Kentucky coach John Calipari is intrigued with the Chicago Bulls' coaching job and would be willing to listen to a pitch from management, NBA and NCAA sources told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday.
Sources say the combination of roster talent, tradition and market make Chicago one of the few NBA jobs that could pry Calipari out of Kentucky. The Bulls have been hesitant to pay the $4 million-$5 million annual packages it would take to lure high-profile coaches like Calipari.
Bulls general manager Gar Forman fired coach Vinny Del Negro on Monday night.
Calipari could be an intriguing candidate on several levels for the Bulls. He coached Bulls star point guard, Derrick Rose, at the University of Memphis, and his strong ties with the powerful agency, CAA, could give the organization leverage in free agency this summer.
Calipari is close with Cleveland's LeBron James, and shares representation with two of the Bulls' top free-agent targets - Miami's Dwyane Wade and Toronto's Chris Bosh.
Sources say Calipari "hasn't connected" with Kentucky's athletic administration in his first year on the job, and that could contribute to his willingness to rekindle a long-standing goal of realizing NBA success.
First, let me say this, I have no faith that Calapari would be a good coach in the NBA.
Now let me add this, there have been rumors floating around that if Calapari were to coach an NBA team that this team would have a very good chance of landing LeBron James.
I didn't think much of the dribble drive motion offense in college when scouting Derrick Rose, nor do I think it used Rose's strengths particularly well. However, if Calapari's agency connections are able to lure a stud free agent to Chicago, then I'm more than willing to live with him for the next few years.
Most of coaching in the NBA is having great talent, and if we Calapari gets us that talent then I'll be happy to sign him up. If he's not coming as a package deal with one of the big three then I'll pass.
I'd imagine Bulls management feels the same way. Too bad they won't know if he'll influence the free agents or not until after they've hired him.