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Report: Memphis Grizzlies gauging interest in Kentucky coach John Calipari, prepared to make substantial offer

May 20, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT

Kansas v Memphis Getty Images

John Calipari has been tied to the Knicks and Lakers this offseason, so what’s one more team in the mix?

The Memphis Grizzlies, in the midst of a complete management overhaul, are reportedly looking at the Kentucky coach even though they still have Dave Joerger.

Brian Geltzeiler of HoopsCritic.Com

I believe Calipari likes hearing his name mentioned for NBA jobs. It helps with recruiting and feeds his ego.

But I also believe, after a failed stint with the New Jersey Nets in the 1990s, he wants another shot in the pros.

It might be difficult for him to convince an NBA team to take him, considering how bad the Nets were under his watch and how much his college teams rely on a talent advantage. But the Grizzlies just might be crazy enough to do it. They’re crazy enough to do everything else they’ve done this week.

Calipari has ties to the city, previously coaching the University of Memphis. The Grizzlies also have a roster full of talented veterans who might react well to Calipari’s style.

I don’t think Calipari is an NBA-caliber head coach, but as far as attainable jobs, this might be the best he gets. If he wants another chance in the NBA – even though he has a strong team in place at Kentucky next season – this might be his best opportunity to jump.

  1. tigers182 - May 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    So if Cal goes pro, do the Wildcat players under contract still get paid?

  2. spursareold - May 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    It’s like college football: very rarely does a top coach succeed in the NFL, maybe 1 in 10. They are used to having a talent differential they will NEVER have in the pros. The talent differential between UK and the next best NCAA team, talent-wise, is MUCH larger than the differential between the NBA champ and the worst NBA team.

  3. sportsnut1197 - May 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    I am a UK fan and agree he wont do well in the NBA. He is an amazing recruiter but a average to just slightly above average coach. There are much better coaches out there for the nba. Not to mention i dont want to loose his recruiting abilities at UK. Thats my full disclosure lol.

    • duhwighthoward - May 20, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Exactly. Memphis can’t afford to pay players under the table.

  4. ravenswhat - May 20, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Why do people think he’s such a great coach? He’s a masterful recruiter. That won’t help much in the NBA. He knows this and will just use as leverage for more pay at Kentucky. He’s no idiot.

    • sportsfan18 - May 20, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      I think most on here anyway do NOT think he’s a great coach…

      Many posts are saying he’s a great recruiter and a so so coach…

      The article wasn’t too keen on him coaching in the pros either…

  5. memphismiracle - May 20, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    No chance this happens. Memphis loathes this man.

    • ncrdbl1 - May 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      More ignorantly Fred Smith loathes this man,.

  6. memlaw57 - May 20, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    FYI Calipari is hated in Memphis. There is zero chance Calipari would even be considered for a Grizz opening. Shows
    just how little national media knows about Memphis basketball.

    • mackcarrington - May 20, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      Shows how parochial and small-minded Memphis fans are. If they can’t get over the fact that he would be coaching the pro team, maybe they don’t deserve to have a pro team. And do the Grizz owners take marching orders from the college basketball fans?

  7. drs76109 - May 20, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Sounds like Mr Calipari wants a raise at UK.

  8. observingii - May 20, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    Wants to make sure he goes past Coach K in the $$$$ dept.

  9. csbanter - May 20, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    The Grizzlies are being run by peanuts. Maybe if they upgrade the shooting guard spot, maybe add a scoring small forward, and possibly trading Zeebo for some useful pieces your season wouldn’t end with first round exits.

  10. haaaaasoooooo - May 20, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    Their second choice? Lionel Hollins!

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