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Quite a few people thought that Tom Izzo was showing serious interest in the Cavs job because it was all about the money with him. Whether it resulted in a pay raise by going to the NBA or by increasing his leverage with Michigan State, for some reason that was the belief many people held about Izzo.
I think it was pretty obvious that this was never about the money, especially at Michigan State. Although it's possible Izzo will get a new contract that includes a slight increase in salary after all of this, it won't be because he asked for it.
Izzo didn't ask for a single cent more from MSU or any demands. That's what Mark Hollis told me tonight.
Add this to the list of things (e.g. Izzo did this for the publicity and attention) some people thought about Tom Izzo that were just not even remotely true. You can certainly see why he was upset with the media, because many did their best to give off the impression that he was looking at the Cavs job for reasons that were untrue.
The Big Ten Network has uploaded the part of Tom Izzo's press conference where he took questions from the media for nearly 37 minutes. While many of his answers were very interesting, the main focus of the Q&A session was on when Izzo went toe to toe with Lynn Henning of the Detroit News. The back and forth lasted for 10 or so minutes and touched on a number of topics involving the media and their coverage of this story.
The context of this whole Henning/Izzo thing (it starts at the 13:20 mark of the video at the end of this post) is that Henning had a problem with some comments MSU president Lou Ann K. Simon made about how the media covered this story. Athletic director Mark Hollis reiterated the general theme that the media was careless with how this story was handled, and Henning decided to use Izzo's press conference as a forum to express his displeasure with comments that were, in his view, a "blanket indictment of media."
From there this thing snowballed into what was essentially a debate about the media. First Henning lectured Izzo about how MSU provided such little information throughout this whole process. Izzo then pointed out that Henning had not been around the MSU program very much in recent years and proceeded to call him out for his awful column about how it was too late for Izzo to return to MSU. Then Izzo discussed his approach to handling the media and why some experiences from this past year have changed how he interacts with reporters and journalists.
It looked like this bizarre episode was about to come to a close, but Henning continued it by once again making himself the story as he jokingly complained about not being invited to a dinner or luncheon Izzo had with local media members. The purpose of the meeting was for Izzo to get feedback from the local media members that cover the MSU basketball program on a daily basis and to get everybody on the same page. For some reason Henning seemed genuinely upset that he was left out, which makes no sense since he is not a beat reporter for MSU basketball.
In general Henning really came off as looking quite idiotic throughout this whole back and forth between he and Izzo. Aside from the fact that Henning hijacked the press conference and inserted himself into the story, his sense of entitlement was quite pathetic. Neither Izzo nor MSU owed Henning information about every detail that was going on with the Cavs job, and the fact that Henning was so upset over everything was quite lame. What's more, if he had such a big problem with how all of this went down, then he should have talked to Izzo privately on his own time, not in the middle of a press conference. The whole thing reeked of Henning wanting attention, which shouldn't come as a surprise considering he wrote such a radical, attention-seeking column the other day.
Anyways, the video can be found below, and as stated earlier, the Henning episode starts at the 13:20 mark.
Michigan State's official website has made audio of tonight's press conference available to the public. There are two separate links for the audio:
The comments from Simon and Hollis last 12 minutes and Izzo's go on for about 49 minutes. If you want to jump right to the start of the whole Lynn Henning thing, it is about 25:30 in and lasts for a good 10 minutes.
Video of Tom Izzo's entire press conference, including the back-and-forth session with Detroit News columnist Lynn Henning, is not available just yet, but the first 13 minutes of it have been uploaded by the Big Ten Network. I will keep a lookout for a full-length version of the presser, but for now you can watch the introduction where Izzo simply shared what was on his mind (the video includes everything before the Q&A part where things really got interesting).
Tom Izzo's press conference can be seen here. Below are the running notes from the presser.
Dan Gilbert: "The entire Cleveland Cavalier organization has nothing but respect and admiration for Coach Izzo and his family." cont...
Gilbert: "Tom is a special person in so many unique and positive ways. We only wish great things for him and his family in years ahead."
Michigan State has sent out a press release confirming the news that Tom Izzo is staying at the school. Izzo's quotes from the release are below, and you can check out the quotes from MSU athletic director Mark Hollis and MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon here.
"It's been an agonizing week as I tried to make a decision about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I apologize for the time the process has taken, but sometimes there are opportunities that come about that must be thoroughly examined. I'm no different than any other successful coach in that I've had multiple inquiries before, but this one was uniquely intriguing. There was a lot of information to gather and consider and some of it wasn't easily obtainable. But when making a life decision, I owed it to myself and my family to do my due diligence. From that I never wavered. And I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State.
"Throughout the entire process, Dan Gilbert and the entire Cleveland organization has been nothing but class. His professionalism and caring nature for me, my family and Michigan State have been impressive. I wish him nothing but the best in his quest to win a world championship. Just as I decided to stay home, I hope a 6-8, 270-pound forward in Cleveland decides to stay home.
"We have a great team returning next year with incredibly high goals. I've repeatedly said I have greater goals for our program and that remains unchanged. Tops on that list is becoming one of just seven schools with three or more NCAA Championships. I'm also driven to continue to raise the perception of our program to an elite level.
"The entire Michigan State community has been terrific. I'm almost embarrassed by some of the acts of support, but I'm certainly touched. I tried to approach this decision in a rational manner, but my heart was always at MSU.
"My goals are not limited to Spartan basketball. I want to do whatever I can to make our entire athletic department and university better. Most important is helping Mark Dantonio and his football team attain its goal of winning a Big Ten Championship and playing in the Rose Bowl."
Izzo will also speak at a press conference at 8:30. You can watch the presser on the Big Ten Network and continue to check in with SB Nation Detroit for the latest updates on Izzo.
MSU Sports Information confirms press conference with Izzo, President Simon and AD Hollis for 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Clara Bell Smith center.
The press conference, which is expected to include Izzo's announcement that he is staying, will be shown live on the Big Ten Network.
I think it's safe to say that Tom Izzo is for sure staying at Michigan State. While I understand why some may be skeptical until something official comes out, there are just so many different sources reporting the news that it seems almost impossible for it to not be true.
In addition to WDIV and WILX, the following sources are now reporting that Izzo will stay at MSU:
BREAKING: MSU Trustee George Perles says his sources tell him Izzo is staying at MSU.
#Izzo told team at 6:45 meeting he was staying. Confirmed by source in the room.
Looks like this story is about as confirmed as confirmed can get without hearing from Tom Izzo himself.
WILX in East Lansing is reporting that Tom Izzo isn't going anywhere. Their report backs up what WDIV had to say earlier tonight and goes into even more detail.
Sources at Michigan State University tell wilx.com Tom Izzo is staying at MSU. Izzo told the Board of Trustees Tuesday evening that he was not taking an offer to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. Our sources say Izzo then met with his players to tell them the news.
All signs are pointing to Izzo staying, so while nothing has been confirmed just yet, it would take a pretty stunning change of events for Izzo to end up in Cleveland.
