Sources: Cavaliers interested in Kentucky coach John Calipari

John Calipari has been very successful as head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats. Are the Cavs looking to bring him into the pros?

Thomas J. Russo/Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports


The Cavaliers are interested in the University of Kentucky’s John Calipari as a candidate for their head coaching vacancy, sources familiar with the team’s search told FOX Sports Ohio on Wednesday.

Sources did not say if the Cavs have contacted Calipari or if the sides have arranged a meeting.

New general manager David Griffin began the search for a new coach Monday, the same day on which Mike Brown was fired after one season.

Griffin is not offering details on the hiring process.


"I wouldn’t want to speak to any specific candidates; I do appreciate the question," Griffin said during Tuesday’s introductory press conference.

"There will be a time to speak about specific candidates, but now’s not that time."

Calipari has been the coach at Kentucky since 2009 and led the school to three Final Four appearances. That included a national championship in 2011-12 and a runner-up finish this past season.

He also has coached the University of Massachusetts and University of Memphis, as well as the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets.

Calipari has refuted recent reports he is looking to return to the NBA.

But the Cavs, and owner Dan Gilbert in particular, have long had an interest in Calipari, dating back to 2010, when then-Cavs star LeBron James was about to enter free agency. Calipari and James are close.



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"Have a chance to coach the best player in the world? Yes, I would love to coach (James)," Calipari said in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Wednesday. "But what’s happened is our careers are criss-crossing without crossing.

"I’m not in a position where I would leave Kentucky right now. I’m not sure whether this is his last contract, or his next-to-last contract. But I would tell you if I had a chance to, I would absolutely."

Meanwhile, Griffin said Gilbert will indeed have input on the Cavs’ next coach, but that Griffin is the point man.

"This will be a collaborative effort. I will not make any decision alone," Griffin said. "But I will absolutely be leading this process, and I’m really excited about building a relationship with that coach."

Griffin and the Cavs are facing a big offseason after missing the playoffs for a fourth straight year. Along with a coaching change, starters Spencer Hawes and Luol Deng are unrestricted free agents, and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving is eligible for a maximum contract extension.

Chicago Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin, Utah Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Los Angeles Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry have also been linked to the Cavs’ coaching opening.

"I don’t intend to give regular updates on where this process sits," Griffin said. "We have started the process certainly."