Report: Cavs' negotiations with John Calipari preceded David Griffin hire

By James Herbert | NBA writer

John Calipari will remain at Kentucky despite NBA overtures.
John Calipari will remain at Kentucky despite NBA overtures. (USATSI)

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The Cavaliers were reportedly interested in having Kentucky head coach John Calipari assume the title of president and coach in Cleveland. Following the report from Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and Brett Dawson that Calipari was offered a seven-year deal worth more than $60 million, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal said in a radio interview that Cavs GM David Griffin was unaware of it. That is because these negotiations preceded Griffin being hired as general manager, according to Joe Lull of 92.3 The Fan:

The Cleveland Cavaliers pursuit of Kentucky's John Calipari preceded their hiring of a general manager last month, according to high-ranking league sources.

Contrary to reports, the Cavaliers' courtship of Calipari never reached a point where an actual offer was on the table. According to sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, Calipari joining the Cavaliers “had zero chance of happening as of three weeks ago.”

While Gilbert did pursue Calipari in the weeks before Griffin's hiring, there have been no discussions in recent weeks about bringing in a team president, nor has Gilbert conducted a clandestine coaching search behind the back of his general manager.

This makes the whole thing make a bit more sense. Yes, a bit more -- it's still a wild idea to be talking about such a long, lucrative contract for a man who has been out of the NBA as long as he has, and doesn't have a track record of success at the pro level. But at least it doesn't look like this was being done in secret, with Griffin in line to lose much of his power in the organization.

Cleveland still needs to hire a head coach, and owner Dan Gilbert is interviewing several candidates this week. Those in the mix reportedly include Alvin Gentry, Adrian Griffin, Tyronn Lue, Vinny Del Negro, Lionel Hollins and Mark Price.

 
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