Izzo leaves the Breslin Center without saying a word to the media
There is supposed to be a players meeting going on right about now, so I'm not exactly sure if that's still planned or what since he left Breslin Center about ten minutes ago. Of course, it's possible that the meeting will be held in a different location to avoid the media chaos, so perhaps that is the simple explanation to this latest bit of news.
According to a source, there's been a Michigan State players meeting called for 6:45.
This is the sequence of events that has developed over the last hour: First word leaked out to WDIV that Tom Izzo decided to stay and that a news conference was set for 7 p.m. That morphed into a news conference likely coming tomorrow morning, but the news that he is staying didn't change. Since then there has been a report that Izzo was meeting with Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis, and now a players meeting is reportedly next on the docket.
It definitely looks like a decision has been made, and taking into account WDIV's report and the fact that this news conference will reportedly be held at MSU, all signs point to Izzo staying with the Spartans.
WDIV just gave an update on when this supposed news conference for Tom Izzo will be held, saying that it is expected to take place tomorrow morning. Specifically, WDIV's Katrina Hancock, who is in East Lansing right now, got word from a coach that it will be held at 9 a.m.
A coach at MSU's basketball camp just walked out and told me he heard that a presser would be held tomorrow morning at 9:00
Hancock also reported that Izzo is meeting with Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis right now, presumably to inform him of his decision to stay on as coach of the Spartans. Although reports that he will stay are not confirmed right now, there wouldn't be a news conference at MSU if he was planning to leave for Cleveland. That alone suggests that Izzo is going to stay in East Lansing for years to come.
UPDATE II: WDIV has posted a story on its website repeating the news that Izzo will stay at Michigan State.
UPDATE: WDIV just said that they now aren't sure when the press conference will be held, but they reiterated that sources indicate Izzo will stay at MSU.
WDIV in Detroit is reporting that Tom Izzo has decided to stay at Michigan State as head coach of the Spartans. There reportedly will be a press conference at 7 p.m. tonight to officially announce the decision, although the Detroit News' Eric Lacy reports that no presser has been scheduled at MSU yet.
Izzo had been debating whether or not to take the Cleveland Cavaliers job for the last week, so finally it looks like this saga has come to an end. Although it included many interesting twists that indicated this was the closest Izzo ever came to leaving for a job in the NBA, it's really not too surprising that he decided to stay at MSU. From the very beginning I had my doubts that he would actually leave, mainly because the timing of everything just didn't work out, both with the whole LeBron James thing and the fact that the team he has coming back to MSU next season will be a contender for a national title.
Izzo's decision to stay will greatly elevate his status among Michigan State fans. The amount of support Izzo received with the "Save Tom Izzo Rally" and the whole "We Love Izzo" campaign showed just how much he is revered in Spartan nation already, and that love will be taken to another level with the news that he has turned down an offer to coach the Cavaliers in order to continue coaching MSU.
Every day seems like it will bring an end to the madness surrounding Tom Izzo and the Cleveland Cavaliers job just because this has gone on for more than a week now. I was surprised when we made it out of the weekend without a decision being made, and I was even more surprised when Monday came and went without anything happening. Today once again seemed like the day where all of this speculation could finally come to an end, but it looks like the wait may continue.
Been told by MSU officials media expected to get 2-3 hour notice IF a Izzo presser gets scheduled. No word on anything scheduled today.
While it's possible that that could change at any moment's notice, it won't be because Michigan State wants Izzo to hurry up and make a decision. I'm at that point right now where I wish he would just decide one way or another and be done with it, but MSU is exercising much more patience than that.
"There's no shot clock," Terry Denbow, MSU's vice president of university relations, told The Detroit News on Tuesday.
Denbow said (President Lou Ann) Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis are remaining patient with Izzo out of respect for his longevity as MSU's coach.
"As Mark has said and the president has agreed, Tom is owed and deserves the time to make a decision," Denbow said.
There's no telling just how long this could drag on, but something's gotta happen sometime soon, right? Although I'm sure Izzo would prefer to wait until July when LeBron James decides on his future, there's no way he can possibly just keep quiet and continue to push this off. I imagine the Cavs will want an answer in the near future, and at the very least MSU fans deserve to hear something about what is going on.
With that said, if Izzo somehow gets permission to wait from the Cavs and wants to come right out and say that he isn't going to decide until July, then that's feasible. Keeping everyone in the dark is not, regardless of whether or not a decision has been made. At some point he will have to say something to give people an update, and I personally am hoping that happens soon, either ending the process or at least giving it some clarity.
Tom Izzo may want to talk to LeBron James before deciding on the Cleveland Cavaliers job, but it doesn't look like James wants to talk to Izzo or any candidate for that matter. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
All along, James has not planned to speak to coaching candidates or lobby for certain coaches to replace Mike Brown. James, according to a source, has not spoken with Izzo about the job or his future and currently has no plans to do so.
The problem this creates for Izzo is that if he accepts the Cavs job, he wouldn't have an idea of what LeBron is going to do when free agency opens on July 1. It's certainly possible that LeBron will return to Cleveland, but you can imagine that Izzo would like to at least get an idea before committing to the Cavs and leaving Michigan State. Since that doesn't seem like it will happen, this is going to come down to if Izzo wants to take the risk and leave a great situation for an uncertain one in Cleveland.
Tom Izzo is in Breslin Center right now coaching a basketball camp that will keep him occupied for much of the day. As a result, it doesn't look like we should expect to hear about a decision today. It's possible word of a decision could leak out sometime tonight, but Michigan State has nothing planned for today in the form of a news conference or an announcement. In fact, MSU's sports information director told the media to leave the basketball camp and specifically "encouraged out of town TV crews to leave."
Although the media hasn't been able to get any answers out of Tom Izzo, one of the players at the basketball camp tried to do just that by asking about the Cavaliers job. Unsurprisingly, Izzo's response was essentially "no comment."
"That's a bad question. Those guys up there [the media] want to know about it." No answer.
Considering Izzo is busy coaching a basketball camp today, you would think updates would be limited. Still, I'm sure little details might leak out throughout the day, and then tonight/tomorrow has to be the beginning of the end of this process. I don't know how much longer this can drag on, but you would think Izzo would wrap up the process sometime soon.
I've had a tough time figuring out why Tom Izzo has taken so long to make a decision, but it is all starting to make sense thanks to a report from WLNS' Lisa Byington.
There is no decision as of this hour, but we've learned from an impeccable source that the hold-up really lays in contacting LeBron James.
Our source tells us that Izzo and LeBron have not been in contact yet, and that's the one missing piece Izzo needs and wants to hear to make his final decision.
If this is the case, then the reason Izzo has yet to make a decision isn't because he can't make up his mind; it's because he has yet to collect all of the information necessary to make an informed decision. It wouldn't make sense for him to give the Cavaliers an answer one way or another before chatting with LeBron James, both to discuss how likely or unlikely it is that LeBron will return to Cleveland and to talk basketball in general. Izzo wants to know what James' thoughts are before deciding, which is the right thing to do.
High-level source says PD report that LeBron prefers a coach who played in NBA isn't accurate.
LeBron is known to highly respect Tom Izzo. That said, no sign LeBron plans to commit to anything before July 1.
Source: LeBron James would approve of Tom Izzo's hiring as #Cavs coach. "100 percent" high-placed source tells PD.
Of course, just because LeBron would approve of Izzo's hiring and respects him doesn't mean that Izzo will decide to leave Michigan State. If James suddenly decided to sign a contract extension with the Cavs, then I would bet Izzo makes his mind up to take the Cleveland job pretty quickly. Since that isn't going to happen, however, this decision likely will come down to the vibe Izzo gets from LeBron once the two finally talk. I'm sure in a perfect world Izzo would just wait to see what LeBron does before doing anything himself, but there's no way he can let this drag on until July. Even if the Cavs were fine with taking a wait and see approach, there's simply no way Izzo can wait that much longer, so he will either have to decide to stay at MSU or take a risk and go to the Cavs with no guarantee that LeBron James will re-sign.
If LeBron and Izzo are able to talk on Monday, I'd bet a decision comes down pretty quickly. By this point Izzo has had more than enough time to weigh the pros and cons of leaving MSU, and he has also visited with the Cavaliers franchise for an extensive period of time. If he had any reason not to take the Cavs job based on all of that, he would have removed his name from consideration by now. Since he hasn't, it's now pretty obvious that his decision could come down to a simple phone conversation with LeBron. There's no guarantee that the call will be a deal breaker one way or another, but chances are what is discussed will finally allow Izzo to take a look at the big picture based on everything he has thought about and make that all-important decision to stay at or leave MSU.
It's not completely clear what Tom Izzo's most recent text to the Associated Press means, but it does seem to show that he is still undecided about the Cleveland Cavaliers job.
Asked Sunday if he was still undecided, Izzo simply responded: "still gathering.''
The Detroit News' Eric Lacy caught up with Byron Scott's agent, and his comments about Tom Izzo and the Cavs job were very interesting.
"Byron is deeply appreciative of being considered for the Cleveland Cavaliers' position," McInerney said Saturday. "He has great respect for Coach Izzo and realizes what a difficult decision this must be for Coach Izzo and his family. Whatever decision Coach Izzo makes will be a good one.
"Any other information should be released through the Cavaliers organization."
On the surface, these comments imply that Izzo has an offer and is the one with a decision to make, which has been the assumption throughout all of this. Some have speculated that Izzo does not have an offer, though, which could explain why we have yet to hear about a decision -- because there isn't one to make. If that were the case, then Izzo may be waiting for an offer, but obviously he can't say anything as negotiations continue to progress.
The comments from Scott's agent do suggest an offer has been made to Izzo, but that was all that was said. Scott's agent wouldn't clarify the comments nor expand on them.
I suppose another inference that could be made from the comments is that Scott is not interested in taking the Cavs job. As mentioned in the article, many think he would be interested in taking the Lakers job should Phil Jackson decide not to return. By saying that Scott "is deeply appreciative of being considered for the Cleveland Cavaliers' position" and wishing Izzo luck with his decision, one could easily get the impression that Scott isn't involved in this situation directly anymore.
Whatever these comments truly mean, one thing that seems to be clear is that the Cavaliers are preparing backup plans. Assuming Izzo does have an offer, the Cavs are still waiting to hear what his decision is but are taking the necessary steps to ensure they are ready to move on to other candidates if he decides to stay at MSU. That was evident when Scott entered the picture earlier this week, and now here are a couple more names that may be in the mix:
Sources say #Cavs have talked to fmr Hawks coach Mike Woodson this week. Also Cavs have interest in talking to LAL asst. Brian Shaw.
It's tough to speculate just because there are so many different pieces to this story, but if I had to guess, I would say that Izzo does have an offer and the Cavaliers are just waiting to hear one way or another before moving forward. That's not exactly going out on a very big limb, but I would be pretty surprised if Izzo didn't have an offer after spending nine hours in Cleveland on Thursday and remaining silent for the most part throughout all of this.
Michigan State fans showed the power of the social media on Thursday when a "Save Tom Izzo" rally was quickly put together. Despite the idea for the rally originating in the afternoon on a message board, it quickly took off and gained immense support and lots of attention in the media. By 9 p.m., when the rally was scheduled to be held, hundreds of MSU fans showed up outside of Breslin Center to voice their support for Tom Izzo. The rally was a definite success, but days later, Tom Izzo has still yet to decide on if he's going to stay or leave MSU.
As a result of the continued uncertainty surrounding Izzo, MSU fans have once again decided to organize a campaign in hopes of convincing him to stay. Called "We Love Izzo," this particular campaign is designed around a website where fans can share why they love Izzo and a grassroots effort that includes plastering signs all over the place to make sure Izzo is aware of just how much he is loved.
Keusch won't say where the signs will be, they could spread from the Spartan statue on MSU's campus, to downtown East Lansing. All he'll say is he wants them to be in plain sight for Coach Izzo.
Jason Keusch: "We're going to make them visible for him, so honk if you see them."
Already signs are going up all over the Lansing area, and it sounds like there are plans for signs to be put up on the route from Tom Izzo's home to Breslin Center.
Izzo's future is very much up in the air, but Michigan State fans are pulling out all of the stops to convince him to continue coaching the Spartans.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer originally reported that a decision from Tom Izzo was coming on Saturday, but now they are reporting that one will only come "by Monday."
At least several players left this meeting believing Izzo was going to accept the Cavs' offer, a source told The Plain Dealer. Izzo told people Friday that he would come to a decision soon but that it wouldn't be Saturday, according to sources. There is a general feeling among Michigan State officials that Izzo will either accept the Cavs job or finally turn it down by Monday.
At this point I believe that only Tom Izzo and his family truly know what is going on. Every few minutes a new story seems to pop up and contradicts something that has already been reported. There is just far too much speculating going on and way too much reliance on sources that don't really have a clear understanding of what Izzo is going to do. Only he does, and personally I wish all of the speculation and rumors would stop until he formally announces something. I know that's not possible in this day and age, but the coverage of this story is getting out of control.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes that Tom Izzo’s decision about whether to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers or not hinges on his comfort level with the team’s roster should LeBron James not return.
While LeBron remains a huge question mark and there are reports he wants a former player to coach him, as we noted earlier, others are questioning what type of NBA coach Izzo would be. Wojnarowski gives these coaching comparisons.
Many have rightly asked whether Izzo’s physical, aggressive style of defense would translate to the NBA, but as one NBA coach who knows Izzo well said, "If you go watch a Scott Skiles practice or one of the Van Gundys’, it won’t look much different than what Tom is going to do. If he gets good players, I think he will win in the NBA. And if he doesn’t, well…"
Mere hours after he reported that Tom Izzo was set to decide whether he will take the Cleveland Cavaliers job on Saturday, Brian Windhorst backed off that statement slightly.
Tom Izzo has been telling people that his decison will be soon but not necessarily tomorrow. The saga continues…
Here’s what I know: Some players think decision comes Sat. & he’s leaving. Izzo just saying "soon." Many MSU officials think he’s staying.
