Rick Pitino has spoken with Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert about potentially becoming the team's head coach according to Hall of Fame basketball reporter Peter Vecsey on his Patreon page and later corroborated by Marc Stein of The New York Times. The notion of hiring Pitino as a head coach in the NBA is stunning on several levels.
As recently as a few months ago, Pitino was considered persona non grata in the coaching profession after his ouster at Louisville. While the recruiting scandal that ultimately cost him his job only really impacts his ability to coach on the college level, he struggled for over a year to find work anywhere in basketball. He eventually landed with Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos B.C., where he has a 23-1 record in Greek League play and a 16-14 mark in the more challenging EuroLeague. But coaching in the NBA is a different animal.
Pitino has done so twice. His first tenure with the New York Knicks went fairly well. He made the playoffs in both of his seasons there before leaving to coach the Kentucky Wildcats. His second stint with the pro's, however, was a complete and total disaster. He not only coached the Boston Celtics, but was in charge of personnel as the team's president. He never led the Celtics to the playoffs, made a number of poor trades including a deal that sent away No. 3 overall pick Chauncey Billups only 51 games into his rookie season, and remains enormously unpopular in Boston both for his poor performance and for stripping team legend Red Auerbach of his presidency, which he had held for decades.