Reports are coming out of Los Angeles that Rick Barnes is one of the primary targets for the open head coaching job at UCLA.
BREAKING: I’m hearing that UCLA is set to hire Rick Barnes. Really disappointing, especially after an embarrassing search. The way to salvage this? Figure out Dixon’s buyout and bring him to Westwood. @JoshRebholz
— BruinsBall.com (@BruinsBall) April 7, 2019
UCLA fired their former head coach, Steve Alford, after a rough start to the season the decided to not carry on with the interim, Murray Bartow.
It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Barnes could head west.
UCLA is one of the six true blue-blood basketball programs in the country with a rich history behind it. The Bruins would also be willing to pay a pretty high price for Barnes as well as paying off his $5 million buyout from Tennessee.
Barnes is also saying goodbye to a lot of talent from this year’s Vols team. Admiral Schofield and Kyle Alexander are both gone and Jordan Bone is heading to the draft (for now) with Grant Williams presumably not far behind.
Rob Lanier, Barnes’ top assistant, also just took the head coaching job at Georgia State.
Barnes leaving would essentially take all the wind out of the sails of a Tennessee basketball program that looks to have a bright futre, but he isn’t gone yet.
Latest I’ve heard is that Rick Barnes and Lon Kruger have been interviewed for the UCLA job, with Barnes considered the frontrunner. He’s 64, two years younger than Kruger, and is coming off a national-coach-of-the-season at Tennessee.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 8, 2019
To this point, the coaching search for UCLA has been pretty embarrassing. Last week, it was reported that UCLA offered John Calipari the job, but he would have to take roughly a $1.3 million pay cut per year while also having to go somewhere that has a higher price of living (yes, John Calipari actually cares about that stuff).
The offer from UCLA did spark Kentucky’s extension that they offered Calipari though. If Tennessee wants to hold on to Barnes, they are also going have to break out the check book.
It wouldn’t be surprising at all if Phil Fulmer walked into Barnes’ office tomorrow and told Barnes to name is price. Just like Kentucky did.
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