And while so many assume LeBron's had a say in this, I again say no. And that is why Izzo is taking so long. That's only thing that's clear
Brian Windhorst, the Plain Dealer's Cavaliers beat reporter confirms Izzo's decision process won't last forever:
Tom Izzo tells Michigan State team he'll decide on #Cavs coach job on Saturday.
Here's to Izzo possibly upstaging the USA World Cup game.
A few days ago, Dan Gilbert confidently told the media that LeBron was not a part of the process in finding a new head coach for the Cavaliers. Well, the Chosen One has spoken, supposedly, and Tom Izzo would not be his chosen one because he never played in the NBA:
James has let team owner Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers organization know he's interested in playing for a coach who played in the NBA, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, attributing the information to a source.
This. Just. Got. Interesting. As if it wasn't thrilling stuff beforehand.
All along, everyone's been under the assumption that an offer, that Izzo is undecided about, is on the table. However, there's no denying that the Cavs' number one interest this off-season is bringing back LeBron. If this report is indeed true, if LeBron really said that, then it's safe to say that Tom Izzo is officially out of the running and Spartans fans can finally exhale.
It's already been reported that Gilbert, a fellow MSU alumni, wants Tom Izzo, but the Cavs basketball people want Byron Scott, who played in the NBA for 15 years and has already had marginal success as an NBA head coach. Gilbert's the owner, so he has the power to make the ultimate decision, but there's no way he could possibly make a decision that would preclude LeBron from re-signing -- he'd be run out of town.
You know how this should play out? Izzo should turn down the gig because he doesn't want to be the reason Gilbert's head is put on a stake. After scaring off Cleveland's 1a coaching candidate, LeBron still doesn't re-sign. Gilbert is so peeved with the situation that he steps down as the Cavs owner, only to buy the for-sale-Pistons. Pistons win another championship within a few years and Cleveland is left title-less forever. I like that daydream.
Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo called a closed-door team meeting this afternoon, according to clickondetroit.com.
Izzo led the team into the basketball operations building at 3:20 p.m., the Web site reported.
But according to the Associated Press, Izzo told his players that he hasn't yet made a decision about joining the Cleveland Cavaliers. The AP cited an unnamed person at the meeting. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the meeting was to be confidential.
This morning, Izzo wrote a text message to Larry Lage of the Associated Press that he has not made a decision — about 12 hours after he returned home from Cleveland.
Players have apparently been sending mixed signals on Twitter, but they're most likely just giving their personal opinions on the situation. Everything has indicated that Izzo has not made a decision yet, but he assured media last night that this wouldn't go on forever. Is July 1 considered to be forever? If this goes on for longer than a week more, it's going to start feeling like forever.
I am told a 4 PM press conference is inaccurate. And Izzo was not scheduled to play golf with Dantonio today. Coach D is in Vegas.
This story is quickly reaching the same level of ridiculousness as conference expansion. Every minute there is another rumor or report, and most of the time they are either exaggerated or completely not true.
This is just pure speculation, but I find it very interesting that the plane Tom Izzo flew to Cleveland on yesterday is now headed to Boston. It's interesting because Byron Scott, the other serious candidate for the Cavs job, is in Boston to cover the NBA Finals. It could all just be one big coincidence, but I'm willing to bet that plane is for Scott.
The Cavaliers need to have a plan in place in case Izzo decides to stay at Michigan State, and right now Scott is that plan. He interviewed with the Cavs for an hour on the phone yesterday, and perhaps today is his official interview. I don't know if the plane is going to pick up Scott and take him to Cleveland or what, but it is on its way to Boston right now.
A rumor saying that Michigan State had scheduled a 4 p.m. press conference today is not true, as reported by Eric Lacy:
MSU basketball sports information director Matt Larson left me a message and said there's no 4 p.m. press conference scheduled for today.
What this means is that there will be no official presser at MSU today (as of right now) dealing with the Tom Izzo situation. Some thought the rumor meant that Izzo was staying and was calling a press conference to announce it, while others believed that it was his goodbye to East Lansing. Whatever the case, Izzo seemingly has yet to decide one way or another and there is no presser scheduled right now.
Tom Izzo still needs more time to think about the Cleveland Cavaliers job. Izzo sent a text message to the AP's Larry Lage "late Friday morning" saying that no decision has been made on the Cavs job yet, and he apparently canceled a round of golf with MSU football coach and friend Mark Dantonio as well.
Izzo canceled golf in Lansing today. Very bad sign for msu.
msu football coaches are at lansing country club. he was supposed to golf with dantonio today. msu fball coaches say it doesn't look good
While it may very well be a bad sign for MSU, it's possible that Izzo just needs time to finalize a decision and would rather not be out on the golf course. It's certainly not a good sign for the Spartans, but I just don't know if it is for sure a bad sign. Hopefully we will find out one way or another sooner rather than later so this whole situation can be wrapped up.
More Izzo: "I feel bad about all (the speculation) but feel real good that I did what I had to do."
Izzo on his decision and when he will announce it: "It's not going to be forever."
Izzo's comments before he drove away from the airport with his family: "Thank you. See ya later. Sorry." Seemed tired, apologetic.
His comments don't reveal a whole lot, especially the "I did what I had to do" one. That is very interesting but almost impossible to read into. I'm sure we will start to hear more about his visit in the coming hours and tomorrow morning, but for now we are right back to where we were yesterday -- left without an answer.
WDIV Channel 4 in Detroit showed Tom Izzo on an airplane leaving Cleveland tonight. Izzo and his wife Lupe could be seen talking on the plane. Here is a picture (just of Tom):
Tom Izzo was originally scheduled to return to Lansing at 7:20 p.m. tonight. Instead he ended up staying in Cleveland for a few more hours to reportedly have dinner with Dan Gilbert and other officials from the Cavaliers organization. Now, though, he is finally in the air and on a flight back to Lansing.
According to the FlightAware activity logs for the plane he initially went down to Cleveland in, Izzo departed Cuyahoga County Airport at 10:33 p.m. and is set to land at Capital Region International Airport in Lansing at 11:14 p.m. A few hours ago there were apparently quite a few members of the media at the airport waiting for Izzo, but only three people now remain. Remember, Izzo's original flight to Cleveland was diverted to another airport in order to avoid the media, but dealing with only three people shouldn't be too big of a deal, especially since Izzo probably won't comment on anything anyways.
In all, Izzo spent about nine hours in Cleveland visiting with the Cavaliers today. His family was reportedly with him, showing just how serious of a meeting this was. It makes sense since this would be a life-changing decision for Izzo and his family, and the fact that he spent so much time shows that he is definitely considering taking the Cavs job.
The question now obviously focuses in on if Izzo will actually take the job. On the one hand, you don't just spend nine hours visiting with a team for nothing, but on the other hand, if Izzo was absolutely sure he wanted to make the move to Cleveland, would he have left without an agreement in place? I suppose we will find out soon enough, but my belief is that Izzo is still on the fence and is unsure of what to do. Although nine hours is plenty of time to take in all aspects of the Cavs organization, he probably will need at least tonight to think it over some more before deciding once and for all to stay at MSU or leave for Cleveland.
