Within the next 48 hours, UConn coach Kevin Ollie plans to inform an undisclosed NBA team that has expressed interest that the feeling is not mutual, according to a league source familiar with his thinking.
It is not clear which NBA team has reached out to Ollie, who guided the Huskies to the 2014- NCAA men’s basketball national championship. But according to the source, the teams are neither the Lakers nor the New York Knicks. The Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers also have head coaching vacancies.
“He never got to first base with any NBA team,” the source said.
Ollie and UConn have been negotiating for an extension that would keep him beyond his current contract that runs through the 2017-18 season, according to league sources. He made about $1.4 million, which included bonuses, and UConn’s new deal is hovering about or even above the $3 million range. Sources both familiar with Ollie and the Huskies program expect a resolution soon, although it is not clear when.
If things get worked out by UConn, he would stay with UConn,” a league source said about Ollie.
The Lakers consider Ollie one of many head coaching candidates to replace Mike D’Antoni after resigning about three weeks ago. But the Lakers are not believed to have reached out to any candidates. They are expected to make more progression with their coaching search after the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday in New York where the Lakers will learn where they will pick in the first round.
After finishing with a 27-55 record, the sixth worst in the NBA, the Lakers’ draft selection will likely fall either to sixth (43.9 percent) or seventh (30.5 percent). The Lakers have a 21.5 percent chance of climbing toward a top-three pick and have slim odds of dropping either to eight (4 percent) or nine (.1 percent).
Ollie has sparked buzz among NBA circles after guiding the Huskies to the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. During this time, Ollie has remained willing to listen to what any NBA team may offer, but has been leaning toward staying with UConn.
“People have called and asked if I’m interested, and like I always say, ‘I’m here with UConn right now and trying to work things out with our great university,’ ” Ollie said on Friday, according to the Hartford Courant. “I’m UConn-made and I want to be here for a long time. But those guys are persistent and they keep calling no matter what I say, that’s just part of the success you’ve had, the success the university has had.”