2:42pm: ESPN.com’s Marc Stein (on Twitter) hears that the Cavs’ pitch to Calipari was actually closer to $80MM over ten years. The Cavs’ thought process, unsurprisingly, was that Calipari would give them a much better chance at bringing LeBron James back home (link). Still, Calipari, like Kevin Ollie before him, resisted Cleveland’s overtures. Billy Donovan and Tom Izzo have also turned the Cavs away (link).
Meanwhile, Wojnarowski hears (Twitter link) that the proposal called for Calipari to serve as coach/president for seven years and then transition to a president-only role. Still, he says the offer was a seven-year, $60MM+ contract. Calipari, he adds (link), didn’t use the Cavs job as leverage with UK as he already had his $52MM offer in hand back in April. He also opines that the idea that Calipari could be a bigger draw for James than his current coach, Erik Spoelstra, is laughable (link).
8:50am: John Calipari signed a long, lucrative deal with the University of Kentucky last week but that almost didn’t happen. Sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski and Brett Dawson of Yahoo Sports that Coach Cal and the Cavs were deep in discussions on a seven-year, $60MM+ contract that would have made him the team’s head coach and president of operations.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was persistent in his pursuit and sources say it wasn’t until midweek that Calipari finally rejected Cleveland and fully committed to his seven-year, $52MM extension at Kentucky. If Calipari had gone to Cleveland, the plan would’ve been for new general manager David Griffin to work with Calipari in the front office, but with the UK coach having final say.
Calipari was tempted by the length of the deal and the money but was also intrigued about the possibility of coaching Kyrie Irving and the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. Calipari has shown some interest in a return to the NBA in the right situation, but as Wojnarowski and Dawson point out, he may not have meshed too well with the hands-on Gilbert.
Sources also said that the return of Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison made it a more difficult proposition for anyone to lure Calipari away from Kentucky. WIth the rising sophomores back in the fold, Kentucky will retain much of its offense from last season, despite losing Julius Randle and James Young.
Reported candidates for the Cavs job include Clippers assistants Alvin Gentry and Tyronn Lue, Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin, former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, ex-Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, and Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt.