Lakers say Rex's tweet about Cal leaving UK 'not true'

broberts@herald-leader.comApril 7, 2014 

— ARLINGTON, Texas — A couple of hours before Kentucky and UConn played for the national title Monday night, a former Wildcat sent quite a buzz through AT&T Stadium.

Rex Chapman tweeted that UK Coach John Calipari would leave the Wildcats for the Los Angeles Lakers following this season and that the move is a "done deal."

Chapman attended Monday's national title game, and he spoke briefly to the Herald-Leader about his tweet.

"It's not a joke," he said. "That's what I'm hearing."

Chapman went on to acknowledge that the talk could be a form of misdirection by either Calipari or the Lakers, but he reiterated that he has been hearing that the move will happen from sources that he considers credible.

Read Chapman's blog post about the aftermath of the fallout from the tweet.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak told the Los Angeles Times that the rumors of the franchise hiring Calipari are "not true." Kupchak also told the Times that there have been "no conversations about any specific names" for a possible coaching vacancy.

Calipari was asked about the rumor during his post-game news conference.

“The Lakers have a basketball coach. Kentucky has a basketball coach. I have the best job in the world," Calipari said. "I’m not even going to dignify that."

The Lakers are currently coached by Mike D'Antoni, who is in the second year of a three-year contract. Los Angeles is 25-52 this season, one game out of last place in the NBA's Western Conference.

Calipari had a 72-112 record in two plus seasons with the New Jersey Nets in the late 1990s.

Chapman was a Kentucky high school star and then a UK standout from 1986-88 before spending 12 seasons playing for four teams in the NBA. He later worked in front-office roles for the Suns, Timberwolves and Nuggets.

Chapman also has been a television commentator for NBA and NCAA games, most recently calling UK's victory over Wisconsin on Saturday for TNT.

At the beginning of the second half, Chapman tweeted a photo of himself and William "World Wide Wes" Wesley standing in an AT&T Stadium suite.

Wesley -- a noted NBA power broker and friend of Calipari -- works as a consultant for Creative Artists Agency, the firm that represents the UK coach and many top NBA players.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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