(This is more than just an excuse for me to talk about the Celtics, I promise.)
Tonight's Game Six between the Celtics and the Cavs could become one of the most important basketball games in recent history. If LeBron James and Cleveland get bounced from the playoffs by the Celtics (especially after their dismal Game Five performance), the chances of LBJ leaving Cleveland and shaking up the entire league will be higher than ever.
But the chances of Cleveland doing whatever it can to keep their star will also be higher than ever. Cavs coach Mike Brown is a virtual lock to be dismissed if Cleveland loses tonight. If you want to do everything you can to keep LeBron, could that include making an offer to LeBron's "close personal friend" John Calipari? And both in terms of dollars and the chance to coach LeBron...could that be an offer Cal couldn't refuse?
A number of outlets are exploring this scenario this morning:
- John Pennington cites the NY Daily News and says a Cal-LeBron combo could pop up in Cleveland or Chicago.
- The Dagger also points out that Cal sat next to LeBron's agent and the Cavs' owner during Game Five in discussing this scenario.
- The always excellent A Sea of Blue looks at the entire Calipari whirlwind and asks "Is it worth it?" - as fans who just spent a year defending a coach everyone else hated (with a lot less winning along the way), we can relate to the effort behind the question.
Tonight's game could shake up the NBA...but it could also shake up the SEC, if rumors (which is all we have here) are to be believed. As a Celtics fan, I wouldn't want to see Cleveland start running the DDM with LeBron still in their uniform.
And here's the other question - as Tennessee fans, isn't there some part of us that, secretly or openly, enjoys having Calipari in our lives? If he left Kentucky, there is no one else they could hire that would make this rivalry as passionate as it is right now for us. This is not like Rick Pitino leaving for the NBA, after he beat the Vols like a drum for a decade. Bruce Pearl can stand toe to toe with Calipari and beat his very best teams, we've already seen it.
Would we really want Calipari to leave?