NBA Rumors: John Calipari turned down $60M offer from Cavaliers


Before he signed through 2021 to stay with collegiate powerhouse Kentucky, Wildcats head coach John Calipari’s name was involved with countless rumors linking him to NBA Head coaching jobs.

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The Lakers were also mentioned, as former Kentucky Wildcat Rex Chapman had said it was a “done deal” during the NCAA tournament last year. It turns out Chapman was more likely looking to plug his new website, instead.

However, it appears the interest in John Calipari was very real to the Cleveland Cavaliers and owner Dan Gilbert, who reportedly made Calipari a huge offer.

Brett Dawson and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports said the following:

"Before finalizing a contract extension with the University of Kentucky late last week, John Calipari had gone deep in discussions with the Cleveland Cavaliers on a seven-year, $60 million-plus contract to become president and coach, sources told Yahoo Sports.Gilbert and Calipari had discussed a package in the range of $8 million-plus a year, sources said, and it wasn’t until midweek that Calipari finally rejected Cleveland and fully committed to his seven-year, $52 million extension at Kentucky.If Calipari had gone to Cleveland, the plan would’ve been for new general manager David Griffin to work with Calipari in the front office, but he would’ve ceded final decisions on personnel matters to Calipari, sources said."

The Cavaliers, who won the draft lottery for the second straight year, look to make a splash in both the draft and free agency.  It was reported last week that the Cavs plan on offering a max contract extension to star point guard Kyrie Irving.

Cleveland has some interesting pieces, including Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, but injuries to Anderson Varejao, Anthony Bennett not developing how they’d like, and overpaying Jarrett Jack (owed another 3 years, almost $19 million) haven’t helped the team.

Calipari returns to a loaded Kentucky team, which will see the return of star players Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Dakari Johnson,  Andrew Harrison, and twin brother Aaron Harrison. The postseason saw the emergence of Marcus Lee as a force off of the bench.

The team also brings in big men Trey Lyles and Karl Towns, which could give the Wildcats one of the most dominant frontcourts in recent memory, if not ever. The Wildcats also have guards Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker incoming as well.

While the team will have to deal with the departures of James Young and Juilius Randle, the two sure-fire draftees will put the Wildcat at 19 NBA picks out of Kentucky since Calipari took over five years ago.

While on a tour promoting his latest book last month, Calipari mentioned that the NBA’s money wasn’t a factor in his decision to stay at Kentucky or leave the program, saying he had enough money to retire now.