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Report: Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari open to returning to NBA

Fansided logo Fansided 6/16/2021 John Buhler
John Calipari in a blue shirt © Provided by Fansided

John Calipari could potentially leave the Kentucky basketball program to return to the NBA.

With many NBA head-coaching openings now available, could Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari be thinking about a return to professional ranks?

Yahoo Sports' Ben Rohrbach and Vincent Goodwill report Calipari is open to leaving Kentucky for the NBA.

Though Calipari has won 78.5 percent of his games over 12 seasons at Kentucky, there is a growing belief he has maxed out what he can do in Lexington, according to the report.

"He may have maxed out at Kentucky," a high-ranking executive told Yahoo Sports.

"College basketball is a sinking ship," another executive told Yahoo Sports. "He is much different than his first go-round but that ego is hard to tame."

After first rising to prominence in the 1990s with the UMass Minutemen, Calipari had a brief run in the NBA with the then-New Jersey Nets. Upon returning to the college game in 2000, he has had great success with the Memphis Tigers and now the Kentucky Wildcats.

Kentucky basketball: John Calipari may leave Wildcats for an NBA job

The college game continues to evolve, and the king of one-and-done has to adjust to the era of the transfer portal and NIL. Calipari may be an elite recruiter, but this new era of college hoops is exhausting.

Kentucky is coming off its worst season in generations with a disastrous 9-16 (8-9) campaign so leaving the blue blood high and dry would be a bit of a shocker. Calipari does have a "lifetime" contract at Kentucky where he continues to recruit at an elite level and develop future NBA stars, but perhaps he's ready for a change?

Though he has his shortcomings as an in-game tactician, Calipari is at his best coaching stars and getting talented players to buy into the team concept. If he goes to the right organization, he could be an outstanding NBA head coach very quickly. The Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards could present intriguing options.

For more NCAA basketball news, analysis, opinion and features, check out more from the FanSided college basketball section to stay on top of the latest action.

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