John Calipari vows to be a resource for Leon Rose if and when he takes over the New York Knicks, but he plans on staying put in Lexington.
University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari is linked to Leon Rose—the CAA agent who is reportedly taking over as New York Knicks team president. But don’t expect Calipari to make the jump back to NBA coaching anytime soon.
“I’ve known him for 25 years, dear friend. In a rough-and-tumble business—really, that business he was in was a sport too, like body-to-body contact, it is—and I’ve never heard in 25 years anybody say a bad word about Leon Rose,” Calipari said via Kyle Tucker of The Athletic.
“Not one. In a rough-and-tumble sport that he’s in. He’s a gatherer. He’s a culture builder. I understand why they would do it—if they do that. Because I’m so close, I’d help him in any way I could, being a resource. You want to call and ask me about college players, my own players, I’m here. It just wouldn’t be to coach.”
The longtime college coach has tried his hand at the NBA once before. Calipari spent three years as head coach of the New Jersey Nets, compiling a record of 72-112 with one playoff appearance. Hiring Calipari would certainly make a major splash, but the Kentucky coach really has no reason to make that leap back to the pro circuit.
Although many college coaches have a penchant for jumping around from one place to another, Calipari is in one of the best situations in the country. He’s built a perennial contender and he is a recruiting dynamo.
If he were to come and help the Knicks build a sustainable winner, he would be a living legend in New York. But he’s already reached that god-like status in Lexington, another basketball-crazed city. Not to mention, he recently signed a lucrative, 10-year contract extension with the Wildcats.