The crazy Sacramento Kings are reportedly trying to hire John Calipari as George Karl's replacement
By JOHN DORN
Just when you thought the Kings couldn't get any crazier.
After a week of rumors and ensuing friction between head coach George Karl, star DeMarcus Cousins and management, Sacramento may soon reach a level of lunacy never before reached -- even by lunatic owner Vivek Ranadive.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Kings have been in constant conversation with Kentucky head coach John Calipari to take over as coach and preside over the front office. Calipari coached Cousins with the Wildcats in 2010.
Calipari has been communicating with owner Vivek Ranadive and other members of the Kings ownership group in recent weeks, league sources said. Calipari has listened to scenarios with which the Kings could offer him complete control of the franchise's fledgling basketball operations to go along with coaching, league sources said.
No formal offer has been made to Calipari, and Kings ownership understands that it will take a multiyear financial package of $10 million-plus annually to get Calipari to seriously consider leaving Kentucky, sources said.
Wojnarowski notes that Calipari just signed a seven-year extension with Kentucky last year, and declined an eight-year, $60 million deal to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers last season (before LeBron James returned).
It's a truly crazy idea, as no team has been able to lure Coach Cal back to the pros since he was fired by the New Jersey Nets during the 1998-99 season. But Ranadive has shown that money is no object -- he currently has three coaches on payroll, and Calipari would make a fourth -- and appeasing Cousins to stay put in Sacramento is worth any dollar amount.
But the odds remain stacked against them. Zach Lowe of Grantland summed it up pretty well:
Calipari has established himself as a Hall of Fame coach in the college ranks and continues to pump out roster filled with top-level recruits each season. He's the highest paid coach in the NCAA, and considering the Kings' instability since Ranadive's reign, nobody would blame him for steering all the way clear of Sacto.
But you have to think there's a wish of fulfillment racing through Cal's mind during these talks. After winning a title with KU in 2012, he has nothing left to prove at the college level -- whereas he was an epic failure in his brief NBA stint.
Calipari has maintained for years that he has no intentions of leaving, most recently denying interest in the New Orleans Pelicans since-filled vacancy on May 19:
Along with Cousins, sixth-overall pick Willie Cauley-Stein would be instantly reunited with his college coach.
It's the longshot of all longshots, but the Kings having Calipari participating in conversation is a feat in itself. Regardless of how this situation plays out, Ranadive has now given even more of a hint that he's siding with Cousins in this player-versus-coach rift.
Less than five months after taking the job, Karl's latest battle with a star player may finally run himself out of town.
Update (11:57 a.m. ET):
Well, maybe not. Calipari has tweeted straight denial regarding the Yahoo report. Who do you believe?
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