Less than two months after saying that he was retiring from coaching, Rick Pitino now says he wants to coach in the NBA.
According to ESPN, Pitino has hired prominent NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus to help him make his way back to the sidelines.
”I just want to be a part of an organization,” said. “I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it.
”I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization. That’s my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success.”
Those statements are a far cry from the ones Pitino made seven weeks ago when he was asked if he was really serious about calling it quits.
“No, I mean it,” Pitino told SB Nation. “I’ve thought about it. I wanted to jump back (into coaching) last year. I missed it terribly. I didn’t get depressed, but I didn’t know what to do with myself. I can’t play golf very well, I can’t exercise for 10 hours every day; so I was in my gym shorts from 6:45 to 6:45 at night wondering what to do. I missed it terribly.
“But I see what’s gone on, what has been said, and I realize that I’m not going to be hired, because this FBI investigation is taking forever. They’re the ones that exonerate you, but they don’t ‘exonerate’ you. They just don’t indict you. They never come out and say, ‘well we’re sorry for putting your name in a complaint, that was wrong of us to do that.’ All they say is, ‘hey, we deal with collateral damage all the time, too bad that your career got ruined.’”
Pitino may have been motivated by the events of this month’s college basketball trial in new York, in which multiple witnesses for the defense testified that the Hall of Fame head coach had no knowledge of the payments being made to Louisville recruit Brian Bowen.
If Pitino did return to the NBA, it would be his third stint in the league. Pitino led the New York Knicks to the 1989 Eastern Conference semifinals, but was just 102-146 in four years with the Boston Celtics.