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John Calipari Among College Coaches Most Likely To Be Lured To NBA, Per Rivals

Coach Cal instructing Malik Monk.

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 25: Malik Monk #5 of the Kentucky Wildcats talks with head coach John Calipari during the game against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on February 25, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Every off-season, when NBA jobs open, there are college coaches who are floated as possibilities to take a look at the next level. John Calipari, the former head coach of the New Jersey Nets, is the most often target of that speculation, but we've seen a number of other big-name coaches attached to NBA jobs recently as well.

Tom Izzo has been speculated as a match for a few jobs in recent years. This off-season, he was briefly mentioned as a possibility for the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic, especially with all of the uncertainty surrounding Michigan State in the wake of the fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal.

More interestingly, Michigan's John Beilein was down a road with the Pistons. He was reportedly one of three finalists for the job, but wound up pulling his name out. The team went on to hire former Raptors head coach Dwane Casey.

Beilein, a college lifer, was a very surprising potential NBA coach. Calipari's name being out there never surprises, and Izzo has been floated for enough jobs that his doesn't either at this point.

Rivals recently identified the seven college coaches most likely to be lured to the NBA, and John Calipari and Tom Izzo both make the cut.

It is unclear if the seven are actually ranked. Either way, Calipari is No. 1 on the list.

"Over 20 years ago, Calipari made his first leap, as he coached the New Jersey Nets for two-plus seasons. While he will be remembered for his firing, what should not be forgotten is that he did have the Nets on the precipice of consistent playoff appearances until the NBA lockout, the injury of Sam Cassell and passing on Kobe Bryant in the 1996 NBA Draft. Things have worked out well since then. Calipari has successfully recruited such prospects as Anthony Davis, John Wall, Devin Booker and DeMarcus Cousins, so he's proven he can succeed at the college level. But the itch might be there for one last shot to prove the critics wrong and show he can win in the NBA."

Calipari insists that Kentucky will be his last job. However, with someone as competitive as him, it seems hard to think he won't want another crack at the NBA to make up for that one big hole in his legacy.

Another interesting inclusion on the list is Kansas's Bill Self. Rivals writer Corey Evans makes an intriguing tie to the San Antonio Spurs job, which will likely open in the next few years when Gregg Popovich retires:

"Whether Self is the ultimate hire to replace Gregg Popovich is up for debate, but Self's background with Spurs GM RC Burford (they spent time together at Oklahoma State and Kansas), only adds fuel to the fire that Self could be the next head coach of the Spurs if the job opened up."

With Izzo, the scandals that have rocked the program could make him more amenable to looking at other opportunities.

"Izzo is a Spartan to the core, but the recent scandals at the university that have caused the ousters of some of the top university and athletic administrators - including close friend and former athletic director Mark Hollis - could change how Izzo feels. "

Head to Rivals for the full list and write-ups. A few of the inclusions are very interesting.