Rick Pitino wants to return to NBA as coach or in front office role

Kurt Helin
NBC Sports

Rick Pitino could have stayed in Greece, enjoying dolmades and coaching Panathinaikos, the Greek League champion.

Instead, he wants to return to the NBA.

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Pitino, the Hall of Fame coach most recently in the United States coaching Louisville (where he left amid an ugly recruiting scandal that included strippers and prostitutes for players), spoke to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Rick Pitino has turned down an offer to return as president and coach of Panathinaikos, the franchise he led to a Greek League championship this season, Pitino told ESPN on Friday.

The Naismith Hall of Fame coach said he wants to return to the full-time pursuit of a job in the NBA — as a coach or in a player personnel or advisory role…

“I’m not looking for any of that [control] at this stage of my life,” Pitino told ESPN in December. “I want to develop teams and develop players and build a winner. I value analytics. I want to fit into an organization. At this stage, that’s all I’m interested in.”

Whether an NBA team would bring in Pitino in any role remains to be seen.

Pitino was the coach and GM of the Celtics for four years, up until 2001, but he struggled to do both jobs (as most do in that position) and eventually he stepped down and returned to the college game. In the late 1980s, he had some success as the coach of the Knicks.

 

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