Bill Self admits the Cavaliers pursued him for their coaching vacancy

Imagine Bill Self coaching not only Wiggins again next year, but LeBron James. (USATSI)

Bill Self's been entertained by job offers over the course of his tenure at Kansas.

But in all likelihood, nothing will bring the what-if daydreams for Self like his passing on the Cleveland Cavaliers job. Some discussion has been made in recent days on what John Calipari must be thinking, since he turned down a lucrative offer (reportedly $60 million total) by the Cavs this spring. But although he's the most high-profile coach, and Calipari is also close with LeBron James, the Kentucky Poobah was not the only college coach who the organization reached out to.

Tom Izzo, Bill Donovan and Fred Hoiberg all have been contacted by the Cavs, in addition to Self. The news on Self is that Kansas' coach didn't publicly admit to this until recently.

Frankly, we didn't realize Self was in the mix like this. Per the Kansas City Star:

Self declined to discuss specifics about his conversations with the Cavaliers, and he did not provide a timetable for when they occurred. ... Before being asked about his talks with the Cavs on Monday, Self had yet to speak publicly about the opportunity.

“I talked to the Cavs’ people a lot throughout their evaluation process and the draft, but I’ll just leave it at that,” Self said. “That wasn’t anything I wanted to become public, certainly, and they didn’t either.”


During the last few years, he has continually downplayed his interest in an NBA coaching job — though he’s never ruled out taking the leap.

“There’s nothing about me and the NBA. Zero,” Self said on May 2 in Lawrence. “Anybody that would waste any time on talk radio talking about that … surely there’s some Royals games or something like that going on that other people can talk about.”

No, Bill, there aren't. The Royals are -- oh, wait --- in second place in the AL Central. Who knew! OK, so maybe there's time for some hardball talk around Kansas City and Lawrence, but Self is always going to be a subject for public consumption.

Especially when he's openly discussed -- or at least never fully denied -- coaching down the road one day. Perhaps in Oklahoma City or San Antonio? It remains remarkable to me that not one college coach opted to leave the sport for the NBA. Why?

Instead it's a man named David Blatt who gets to coach LeBron during his second spell in C-town. Blatt's only ever coached overseas, and he's fallen into a glory job.

But if Blatt is unable to adapt to the NBA style over the next year or two, and we think LeBron is set to be a Cav for life, then it seems pretty clear that Calipari, Self, Donovan, Izzo -- any of those guys could and should take the opportunity to coach the greatest player on the planet, if they're lucky enough to be asked again.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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