The return of Coach Cal? Do Kentucky woes pre-sage a John Calipari return?

USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky's loss to Robert Morris in the NIT doesn't look so bad after everyone's brackets were destroyed this weekend by the likes of Harvard and Florida Gulf Coast State. And whatever consolation John Calipari needed, his mourning was no doubt shortened by word that yet another Top 100 recruit, Julius Randle of Dallas, had decided to enroll at UK. By one estimate, Calipari could be coaching eight players who'll be picked in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Still, the Nets are in need of a coach and anyone who's read Calipari's biography knows that he regards his tenure as Nets coach and e.v.p. of basketball operations as a major blemish on his career. So it's no surprise that Marc Stein leads off his Weekend Dime with speculation about Calipari, Part Deux.

First, Stein notes, "every expert on the matter we've consulted nonetheless insists that Kentucky's nightmarish season actually makes it even less likely that we'll see John Calipari back in the NBA anytime soon."

Then, he takes off, quoting "insiders" and "coaching circles."

"Amid the ongoing presumptions in coaching circles that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will want to pursue a marquee name for his bench this summer, given that the Nets won't have the financial flexibility to make a free-agent splash, Calipari's name is bound to resurface as a top target..."

Stein then offers all the usual caveats about Calipari's great recruiting class and admits it's a "stretch" to consider, not to mention P.J. Carlesimo's success with the team. On the other hand, he notes that Prokhorov can offer "funny money." Is speculation or a well-timed tip from someone in Lexington ... or Brooklyn?

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