Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl is likely set to take over the Texas Legends, the Dallas Maverick's D-League affiliate that went 24-26 and made it to the playoffs in the 16-team, two-conference organization last season. ESPN's Marc Stein reported the team's initial invitation this afternoon, and with a press conference scheduled with Donnie Nelson tomorrow, NBA.com's Art Garcia presumes the deal might be done. The Legends "could neither confirm nor deny" that Pearl has officially been hired, so we'll go ahead and speculate that they're just waiting for the ink to dry to make it official.
Pearl, to his credit, had assigned a decidedly optimistic spin to the initial interest.
"When the world champions call, you have to listen," he said.
In Texas, Pearl would fill a role that's rather high-profile for the league: last season, the team was coached by Nancy "Lady Magic" Lieberman, the former pro-turned-movie star and the first woman to coach a men's professional basketball team. She received national attention for the job (even the New Yorker noticed!), but has decided to move to the front office and will be the Legends' assistant general manager next year. The Legends are also, of course, owned and managed by the reigning NBA champions. For Pearl, who shouldn't have any high-profile college offers any time soon, it might be a sensible move. It's certainly a better market than the Maine Red Claws could have provided for him.
Otherwise, the next potential step in Pearl's post-Tennessee career path is the broadcasting booth, which we imagine would pay more than any D-League gig. But if he's committed to returning to the sideline in any significant role, he'd be wise to head to Frisco. At least they'll definitely be playing come November.