Even with the Nets getting handed their 66th loss yesterday, their is excitement among the fanbase. The reason? Al Iannazzone’s report that the Nets are ready to make Mike Krzyzewski a big offer to becme their next head coach. From the article:
Krzyzewski has been reluctant to leave Duke. But if the Blue Devils beat Butler and Krzyzewski wins his fourth national championship, it could help the Nets’ chances. He would be able to leave on top and tackle new challenges.
Krzyzewski turned down a five-year, $40 million offer to coach Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in 2004. The Nets’ offer likely will be between $12 million and $15 million per season for Krzyzewski to be their coach and perhaps general manager, a source said.
If Prokhorov gets his way this off-season, Krzyzewski could be coaching his final game for Duke tonight when the Blue Devils face Butler for the NCAA championship.
Before we talk about the impact Coach K will have, let’s talk about whether or not he would accept the proposed offer, and what an offer it is. The Lakers’ offer that Coach K turned down a few years ago was $8 million per, the rumored offer from Prokhorov is $4 to $7 million more than that.
Looking back at when the Lakers offered Coach K their coaching spot, he almost accepted it. Eventually he turned it down, but since them some things have changed when it comes to Coach K and the college basketball landscape. First, he has been coaching the Olympic team for some time now, and because of that he was able to be around NBA players (even crediting them with helping him become a better coach). Also, since the Lakers made their offer, the NCAA has instituted their one and done rule. Since Luol Deng, I don’t remember a one a done player that has played for Duke and this is because Coach K simply refuses to recruit them. Before the one-and-done rule, these guys were going to the NBA straight out of college, now they are forced to play a year in college. While Coach K doesn’t recruit them, other coaches don’t seem to have the same problem, and this has lead to a lack of success for the Duke program in terms championships (this year seems to be the exception). You also have the NCAA expanding their tournament to 96 teams, and while most coaches are in love with it (more teams in the tournament means more coaches getting their and improving their resumes), it could make reaching the Final Four more difficult. All of these factors, in addition to the crazy sum of money being offered, could sway Coach K to take the leap to the NBA.
Now if Coach K does take the job, will it work? As a Nets fan, I am not really a fan of college coaches in the NBA (remember coach Cal?), but Coach K would be different. As I mentioned earlier, Coach K has experience working with NBA players. Because of this, he is not only familiar with how NBA players operate, but he has the respect of NBA players (this is something that most college coaches don’t have). While I have never really been a fan of Coach K or Duke, I think this is the kind of move that will make the Nets much better.