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Losers if John Calipari returns to the NBA: The Knicks

May 12, 2010, 1:37 PM EDT

John Calipari just shows up to watch the more important game so far in the NBA season — a game everybody wanted to have tickets for — and the rumors start flying.

john-calipari.jpgCalipari to the Cavs. Of course, last week it was Calipari to the Bulls. That’s not going to be the last rumor either.

Why Calipari is simple — he has ties to LeBron James. Every team that wants LeBron and needs a leg up in the recruiting process is going to be linked to the Calipari.

Except the Knicks. They made their coaching call two years ago when they signed Mike D’Antoni out from under Chicago.

Josh Alper breaks it down at

Vinny Del Negro’s keycard wasn’t even deactivated before the rumors of John Calipari’s interest in the Bulls coaching job started to pop up. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote that Calipari was intrigued by the thought of reuniting with his former Memphis charge Derrick Rose in Chicago. Gary Parrish of then reported that multiple sources have told him that Calipari has long dreamed of coaching LeBron James who, as you’re surely aware, is a free agent this summer.

That last point, in and of itself, isn’t particularly notable. Plenty of coaches would like to coach the King. What is notable is that both Calipari and James are very close to William Wesley, a.k.a. “Worldwide Wes” a.k.a. one of the biggest behind the scenes power brokers in the NBA. What’s more, Calipari is repped by CAA, the same agency that represents other free agents in waiting Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

So if Calipari goes to Cleveland or Chicago, he’s doing so to coach LeBron — and that leaves the Knicks on the outside looking in at the free agent they covet above all others.

Most likely, Calipari returns to Kentucky. This is great leverage he has created in contract talks that are underway. But if you’re in the mood to speculate while you wait for July 1, Calipari makes a great topic.

  1. j.dhastings - May 12, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    This brings up another question to me. For years people have said that the Cavs should run more- take advantage of their primary ball handler also being their best rebound to get down the floor and finish. But as far as I know it doesn’t happen that often. Last night Eric Snow criticized Lebron for not pushing more and said he’d been trying to get him to for years.
    So maybe Lebron just doesn’t want to run. Snow has also said that the reason so many possessions end up with Lebron resetting at 30 feet is because that’s his comfort zone.
    In which case does d’Antoni’s presence in New York give him a reason NOT to sign there? If that style is outside his comfort zone, despite all of us fans’ fantasies of him running alongside Amar’e or whoever, maybe he chooses somewhere with a more orthodix coach who lets him play his way.

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