The Cleveland Cavaliers tried to woo John Calipari with an offer that ranged from $60 to $80 million before the celebrated college head coach decided to stay with the University of Kentucky (UK) in the NCAA.
According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Cavaliers owner pursued Calipari and was prepared to offer him the Cleveland head coaching position as well as a final say on personnel decisions.
However, Calipari chose to stay in college hoops signing on a seven-year, $52M contract with the Wildcats over the weekend. If he decided otherwise and joined the NBA, he would have become one of the highest paid head coaches in the league.
Calipari has proven himself as a successful head coach in college but not in the pro level. He coached the University of Massachusetts (1988 to 1996), Memphis (2000 to 2009) and Kentucky (2009 to present) but was relatively unsuccessful with the New Jersey Nets (1996 to 1999) leading the latter to just one postseason appearance.
Aside from his coaching pedigree, Calipari is a known big time recruiter in college—something the Cavaliers could have used as they chase free agents in this offseason. In his first year with the Wildcats, he convinced the likes of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe to play for Kentucky. All three are now legit stars in the NBA.
The Cavs are moving on with their coaching search and are interested in Alvin Gentry (former NBA head coach), Tyronne Lue (former NBA player), Lionell Hollins (former Memphis Grizzlies head coach) and Vinny Del Negro (former NBA head coach among others.