Calipari is not going to Chicago, he's negotiating with Kentucky

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John Calipari is not going to be the next Chicago Bulls coach.

It’s not very hard to get there, to follow the trail of media stories and derive a motive here. In an often murky world of leaks and rumors, this story shakes out as pretty straight forward.

First, Yahoo reports, based on a source, that Calipari would love to coach the Chicago Bulls, a job that just opened up when they fired Vinny Del Negro.

Just hours later, the University of Kentucky announces that they are negotiating a new deal, and extension of Calipari’s existing deal of eight years at nearly $4 million annually.

Then today, Sam Amick of Fanhouse tells us the Bulls have actually not heard from Calipari.

According to the source, the Bulls are unaware whether Calipari has interest and neither he nor his representative nor even back-channel colleagues had made his interest known as of earlier Wednesday.

To gain the upper hand in negotiations, you need leverage. For a coach, that means demand for services. Even the hint of demand can lead to things like Notre Dame giving Charlie Weis a 10-year extension long before it was earned on the field.

So Calipari needs to create some demand for his services to get the best deal out of Kentucky. A good plan would be to have o one of his people leak he wants the Bulls job — and it’s really easy to draw some William Wesley connections from the coach to Derrick Rose and LeBron James… and you have a story.

Don’t even need to actually talk to the team.

Calipari has a history of publicly praising the job he is at — as he has done in recent days — while angling for a new job privately. But if you are seriously angling for a new job, you reach out to the employers. You have to actually make an effort. He’s represented by CAA and World Wide Wes, if he wanted to reach out to
the Bulls don’t you think that’d be done by now?

It doesn’t sound like Calipari is doing that here. Oh, he probably will talk to the Bulls at some point, but the fact he hasn’t yet implies that this is all about creating negotiating leverage, not coaching.

Sixers to retire Moses Malone’s number next season

Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone

Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.

There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.