If coffee is for closers, the JD Morgan Center on the UCLA campus, which is home to the UCLA Athletic Department, must be declared a coffee-free zone for the foreseeable future. In fact, I don’t think you’re allowed to bring any past the Bruin Bear, not even decaf.
Why? Because it seems like UCLA is having problems closing a deal for a new men’s basketball head coach.
First, it was John Calipari. There’s no quicker way to not close a coach than to offer him less than what he’s currently being paid, no matter how much prestige a job may have. Of course, that’s assuming there’s any prestige left after the Athetic Department finally completes this search.
Then, after offering Coach Cal $8 million dollars per year, UCLA’s Athletic Director Dan Guerrero thought the school had a deal to bring TCU coach Jamie Dixon to Westwood. How confident was Dan? He was so confident that, according to one report, he actually had the department’s PR staff begin preparations on Thursday to announce Dixon as the school’s new coach.
Is it true? Did UCLA really just lose Jamie Dixon? Hahaha Dan Guerrero supposedly organized the PR staff to prepare a statement - yesterday. A day late they may have lost him. What a debacle— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) April 5, 2019
You would think that after blowing it with Calipari and, then again with Dixon, the UCLA Athletic Department would have learned their lesson.
You would be wrong.
As if those two situations weren’t enough, now, Seth Davis is reporting that UCLA thought they had landed Barnes last night.
Per knowledgeable source: Last night UCLA thought it had all but landed Rick Barnes. Was hoping for a Tuesday press conference. Tennessee came back to Barnes with more money so UCLA is waiting on his decision. If it falls through it’s back to Mick Cronin.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) April 8, 2019
As if that’s not enough, Knoxville radio host Tony Basilio is tweeting about Barnes’ $5M buyout being a sticking point in negotiations between UCLA and Barnes.
On Barnes & UCLA two sources tell me the buyout is a real issue that probably needs to be worked out quickly if the deal is to happen between the two parties. Never a dull moment in Rocky Top. #Vols— Tony Basilio (@TonyBasilio) April 8, 2019
So, until UCLA actually announces that Barnes is the new coach, almost anything can happen.
Why? Because it certainly seems like Dan Guerrero and the Basketball Search Committee he tasked with the job of finding a new basketball coach are unable to close a deal.
It also bears repeating that you don’t flaunt an $8M per year offer to one guy and then balk at paying a buyout for what can presumably be called your second and third choices.