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Cal coaching update: Justin Wilcox deal not yet wrapped up

We’ll see.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Spokane Practice Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Although it seems like Cal has offered Justin Wilcox the head coaching vacancy, a deal isn’t yet in place.

I can only guess why the deal is taking time to come together. There are probably plenty of sticking points between Wilcox and Cal reaching a final deal, other than the UC Regents being their usual slowpoke selves.

If I had to guess, he probably wants to ensure high assistant salary pay. Cal assistant salary has long been a trouble spot for the Bears, especially given the high cost of living in the Bay Area.

Jake Spavital is set to earn $500,000 in 2017 after $385,000 in 2016; I’d imagine that number has to rise a little bit to entice Spavital to stay if Wilcox wants him on staff, since the offensive coordinator could get offers from elsewhere.

I also imagine if Wilcox wants to bring in Tosh Lupoi back from Alabama, they have to ensure that they can provide him with a proper salary boost. Lupoi earned $550,000 as an Alabama co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach last year. I’m not sure he’d return to Cal unless salaries went up. Wilcox probably wants his offensive and defensive coordinators on approximately equal footing. If I had to predict, I’d guess somewhere in the $750,000 to $1 million range.

(And yes, as Wilner said, Lupoi himself might be the sticking point. All pure conjecture.)

The big problem is if Cal is willing to pay up for assistants The Bears are still smarting from the disastrous Andy Buh contract, which was fully guaranteed and cost Cal just over a million dollars in buyout money. Art Kaufman’s contract was only halfway complete when he and the program parted this winter, so the Bears will probably have to spend a few hundred thousand there.

Basically, Cal is probably wary of spending top dollar on assistants if the hires go awry, but it might be harder to attract assistants without higher salary packages with an extra year tacked on (three year contracts as opposed to two). If that isn’t resolved, Wilcox could have second thoughts about Cal if he doesn’t get the bankroll needed to hire the staff he wants.