While Mike Krzyzewski is flattered by all the reports linking him to various NBA jobs, he insists he’s not leaving Duke.
Krzyzewski admitted Wednesday that "it’s more of a compliment – it’s not an insult” to hear his name mentioned for several NBA coaching vacancies. But he also reaffirmed what he’s been saying for years, every time those rumors pop up: He isn’t going anywhere.
"You just can’t take it further than that, because then you’re trying to milk the situation for the wrong thing,” he said. "So I’d rather nip it right away and move on.”
Krzyzewski turned to his wry brand of humor to defuse the NBA chatter, quipping that "my position hasn’t changed. I hope Duke’s position hasn’t changed.”
This isn’t the first time Krzyzewski-to-the-NBA reports have surfaced.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were mentioned in recent media reports as possibly being interested in luring the 63-year-old Hall of Famer away from Duke. The reasoning: LeBron James and Krzyzewski have formed a bond during their three stints together with the U.S. national team, plus Cavs general manager Danny Ferry was a Duke star in the 1980s.
Twice during Duke’s season, Krzyzewski’s name came up as a potential candidate for the New Jersey Nets’ opening – with the coach issuing a statement hours before the national championship game to shoot down those reports.
Last summer was marked by speculation that Krzyzewski could’ve taken over the Los Angeles Lakers had Phil Jackson retired, and in 2004 Krzyzewski turned down a reported $40 million contract to coach the Lakers.
"I never put my name in (for those jobs). It’s OK that someone mentions your name, and then it’s OK for me to say that I’m not interested,” Krzyzewski said. "It doesn’t go any further than that. … I haven’t been offered anything, so when your name is mentioned, it doesn’t mean that you’ve been offered anything. It’s just, ‘OK, why don’t we say his name?’ And who says it? So I’m very, very happy here at Duke.”
Krzyzewski, who reached his 11th Final Four and won his fourth national title two months ago, met with reporters during the “K Academy,” his annual fantasy camp. Christian Laettner and Jay Bilas were among the former Blue Devils who came back to campus for the camp.
And another former Duke standout, Elton Brand of the Philadelphia 76ers, isn’t surprised that his Krzyzewski’s name keeps popping up for NBA jobs.
"They’ll make their runs,” Brand said. "Why wouldn’t they? He’s one of the best coaches in history.”