Rick Pitino's last NBA coaching job with the Boston Celtics didn't work out very well. But it sounds like he wants another crack at things.
Pitino, who led the Greek club team Panathinaikos to a Greek League championship this past season, has turned down an offer to return as their head coach and president, he told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday.
The 66-year-old told Wojnarowski he's planning a "full-time pursuit" of another NBA job, either as a coach or in a player personnel or advisory role.
Pitino issued a statement Friday on Twitter thanking his former team.
Pitino comes with baggage, as he was fired as Louisville's head coach in 2017 in the wake of an FBI investigation into a "pay-for-play" scheme. He also won just 41 percent of his games (102-146) over three-plus seasons as Celtics coach from 1997 to 2001, an ugly tenure marked by his famous, "Larry Bird is not walking through that door" speech.
But Pitino did have some success in his first NBA head coaching gig with the New York Knicks (albeit 30 years ago), guiding them to the Eastern Conference semifinals after a 52-30 campaign in 1988-89. He also was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013 on the merit of a highly successful college coaching career.
Whether a front office would want to bring Pitino back onto an NBA staff remains to be seen, but he's apparently intent on finding out.
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