After 18 hours of speculation, it sounds like the ball is officially in Rick Barnes’ court. The UCLA Bruins have come after Tennessee’s head coach, just days removed from the Vols exit in the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
The common thought around the situation was that Barnes was simply leveraging the UCLA situation for a raise at Tennessee. The deeper this thing goes, the more Barnes appears to be legitimately interested in the UCLA job.
ESPN’s Chris Low is now reporting that UCLA has offered Barnes five million per season. He also reports that Tennessee has offered Barnes a new deal in an attempt to try and keep him around.
UCLA has offered Rick Barnes $5 million a year, and Tennessee has also come to the table with a new deal, sources tell ESPN. Barnes is wrestling with the decision. He loves living in Tennessee, but the chance to restore UCLA to its past glory is enticing. https://t.co/hYaGcVEubA— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) April 8, 2019
Barnes seems legitimately torn by the two options. As Low notes, the appeal of trying to restore UCLA before he retires is what has him interested.
As Wes Rucker notes, the deal being offered by UCLA wouldn’t exactly be a raise for Barnes, when you consider taxes and cost of living.
If UCLA offered Rick Barnes $5 million per year, that would actually be a $280,000 PAY CUT from his current #Vols deal, once you factor in California state income taxes and cost of living in Los Angeles.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) April 8, 2019
So, no, this isn’t about money.
That tells me the interest is real. Did Tennessee offer enough to keep him? Does a dollar figure even matter? We’re about to find out.