May 8, 2010

Will Calipari leave Kentucky for the NBA's Bulls?

At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask members of the coverage staff for their opinions about a current topic in the sport. We have two roundtables this week.

TODAY'S QUESTION: Can you see Kentucky coach John Calipari leaving to coach the NBA's Chicago Bulls?

Of all the coaches in college basketball, Calipari seems the most likely to head to the NBA. But would he do it after one season? I don't buy it. Someone doesn't take a top-five job in college basketball - a job that may turn him into a legend - only to abandon it a year or two later. This news about Calipari and the NBA looks more like positioning for contract negotiations, a sad development in its own right. I could see him leaving for the NBA, especially to coach one of his own (Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall), but he has work to finish at Kentucky, and he knows it.


I think Calipari knows he's at a great place, but I also have to think Calipari - because of his connection to William "World Wide Wes" Wesley and Wesley's connections to LeBron James - has to dream just a bit about coaching a Bulls team with James, who is a free agent, and Derrick Rose. I'm not sure Bulls officials necessarily see Calipari as the right man for the job. But, hey, if hiring Calipari somehow means you also get LeBron ... . Still, I think Calipari will be in Lexington next season, coaching a UK team that once again is favored to win the SEC.


Why not? Calipari has moved around a bit over the course of his career, so it shouldn't come as a surprise if he makes one more move. I could see how he might want one more chance to prove himself in the NBA, particularly since the Bulls have enough talent and cap room to make a dramatic improvement next season. While it wouldn't shock me to see Calipari on the Bulls' bench next season, it still seems like little more than a remote possibility. I believe Calipari wants the national title that's eluded him thus far in his career, and he knows he will always have a realistic shot at that prize as long as he remains at Kentucky. Even if Calipari did want to make the move to the NBA, there's no guarantee the Bulls would be interested in hiring him. Calipari's a much more proven commodity in college than in the NBA. Kentucky seems like the perfect fit for Calipari, though his track record suggests we shouldn't be stunned if he already is growing restless.


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