John Calipari and the Cleveland Cavaliers advanced deeply into negotiations on a seven-year, $60 million contract to become president and head coach, according to sources.
Dan Gilbert had been persistent in pursuing Calipari.
Gilbert and Calipari had discussed a package in the range of $8 million-plus a year, sources said, and it wasn't until midweek that Calipari finally rejected Cleveland and fully committed to his seven-year, $52 million extension at Kentucky.
David Griffin would have worked with Calipari in the front office, but the latter would have final say on all personnel decisions.
Beyond the financial incentives, Calipari had some intrigue with the infrastructure of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and the possibility of the No. 1 overall pick in the June draft.
Update: Marc Stein of ESPN reports that the Cavaliers' offer to Calipari was closer to $80 million over 10 years. The Cavaliers thought that landing Calipari would give the team a much better shot at convincing James to return. Wojnarowski reported a follow-up that there was talk of a transition for Calipari to become strictly president of the club and that the offer was strictly $60 million over seven years.