John Calipari says he has 'no regrets' about turning down Cavaliers job
The Cavaliers reportedly offered Calipari a deal worth $80 million over 10 years months after Kentucky lost in the 2014 national championship game.
Cleveland eventually hired David Blatt as its head coach in June, and the following month four-time NBA MVP LeBron James decided to return to the team after spending four years with the Miami Heat. The Cavaliers, who finished 33-49 last season, will open their NBA Finals series against the Warriors on Thursday.
Calipari was asked by Yahoo Sports if he had second thoughts about returning to Kentucky.
"No," Calipari said. "No, nope. Because what happened, and the reason I did what I did, was based on having guys come back who wanted to be coached. I didn't feel comfortable not being at Kentucky."
Calipari signed a seven-year, $52.5 million deal with Kentucky days after turning down the Cavaliers job. Last month, he agreed to an extension that keeps him at the school through the 2021-22 season.
Calipari previously coached in the NBA for three seasons with the New Jersey Nets from 1996-99, recording one postseason appearance. His name was also associated with the vacant New Orleans Pelicans job this year, though the Pelicans recently hired Alvin Gentry.
Calipari said he wasn’t interested in that job or any other NBA opening, stating he was happy at Kentucky.
Kentucky was ranked No. 1 all of last season and went into the Final Four undefeated before losing to Wisconsin in the national semifinals.
"I never thought we were losing," Calipari said. "When we won at Georgia, I told my staff something crazy is going to have to happen for us to lose because this team has that will.
"I also think, though, that the [Wisconsin] game and the Notre Dame game, that the other teams played really well. And there were times when I thought maybe the record was affecting us. And it's just natural."
- Scooby Axson