Report: Bill Self rejected offer to coach Cavaliers

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
7 Comments

The Cavaliers wanted to make a splash this summer.

And they sure did, signing LeBron James and trading for Kevin Love.

But before either player joined Cleveland, the Cavaliers tried to make that splash with their head coach. They turned to the college ranks, where coaches are the stars of programs and carry huge name recognition.

At different points, Cleveland was linked to Florida’s Billy Donovan, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Kansas’ Bill Self and Kentucky’s John Calipari.

The Cavaliers’ pursuit of Calipari drew the most attention, though he downplayed it.

Self also downplayed his interaction with Cleveland:

We visited about the job. At no point in time was there any serious discussion about anything. We visited in general but no serious discussions about it or anything like that.

But perhaps the discussions got more serious – at least on one end – than Self admitted.

Brian Windhorst speaking on ESPN:

They offered this job to Bill Self of Kansas. They offered this job to John Calipari at Kentucky and a huge contract, reportedly over $10 million a year. They both said no.

If Self turned down the job, I wonder how much he’s kicking himself now. I’m sure he’s happy at Kansas, which pays him well.

But the chance to coach LeBron is special.

Of course, David Blatt won that lottery, joining the Cavaliers just before LeBron signed. Add Love to a mix that already included Kyrie Irving, and expectations are sky high.

I’m also a bit surprised Self warranted an offer. He deserves consideration, and maybe he’ll jump to the NBA at some point. But given the terrible track record of college-to-pro coaches, I’m hardly sold on Self as an NBA coach. Unless his talks with Cleveland went really well, I wouldn’t have offered him.

I think the Cavaliers came out ahead with Blatt, anyway.