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Report: John Calipari considered 7-year $60M+ contract with Cavs

Coach Cal

Last week John Calipari signed a seven-year $52 million extension to remain the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, but before that, he almost became the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Calipari had been in “deep discussions” with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on a seven-year $60 million-plus deal to become the team’s next head coach.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert had been persistent in his pursuit and kept returning to Calipari in an effort to deliver full control of basketball operations, sources said.

Gilbert and Calipari had discussed a package in the range of $8 million-plus a year, sources said, and it wasn’t until midweek that Calipari finally rejected Cleveland and fully committed to his seven-year, $52 million extension at Kentucky.

With the possibility of getting Calipari to sign on, Gilbert was paving the way for the coach to have majority control inside the organization. Wojnarowski says Calipari would’ve had all final decisions on personnel matters.

If Calipari had gone to Cleveland, the plan would’ve been for new general manager David Griffin to work with Calipari in the front office, but he would’ve ceded final decisions on personnel matters to Calipari, sources said.

Beyond the considerable length of the proposed contract – with an annual salary that would’ve moved Calipari among the highest paid executives/coaches in the NBA – Calipari had some intrigue with the infrastructure of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and the possibility of the No. 1 overall pick in the June draft.

Citing sources, the report also states that it may have been the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, which convinced Calipari to return back to UK.

Once the Harrison twins – Andrew and Aaron – made decisions to return to Kentucky as sophomores in late April, it became a more difficult proposition to lure Calipari out of his job, sources said. With the Harrison twins staying, Kentucky will return nearly 60 percent of its scoring – despite losing two projected lottery picks to the NBA draft in Julius Randle and James Young.

The search for the next Cavaliers head coach continues, as it’s clear that Dan Gilbert is looking to make a splash. Including the #1 pick in this year’s draft, and Kyrie Irving as the point guard of the future, Gilbert focuses now on bringing in an established head coach, one that could possibly lure LeBron back home if and when he hits free agency.

Among coaches who have already been contacted by the Cavaliers are: Los Angeles Clippers assistant head coaches Alvin Gentry and Ty Lue, former Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, and former Clippers/Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro. The team has also reportedly reached out to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo and Florida head coach Billy Donovan.

Follow Mike Pendleton on Twitter @MP2310

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