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Report: John Calipari turned down $60 million offer from Cavaliers to stay at Kentucky

Jun 9, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

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Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert isn’t afraid to make bold moves or spend money on his team. Whether he does either of those things wisely is up for debate, but he will be aggressive.

And he was very aggressive going after Kentucky’s John Calipari to be the next Cavalier’s coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (with Brett Dawson of Rivals).

Before finalizing a contract extension with the University of Kentucky late last week, John Calipari had gone deep in discussions with the Cleveland Cavaliers on a seven-year, $60 million-plus contract to become president and coach, sources told Yahoo Sports….

Gilbert and Calipari had discussed a package in the range of $8 million-plus a year, sources said, and it wasn’t until midweek that Calipari finally rejected Cleveland and fully committed to his seven-year, $52 million extension at Kentucky.

That would have given Calipari the same power and control that Doc Rivers has with the Clippers and Stan Van Gundy has with the Pistons — but Calipari would have made more per year than either of them.

Cleveland has some interesting pieces. They have Kyrie Irving (up for an extension to his rookie contract this summer) and they have the No. 1 overall pick in this draft (expected to be Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid). New GM David Griffin will have to dig out of a series of reaches from previous drafts that have not panned out as well (Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett) but if the hardest part of assembling a team is getting the All-Star cornerstones the Cavaliers have that part.

Calipari was the coach and president of the New Jersey Nets for three seasons in the 1990s but was fired.

He returned to the college game and won everywhere he went. The Wildcats reached the NCAA Championship Game last April and, with the Harrison twins returning plus a great recruiting class, they likely will be the preseason No. 1 team in the nation again.

Calipari has built Kentucky into a power and he could stay there and win there as long as he wants. He may want to try his hand in the NBA again, but he can pick and choose his timing and landing spot. He will have options.

And he chose not to take Cleveland right now.

  1. loubearkane - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Yeah but if he took the deal for $60 million he would have to work and live in Cleveland , a down side to every deal.

    • nflcrimerankingscom - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      How creative of you.

      • loubearkane - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        Is a joke I love Ohio and play to visit one day

  2. slimsteve22 - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Making fun of Cleveland? Because Kentucky is the new Las Vegas…

  3. ljl2 - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I find most people who mock Cleveland have never been in Ohio, let alone Cleveland. Ignorance usually shows itsel pretty quickly.

    • loubearkane - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      Its funny because he’s fat

  4. spursareold - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Smart man. Staying at UK, he can pull 4-5 of the top 10 players every year. He’ll never even get that once in the NBA. College coaches, both bball and football, struggle in the pros because they don’t get the talent differential that they are used to in the college ranks.

  5. bucrightoff - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Don’t understand the appeal of Calipari as a coach. He’s a great recruiter, but as an actual coach? Meh.

    • loungefly74 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      agree. excuse the pun..but coaching in the NCAA is kids play compared to the NBA…

    • realfootballfan - Jun 10, 2014 at 1:38 AM

      He gets those freshmen to play defense when he has them, so I’m not going to just say he’s a good recruiter and that’s it. We’ve seen many great recruiters who couldn’t pull off what he has done.

  6. sdelmonte - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Why come back to the pros when, at least till the NCAA collapses under the weight of its corruption, he can be king of his little kingdom in Lexington?

  7. paleihe - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    52 million for the coach, but the college players can’t get anything.

    • loungefly74 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      i bet several students are getting free rides on their scholarships…which is completely fair.

      • paleihe - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        52 million income vs. 0 income.
        3 scholarships vs. 14 players.

        Yeah, completely fair.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        absolutely. playing college ball is not a job. they get a stipend…scholarship if they are good and go to school for the education. if the school wants to pay the coach millions for doing his job…then yeah, its cool…but pay students? no way.

      • asimonetti88 - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        A full ride scholarship is no joke. I would have loved to have had a full ride scholarship to my school.

      • paleihe - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        I would have loved a full ride also.

        But, I wasn’t helping generate millions of dollars for my school. If I was, I’d want a cut of the money.

      • realfootballfan - Jun 10, 2014 at 1:41 AM

        Which is exactly why the rules keeping high schoolers out of the pros is a joke. Excuse me if I wouldn’t want to play for free for a school that I have no desire in attending when I’m good enough to play with the big boys and get paid.

      • realfootballfan - Jun 10, 2014 at 1:45 AM


        Would you feel like that if you had an ability to make money as soon as you stepped on campus but simply couldn’t because of a sham rule? I don’t think most of us would.

  8. jzone954 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Make no mistake, after the baby rant the cavs owner took to the social media of all places after Lebron left, that will always hang around with this organization no matter what we all think. If he sells the team , then thy can starts looking up. It’s quite obvious they can’t draft or keep a head coach.

    • loungefly74 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      Gilbert also hissy-fit the potential CP3 to Lakers trade…

  9. jasper36 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    So basically Calipari took a few Million less to not work in Cleveland.

    • therealhtj - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      As would almost anyone.

  10. Kevin S. - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Something else to consider – while Cal left $8 million in guaranteed money on the table at this time, college coaches’ contracts are constantly being re-negotiated upwards when they keep winning (and there’s no reason to believe Cal won’t). I’d be within three years he has a new deal worth even more money per year. Of course, the flip side to that is go to Cleveland, get fired in three or four years, go back into the college ranks and then collect both checks for a couple seasons.

    • realfootballfan - Jun 10, 2014 at 1:49 AM

      Problem with that theory is that it’s Kentucky, which is a fickle fan base unless you’re Pitino. Did you not see the ridiculousness from this year about his team until they made their run to the championship game, beating good but overrated Pitino along the way? Truth is that two mediocre seasons in Lexington will get him fired, regardless of what he does just because that’s how that fan base rolls.

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