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You can be sure NBA teams will come knocking on UConn coach Kevin Ollie’s door

Apr 8, 2014, 12:51 PM EDT

Kevin Ollie Kevin Ollie

During a recent ESPN/Grantland Bill Simmons podcast, Kevin Durant sang the praises of his former teammate Kevin Ollie — “[Ollie’s] mindset, his professionalism, every single day. And we all watched that, we all wanted to be like that, and it rubbed off on Russell [Westbrook], myself, Jeff Green, James Harden.”

That would be Ollie the head coach of the UConn Huskies, your NCAA national champions.

Now let’s play a hypothetical game: Say you are one of those teams that in 2016 is going to try and pry then free agent Kevin Durant out of Oklahoma City, and for fun say you are in the next couple years hiring a coach to lead that team…

You can bet NBA teams are going to knock on Ollie’s door. Starting this summer.

NBA GMs were (anonymously, of course, otherwise they get a massive fine) telling Jeff Goodman of ESPN that the league will come after Ollie soon.

“It’s just a matter of time,” said one NBA general manager. “The league will come calling. He’s a great communicator and has a calm demeanor. This win alone, however, doesn’t just tilt the scale. It breaks it.”

“He would be excellent,” another GM said following Monday night’s victory. “He’s a stud. He understands the NBA, he’s a leader, has faced adversity and fought through it.”

One NBA executive told me that whichever team (or teams) makes a run after Kevin Durant when he becomes a free agent, “will throw the whole ATM after [Ollie].”

Money is one thing NBA teams can offer — Ollie will make $1.3 million next season at UConn (without bonuses) and a number of NBA teams can and would crush that offer.

That doesn’t mean Ollie wants to leave UConn, a place that as an NBA player he would say he wanted to return to, calling it “home.” It does mean that UConn would be wise to give the man a raise and put some healthy buyouts in his next contract.

But that is not going to stop the NBA from calling. The question is what does Ollie want? Right now he is the guy with all the leverage. And an NCAA title.

  1. bucrightoff - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    If OKC does not win it all this year, I fully expect them to fire Scott Brooks and hire Kevin Ollie, or at least try to. I can also see the Knicks and Lakers making a run at him. UConn should be thrilled with the title, but I really have a hard time seeing Ollie return, he can basically pick his NBA job.

    • nflcrimerankingscom - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      Nope. OKC owners are dirt cheap, will not pay 2 coaches at the same time.

  2. peddealer - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Still would rather have Carlisle here in Dallas than Ollie..

    Was rooting for UK, if they could hit free throws they COULD have won, but so much respect goes out to UCONN as a team as well as K.O.

    I loved what he said when the reporter asked him about UK being a good second half team…”Ummm guess what? We are a hell of a team in the 2nd half also”

    Here’s to hoping Dallas drafts Napier to take Calderon’s job!

  3. smackingfools - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    That’s how it works. A month ago 95 percent of you didn’t even know he coached UCONN.

  4. sdelmonte - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    I never get the mad desire to make college coaches into NBA coaches. For every Larry Brown, there must be six Tarkanians or Pitinos. Most college coaches are happy to have near-absolute control over who the players are, and to never, ever have to deal with a salary cap.

    That said, Ollie at least has the advantage of being a former pro and also someone who wants to come back. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to coach at the next level.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      Ollie reminds me of Jim Harbaugh in the NFL. He knows the NBA quite well as a former player and has to crave the challenge of leading a pro team.

    • zerole00 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      Coaches may have more control over their team in a college setting, but I’d say that’s a pretty miniscule perk when you consider winning a NCAA title can easily nab you a 5 mil/year job as an NBA coach. Worse case scenario is that you fail on the bigger stage and still get paid, but you can return to the NCAA level because hey – more coaches fail than succeed in the NBA every year. I know money isn’t everything, but we’re talking ridiculous numbers with very little downside.

    • spursareold - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      He’s not JUST a college coach, he’s a former NBA player. He knows the score, that it’s a player’s league. Most college coaches don’t. They’re absolute dictators in their domain in college and they can’t adapt.

  5. realfootballfan - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Yea, that’s why I think he’d make a good pro coach. He has a similar background as a role player who scrapped just to make rosters like some of the great ones. He also seems to have the temperament and ability to go inside of the guards’ heads because he practiced that position in the league for 15 years. I could see Golden State giving him a shot if the Mark Jackson firing rumors are true, but I don’t think he’ll leave Connecticut for any job like some sorry place like Milwaukee or Sacramento just because it’s his alma mater and they gave him the shot he couldn’t get anywhere else amidst all of the other stiffs who do get them.

  6. csbanter - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    Now the NBA is all on Ollie D!ck, as a player he bounced around from team to team on ten day contracts, being constantly released. As Bismarkie once said they(NBA) got the Vapors!!!

    • genericcommenter - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      He actually played much longer and made a lot more money in the NBA than I remembered.

  7. genericcommenter - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    Interesting tidbit (to me): His coaching salary at UConn is the same as his playing salary with the Thunder.

  8. campcouch - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    Flavor of the week. He wasn’t a hot prospect after he retired,so now a little success and he’s the new “it”. Stay in college. A job there is more stable and I’m sure he’ll get a raise after this victory.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      Bingo. NBA coaching is a thankless job anyways. He’d probably be fired within 5 years. He should stay at UConn and become a legend.

  9. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    Thunder. Durant wants him.

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