John Calipari, who is currently trying to guide an unbeaten Kentucky team to a national championship, has reached the top of college basketball. But he’s never won anything at the next level.
According to a new report, Calipari may have his sights set on coaching the Brooklyn Nets for a second time.
The one name that could return the Nets to all of those things they thought they could be, that they seemed primed to be, is currently guiding the best college basketball team in the nation, a coach who crashed and burned with the Nets once already. The Nets can be saved by John Calipari.
“He desperately wants it,” the front office official said. “He won’t say it out loud. The NBA is the only place he’s ever failed and it drives him nuts. He’s not the same guy he was then. He came to the NBA and he wasn’t ready. He’s ready now.”
If it seems like grasping at straws, a big name to save the day, maybe it is. But NBA sources point to ties that are already in place. In the Nets’ struggles, the one person who has held the trust of Prokhorov is the man behind the marketing, the tireless Brett Yormark. While the product on the court has struggled, the branding of the Nets has been a blueprint for other franchises. While Calipari may have left some rifts when he was fired by the Nets, he remained close with Yormark.
Calipari previously coached the Nets from 1997 to 1999. He had a 72-112 record and went back to the college ranks.
To land Calipari it would likely mean that he is handed not only the coaching reins, but the keys to the franchise, too, the same ones they wouldn’t give Kidd. That means the sort of power that Stan Van Gundy got in Detroit, Flip Saunders in Minnesota and Doc Rivers with the Clippers.
It’s what Calipari has in Kentucky. It’s what sources close to him believe it would take to be the spot he will land. And all that Calipari could offer the Nets is everything they dreamed they could be.