Jackson's contract with the Lakers expires after this season. The 10-time champion has talked about retirement and recently said he can't imagine himself coaching anywhere else, but that may not stop Gilbert from making him a strong pitch — especially if James is part of the package.
Krzyzewski and James formed a strong bond in three seasons together on the U.S. Olympic team, winning a gold medal in Beijing two years ago. Krzyzewski came close to leaving Duke for the Lakers in 2004, and if he's ever going to test his mettle in the pro game, the opportunity to coach James could be enough to pry him from campus.
Also, assuming he stays, Ferry is close with Krzyzewski, whom he played for in college and still calls "coach."
"The NBA rumors have been addressed several times in recent years by coach Krzyzewski," Duke spokesman Jon Jackson said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "He has repeatedly stated that he will be the Duke head coach for the remainder of his career."
Gilbert has always been impressed with Izzo, who fits the tough-minded defensive profile the owner was looking for when he hired Brown in 2005. Also, Gilbert is a Michigan State graduate. Izzo has turned down previous NBA overtures, but maybe none as big as what Gilbert might offer.
And then there's Calipari, who has insisted he'll stay at Kentucky. But that's not likely to stop the Cavs from reaching out to Calipari to gauge his interest in coming to Cleveland, a move that could keep James home.
Brown, meanwhile, did everything in his five seasons with the Cavs - everything but win a title. In the end, that meant Gilbert had little choice but to let him go.
The Cavs owner can't let James walk away as easily.
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