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John Calipari says he is not leaving Kentucky for the NBA

Apr 4, 2012, 5:19 PM EDT

NCAA Men's Championship Game - Kansas v Kentucky Getty Images

This has all the weight of a college player saying he will come back to school — he has to say it now, but things may be different in a couple months.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said he is not leaving Kentucky to coach in the NBA, reports Andy Katz at ESPN.

“Kentucky is the best job in basketball coaching,” Calipari said. “Why would I leave? We just won the national title. We’re chasing UCLA….

“No one is stealing our joy,” Calipari said. “I’ve made statements that I’ve got the best job in basketball and I’m not going to change my lifestyle. I’m not leaving.”

Calipari said he has not been contacted by the Knicks or any other team about coming back to the NBA to coach (remember he was the coach of the Nets for just more than two seasons in the late 1990s.

Calipari has to say this — he is out recruiting right now trying to get top flight high school seniors to come to Kentucky and replace the boatload the program is about to lose to the NBA. Those recruits aren’t coming if they think he is coaching the Knicks next year.

Calipari also has to say this to appease he fervent Kentucky fan base.

But the Knicks and other NBA teams will reach out to Calipari — not directly at first but through the rivers of back channels that flow through Kentucky basketball. The Knicks will not be looking for a coach until next month anyway (after their playoff elimination, I think Mike Woodson is the fallback) so nothing formal is happening right now anyway.

He may stay, but if Calipari wants to take another shot in the NBA, he will get his chance.

If he does change his mind, he can explain it away like so many players who have said they were staying only to disappoint a fan base.

  1. eugenesaxe - Apr 4, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    He’s waiting for UK to be declared a professional team.

  2. cosanostra71 - Apr 4, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    calipari won’t leave until they start investigating him.. again

  3. jollyjoker2 - Apr 4, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Good for him. He made a lousy NBA coach but he is a hellava college recruiter and knows how to win.

    • cosanostra71 - Apr 4, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      is recruiting really that hard when you’re offering more money than anyone else?

  4. lakerluver - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Why would he?! He has arguably the best job in basketball, pro or college.

  5. ndirishfan1 - Apr 5, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Calipari can coach, and he can do it in the NBA. He got off to a bad start in his third year when rumors started about his future and his team quit. Happens quite a bit in the NBA. But to say he was awful is not even remotely true.

    He was VP of Basketball Operations so he may not have done well with personnel, but anybody who can take a team whose best players both missed about 20 games and whose said best two players were named Keith Van Horn and Jayson Williams can coach. He got quite a bit out of marginal talent, especially in the front court. Van Horn was a stretch four before stretch fours were the rage, and the back up bigs were the likes of Chris Gatling, 36-year old Michael Cage, 32 year old Rony Seikaly and 34 year old Xavier McDaniel.

    But most of this jabber about Calipari not being a quality coach is nonsense. Get some talent and he’ll win, that’s the way it works in the NBA.

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