Analyst pushes narrative that Bruce Pearl could consider leaving Auburn basketball

South Carolina v Auburn
South Carolina v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages

CBS Sports' Matt Norlander spoke with Auburn basketball head coach Bruce Pearl, and while the latter didn't proclaim that he would stay on the Plains forever, he did say that it'd be a "really really hard place to leave."

Norlander harped on that lack of commitment, sharing speculation that Pearl would be contacted by schools once coaching jobs start opening at the end of the season.

"I expect Pearl to be contacted as other high-majors open in March, especially with 20-6 Auburn overshooting expectations this season; the Tigers have rated in predictive metrics as a top-10 team for basically all of 2024," Norlander wrote. "The fact he took Auburn to its only Final Four (2019) will also be the biggest selling point for potential bird dogs. He's had lottery picks, won SEC championships and established a winning culture that was previously unthinkable at that place."

That winning culture Norlander mentioned is Pearl's legacy in Auburn. It's a legacy that will mean more to Alabama residents than it would ever mean to the northeast metros if he ever took a big-money offer from a Big East school. Pearl probably knows that.

And yet, the agenda from Norlander was to continue dropping hints that a move could be imminent.

"A move doesn't have to happen, but if a move is going to happen, it sure seems like it's going to be this year or next at the latest," Norlander wrote.

"I'm anticipating another busy carousel cycle with a litany of sitting head coaches having their names attached to high-major jobs. Some will parlay this into bigger contracts, but as another prominent coach told me last week, 'I think there could be some names on the move this year that would shock you.'"

Bruce Pearl turned down 'better job' to stay with Auburn basketball before

Very few nationally want to give any credit to what Auburn basketball has become during the Pearl era and will still try to link him to other programs. Norlander's subtle attempt at this isn't the first time Pearl has been rumored to be in the mix for a "better job."

In January 2022, Pearl to Louisville was the "rumor." That rumor got as far as the Cardinals have in the ACC the past two years.

Pearl may not retire in Auburn, but it's more likely he does, eventually handing the reins over to his son Steven, than leave AU during the greatest run the program has ever seen.

That should be the agenda being pushed until there's anything substantial indicating the contrary.