Most coaches never love their teams as much as you do. This is an important fact fans rarely consider when coaching changes occur. They condemn smart, aspirational, full-grown men for leaving to pursue a better opportunity. They yell and shake their fists and go on message boards and commiserate with each other about feeling “betrayed.” They try to rationalize the move by telling themselves their former coach will fail at his new job, or that his replacement will be just as good or better than the former coach ever was. Really, though, coaching changes are a lot less complicated than that. When coaches leave jobs of their own volition (but for a few exceptions), they are typically acting in their own best interests (financial and otherwise). Doing what’s best for their careers. Untying emotion from an important professional decision. Making a smart, rational choice. So when it seems like a coach would never, ever, leave his current job – that he’s such a good fit, no other job offer would ever tempt him – think again. Coaches, like most of the rest of us, have proven over time that they are always looking for the next best move.
Which brings us to Kentucky coach John Calipari. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote an interesting column yesterday suggesting Calipari is a logical candidate to become the next head coach of the New York Knicks. Before we get to Kentucky’s wildly popular coach, a few words the Knicks’ convoluted front office situation:
For those of you who don’t follow the NBA, know that the Knicks are more reliant on one player, Carmelo Anthony, than any other team in the league (you can make an argument for the Lakers and Kobe, or the Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving). Since trading for the former Syracuse star in February 2011, the Knicks have tried to improve their roster by adding players that best complement Anthony’s skills. He is the centerpiece, the superstar, the main attraction. Without him, the Knicks would be an afterthought in the Eastern Conference. The prospect of Anthony leaving the Knicks through free agency this summer, when he can opt out of his contract, makes Knicks fans shudder. It would also be a huge blow to the Knicks’ chances of competing for an NBA championship, the goal owner James Dolan had in mind when he allegedly strong-armed former GM Donnie Walsh into compromising the team’s future by trading multiple draft picks and young players for Anthony. So the Knicks are doing everything in their power to make sure Anthony is happy in New York – that he won’t consider opting out and joining a different team this summer, even if it means a clearer path to an NBA Championship.