There’s a lot of panic going around the Big Apple courtesy of the New York Knicks 3-8 start to the season and deservingly so or not, head coach Mike Woodson is likely going to be the man held responsible for the Knickerbockers poor start.
It’s getting to the point that it is not whether or not Woodson will lose his job, but when.
When that day eventually comes, could the Knicks have their eyes set on Kentucky head coach John Calipari?
According to CBS Sports Ken Berger, that’s exactly the Knicks plan if they don’t dig themselves out of this hole rather quickly.
If they don’t, anyone can see what’s coming: Mike Woodson gets fired, company man Herb Williams becomes the interim coach and the drumbeat begins in the background for John Calipari to make his long-awaited return to the NBA.
You don’t have to be an NBA executive to see that coming, but I asked some, and they see it, too. The payroll is maxed out through next season, the tools for tax teams to acquire players in sign-and-trades next summer are gone and it’s not like the Knicks can sell anyone on a fallback plan of reloading with a lottery pick in the coveted 2014 draft. The Knicks’ pick goes to Denver (from the Anthony trade) or to Orlando (if it’s worse than the Nuggets’ pick).
There’s also another angle to all of this which makes it seem like a possibility and that is the CAA tie.
Creative Artists Agency is dominant in the Knicks organization. CAA represents superstar Carmelo Anthony, guard J.R. Smith and his brother Chris, Woodson, assistant GM Allan Houston and player personnel director Mark Warkentien.
CAA also represents Calipari. Given the path they’ve chosen, the Knicks can’t get any of the NBA-ready players on Kentucky’s roster, but they can get the coach and they could be the only team positioned to pay Calipari what it would take. Berger notes that one league executive surmised that the bidding would start at $8 million a year.
Of course there are issues with any pursuit of Calipari and one major hurdle is that it is well known that he would want full control of personnel decisions, which with Steve Mill and Allan Houston on board, could be an issue.
Another is keeping Carmelo Anthony happy.
This entire situation is about keeping Melo in a Knicks uniform long term. Would Calipari be that guy?
I’ve had the opportunity to interview Calipari on a couple of occasions and there are very few coaches I’ve talked to as humble and respectful. He’s an all-around decent guy who generally cares about his players.
However that may not ideal for the NBA game, especially in New York.
Calipari’s first NBA stint didn’t go very well, but given the opportunity again you have to wonder if the results would be different.
Either way, changes are likely coming in New York and Calipari should stay close to his phone. He could be getting a call soon.
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