INDIANAPOLIS -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in February that it would be easy to say "Nyet' if the New Jersey Nets contacted him about coaching their team, which they will reportedly do.
But he said it wasn't so easy to turn down the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004.
"I was more than tempted. I seriously considered it,'' he told a mass of media Sunday as his team prepared for tonight's national championship game against Butler. "One, because it was the Lakers. Mitch [Kupchak, the GM] is great. It would have been an opportunity to work with Kobe [Bryant]. He and I are very close.
"I guess because I did not accept it, it really speaks to, you know, how much I love Duke and college basketball, but especially Duke. When we were talking a little bit earlier, a few minutes ago, about commitment -- Duke has been committed to me when I wasn't with Knight and Rupp and those guys [as far as win totals]. They were committed to me when we were 38-47. Just from where I'm from, whatever, that will never leave my heart, that type of commitment.
"So I'll be at Duke even after I stop coaching. You know, that's where I'm gonna be."
Citing unnamed sources, NorthJersey.com reports that incoming Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will offer Krzyzewski between $12 million and $15 million to be the team’s head coach and perhaps its general manager. Despite the paycheck, it could be a hard sell -- the Nets own the NBA's worst record, and are a far cry from contending for titles.
Last summer, Krzyzewski -- who is also the head Olympic coach -- said he will spend the remainder of his coaching career at Duke.