almost immediately after the Knicks fired coach Mike D'Antoni in March the Calipari rumors started up. While Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, and Stan Van Gundy might have been the top names mentioned by national media, there was an immediate buzz in New York circles that Knicks owner James Dolan would target Calipari. The Kentucky coach immediately tweeted that he had the best job in the country, but it didn't stop many from speculating on his interest.
That belief clearly hasn't stopped as New York Daily News Knicks beat writer Frank Isola reported on Wednesday that lot of NBA people believe John Calipari to the Knicks is already being set into motion.
Calipari continues to deny the NBA interest and told ESPN that the allure of money wouldn't be a factor for him this time around.
I've always said I have more money than I can spend, then my children can spend, Calipari said. It's not about that.
Whether Calipari can actually turn down a Knicks offer can certainly be debated. All of these rumors could be a negotiating ploy for more money in Kentucky, but those with knowledge continue to indicate that there is very real interest by both parties.