John Calipari discussed a seven-year, $60 million-plus deal to become the president and coach of the Cavaliers before signing a seven-year, $52 million extension at Kentucky, according to Yahoo Sports.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was consistent in his pursuit of Calipari, the report said, but ultimately could not land the coach who has taken the Wildcats to three Final Fours in the last four seasons. Had Calipari taken the job, he would have worked with GM David Griffin but would have had the final say on personnel matters.
Calipari is said to have been intrigued with point guard Kyrie Irving as well as having the chance to welcome the NBA Draft’s No. 1 pick after the Cavs won last month’s draft lottery.
The report notes that had the Harrison twins — Aaron and Andrew – decided not to return for their sophomore seasons, Calipari likely would have taken this second NBA opportunity. He coached the New Jersey Nets for two-plus seasons in the late 1990s.
The Cavaliers have also reportedly met with Clippers assistants Alvin Gentry and Tyronn Lue, former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, former Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro and collegiate coaches Tom Izzo (Michigan State) and Billy Donovan (Florida).
Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Lue and Hollins will have second interviews for the job, and that Donovan has remained in contact with the team, but no one connected to the process believes the Gators coach would be interested in taking the position.