A potential Pelicans coaching candidate appears close to coming off the market, as John Calipari is nearing a deal on extension that would tack an extra season worth $8MM onto his deal with the University of Kentucky, reports Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News. The amended contract would run through 2021/22, according tp DeCourcy. Calipari received a similar extension last year, though that didn’t stop NBA rumors. In any case, here’s more on the latest NBA team with a coaching vacancy:
- The Cavs sought to trade for Norris Cole when he was on the Heat prior to the deadline before the Pelicans were instead able to wrangle the point guard from Miami, as Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal writes within his Final Thoughts column. Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com spotted the Ohio native in Cleveland’s for last night’s Game 5 between the Cavs and the Bulls (Twitter link). Cole, a restricted free agent, is a client of Klutch Sports, the same Cleveland-based agency that represents LeBron James and Tristan Thompson.
- Monty Williams thought Tuesday’s meeting with Pelicans management would include discussion about a contract extension, league sources told John Reid of The Times-Picayune. Instead, it was in the meeting that the Pelicans told Williams they were firing him, and executive vice president of basketball operations Mickey Loomis admits the coach was surprised by the termination, Reid writes. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday that the expectation was that the Pels would use the meeting to tell the coach that they would at least pick up his option for 2016/17.
- Williams regarded Loomis as his immediate supervisor rather than consulting with GM Dell Demps, and the coach last week admitted that he and Demps hadn’t always seen eye-to-eye about the roster, Reid writes in the same piece. Demps, who wasn’t in the meeting in which Williams learned of his firing, denied that there was a disconnect between him and the coach.
- Anthony Davis was close with Williams, as USA Today’s Sam Amick notes, but the star was cognizant that Williams probably wouldn’t be his coach for his entire career, and Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel posits that the Pelicans made the change in part to try and entice Davis to stay. Williams sits atop the market for rookie scale extensions, as I examined earlier today, and if New Orleans doesn’t sign him to one this offseason, he’d hit restricted free agency in 2016.