Although he hasn’t ruled out any potential coaching offers, Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie and school officials are at the beginning stages of negotiating a new contract, according to league sources familiar with the situation.
These developments were first reported by Yahoo! Sports.
After guiding the Huskies to the 2014 national championship in only his second year as the team’s head coach, Ollie is expected to spark a flurry of interest should NBA teams make any coaching stages. The Lakers consider him as a candidate, but have not reached out to him yet, according to league sources.
Ollie’s current contract runs through the 2017-18 season, but both Ollie and the Huskies are mindful of his increased market value stemmed from UCONN’s success and expected heightened NBA interest. It remains to be seen when or if any clarity surrounding this issue is taking place.
Ollie has spent recent days traveling on the recruiting trail, according to league sources. There is hope for a relatively quick resolution considering the urgency in the Huskies wanted to secure what appears to be an elite college basketball coach after guiding them to a 52-18 through two seasons. But Ollie also appears to have leverage considering the inevitable outside interest.
As reported in Thursday’s editions of this newspaper, Ollie plans to entertain the Lakers’ likely pitch with some uncertainty.
“He’ll listen, but he’s real committed to his alma mater,” said a person familiar with Ollie’s thinking.
Ollie remains an intriguing option for reasons beyond guiding the seventh-seeded Huskies to a national championship in only his second season as head coach and growing up in Los Angeles as a former Crenshaw High standout.
Ollie had a non-descript 13-year NBA career, but he spent his final season in 2009-10 with Oklahoma City where star Kevin Durant told ESPN’s Bill Simmons that Ollie became a “game changer” in bolstering the organization’s culture from a 23-win record in 2008-209 toward a 50-win season and a first-round playoff appearance against the Lakers in 2009-10. Durant, who will likely become this season’s league MVP, will become a free agent in 2016.
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