Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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When Derek Fisher’s NBA career ended less than two weeks ago, his new potential career had already garnered a large amount of media attention. All of that speculation came to an end on Monday when Fisher signed a 5-year, $25 million contract to coach the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson finally got his guy. Jackson had searched for weeks to find the next best thing to himself as the Knicks next coach and that would be his former player. As much as I love Derek Fisher and believe that he will be a great coach in this league one day, he is getting paid quite a handsome price for a guy that has zero NBA coaching experience and this is becoming a much more common occurrence in today’s NBA.
This new trend in the NBA really started last year when successful Butler University head coach Brad Stevens agreed to a 6-year, $22 million contract to coach the Boston Celtics and Jason Kidd jumped from the hardwood to the head job with a 4-year, $10.5 million deal from the Brooklyn Nets. Granted, Stevens went to two straight NCAA Championship games with the Bulldogs and Kidd enjoyed 20 seasons in the NBA, but for a guy out of the Horizon League and another with no coaching experience, these NBA organizations are beginning to reach outside the box for their future.
While none of these contracts really bother me, I am the kind of guy that would rather have a coach with at least a little NBA coaching experience to man my product. With that said, the Derek Fisher signing is just peanuts compared to the stupid contract that was reportedly offered to John Calipari. The University of Kentucky’s head basketball coach, John Calipari, declined a reported 10-year deal in the range of $80 million to be the next coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. I understand that Calipari has NBA coaching experience with the New Jersey Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers, but not only does this deal make me sick, it reminds me that NO COACH is worth that kind of money.
I get that Calipari is one of the biggest names in college athletics today and that his name carries a lot of weight, but for a guy that can’t produce without McDonald’s All-Americans filling his roster, the Cleveland Cavaliers are not the place for him! As a Cavs fan, I will admit that besides Kyrie Irving, our roster is a little mediocre to say the least. That kind of money should be used on other players that you can bring in to play with Kyrie, not on the coach.
Besides some of the top college programs, I have never heard anyone say that they are going to a basketball game to watch the coach. Especially in the NBA, the fans pay to see a good product and while coaching is a big part of it, the talent you throw out on the floor every night is the main source of your success. I could be totally wrong and Calipari may have been the right guy for the job. Even though I am thankful that Calipari didn’t take the contract, the real problem starts with the front office that made the horrendous offer!
Sometimes we have to overpay to get what we want and even though the price is a bit high for me, Phil Jackson did what he had to do to get the right guy with his shared basketball mind. I will always be a fan of Derek Fisher and wish him nothing but the best as he begins his coaching career. Let’s just hope that he can succeed with what he has and be thankful that it didn’t take an $80 million offer to do it.
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