There’s an update to this story at the bottom of the article
As we wait for an announcement from Tennessee or Rick Barnes, there’s been another update to the ongoing situation revolving around Barnes and UCLA.
According to a report from Chris Low of ESPN, UCLA’s offer to Tennessee head basketball coach Rick Barnes to take over their men’s basketball program includes a package deal that would pay him a base of $5 million annually. That number doesn’t include any bonuses or incentives he may receive as part of the contract.
Currently, Barnes makes $3.25 million annually with Tennessee and has a buyout of $5 million after signing a contract extension last offseason. It was reported earlier today that Barnes met with Tennessee Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer and that Tennessee had put out a “full court press” on Barnes to keep him. That attempt reportedly included a counter offer from Tennessee.
Low also reports that not only did Barnes meet with Fulmer, but he also met with interim university president Randy Boyd about a new deal at UT.
As was reported earlier, Barnes is mulling over the decision and is expected to make a final announcement sometime Monday or Tuesday at the latest.
Per Low, a source said that Barnes “loves living in East Tennessee and loves the people in Tennessee, but is also intrigued by the chance to restore UCLA to its past glory and finish his career at such a tradition-rich basketball school.”
UCLA fired head coach Steve Alford on December 31st in the middle of his sixth season with the Bruins after a 7-6 start to the season. After Alford led UClA to a 31-win season and a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the 2016-17 season, the Bruins’ play declined over the next couple seasons, culminating in his firing mid-season this year.
The Bruins have swung and missed on several candidates so far since firing Alford, most notably Kentucky’s John Calipari and TCU’s Jamie Dixon. UCLA reportedly balked at paying Dixon’s $8 million buyout at TCU, but they reportedly would have “no problem” paying Barnes’ $5 million buyout at Tennessee.
We will update as more information becomes available.
UPDATE (4-8-19, 4:25 pm): According to Russell Bivens of WBIR, Tennessee has made a “generous” offer to Rick Barnes, though he didn’t specify how much the offer was for.
Biven also states that both UCLA and Tennessee have extended offers to Barnes that are five-year deals. The extension that Barnes signed last offseason with Tennessee signed him through the 2023-24 season and was a three-year extension that raised his annual salary to $3.25 million with a chance to earn up to $3.75 million per year thanks to bonuses and incentives.