Just to weigh in with my opinion on all of this, I think Izzo's head is probably telling him to go to the NBA, where he would be presented with a new challenge and a nice pay raise. His heart, on the flip side, is likely telling him to stay at Michigan State. That will especially be the case after he hears about the rally MSU fans had for him outside of the Breslin Center earlier tonight. I'm sure it will be emotional for Izzo to see all of the support he has, and ultimately I think his Spartan family will keep him in East Lansing. A week ago at this time I would have said you're crazy if you think Izzo is going to leave for the NBA, and although it definitely looks like it's possible, I would still be pretty surprised if he actually went through with it and took the Cavs job.
Michigan State fans quickly organized a "Save Tom Izzo Rally" that took place earlier tonight outside Breslin Center. Estimates of just how many people attended the rally vary, but the consensus is that at least 500 people showed up and that number easily could be much higher.
The rally itself included chants, singing the fight song and alma mater, and lots of signs and flowers at the base of the Magic Johnson statue. There was also a flag and a banner that people signed, thanking Izzo for all he's done at MSU and expressing their hope that he will continue to coach the Spartans.
Only one Michigan State basketball player, Derrick Nix, showed up to the event. According to Lisa Byington (a reporter for WLNS in Lansing) during an interview on ESPNEWS, players were advised not to go to the rally, but Nix went anyways, saying that the fans support the team all season long, so he was going to support the fans on this night. He later spoke to the crowd that gathered and then shed some tears when he chatted with reporters again.
If you want to watch the "Save Tom Izzo Rally" for yourself, click here and go to "Archived Videos." Someone named Ross streamed the entire thing from his cell phone and saved the videos so they could be re-played. The first of three videos is shown below, and the other two are here.
The plane that Tom Izzo originally took to Cleveland today was scheduled to return to Lansing by now, but it has not yet departed Cuyahoga County Airport. It was scheduled to leave Cleveland at 6:40 p.m. and arrive at Capital City Airport about 20 minutes ago, but FlightAware.com's activity log for the plane shows that the flight is still scheduled and not in progress or completed.
What's more, Eric Lacy of The Detroit News is reporting that there is no sign of Izzo at Capital City Airport, where, unsurprisingly, members of the media are waiting for him.
Izzo hasn't landed in Lansing yet. In fact, I'm of the belief he hasn't even left Cleveland yet. At Capital City Airport with other media.
At this point we can only speculate why Izzo hasn't returned to Lansing yet, but obviously it's not right to jump to conclusions. I will say, however, that this is now starting to get a bit interesting.
Tom Izzo is about ready to leave Cleveland and return to Lansing, but he is coming back without an answer to the questions regarding if he is going to stay at Michigan State or leave for the NBA. According to Lansing radio host Jack Ebling, Izzo texted him with the news that there is no news, at least not yet.
The message was sent to Jack Ebling, a longtime friend of Izzo's and a talk-show host for WILS-AM.
"I got a text message from him this afternoon," Ebling told listeners. "He said there's no decision made."
I wouldn't expect Izzo to wait around too long to make a decision, especially now that Byron Scott is definitely a serious candidate for the same vacancy. It's tough to guess when something will come out one way or another, but I'd bet on Izzo continuing to ponder his decision tonight and then sleeping on it before doing anything.
Byron Scott interviewed with Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant for an hour on the phone today. Scott has recently emerged as a serious candidate for the head coaching job, with the other being Tom Izzo. The two appear to be option 1A and 1B for filling the coaching vacancy as far as the Cavs are concerned, but who the absolute top candidate is may differ based on who you talk to in the Cleveland organization.
Andy Katz: Byron Scott is the choice of the Cavs' basketball people. Izzo is Dan Gilbert's choice
Usually in this situation the owner is going to be the one who makes the final decision, which would point to Izzo being the choice. Even so, Izzo would still have to accept an offer if it is made, and right now it doesn't seem like he would for sure do that, as the decision is still up in the air.
The plane that took Tom Izzo down to Cleveland is scheduled to depart for Lansing at 6:40 p.m., according to FlightAware.com. Izzo will arrive in Lansing at approximately 7:21 p.m., assuming he's on the plane.
The AP's Tom Withers reported that Izzo wasn't expected to stay in Cleveland past 6 p.m. and that "things could get interesting" if he did. The 40-minute difference between that time and when he is actually leaving probably isn't relevant. Now, if Izzo was staying in Cleveland for the night or not departing until much later, then there would be reason to speculate about what is happening. Since he is planning on departing just over an hour from now, chances are he will be coming back with a decision still left to be made.
What's next for Izzo after he gets back to Michigan is probably a lot of thinking and mulling over the situation at hand. If he makes it back to Michigan tonight then we know an official decision probably hasn't been made, but you can bet he will be weighing the pros and cons and reflecting on his visit to Cleveland.
Tom Izzo was originally set to fly into Burke Lakefront this afternoon, but his plane was diverted, as the activity log on FlightAware.com shows. The reason for the diversion? This is what the AP's Tom Withers reports:
Izzo arrived in Cleveland in separate plane from Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Izzo's plane diverted to county airport to avoid cameras.
Withers also reports that the Cavaliers are working out prospective players today and that Izzo is "expected to observe, perhaps to see how assistants work."
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports posted an interesting Tweet about 20 minutes ago about how one factor that may cause Tom Izzo to leave for the NBA is recruiting and how he is sick of it. Take a look:
In past 24 hours, Tom Izzo has told confidants how "sick of recruiting" he's become in college. Says that's big part of possible NBA move.
I don't blame Izzo one bit for that. College basketball recruiting is as corrupt as it gets, but he is one of the few people that are actually clean. It's not easy to compete with the John Caliparis of the world, and in the NBA he would really only have to recruit one player: LeBron James.
Statement from Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis, via The State News:
“Coach Izzo made me aware he is meeting with Cleveland,” Hollis said in a statement. “The details of any meetings are between him and me.”
Users of Spartan Tailgate's Red Cedar Message Board are planning a rally for Tom Izzo at 9 p.m. tonight. The meeting point for this gathering is the Magic Johnson statue outside of Breslin Center. The obvious hope for these Michigan State fans is to show Izzo how much they love and appreciate him and to convince him to stay in the process.
While some may scoff at the notion of something like this actually working, the power of the Red Cedar Message Board has been seen before. This is the same website that discovered Michigan State's plans for changing its logo and led the revolt against the ugly-looking concept. In the end MSU decided to keep its current logo, and if it weren't for Spartan Tailgate's overall disgust for the changes, chances are the decision to stay with the current logo wouldn't have been made.
ESPN's Andy Katz spoke with somebody who said that Tom Izzo is very much considering the Cleveland Cavaliers job. In fact, Izzo may actually be leaning toward taking the job right now if he receives an offer.
That source discussed Izzo's future with a close confidant of Izzo, who is coaching in the NBA. The source told Katz that Izzo, who talked to his team earlier this week about his interest in the Cavaliers, is leaning toward taking the job if it is offered.
"Three weeks ago that wasn't the case, but it has changed,'' said the source.
