Bill Self could have been coaching LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and former college protege Andrew Wiggins in the NBA this year, but he elected to remain the head man at Kansas.
Self told the Kansas City Star that he was approached by the Cavaliers about their coaching vacancy, which they have since filled with David Blatt:
I talked to the Cavs’ people a lot throughout their evaluation process and the draft, but I’ll just leave it at that. That wasn’t anything I wanted to become public certainly, and they didn’t either.
The Cavs also spoke to John Calipari, who ultimately spurned the NBA to sign a new seven year/$52 million deal at Kentucky. College coaches Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan also turned down the chance to coach the Cavaliers.
Self, Izzo, Calipari and Donovan didn’t know it at the time, but the Cavs would ultimately beef up their questionable roster by signing superstar LeBron James to a two-year deal.
How would those candidates have responded to the Cavs’ overtures had they known they would be coaching LeBron James?
I’m sure all those guys had their legacies in mind when they turned down the big NBA money. College coaches have a long history of flopping in the NBA and none of those guys wanted to end up on that list (Calipari is already on that list but didn’t want to make it worse).
Now all four of them know that they would have had LeBron James on board making their lives a hell of a lot easier. Instead of a potential legacy-killer, that job might have been an easy legacy-sealer with LeBron doing the hard work.
Think any of them regret not taking the job now?