The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of a head coaching search for the second consecutive year. The Cavs are in the preliminary stages of a critically important offseason. Yahoo Sports is reporting that Owner Dan Gilbert and the Cavs had proceeded into the final stages of negotiations with The University of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari. The report says that the Cavs offered Calipari a 7 year, 60 million dollar contract that would have named him Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations for the Cavaliers. Calipari was reportedly considering the job until the middle of the week when he decided to sign his extension with Kentucky. The extension at Kentucky is worth $52 million over 7 years.
According to the report, Gilbert was persistent in trying to land Calipari. Along with the lengthy contract that would have paid Calipari over $8 million dollars a year, the deal would have given him final say on all personnel matters. The plan was to have him work with General Manager David Griffin in the front office but he would have had the authority to make the deciding call on all matters basketball related.
Calipari was reportedly very intrigued with the possibilities of coaching Kyrie Irving and having the first overall pick in the June 26th NBA Draft. Sources close to Calipari feel that if Kentucky’s two best players Andrew and Aaron Harrison had not decided to return to Kentucky for their sophomore seasons then he likely would have taken the job in Cleveland. Kentucky made it to the NCAA Championship Game last year and will likely be the consensus #1 going into next season.
It was reported earlier this offseason that Gilbert was considering the hire of a President of Basketball Operations. Nothing ever came of those rumors and Gilbert named Griffin General Manger. This report eludes to the idea that the head coaching hire could be named President as well, giving him control over personnel decisions as well. This would be a step in the right direction for the Cavs as Gilbert is quickly getting the reputation as an overbearing and controlling owner. It will be interesting to see if the Cavs other offers include the same power structure as the one offered to Calipari.
Gilbert has been in talks with several other candidates for the job. The Cavs have interviewed Bulls’ assistant coach Adrian Griffin, Clippers’ assistants Alvin Gentry and Tyronne Lue and ex-Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. Vinnie Del Negro is also candidate and Cleveland has pursued Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Florida’s Billy Donovan in the process as well. Recent reports have alluded to the idea that the Cavs are in no hurry to make a decision and that it could be closer to the draft on June 26th when a hire is made.
By: Brad Ward
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