The future of Rick Pitino at Louisville as been called into question since the news first came out that the FBI was investigating an extortion case on his behalf. While the nature of the allegations are a private matter in my mind, how this case affects his ability to coach should be open to public discussion.
There seems to be quite a few people in the Louisville area who were of the belief that Pitino would resign as head coach of the Cards. Such a move would not be that big of a surprise considering the public thirst for information on these allegations.
However, there is also another option for Pitino: the NBA. As I have previously reported, there are those within the Atlanta Hawks organization who would welcome Pitino as its new head coach. And according to Yahoo! Sports, there's another NBA team who is "intrigued" by the possibility of hiring Pitino.
Adrian Wojnarowski writes that Pitino could be in the running to be the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings. The irony there, of couse, is that Pitino would be replacing one of his former assistants--Reggie Theus, whom Kings owners, Joe and Gavin Maloof, hired on the strong recommendation of Pitino.
Here's an excerpt from Wojnarowski's article:
"...sources say the Maloofs are weighing the worth of paying what it would take to secure Pitino. The Kings are considering several candidates, including front-runner Eddie Jordan, and had been waiting until later in May to start interviews. The Maloofs hadn’t planned to pay much more than $2.5 million a season for any coach, sources say, but the owners understand they’ll need to significantly raise that figure to get serious with Pitino."
I spoke to several people with ties to Pitino tonight, including two people who have worked for him and one former player. All three said they would be surprised if Pitino took the job. The source closest to Pitino at this point said that he believes Pitino will stay on at Louisville and not resign--a belief backed up by another source within the Cardinals program.
There are several reasons,however, why Pitino might make this particular jump back to the NBA at this particular time, and they are all quite obvious. So let's look at a few of the reasons why the move may not make sense.
As one of Pitino's former players told me, Pitino would not want to go back to the NBA in a rebuilding situation. The Kings ended up being one of the worst teams in the league this year after trading away the likes of Ron Artest, Mike Bibby, Brad Miller, John Salmons and Dahntay Jones--all of which played or are still playing solid basketball in the playoffs. However, Theus seemed to get most of the blame for the team's poor showing instead of the man who orchestrated all those trades--GM Geoff Petrie.
And speaking of Petrie, he could be another reason why Pitino would not be a good fit for the Kings. As one former NBA coach told me tonight, "Petrie would not want him because Pitino is too strong."
That point is important because when it comes to NBA GM's having strong influence over ownership, Petrie could be the leader in that category.
One college coach, who has faced Pitino several times, told me that he doesn't think Pitino will leave Louisville either. He believes the move is simply a way of trying to get a raise at Louisville. John Calipari's contract at Kentucky trumped Pitino's deal at UofL by several million dollars.
So even before playing a single game, Calipari is already shaking up Pitino's world. How great will that UK/UofL matchup be next season? That is if Pitino is still around, of course.