If you want to play connect the dots between Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive and his reported interest in John Calipari, you can do it. Ranadive wants to make a splash when his team enters a new arena in downtown Sacramento next season; the Kings’ coaching/front office situations have had bumps in the road; his star player DeMarcus Cousins played for Calipari at Kentucky (as did the just-drafted Willie Cauley-Stein); heck, Ranadive even brought Drake (someone else with ties to Calipari) through the Kings’ locker room recently. Reports have circulated that Ranadive will make a run at Calipari next summer.
Don’t bet on it happening.
A league source with knowledge of the situation insists to ProBasketballTalk there is no validity to the claims the Kings will make a huge offer to Calipari next summer.
Whether Calipari wants to leave Kentucky is another question entirely. He may be happy just to leverage the rumors into another raise, then stay where he is king.
As for the Kings, Calipari is not someone the organization has discussed. Remember that both coach George Karl and GM Vlade Divac were hired in part because they brought business interests to the table — there were bumps in ticket sales when both were hired. Karl plays the kind of entertaining, up-tempo style that helps sell tickets (and that Ranadive wants to see). Vlade Divac is the defacto GM and a Kings’ legend as a player. Ranadive saw them as guys who could help move this team into the new building next fall.
But ultimately wins sell tickets, which is where the 4-9 Kings have struggled this season. Part of that is Cousins missing five games (four to injury, one to suspension). The team doesn’t win without him. A bigger part of the slow start is that the defense has struggled. The Kings entered the season thinking playoffs and now have a hole to dig out of to get there. If they miss the postseason again changes are not out of the question, and Ranadive can be unpredictable.
Just don’t bet on any change being a run at Calipari.