Those hoping to see John Calipari pacing the sideline at the Smoothie King Center and reuniting with Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans won’t likely be getting their wish.
Calipari, whose name has been linked to the New Orleans Pelicans job opening, apparently isn’t interested.
The University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, who had been linked to the job because of his ties to Davis and Evans, took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to announce he is staying put.
Calipari coached Davis at Kentucky and Evans at the University of Memphis.
But apparently that isn’t enough to lure him back to the professional ranks.
“Even though Anthony and Tyreke are in NOLA, I have no interest in the Pelicans or any other job,” Calipari tweeted Tuesday. “I have a great job and I’m happy at UK.”
Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps hasn’t given any specifics on exactly what the team is looking for in a replacement for Monty Williams, who was fired last week after five seasons.
Calipari spent three seasons in the NBA in the late 90s, coaching the then-New Jersey Nets. He compiled a 72-112 record and his team was swept in the first round of the playoffs in Calipari’s second season.
He was fired 20 games into his third season after a 3-17 start.
Calipari then spent a season as an assistant under Larry Brown with the 76ers before returning to the college ranks, where he had success before at UMass.
He spent nine seasons at Memphis before taking over at Kentucky in 2009.
The Pelicans job isn’t the first time Calipari’s name has been associated with a return to the NBA.
Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers offered Calipari their coaching job, along with full control of basketball operations in a deal that was reportedly worth $80 million over 10 years.
Calipari turned the offer down and ended up signing a seven-year deal worth $52.5 million in June.
He led the Wildcats to the Final Four this past season and was given yet another contract extension last week signed another one-year extension that would keep him at Kentucky through the 2022 season.
“I think it does make a statement that both sides are committed to each other for the long haul,” ESPN college basketball reporter Eamonn Brennas said after Calipari signed the deal. “Kentucky is very eager to keep him around. He’s very well paid, moreso than pretty much every NBA coach.
“I think it speaks to a commitment that he will be there for a long time. And if he does leave for the NBA it will just end up being just because it is just a real good situation that he can’t possible turn down. But I think for right now through 2021-22, Kentucky and John Calipari are pretty much committed to each other.”
While Calipari’s name seems to now be off the Pelicans’ list, others have surfaced as possible replacements for Williams.
Scott Brooks, who was fired from Oklahoma City at the end of the season, and former Houston Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy were reported as interested in the job by Yahoo Sports.
Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who is expected to part ways with the Bulls in the upcoming weeks, has also been listed as a candidate, as well as Golden State associate head coach Alvin Gentry.
Yahoo Sports reported that Dell Demps and vice president Mickey Loomis met with Gentry on Monday night.