Pitino eyeing a return to the NBA

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Rick Pitino has been away from basketball for about a year and away from the NBA game for 17 years, but he has not had his fill of coaching.

The former University of Louisville coach, ousted about a year ago as a result of the FBI's probe into recruiting in college basketball, plans to utilize the 2018-19 season to "immerse himself" in the NBA game, with the hopes of landing a coaching job, according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of the NBA.

Pitino's experience in the NBA includes two coaching tenures, 1983-84 and 1984-85 as an assistant and then 1987-88 and 1988-89 as head coach the New York Knicks and 1997-98 through 2000-01 as the bench boss of the Boston Celtics.

“I just want to be a part of an organization,” Pitino told Wojnarowski. “I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it.

“I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization,” he continued. “That’s my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success.”

Pitino's NBA record includes a 90-74 mark (.549) with New York and 102-146 (.411) with Boston for a combined mark of 192-220 (.466) in 412 games.

In September, Pitino appeared to have given up on the idea of returning to the NBA, writing in his book, "Pitino: My Story," that his agent had contacted some NBA teams but received no interest.

However, Wojnarowski reports Pitino has hired NFL super-agent Drew Rosenhaus to represent him, with the idea of getting back into the game.

“I’m not looking for any of that [power /control] at this stage of my life,” Pitino said, according to Wojnarowski. “I want to develop teams and develop players and build a winner. I value analytics. I want to fit into an organization. At this stage, that’s all I’m interested in.”