John Calipari readily admits he dreams of coaching LeBron James.
And with the four-time league MVP able to opt out of his Miami Heat deal and become a free agent this summer and the Cavs rumored to have confidante Calipari at the top of their wish list as their next coach, some are speculating the Kentucky coach could soon get his chance.
For months now, rumors have persisted if James were to opt out of his deal with the Heat, he may be open to a Cleveland return, a city where he spent the first seven years of his career and is just a stone’s throw from the Akron home where he was born and raised.
“Are you kidding me?” Calipari told Cleveland.com when asked if he might be interested in coaching the now 29-year-old James. “Have a chance to coach the best player in the world? Yes, I would love to coach him. But what’s happened is our careers are crisscrossing without crossing. I’m not sure whether this is his last contract, or his next-to-last contract. But I would tell you if I had a chance to, I would absolutely.”
After parting ways with Mike Brown after just one season, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is thought to want to make a big-name hire this summer, as the team desperately tries to convince All-Star and free-agent-to-be guard Kyrie Irving to remain with the organization.
While stressing he remains committed to the Wildcats, Calipari told the website “you’d have a chance to say, ‘I coached here and I coached Derrick Rose and I coached LeBron James.’ Yes, I would love to coach him. But he and I have never discussed it.”
No matter who lands the gig, Calipari is convinced the new coach will be getting a grand opportunity.
“The great news for the city of Cleveland is you have a great organization,” he said “There are teams that are trying to make money. There are teams that are just trying to get by. You have an organization there — it’s not about money for them. It’s about bringing a championship to Cleveland and what that means to the city of Cleveland.”