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Calipari is not going to Chicago, he's negotiating with Kentucky

May 6, 2010, 9:14 AM EDT

John Calipari is not going to be the next Chicago Bulls coach.

It’s not very hard to get there, to follow the trail of media stories and derive a motive here. In an often murky world of leaks and rumors, this story shakes out as pretty straight forward.

First, Yahoo reports, based on a source, that Calipari would love to coach the Chicago Bulls, a job that just opened up when they fired Vinny Del Negro.

Just hours later, the University of Kentucky announces that they are negotiating a new deal, and extension of Calipari’s existing deal of eight years at nearly $4 million annually.

Then today, Sam Amick of Fanhouse tells us the Bulls have actually not heard from Calipari.

According to the source, the Bulls are unaware whether Calipari has interest and neither he nor his representative nor even back-channel colleagues had made his interest known as of earlier Wednesday.

To gain the upper hand in negotiations, you need leverage. For a coach, that means demand for services. Even the hint of demand can lead to things like Notre Dame giving Charlie Weis a 10-year extension long before it was earned on the field.

So Calipari needs to create some demand for his services to get the best deal out of Kentucky. A good plan would be to have o one of his people leak he wants the Bulls job — and it’s really easy to draw some William Wesley connections from the coach to Derrick Rose and LeBron James… and you have a story.

Don’t even need to actually talk to the team.

Calipari has a history of publicly praising the job he is at — as he has done in recent days — while angling for a new job privately. But if you are seriously angling for a new job, you reach out to the employers. You have to actually make an effort. He’s represented by CAA and World Wide Wes, if he wanted to reach out to
the Bulls don’t you think that’d be done by now?

It doesn’t sound like Calipari is doing that here. Oh, he probably will talk to the Bulls at some point, but the fact he hasn’t yet implies that this is all about creating negotiating leverage, not coaching.

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