Pacific Notes: Hurley, Suns, Vezenkov, Kerr

UConn submitted a new contract offer to try to keep Dan Hurley as its head coach, but a source close to the athletic department tells Adam Zagoria of that the school can’t afford to get into a bidding war with the Lakers. Hurley traveled to Los Angeles on Friday to meet with team officials and is expected to consider his options throughout the weekend before reaching a decision. One of those options will be an offer from the university that would reportedly make him the third-highest-paid coach in the NCAA.

“We want to pay him certainly what he’s worth, but there’s a limit to how far we can actually go just because of the political pressures and all of that,” the source told Zagoria. “Even though everybody wants him to stay, and everybody’s behind it, I just think there’s a cap that exists.”

Zagoria points to a USA Today database that lists Bill Self with a $9.6MM annual salary at Kansas, while John Calipari will earn $8MM in the first year of his new contract at Arkansas. Hurley signed a six-year deal worth $32MM after winning his first national title last year, and he earned a $2MM bonus this season on top of his $5MM base salary.

“Obviously, they want to pay him,” Zagoria’s source added. “I just think at some point it’s not going to be Kentucky, it’s not going to be the place where you can just get some stupid number. I think there are just some realities at the school that make that tougher.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns will attempt to fill three needs this summer despite being bound by second apron restrictions, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 said on the Burns and Gambo podcast (hat tip to RealGM). After letting Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant run the offense this season, Phoenix hopes to find a point guard who can play at least 20 minutes per game, according to Gambadoro. The team is also in the market for a young wing player who can provide more athleticism, along with an upgrade on Drew Eubanks at backup center.
  • Conflicting information about Kings forward Sasha Vezenkov makes it hard to tell which parts of the story are legitimate, James Ham states in his latest edition of Kings Beat (subscription required). As we relayed earlier today, a Eurohoops report stated that Vezenkov has asked for a change of scenery and is considering a return to Europe. However, Ham notes that Matteo Andreani of Basketinside claims the Kings told Vezenkov that he’s not in their plans for next season and they’ll try to trade him. Either scenario could lead to a breakup this summer, and Ham states that team officials have been silent about Vezenkov’s future.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr understands the pressure on Team USA to capture an Olympic gold medal this summer, calling it a “win or fail” situation, per Ron Kroichick of The San Francisco Chronicle. Part of Kerr’s early preparation has been watching past losses to see what went wrong, including a 113-111 defeat against Germany in last year’s FIBA World Cup semifinals. “One of the things we look at is, why has USA Basketball lost games in the past?” Kerr said. “There are some common themes, and the big one really is defense. The games we’ve lost, we just failed to stop the other team. This Germany game is one of them — they carved us up. So we’re going to have to be really good defensively this summer.”
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