Each time an elite coach pilots his team to college basketball's showcase game, another cash-rich program or an NBA franchise desperate for a fresh start makes a run at luring him away.
In 2003, North Carolina plucked Roy Williams from Kansas. In 2008, Oklahoma State's bid to land Kansas' Bill Self failed. And now Monday morning came the latest report that the New Jersey Nets continue to target Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski despite his public denial of interest two months ago.
Thankfully, Krzyzewski took time away from his last-minute game-planning to once again insist that he hasn't been contacted and "wouldn't have any interest" if he was. Williams did not address speculation about North Carolina before the 2003 national title game, famously leading to this expletive-laden holier-than-thou tirade at CBS' Bonnie Bernstein after Kansas lost to Syracuse in 2003.
For those who scoff at the notion that Krzyzewski would entertain a lucrative offer from a losing franchise like the Nets, I wouldn't be quite so quick to dismiss it despite the Duke coach's public denials.
The Nets have a wealthy new owner who wants to win. They have enough salary cap space to make a run at signing at least one of Krzyzewski's Team USA stars. They have the best chance of any team to land the No. 1 pick in this June's NBA draft. And they're planning to relocate to a new $700 million arena in Brooklyn.
Do I expect Krzyzewski to take the Nets job? Of course not. But if he truly doesn't at least consider maybe the most attractive offer he's ever received, it's probably safe to take him at his word that the interest he had in the NBA in 2004 has disappeared and he's content to remain at Duke until he retires.
- Roy Williams