The timing was awkward when John Calipari was asked just after his Kentucky team had lost in the national championship game whether he might be heading to Los Angeles to coach the Lakers, but the question had to be asked.
“The Lakers have a coach,” Calipari said, addressing a rumor started by tweet by former Kentucky star Rex Chapman. “Kentucky has a basketball coach. I got the best job in the country. I’m not going to even dignify that stuff.”
There was, as everyone immediately noted, an absence of the word “no” in there.
After the Wildcats’ 60-54 loss to UConn and the attention his tweet drew, Chapman wasn’t backing off on Twitter.
Ppl are nuts 2 believe John Calipari & Kevin Ollie both won’t be in high-demand over the next few weeks. Every year for Cal. KO def rt now.— Rex Chapman (@rexchapman) April 8, 2014
The Lakers, whose miserable season will end next week, have a coach and they denied that Mike D’Antoni isn’t going to return. The “rumor is untrue,” General Manager Mitch Kupchak said of the Calipari buzz.
Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said he and Calipari haven’t discussed whether the coach might head West.
“Cal’s been great, he’s been a great ambassador for this program and he cares a lot about Kentucky,” Barnhart said Monday night (via SI.com). “So clearly we love how he represents what we do. He looks great in blue. You live day to day with people and you trust what they do. For five years now, I think I know him fairly well. If there was anything I need to be concerned with, he and I have had conversations, and in those conversations he’s been very, very focused on this tournament. His total focus this season, especially this last month and a half, has been to get the team to a spot where we could compete for something like this. I think he’s done a marvelous job doing that.”