Although Byron Scott has emerged as a serious candidate for the job, you would have to imagine that Izzo is option A for the Cavaliers. He has the connection with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and he is the one flying into Cleveland later today to meet with the team. There have already been reports that Izzo and Gilbert have talked about the parameters of a deal, so I have to imagine that this in-person meeting will culminate with an official offer.
Tony Zarrella, the sports director at 19 Action News, is reporting on Twitter that Tom Izzo is already in Cleveland. I haven't seen any other sources backing that up, though, and there have been some conflicting reports about when exactly he is scheduled to leave for Ohio.
Seemingly backing up the notion that Izzo hasn't left just yet is the activity log for a private plane with the tail number N949CE. That plane, according to FlightAware.com, left Burke Lakefront in Cleveland this morning, stopped at Oakland Country International, and arrived at Capital Region International in Lansing at 11:23 a.m. The plane is then scheduled to leave Lansing for Cleveland at 12:55 p.m. Is that when Izzo will leave for his visit? It certainly seems like it. I guess we will have to wait to hear confirmation to be absolutely sure, though.
UPDATE: The AP's Larry Lage reports that Izzo has been on campus in East Lansing all morning and will be leaving for Cleveland later today.
Although Tom Izzo is reportedly already "investigating" potential assistant coaches for the Cavaliers job and has started talking directly to Dan Gilbert rather than through a third party, whether or not he leaves for Cleveland may come down to the team's plans if LeBron James goes somewhere else.
Yahoo! Sports Dan Wetzel reports that Izzo's visit to Cleveland will deal largely with what the Cavaliers' plan is going forward. If LeBron James decides to re-sign, that plan is pretty obvious and would make life on any coach much easier. Should LeBron leave, however, the direction of the franchise is very unclear, which is why Izzo wants to hear what the schematics for rebuilding would be.
When Michigan State coach Tom Izzo visits the Cleveland Cavaliers' facilities and meets front-office staff in a planned trip on Thursday, he wants to hear a detailed plan on how new general manager Chris Grant hopes to retool the franchise should LeBron James(notes) depart as a free agent, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday night.
If Izzo can be sold on a rebuilding process and becomes comfortable with Grant, one of college basketball’s biggest coaching stars could be ready to take owner Dan Gilbert’s five-year, $30 million offer, sources told Yahoo!
As far as Izzo's decision goes, this could be the biggest day for him and the Cavs. While he is obviously very close to taking the job considering he is thinking about potential assistants, the Cavs have to clear up what they will do if LeBron leaves before any final decision is made. If they show that a solid plan is in place, then Izzo may figure taking the job is worth the risk, especially if there is a good chance LeBron will be re-signed. If the plan is too shaky and would make rebuilding very tough, then Izzo may figure that it's not worth leaving a Michigan State team that will contend for a national championship.
Assuming Izzo's visit goes according to plan, we should learn more about what his decision is going to be or at least when it is going to be made in the next 24 hours.
The big rumor Wednesday was that Tom Izzo told his players he would be accepting the Cleveland Cavaliers head coaching job. Of course, that was vehemently denied by everyone from the MSU higher ups to the mainstream media. While it doesn't make much sense, since Izzo doesn't know the status of LeBron James, that hasn't affected the opinion of Delvon Roe's father, who thinks Izzo is a goner:
Blanton, who lives near Cleveland, has not spoken with Izzo. But he said he thinks Izzo will end up taking the Cavs job.
"My opinion is, I think he's gonna leave," Blanton said. "When you keep it in the air this long. ... I don' t know if he's happy where he's at right now."
As we've said, Izzo is supposed to meet with the Cavs on Thursday. We should know more after that rendezvous, but it does not bode well when a player's father thinks the coach is on his way out. Nobody thinks it makes much sense for Izzo to consider the job without knowing what LeBron will do, but it appears that he's more serious about this job, with LeBron or not, than anyone is letting on. Obviously, there will be more to come.
The rumors about Michigan State's Tom Izzo accepting the Cleveland Cavaliers head coaching job have been swirling, but the Cavs seem ready to make another hire if need be. According to ESPN, Byron Scott is an equal candidate:
Byron Scott has emerged as a strong candidate to become the Cleveland Cavaliers coach, according to an Eastern Conference executive with knowledge of the club's thinking.
Scott is on equal footing with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, according to the source.
Scott does have an attractive NBA resumé. He led the New Jersey Nets to two NBA Finals in four seasons and coached a young Hornets team to the Western Conference semifinals in 2008. His one major blemish is that he was inexplicably fired just nine games into the 2009 season when the Hornets started 3-6.
The Cavs still seem to be impressed with the fact that Scott was coach of the year in 2008 and has a track record of coaching stars such as Jason Kidd and Chris Paul, which may help convince LeBron to re-sign with Cleveland. As is most likely the case with Izzo, Scott would probably like to have a good idea about LeBron's intentions before accepting any coaching gig with the Cavs, but it is not expected to be a deal breaker.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers do end up offering their head coaching job to Tom Izzo, it wouldn't be his first chance to go to the NBA this offseason, at least that is what one Michigan State trustee is claiming.
Joel Ferguson, chairman of MSU's Board of Trustees, told The Detroit News that Izzo declined an offer from the NBA's Chicago Bulls last week, an indication, Ferguson says, Izzo remains committed to the school.
"Chicago made an offer to him," Ferguson said in a phone interview. "Tom didn't run and say '(Chicago) made an offer, (so MSU) has to up the ante.' "
Just comparing the two situations on paper, Chicago certainly seems like a better spot to land than Cleveland. The Bulls already have a solid group of players in place, and there is a very good chance they will land Dwyane Wade or LeBron James this summer. Perhaps the offer wasn't great and that's why Izzo turned it down, but I would much rather be the coach of the Bulls than the Cavs right now.
Maybe the reason Izzo is giving the Cleveland opportunity more thought is because his friend and MSU grad Dan Gilbert is the team's owner. Having a person you are friends with in place as your boss might make the situation feel more secure. I'm sure it could make things awkward at times when there are conflicts, but at the end of the day maybe Izzo would just rather work for Gilbert than someone like Jerry Reinsdorf, who owns the Bulls.
If anybody has experience with how tough it can be to go from college basketball to the NBA, it's Rick Pitino. He left Kentucky for the Boston Celtics after lots of success in the college game and ended up struggling big time during his short-lived NBA career. Pitino's struggles eventually resulted in him going back to the college ranks to coach Louisville, where he has once again has been successful.
Not every coach is the same obviously, but based on his experience, Pitino believes Tom Izzo, who he considers to be a good friend, should stay where he's at right now.
"My advice to him would be, if you're really happy where you are, then it doesn't make any sense to mess with happiness," Pitino said. "Happiness is more important than money. Happiness is more important than a new challenge. Also, you're on the threshold of making the Hall of Fame. If he called me, I'd tell him, 'Tom, put yourself in a seat belt and stay at Michigan State.'"
