NBA Rumors – John Calipari to the NBA?

It must be the NBA offseason. It simply has to be. How else can we explain the rash of — even more so than usual — John Calipari is headed to the NBA for {insert job that is less alluring than dating a walrus} stories.

This time around, apparently, reportedly, or whatever, the Sacramento Kings are floating around the idea of offering Cal $10 million per year, the chance to once again coach DeMarcus Cousins, and full control over basketball operations.

Here is the thing: For all the perceptions, true or not, that people have of John Calipari, he is most certainly not an idiot.

Sacramento ownership, with Vivek Ranadive being the central figure here, has a habit of sticking their nose deeply into all things transactions related. Ranadive has vetoed trades, forced his general managers to draft players he likes over the ones they value, and is as involved in the day-to-day operations of the organization as any NBA owner in the entire league. Simply because he’s — again, possibly — offering Calipari the title of President of Basketball Operations does not mean he would have any more power than previous holders of that same position. For better or worse, Ranadive will always have final say, and that is something that will not be lost on Cal.

But that’s nitpicking, really. It won’t even come down to that. Even though very few people take any coach at their word when it comes to possible new coaching endeavors, with Cal’s word meaning even less to some because they dislike him for various reasons, he isn’t going to coach the Kings because, honestly, they’re an abomination of an NBA franchise.

It’s that simple. If John Calipari ever plans to leave the Kentucky Wildcats, and that’s still a big “if”, why would he do so for a roster, organization, and owner who seem to have two left feet? It makes no sense. Especially when you consider the fact that he’s been — annually — rumored to be a candidate for jobs that have legit chances to win and go to the playoffs.

People don’t leave great situations, like the one Cal has with Kentucky, to take over ones that are less stable than Mount Hakone. It makes no logical sense to even entertain such an idea as absurd as this.

That’s not to say that he will forever be with Kentucky. Conventional thought, nothing based off his own words mind you, projects him to at some point return to the NBA. Basically, go back to the level where he “failed”, in an attempt to redeem himself, and challenge himself at the highest level because that’s what successful people want to do — be the best at whatever they do, at the toughest place to do so. Ego fulfillment, if you will.

But, again, Sacramento? Why? Because Cousins, and now Willie Cauley-Stein, play there? That would be like a doctor taking a gig in a place where he’s likely to get his license revoked because he once worked with a few nurses who now practice there. It doesn’t even matter if those nurses happened to be a couple of reincarnated Florence Nightingales. Not if it means inevitable doom for our good doctor — especially when this doctor can apply his trade at better places.

There’s also the possibility that John Calipari is legitimately happy, content, and other positive adjectives with Kentucky in its entirety. As novel an idea as it may sound to some, there’s a really solid chance that he never leaves Lexington because he truly values it as the greatest basketball coaching job in the world — regardless if it isn’t in the NBA.

None of that is fun to speculate about, though. People want to keep Cal’s name in the headlines for NBA jobs because it is a lot funner for people to write “Cal to the Kings?” than it would be to scribble “Assistant coach you have never heard of before because he played Division III hoops in Wilkes-Barre to the Kings?”

And, trust me, I don’t actually blame them. Speculation, even the most insane types, is what helps to drive the NBA and keeps fans of horrible teams sane in the offseason.

However, we need to start taking ourselves to task. Let’s be smart the rest of the way. The more farcical a rumor involving Calipari simply means there’s either an owner looking to win back his fan base via big name dropping, a reporter who is looking to generate some clicks, or it is a gig only linked to him because there’s a player who once played under him in college — one of the dozens — playing for a team now without a coach.

When (if) a legitimately solid gig opens, with a good roster, an ownership track record of being solid, and a location that seems like a destination John Calipari would enjoy living in, then we can start to take these rumors more seriously. Until then, everyone simply needs to calm down because, I mean, the Sacramento Kings instead of the Kentucky Wildcats…really?

(the world erupts in laughter)

Big Blue Nation, you’re safe. Not even just for now, either. Probably for awhile. Partially because your basketball program is all that and a bag of chips, and partly because good NBA jobs are rarely open (sans a few recent exceptions, but those jobs are now taken so…) because owners don’t usually fire coaches of teams who win and Cal isn’t going to the a Kings-type of a gig (teams who stink!).

Okay. So. Yeah. We’re all on the same page now, right? John Calipari isn’t going to leave an extremely good situation in Kentucky for one that mirrors Malcom McDowell singing Singing in the Rain in A Clockwork Orange. Not even for hilariously enticing money.

End scene.

About Joseph Nardone

Joseph has covered college basketball both (barely) professionally and otherwise for over five years. A Column of Enchantment for Rush The Court on Thursdays and other basketball stuff for The Student Section on other days.