Will Brad Stevens stay put?

ESPN rumors reports on the possibility of Brad Stevens taking a job elsewhere.

Given that the school can’t afford to pay Stevens a top salary, it probably can’t make his buyout price high enough to faze a BCS-level school either.

One thing that’s working in the school’s favor is time. The run to the championship game means many schools that had Stevens in mind have already filled their positions. With Oliver Purnell going to DePaul and BC looking ready to hire Cornell’s Steve Donahue, Oregon and now Clemson are the only schools that can offer a world-beating financial package.

The Register-Guard reports that Oregon AD Pat Kilkenny was in Indianapolis this weekend and reportedly has his eye on Stevens:

The problem, if there is one, is that if Stevens is suddenly on Oregon’s radar, he’s also on everyone else’s. He’s more attractive than he was three weeks ago, and his price is probably higher.

But Oregon is the best job currently available. And Stevens’ salary (around $900,000) is relatively low, so the price is right.

Stevens’ style is not frenetic. It’s defense-first, with a fairly deliberate offense. But all this talk about pace and having to have an entertaining style is bunk, anyway.

There’s a lot to like about Stevens. The Bulldogs had one of the best defenses in the country this season. In the tournament, they held their opponents to 42% shooting and forced 14.8 turnovers a game. The only team to crack the 60-point mark in the Bulldogs’ last eight games was Duke, who scored 61. (And the Blue Devils averaged 77.3 on the season.) They don’t have the best athletes in the world, but they play great positional defense, a la Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers. Great defense starts with the coach. It’s very likely that wherever Stevens goes, his teams will play very good defense — and that translates to wins.

Stevens’ slow-it-down style might leave him out in the cold with regard to certain recruits, who want to score a lot of points and increase their NBA profile. But look at Gordon Hayward — his NBA profile is doing just fine. While Butler didn’t play at a fast pace this season, they were pretty efficient offensively, and Stevens has enough sense that he’ll push the tempo if his personnel allows it.

Oregon is actually a nice fit because the Pac-10 is down and Stevens would have a chance to create a perennial winner the right way. If he were to build a team in the Butler style it wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all the talent in the conference, as it might be in the ACC or the Big East.

Then again, as Andy Katz writes, he has a great situation in Butler.

But it’s no secret that the Bulldogs have something special brewing. They always had historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, and now they’ve got a possible back-to-back Final Four team with the likely return of Hayward, Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack, Ronald Nored, Shawn Vanzant, Zach Hahn, Andrew Smith and a recruiting class that the Bulldogs are raving about, led by small forward Khyle Marshall.

But will that be enough to rebuke Oregon’s offer, which will be reportedly bolstered by Pat Knight and Nike? The Ducks may end up tripling Stevens’ current salary of $900,000, and that type of financial security could be too much to pass up.

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