Is Rick Pitino eyeing a job in the NBA now that many of the college basketball coaching vacancies have been filled? That could be the case.
Veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey reported on his Patreon page Saturday night that Pitino and the Cleveland Cavaliers have spoken. He says there is mutual interest between owner Dan Gilbert and Pitino, though it’s unclear for what kind of position. You can read the full report at Vecsey’s Patreon.
Pitino, 66, has been coaching in Greece since December. He led Panathinaikos to a Greek Cup victory and is coaching them in the EuroLeague playoffs.
Pitino was fired by Louisville in Oct. 2017 after being involved in a scandal involving the payment to a recruit who ended up at the school. He previously got into trouble with the NCAA and has a championship and Final Four appearance vacated over a sex scandal.
One of the best college coaches ever, Pitino has won two national championships — one in 1996 and Kentucky and another in 2013 with Louisville, which was vacated. He had two separate coaching stints in the NBA. He coached the Knicks for two seasons from 1987-1989. He coached the Celtics from 1997-2001 before resigning in the middle of his fourth season.
After being tied to some coaching vacancies, Pitino said earlier this month that he was not interested in leaving Europe for a college job. In October, he did express interest in returning to the NBA.
The Cavaliers are looking for a new head coach after parting ways with Larry Drew, who replaced Ty Lue, who was fired after an 0-6 start to the season.