When this process reaches a conclusion, my guess is that Izzo decides to stay at Michigan State for exactly the reason Pitino mentioned: happiness. Yes, the NBA would pay more and provide an interesting and new challenge, but Izzo just seems like he is too committed to MSU and his players to leave. I could see Izzo leaving if he was facing a rebuilding year (which really means something less than a Final Four run for him), but the reality of the situation is that the Spartans are one of the favorites to win next year's national title. Their roster is loaded with talent, and as Izzo has said before, he is "obsessed" with winning another national championship. In the end, I think that will be more important of a challenge to him than coaching in the NBA.
Whatever ends up happening, Izzo will surely make an educated decision. Although Pitino hasn't heard from Izzo yet, chances are he will sometime soon, as Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel reports that Izzo is "canvassing opinions" of college and NBA coaches about the Cavaliers opening. Wetzel mentions that the decision is up in the air, so I'm sure Izzo will continue to reach out to his friends in the basketball world to help weigh the pros and cons of taking the job in Cleveland.
Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer writes that Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is continuing his flirtation with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to a Michigan State source, Izzo has scheduled a trip to Cleveland on Thursday to meet with team officials and possibly tour the Cavs’ facilities. Whether or not Izzo will go through with the trip is unknown.
Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis:
"I've been straightforward from the beginning. Nothing has changed from my initial statement, and yet, there have been many ridiculous reports. I'm angry at the impact they have on student-athletes, coaches, wives and children, and other people at universities and organizations. Tom Izzo is the head basketball coach at Michigan State University."
Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon:
"I am in regular contact with AD Mark Hollis. I can assure everyone Team MSU is all on the same page in wanting to keep Tom as a Spartan. MSU has many renowned, respected, and highly sought individuals; Tom Izzo surely is one of them."
Considering just how open Hollis has been about all of this, I'd be willing to bet he will be one of the first people we hear from when a decision is made by Izzo. Although any big news will spread like wild fire (as we saw earlier today), when something official happens I'm sure Hollis will confirm it pretty quickly.
Michigan State assistant coach Mark Montgomery talked to the Associated Press and confirmed that Tom Izzo met with his players last night. Montgomery also confirmed that the Cleveland Cavaliers job was one of the things discussed during the meeting, although Izzo merely informed his players that he was talking to the Cavs, not that he had already accepted the job.
Michigan State's Tom Izzo told his team he has talked to the Cleveland Cavaliers about their coaching vacancy, imploring them to concentrate on their classes and workouts to get better on and off the court. "That was the gist of the meeting yesterday," associate head coach Mark Montgomery told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Izzo did not tell the Spartans he was leaving the school to coach the Cavs. This squashes the original rumor that set off a firestorm of Izzo-related news this afternoon. While Izzo's future at Michigan State is very much in doubt right now, the consensus is that he hasn't made a decision on the Cavs job yet. He may have an idea of what he wants to do, but obviously the public won't hear about that until something concrete is decided.
Michigan State's Tom Izzo told his team he has talked to the Cleveland Cavaliers about their coaching vacancy, imploring them to concentrate on their classes and workouts to get better on and off the court.
"That was the gist of the meeting yesterday," associate head coach Mark Montgomery told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Izzo did not tell the Spartans he was leaving the school to coach the Cavs.
This squashes the original rumor that set off a firestorm of Izzo-related news this afternoon. While Izzo's future at Michigan State is very much in doubt right now, the consensus is that he hasn't made a decision on the Cavs job yet. He may have an idea of what he wants to do, but obviously the public won't hear about that until something concrete is decided.
The News-Gazette's Paul Klee talked to Illinois head basketball coach Bruce Weber, who shared his thoughts on the whole Tom Izzo situation.
B. Weber tells me he spoke to Izzo regarding Cavs. Says "would be a new challenge," thinks Izzo stays at MSU "in the end."
Although Izzo strengthens the Big Ten and college basketball in general, I'm betting Weber is hoping he leaves MSU for Cleveland, which would make winning at Illinois a lot easier.
The Tom Izzo to Cleveland Cavaliers rumor has quickly gone from being possibly true to completely false. In addition to what Jeff Goodman has heard from MSU sources about the rumor, two more people have chimed in to debunk it.
Add me to list of those refuting idiotic blog "report" that Izzo told his team he's taking Cavs job. Did. Not. Happen.
Any report saying Izzo has accepted the job (or told his players he's accepting the job) is simply false.
For right now I think we can safely say that this rumor is untrue. It'd be one thing if the report was premature and Tom Izzo's camp just wants it to be official before it goes public, but the whole thing about how he informed his players he was leaving reportedly did not happen. Here is what Joe Rexrode had to say about the meeting that took place with Izzo and his players last night:
I'd like to ignore stuff like this altogether, but when you get calls and e-mails on something, you have to at least look into it and respond. Delvon Blanton, Delvon Roe's father, told me today the meeting lasted two hours, and Izzo told his players the situation and let everyone say some words. To sum it up, they told him they want him to stay, he told them he feels the same way about them, but also that a decision has not been made.
Tom Izzo may still decide to take the Cleveland Cavaliers job, but right now, the process has not reached that point yet.
FOXSports.com's Jeff Goodman got word from a Michigan State source that the Tom Izzo to Cleveland Cavaliers rumor is not true.
Michigan State source told FOXSports.com that the Tom Izzo report by WFNY that he's taking the Cavs job is "absolutely untrue."
Goodman also spoke to someone close to Tom Izzo:
Just spoke to another person extremely close with Tom Izzo and re-affirmed this report by WFNY is "not true".
There is definitely some serious smoke here, but a wait and see approach is probably best right now. Although there are plenty of rumors that Izzo is leaving, they are just rumors right now and nothing more.
Rumors are swirling in Cleveland right now that Michigan State's Tom Izzo has informed his players that he will take the head coaching job with the Cavaliers. Fear The Sword, SB Nation's Cavs blog, had this to say about the rumor:
There is a hot rumor beginning to circulate that Tom Izzo did, in fact, tell his Michigan State players that he had accepted the Cavaliers Head Coaching job. That rumor, swirling around Twitter today, reportedly began when one of Izzo's players, a former Cleveland St. Edwards star, told the Eagles' coach what was said during the meeting.
Another site, WaitingForNextYear, has more on the rumor:
Our sources have heard directly from players on the MSU team that Izzo informed them this week that he is planning on making the move up to the NBA level under the ownership of MSU grad Dan Gilbert. We have also heard from a separate source that Izzo is holding off on announcing this until the end of the week, when his kids finish up school in the Lansing area.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said that a meeting took place yesterday, but he refused to discuss what was said. I don't know if this rumor is developing from what was said in that meeting or if another meeting was held sometime today. Either way, there is a lot of smoke out there that Izzo is headed to Cleveland. The question now is this: Will it hold up to be true?
Mark Hollis, Michigan State's athletic director, said that he is optimistic Tom Izzo will stay in East Lansing and be the Spartans' head basketball coach next season. He also said that if Izzo were to leave, a plan is in place to quickly find a replacement.
Hollis told The Detroit News he has to be prepared "right now" to hire Izzo's successor if the 55-year-old Spartans coach accepts the reported contract offer recently made by the Cavaliers.
"You have to be ready to close that gap quickly and make sure the program, which is very solid right now, continues on an upswing," Hollis said.
