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Should John Calipari jump to the NBA?

Short of making the Eastern Conference Finals, it is hard to imagine Brooklyn Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo lasting past this season. 

At the same time, John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats did not make the NCAA Tournament and are even coming off a loss to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT.

Seemingly, these are two coaches who will be home earlier than expected.

The rumors have been around for a while, but is now the time for Coach Cal jump ship and head back to the NBA? Would he be a good fit in Brooklyn?

Every time a major coaching job comes up, Calipari's name is at least mentioned. It will be mentioned this summer with the Nets. It will be mentioned if the Los Angeles Clippers figure out that Vinny Del Negro is not a good coach and it will get mentioned if for some reason Mike D'Antoni does not survive the summer as Los Angeles Lakers' head coach. 

The question is not whether the NBA wants Calipari. Teams looking to make a splash will want him.

Which is why Brooklyn makes sense, even if he did finish his first run with the Nets with a 72-112 record in just more than two seasons.

Whether Calipari is ready to leave Kentucky is not a slam dunk (pardon the pun). Calipari has turned the NCAA's one-and-done rule into the perfect situation. He recruits the best talent in the country, tells them he will groom them for one year to get ready for the NBA, contends for a national title and then brings in fresh recruits to repeat the process. 

This year did not go as planned for a couple of reasons.

Nerlens Noel, one of the top freshmen in the nation and still a top prospect on many NBA Draft boards, tore his left ACL last month, ending his season.  While not on the level of Anthony Davis, Noel was a defensive force who could protect the rim and guard the perimeter. 

Andy Lyons/Getty Images/ZimbioKentucky's other problem this year was that Noel's fellow freshman Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress did not live up to the hype that was built up before the season started.

In short, luck and slower than expected development in some players resulted in a down year for Kentucky.

A down year does not mean the beginning of the end for Kentucky. Calipari has an incoming class that rivals last year's national championship team. Signed are Andrew and Aaron Harrison, twins who are the number one rated point guard and shooting guard recruits in the country according to ESPN. Dakari Johnson, ESPN's top rated center, has also committed to Kentucky and Andrew Wiggins, who would easily be the top pick in this year's draft if eligible, also has Kentucky on his short list. 

Not to mention Poythress and Goodwin indicated they might return in comments made after the loss to Robert Morris.

The future in Lexington is bright.

It is true Calipari is tight with Nets minority owner Jay-Z, and superstars like LeBron James include him as a close ally. Those are strong recruits for bringing Calipari back to the NBA. 

There is also the idea of wanting to rectify his one failure in his coaching career when he led the Nets nowhere fast more than a decade ago. And yes, there is also Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov deep pockets and desire to make a splash — and win a championship. 

All of these things mean Calipari could probably name his price and call his shots. But going to the NBA means having to worry about the salary cap, the bad contracts the Nets have added and other roster building roadblocks he does not have to worry about on the recruiting trail.

Calipari also received a raise last May, boosting his salary to $5.2 million annually, more than most NBA coaches. Between his ability to contend for a national title year in and year out and an insane amount of job security, it is difficult to see Calipari wanting to leave his current situation. 

The Nets, while a good team, are not on the Heat's level. You could see Calipari leaving to coach LeBron and some of his old players like Davis or John Wall, but Brooklyn sounds like a long shot unless he feels compelled to make up for his last run with the Nets or Prokhorov makes a ridiculous Godfather offer that pays Calipari eight figures and gives him complete roster control.

Photo: CBS Sports

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