We can all agree that the last year has been rough for Rick Pitino. He spent the summer fighting off the wolves looking for blood during his admission of infidelity. And he’s spent the last couple of months watching John Calipari and his old squad, Kentucky, take the college hoops world by storm while his Louisville Cardinals struggle.
So it’s understandable if Pitino looks for greener pastures. But when a man begins to look to the ash filled pastures of the New Jersey Nets, it truly shows just how rough things are.
Sources close to Pitino said that the Louisville coach has reached out to Nets brass in recent days, making himself a candidate for the job now held by GM and interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe, and due to open after their woeful season is completed in April.
According to sources, Pitino had intermediaries recently contact Nets president Rod Thorn on his behalf. Thorn himself is in the final year of a contract, and is looking to get a new deal from incoming owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
A source close to Thorn said the Nets’ president has denied that he spoke to Pitino, while Pitino’s camp insists that “no direct contact” was made between the coach and team.
“Pitino is interested in the job,” said a high-ranking team official, who added that the interest is all one way, coming from Pitino’s side.
Sources close to Pitino, 57, say the ex-Knick coach and native of Long Island continues to be worn down from the Louisville sex scandal that erupted last summer and almost cost him his job. In terms of basketball, friends say that he feels a threat from in-state arch-rival Kentucky, which has put itself back into the national spotlight with first-year coach John Calipari and one of the top recruiting classes in recent years.
Seeing as though Pitino has thrown his hat in the ring for a job before, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he is truly interested. But in this case, the grass isn’t greener on the other side. In fact, there isn’t any grass.
UPDATE: The Pitino denial came swiftly.
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