With Lionel Hollins and Billy King out, the Nets may seek to fill two positions with one man: John Calipari.
The mutual respect and adoration between Calipari and Nets CEO Brett Yormark is hardly a secret; the two spoke at length about their relationship with ESPN last month, while Hollins was still coaching the team.
Late last night, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that Yormark wants to sell Calipari to the fanbase. But Calipari comes at a hefty cost: $12 million per year for a decade.
The Nets couldn’t get star players to sell tickets and TV ratings, so he wants to try a star college coach. Again.
Yormark is pushing Prokhorov to reach back to the Nets’ Jersey roots, dust off a failed ’90s experiment and sell it as something sparkling and new. Twenty years ago, the Nets stunned everyone with a five-year, $15 million contract for the UMass coach. For Calipari to consider the Nets – and, yes, the Sacramento Kings, too – league sources tell Yahoo Sports that the teams have been informed of his asking price: 10 years, $120 million.
$120 million wouldn’t be the highest cost per annum of any executive — you might remember Phil Jackson signing a five-year deal with the Knicks for $60 million, or $12 million per season. But a contract twice as long is a much bigger commitment, especially from a Nets team that hasn’t kept a coach for more than 1.5 seasons since moving to Brooklyn.
This would be Calipari’s second go-round with the Nets. He coached the franchise from 1996 to 1999, finishing his tenure with a 72-112 record. He was fired 20 games into his third season with the team. He hasn’t coached in the NBA since working as an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2000.
Wojnarowski adds that Calipari’s bargaining point will be his relationship with his former players now in the NBA. That’s a lengthy list, headlined by John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins but also including Eric Bledsoe, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Rajon Rondo, and Derrick Rose. He also, according to the report, is considering a job with the Sacramento Kings, and wanted to be approached by the New Orleans Pelicans, who feature his former player Anthony Davis.
One minority owner with the Kings, who was part of multiple calls with Calipari, told confidants, “He kept saying it wasn’t about the money, but he kept talking about the money.”
For Calipari, the perfect scenario will be engaging the Kings and Nets in a bidding war. In that instance, Prokhorov could be hard to beat. So now, there promises to be two parallel searches for the Brooklyn Nets’ next GM and coach: one that includes traditional candidates; and one that is the dance with Calipari.
Prokhorov will speak with the media regarding the team’s recent upheaval Monday morning.