Bruce Pearl is rumored to be taking his talents to the NBA Development League, or D-League as it's now referred to, after being fired by the Tennessee Volunteers amid a good bit of scandal surrounding the final seasons of his NCAA basketball coaching career.
Pearl won't come cheap, if he comes at all, however. In fact, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Texas Legends are putting together a package worth $500,000 in an effort to sway Pearl toward Frisco as the successor to Nancy Lieberman.
To put that number into perspective, the best player in the D-League this past season was paid $25,500 to go with a benefits package that also included housing and insurance for his six-month stay in the NBA's official minor league. Furthermore, there was at least one head coach in the D-League this past season making less than one-tenth of the package Pearl is set to receive.
This isn't to say that Pearl wouldn't be an excellent addition to the D-League's pool of coaching talent as he obviously has the chops that it takes to find players and develop them into a winning program, but the rumored cost doesn't seem to justify the hiring when there are plenty of worthy coaches -- with experience in the league -- willing to work for so much less.
I hate to ridicule the Legends for simply doing things in an interest of marketing over everything -- though this wouldn't be the first time -- but the fact of the matter is that there doesn't seem to be any possible way of justifying the hiring of Pearl other than to guarantee more PTI play for the first few weeks of the D-League season. In a sense, it'll be like Antoine Walker's comeback last season except for a lot more money.
Will it pay off? In terms of being the best-known D-League team, sure, but that's kind of like me considering myself the best-known D-League blogger -- it isn't the biggest honor to work toward just to bestow upon one's self (and it'll probably be 500,000 years before I find myself commanding a $500,000 paycheck).
Either way, in a league that is supposed to be all about development as the name would suggest, hiring a coach that has produced only one NBA player (C.J. Watson, who ended up going through the D-League to get to the promised land) seems a bit counterproductive.
I hope it works out, but I really wish the salary wouldn't have been made public as it seems to send the wrong message on too many levels -- especially considering the NBA lockout we're currently engulfed in is partially because of the same exorbitant spending being exhibited with Pearl and the Legends.