Rick Pitino is Using the Kings

I don't know if this is any sort of final word, but the full cycle of the Rick Pitino rumor has seemed to have expired.

It's a bit frustrating to see Pitino and Louisville now pop their heads up to laugh at the notion Pitino inquired about the Kings job. The university's press flak double-pinky promises Pitino isn't interested in a return to the NBA, and didn't contact the Kings. Pitino's media surrogates choke on their chuckles at the idea a coach of Pitino's Lofty Standard could be bothered to pitch his name for an opening for a dreadful team like Sacramento.

Meanwhile, three highly respected NBA writers -- the Sacramento Bee's Sam Amick, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and ESPN's Marc Stein -- all finger Pitino's camp as the initiator.

Amick:

As for the viability of the situation regarding Pitino, there have been rumblings for some time now that he was looking for a way out for reasons of both the personal and professional nature.

Wojnarowski:

Pitino hadn’t been part of the Kings’ original coaching search, because a high-priced and high-profile candidate didn’t seem to make sense for the cash-strapped organization. Now, the Maloofs are re-examining that based on the interest Pitino has shown in returning to the NBA. ... NBA executives have insisted for more than a year that Pitino has been monitoring pro openings in hopes of returning to the league for a third time as head coach.

Stein, via the Louisville Courier-Journal:

"ESPN.com's Marc Stein is reporting that Pitino's camp initiated contact with the Kings and that the Kings hadn't even considered him for the job until his camp contacted them."

For the record, I've also been told this is a case of the Maloofs -- not Petrie -- being approached by Pitino's people. The Kings didn't want Pitino, and don't want Pitino. As we all know, things can change rapidly with the Maloofs, who happen to have a gravitas fetish. So, never say never. But I'm told Pitino pushed and is pushing this story.

It's the Louisville media relations guy's job to make everyone believe the U of L is the grandest job anyone could want. Pitino, since he's apparently not coming to Sacramento, needs to convince everyone in Louisville (and his recruits) he has no NBA wonderlust. But no sane person should believe a word they say. The balance of believability is weighing against their claims far too strongly.

And this all doesn't really matter in the end, because the candidate list is still apparently led by Eddie Jordan, Dave Cowens, Paul Westphal and Mike Fratello (as reported by Amick this week). But I see a narrative that goes something like "LOLZ The Kings think they can get The Rick! Ha ha they r the suxxorz LOLLERCOPTERZ" developing.

And that simply does not appear to be the case. It appears that Pitino wants back in the NBA. There is one open NBA job. No other way to put the league on notice than to tie yourself to that opening, unless you want to put up a billboard in Philadelphia that says "Fire DiLeo already, geez!"

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