Former Celtics and Louisville head coach Rick Pitino is making a coaching comeback, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Agent Drew Rosenhaus tells Wojnarowski that Pitino has agreed to a deal to coach Greek club Panathinaikos for the rest of the 2018/19 season. He’s expected to make his debut on December 27.
Pitino’s lengthy stint at Louisville came to an abrupt end in 2017 as a result of the FBI’s probe into college basketball recruiting. He had spent most of the last two decades heading up the program, having previously coached the Celtics from 1997 to 2001. Since leaving Louisville, Pitino has been looking to re-enter the coaching ranks in the NBA, telling Wojnarowski earlier in the fall that he just wants to be “a part of an organization.”
“I want to develop young players,” Pitino said in October. “I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it.”
While his new job isn’t an NBA position, Pitino is hoping that Panathinaikos can be a stepping stone back to the NBA, writes Wojnarowski. He’ll take over a club that ranks 10th in EuroLeague play so far, with a 6-7 record.
Here are a few more basketball odds and ends:
- Asked whether he’s ever had an issue like the Suns, Grizzlies, and Wizards did last week, when there was confusion over which “Brooks” was involved in a proposed trade, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck told NBC Sports Boston that he has. “With the same team, by the way, that was involved [in last week’s failed three-team trade],” Grousbeck said. “That’s another story – that I’m not going to tell.” Grousbeck didn’t go into any more detail, so it’s not entirely clear which of the three teams he was referring to.
- In the wake of LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo openly recruiting Anthony Davis to their respective teams, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores whether their comments constitute tampering, and whether commissioner Adam Silver is likely to step in.
- Speaking of Antetokounmpo and Davis, they’re the NBA’s two most valuable trade chips, in the view of Bill Simmons of The Ringer, who ranked his top 55 players in the league in terms of trade value.
- SI.com’s Jeremy Woo has published his latest 2019 mock draft, with Duke prospects holding the top three spots.