Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Peter Vescey Walks Back His Calipari-To-Knicks Rumor

I forbid political commentary from this site for more than one reason -- not only is it divisive and impossible to discuss rationally, but it also is rife with elements of rumor, innuendo, and that infamous process known as "floating trial balloons."  For those of you unfamiliar with trial balloons, that's where something being considered is leaked to the press through back channels with the expectation it will get reported.  The leakers then gauge public reaction and adjust their thinking accordingly.

The trial baloon that Peter Vescey broke in April right after the Final Four went thus; that Knicks owner James Dolan had the idea of "retiring" Donnie Walsh, the Knicks president, and by implication, sending Mike D'Antoni packing for a coach that has at least a nodding relationship with the concept of defense.  Vescey then suggested unnamed sources told him that Dolan was thinking about hiring John Calipari to New York as the President/GM/Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel, and handing him the keys to the Knicks kingdom.

I was warned by reputable sources that I shouldn't scoff too much about this idea.  Of course, I never scoff at plausible if unlikely rumors -- who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, especially NBA team owners?

Judging by the reaction on Twitter and on the blogs, it seems likely to me that Knicks fans with a voice overwhelmingly disliked the idea of John Calipari as kingpin of their favorite pro team, and thus the trial balloon fell with sufficient force among Knickerbocker fans to create a crater large enough to see from space.  Needless to say, the vast majority of the Big Blue Nation did nothing to diminish the discomfort of Knicks fans for the idea.

Today, however, Vescey tries to walk back the rumor he started (that it might be a trial balloon apparently never crossed his mind) in a most interesting way -- he basically claims that Calipari revealed to him that Walsh and D'Antoni would be back:

"They tell me both guys are coming back," he [Calipari] stated. "Then again, they also told me the Knicks were going to get LeBron James."

It's unnecessary to ask who "they" are. It's well-known they are CAA's talent-hoarding force field, agents Leon Rose and Wes Wesley.

So now John Calipari himself is a reliable source for what Dolan will be doing with his team?  So says Vescey, reasoning that Calipari's connection with William Wesley and CAA are enough, since ostensibly it was via Wesley that Dolan was making his pitch to Cal.

So now that we suddenly "know" the fate of both Walsh and D'Antoni (albeit from a most unlikely source), Vescey decides Calipari is wrong about at least D'Antoni:

I soundly suspect Walsh long since stopped being enamored with D'Antoni's coaching-by-the-clock-versus-game-situations, defensively-delinquent competence. It amuses me how coaches (the Bulls' Tom Thibodeau being the anti-D'Antoni) demand players perform at both ends, yet coach only one end . . . and get anointed for it.

Here's the second and more important reason it's unfathomable D'Antoni will get an extra $6 million tacked on to his original four-year, $24 million deal: Other than Amar'e Stoudemire, whose numerous differences with D'Antoni when both worked for the Suns miraculously became non-issues once he joined New York for $99 million, not a single consequential Knicks thinks their coach can coach.

So what does this tell us?  Well, even Vescey does not need to spell it out, but I will.  Calipari will not be coming to the Knicks while Walsh is there -- he has already been there and done that. 

Vescey is certainly in a better position to know about D'Antoni, but my humble opinion, the idea of D'Antoni shunning the last year of his contract on the principle that he deserves an extension is somewhat questionable.  Despite the fact that the Knicks got swept in the playoffs, D'Antoni has been faced with coaching an ever-changing roster as Walsh has tried to rebuild the team from the ashes of the Isiah Thomas Self-Immolation.  D'Antoni certainly deserves one year with a quality roster to prove that he has the right stuff, and my hunch is that he'll get the opportunity and take it.

The bottom line for Wildcat fans is that the day Walsh signs on the dotted line, the Calipari-to-Knicks rumor loses all it's force and vanishes like the smoke and mirrors I have always suspected it was.

But that hasn't happened yet.

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