On September 5th, Rick Pitino told Get Up’s Mike Greenberg that he was done coaching. Fifty-four days later, Pitino hired Drew Rosenhaus as his agent, and told ESPN that he wants to coach in the NBA again.
Pitino told ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski, “I just want to be a part of an organization. I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it”.
Pitino was fired at Louisville after a FBI probe into the Cardinal recruiting tactics. He was accused of knowing about a $100,000 payment made by Adidas executives to former five-star recruit Brian Bowen’s family.
Despite the recent FBI probe, Pitino must overcome a much larger obstacle convincing league executives and owners that his ego will not be detrimental to an organization’s front office. Many GMs around the league have voiced their concerns regarding Pitino because they are hesitant that Pitino would be difficult to work with.
Aside from several accusations and ego issues, Pitino has proven his worth as a basketball coach both in the NBA and NCAA. As president and coach of the Boston Celtics from 1997-2001, he led the Celtics to a 102-146 record. It is believed that his dual role resulted in lack of success for the organization. However, in his short two-year stint as coach of the New York Knicks, Pitino won an Atlantic Division title and reached the playoffs twice. As the coach of Kentucky and Louisville, he will forever be mentioned in the same breath with the most legendary college basketball coaches, winning two national championships and reaching five Final Fours throughout his career.
“I want to develop teams and develop players and build a winner, “Pitino told ESPN. “I value analytics. I want to fit into an organization. At this stage, that’s all I’m interested in.”
After the firing of Cavaliers head coach, Tyronn Lue, over the weekend, could the Cavaliers be the first organization to take a chance on Pitino? The Cavs may be the perfect landing spot for Pitino due to his ability to maximize the talent of young players on the floor.