Report: Calipari Interested in Bulls Job
Calipari, who led the Wildcats to a 35-3 record and a berth in the Elite Eight in his first season at Kentucky, is interested in the newly vacant Chicago Bulls job, multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Chicago fired coach Vinny Del Negro Monday night.
Joining the Bulls would mark a reunion of sorts for Calipari, who coached Chicago star Derrick Rose at Memphis in 2007-2008.
However, Calipari downplayed his interest via Twitter.
"Every year you will hear my named mentioned for NBA jobs because I coached in the league before," the coach wrote Tuesday night. " I'm very happy at Kentucky."
Calipari coached the New Jersey Nets from 1996-1999 and compiled a 72-112 record.
In the least, Calipari seems certain to get a raise next year. Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart issued a statement Tuesday night that the school was in "initial discussions" to renegotiate Calipari's lucrative deal and make him the Wildcats coach "until he retires."
Calipari signed an eight-year contract worth more than $31 million last April and quickly became a favorite in the state, reviving the school's basketball program with one of the best recruiting classes in history. Freshman point guard John Wall won SEC player of the year honors and is expected to be the top pick in June's NBA Draft, while fellow freshman DeMarcus Cousins is projected as a top-five pick. Eric Bledsoe, another standout freshman, an junior Patrick Patterson, are also certain first-rounders this June.
However, Calipari didn't "connect" with Kentucky leadership, according to sources in the report.
Prior to Kentucky, he spent eight seasons with UMass and nine seasons with Memphis, interrupted by his tenure with the Nets. He coached both the Minutemen and the Tigers to the Final Four, though each appearance would later be vacated by the NCAA.
The Chicago job is expected to be one of the league's most coveted. The Bulls have a young core of Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah and have cap space to pursue free agents in the summer.