There are a small handful of current and former college coaches whose names pop up every time there is a desirable coaching vacancy in the NBA. John Calipari is probably chief among them, though the Kentucky coach has put all that conjecture to rest by signing a lifetime contract to remain the Wildcats’ head honcho.
Rick Pitino is another name that gets bandied around from time to time. The former Louisville coach has had two previous stints in the NBA with the Knicks and Celtics, so when longtime reporter Peter Vescey brought word this weekend that Pitino and the Cavs have been in contact about their head coaching vacancy, it naturally brought with it a great deal of intrigue.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 21, 2019
That turned out to be short-lived, however, as Cleveland’s front office denied that any such discussions had taken place or that they were considering Pitino for the position.
Via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com:
There is “zero truth” to the report about the Cleveland Cavaliers being interested in Hall-of-Famer Rick Pitino as their next head coach, multiple sources with the Cavaliers told cleveland.com Sunday morning.
“We are, respectfully, not interested in him at all. No conversations with him by Dan (Gilbert) or anyone else,” a source said.
Louisville fired Pitino in the fall of 2017 amid a massive FBI probe into recruiting violations among several NCAA programs. He has since been coaching Greece’s Euro-League team, Panathinaikos.
Meanwhile, the Cavs’ coaching search continues. They fired Tyronn Lue after an 0-6 start to the season, then agreed to mutually part ways with Larry Drew at the end of the season.