Rick Barnes admits money, buyout are reasons he remained at Tennessee
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Barnes was pursued by UCLA earlier this month before ultimately landing a new deal to remain at Tennessee, and the longtime coach is not trying to hide the fact that money played a huge role in his decision.

UCLA made a strong push to hire Barnes and reportedly offered him somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million per year, which would have made him one of the highest-paid coaches in college basketball. Tennessee then stepped up and countered with a new deal, and Barnes accepted it. While many feel Barnes was just capitalizing on the situation and was never actually going to leave the Vols, the 64-year-old said Tuesday that he would probably be coaching a new team right now had UCLA been willing to cover his buyout.

In an era where coaches almost always say their heart was too attached to their current program to take another job, that commentary from Barnes is surprisingly honest. It’s also a bad look for UCLA, as the Bruins reportedly missed out on both Barnes and another big-name coach due to their unwillingness to pay the buyout. UCLA also contacted Barnes without getting permission from Tennessee, so they continue to look worse and worse.

Tennessee fans may not like Barnes admitting that money was the reason he stayed with the Vols, but at the end of the day their school kept a coach that just went 31-6 and reached the Sweet 16. That’s all that really matters.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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