Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert went all-in with Kentucky coach John Calipari:
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.
If Calipari had gone to Cleveland, the plan would’ve been for new general manager David Griffin to work with Calipari in the front office, but he would’ve ceded final decisions on personnel matters to Calipari, sources said.
Beyond the considerable length of the proposed contract – with an annual salary that would’ve moved Calipari among the highest-paid executives/coaches in the NBA – Calipari had some intrigue with the infrastructure of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and the possibility of the No. 1 overall pick in the June draft.
Full control to John Calipari? Dan Gilbert needs a full mental evaluation, stat.
I understand hiring Calipari to coach your team. He’s had tremendous success at the collegiate level. He’s also FOL (friend of LeBron).
But his ethics are questionable and he’s… an a-hole. Here’s a blurb from an ESPN story recapping his failed stint in the late 90s as President and coach of the Nets:
“He would ask you to do something that can’t be done in three days and he’d want it done in three hours,” said one former member of the organization who was there for Calipari’s final season. “You’d tell him it can’t be done, and he was like, ‘Yeah, it [bleeping] can.’”
And, accustomed to being the kingpin on a college campus, Calipari would stick his head where it didn’t belong. He’d offer advice to those on the business side of the franchise, telling them a better way to do things. Pat Riley, Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich can do that. But a 30-something pretty boy from the Atlantic 10?
His enemies within the organization began piling up. Outside of it too.
He fell out of favor almost immediately with the probing New York-area media, which never bought into his smooth-talking shtick. In March of 1997, it got ugly, as he called Dan Garcia, a reporter for The (Newark) Star-Ledger, a “Mexican idiot.”
Why would Calipari reject Cleveland, an up-and-coming team with a blossoming superstar (Kyrie Irving) and the #1 pick?
Because he can.
He leveraged the Cavs to get a raise and extension out of Kentucky. His team is stacked and come next year, owners will line up to wine and dine him yet again.