ESPN.com is reporting tonight that John Calipari and the University of Kentucky are “inching closer” to a deal and that something could even be ironed out as soon as late tonight. (Coincidentally, the picture to the left is reporting that John Calipari likes to spontaneously air-ride motorcycles in the middle of basketball games.)
It’s 11:00 CT as I write this, and I have seen no announcement yet.
According to the ESPN report, the deal being negotiated between John Calipari and Kentucky is for 8 years and somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 million. Such a deal would make Calipari the highest paid coach in America, despite the fact that he has never won a national title nor coached in a conference other than the Atlantic 10 or Conference USA. Hmm…
For more on the bio and career of John Calipari, we traced his successes (at UMass and Memphis) and failures (the NBA, his reputation with the public and some peers) over what has certainly been a distinguished and somewhat controversial career.
Currently, Calipari has four years left on his Memphis deal, which pays him $2.35 million annually. The AP reported that Memphis AD R.C. Johnson said that Memphis will do whatever it can to keep Calipari with the Tigers. Something tells me that 8 years and $35 million may be a bit out of their price range; but, the Tigers are the only game in town, so perhaps they can dig deep and keep their coach around.
Also of interest to Kentucky and Memphis fans: recent Memphis commit DeMarcus Cousins has not signed a letter of intent with Kentucky, and could follow Calipari to Lexington and play next year. Memphis is also supposedly a finalist for the top unsigned player remaining in the class of ’09: John Wall.
Thus, If Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson stay in school and Calipari comes galloping into town (or air-riding a Harley) with Cousins and Wall, the fortunes of the Wildcats could turn around pretty quickly.
(Excuse me for a moment while the Cream & Crimson blood pumping through my veins induces me to vomit. And while I realize that statement does not make physiological sense, all IU fans know what I’m talking about.)
I’ll keep you posted on what happens, but let’s be honest: you’ll probably find out about a final deal between Calipari and Kentucky before I get it posted here. However, if you want funny John Calipari pics to go along with your Calipari-Kentucky updates, we’re your source!
And, as always, we can’t post about John Calipari without also embedding this video:
But seriously, he’s a college basketball coach, with a rep as being one of the sleazier ones in the business, and Kentucky is going to pay him more than any other coach in America. Can you honestly say that you’d be surprised, or begrudge him, for leaving?
I can’t. And the truth is, it’s probably a hell of a move for Kentucky if it happens.
Plus, we’ll all get a chance to see if Calipari can only dominate as a big fish in a small pond, or if he can truly build a winner in a legitimately competitive conference.
I just hope that if Calipari is at Kentucky that Tom Crean and the Hoosiers give him a proper ass-whooping welcome in the IU-Kentucky game next year. Losing to Kentucky would be bad enough. Losing to Kentucky with John Calipari on the sidelines…well that would just be…dirty.
And it would make me feel like this:
Good luck Kentucky. Calipari will win games, and all things considered I like this hire for the Wildcats if it comes to fruition, if for no other reason than Kentucky fans and their administration have proven that all they care about is winning.
But all I will say is this: Indiana once made a desperate deal with the devil not too long ago during a moment of weakness when winning was the only thought on our minds. We hired a coach that had been to the Final Four but had never won a title, who was dogged by a less-than-sterling reputation among his peers, and whose huge ego drove him to chase a bigger contract and a higher prestige job right after signing a great recruiting class at his old school.
It all started out great — or so we thought — and then a couple of years later we won 7 games.
Look, I don’t know if John Calipari’s reputation is spot-on, or more fact than fiction, or vice versa, and I’m not saying John Calipari will be anything like Coach Snake (nor do I wish that kind of malfeasance on anyone). I’m just saying be careful. When winning is the only consideration, sometimes you end up getting exactly what you wish for…right before getting kicked in the groin with a steel-toed boot that you never see coming.
What do you think?