Although all MSU fans are hoping Izzo stays, it's not like there is a small pool of possible successors should he leave. Izzo's coaching tree is quite large, and chances are Michigan State could reach out to one of his former assistants to replace him. Coaching searches in the middle of June aren't common for college basketball programs, but for MSU it could be a lot smoother of a process than at most other schools.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis isn't giving Tom Izzo a deadline or anything like that, but he does expect a decision about the Cavaliers job to be made by July 1 at the latest.
Hollis said he doesn’t see Izzo waiting until July 1, the first day of the NBA’s free-agency period and the first day Cavs star LeBron James can re-sign or jump to another team.
“I would anticipate and hope that decisions are made earlier than that,” Hollis said. “I’m talking to Tom every day, and throughout the process, he’s been very open with me. He has to analyze how good things are at Michigan State and compare that to the situation in Cleveland.”
Once again, this all comes back to the timetable for both Izzo and the Cavs.
If Izzo wants to see what LeBron James does, he has to wait until July 1 at the earliest. I would be surprised if LeBron makes a quick decision, so that could prolong the situation into the middle of July or something.
If the Cavs don't want to wait for Izzo to decide, that could be the end of their pursuit of the MSU head coach. While a matter of a few days might not be a problem for the Cavs, I doubt they are going to want to be without a coach for another month or maybe more. While the ball may be in Izzo's court for a certain period of time, it's not like he is dictating the process. If he waits too long to decide, the Cavs could very well opt to move in a different direction.
Ever since news broke that the Cavaliers were interested in Tom Izzo, the attitude has been that it's his job to lose. With talks of a massive contract offer coming and all that, it's easy to understand why people believed that Izzo's future would be up to him and him only. In reality, though, even if Izzo wants the Cavs job, he might have to stay at Michigan State if Cleveland opts to go in a different direction.
The team has reached out to ESPN analyst and former New Orleans coach Byron Scott and ESPN/ABC analyst and former coach Jeff Van Gundy. The Cavaliers have spoken with a representative of Scott in the past 24 hours, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard. It is not clear how strongly Van Gundy, who has given indications that he may not want to coach next season, is considering the job.
I still believe that Izzo is the top candidate for the Cavs job, but the question now shifts to how much the Cavs really want him. If Izzo decides that he wants to wait to see what LeBron James does, would Cleveland be OK with that, or would they simply move down the list of candidates and go with someone else? At this point the timetable looks like it will be a big factor in what Izzo ends up doing, especially if he wants to wait and see where LeBron ends up before deciding one way or another.
The Detroit Free Press writes that the Cleveland Cavaliers' courtship of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is unique because Cleveland Owner Dan Gilbert, Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis and Izzo are all friends.
Hollis told the Lansing State Journal on Monday that he considered Gilbert “a good friend.” Gilbert has praised Izzo as a coach and a person.
“I know Dan and Tom talk,” Hollis told the Associated Press, “and that Dan has reached out to talk to Tom in the past.”
So what can Hollis do to keep his friend from hiring his other friend?
“We’re meeting daily, all hours,” Hollis told the State Journal. “We’re a support base for each other.”
Michael Rosenberg, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, writes that the reason Tom Izzo hasn’t denied interest in coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers is because he would make the move to Cleveland if LeBron James re-signs.
You want Tom Izzo to say he isn’t interested — in the Cleveland Cavaliers, or anybody else. You want him to say he flirted with the NBA 10 years ago and he has been open to offers since, but now he is 55 and will be a Michigan State Spartan for life.
Izzo can’t say that. Or he won’t. Maybe both.
He can’t say it because, if July 1 rolls around and LeBron James tells Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert that, yes, he will re-sign if Izzo is coaching the Cavs, then Izzo would have to consider it. I believe that is the only scenario under which Izzo would leave MSU: for an NBA team that is ready to win a championship.
And, of course, because the headlines provide him leverage at Michigan State.
I think he wants everybody at MSU to understand that he could leave at any time. I think he gets a violent reaction to the mere notion of being taken for granted — by his administration, his fans or the media.
The Cavaliers had a press conference earlier today to introduce Chris Grant, the team's new general manager. Just a few days ago you would have thought that every question directed towards Grant would have something to do with LeBron James, but Tom Izzo was the hot topic instead. Questions about LeBron were obviously asked, but the major focus seemed to be on what exactly is going on with the Cavs and Izzo.
General manager Chris Grant admitted Tuesday the Cavaliers have been talking to Michigan State's Tom Izzo about becoming the team's next coach.
"We know things are out there, we've had conversations with his camp," Grant said. "This is part of the final process, but until we have a conclusion, there's nothing we can say."
When pressed about if an offer has been made to Izzo or if he's the top candidate out there, Grant said this:
"We're not gonna get into specifics," Grant said. "It could be assistant coaches, college coaches."
Grant wouldn't get into the specifics of who the candidates for the job are, but he did give a description of what kind of coach the Cavs wants to hire.
"We want someone that's a winner, a defensive-minded coach," Grant said. "Someone to win at the highest level. We also want an effective communicator and a strong leader."
It certainly sounds like Izzo is a perfect fit based on that description. The only thing missing is NBA experience, but for someone like Izzo, who knows if the Cavs would be that concerned with the fact that he has only been a head coach in college. If the reported offer that the Cavs are prepared to give Izzo is any indication, it doesn't appear that the lack of NBA experience is a concern at all.
Person familiar with talks tells AP Cavs have discussed parameters of a possible deal with Izzo
I suppose this isn't really too surprising since the Cavs aren't just going to send a random offer Izzo's way, but it does confirm that Izzo is taking a serious look at this opportunity. He still may very well turn it down when all is said and done, but there is no doubt he is entertaining the possibility of leaving for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers are scheduled to hold a news conference this afternoon to introduce their new general manager, but chances are there will be quite a few questions about Tom Izzo. Will the Cavs actually answer those questions? It remains to be seen, but the Detroit News' Eric Lacy did say this (emphasis mine):
Gilbert and Cavs new general manager Chris Grant have a news conference scheduled in Cleveland today at 2:30 p.m. The news conference was called to introduce Grant to the media, but Izzo's status is expected to be addressed.
I would be surprised if the Cavs said anything too noteworthy just because that's pretty uncommon anytime negotiations, no matter how serious, are taking place, but I guess we will have to wait and see.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis was very candid about Tom Izzo and the Cavaliers yesterday. Usually everybody in this type of situation likes to keep what's going on close to the vest, but Hollis was open about everything, even outright admitting that the Cavs are interested in Izzo, though no offer had come in just yet.
Hollis continued his openness when he did an interview with Joe Rexrode, sharing his hopes that Izzo stays as well as what Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's role is in all of this.
Hollis on Tom Izzo: “I’m doing everything in my power and the university is doing everything in its power to keep him here. If it comes out that he wants to win an NBA world championship, that’s up to him to decide.
“I hope to be here for his retirement party. … I’m prepared to do anything to protect our school.”
Hollis on Dan Gilbert: “He’s a quality guy and he’s a great Spartan. He has a business to run and we have a business to run. I happen to look at college basketball coaches in a certain way – John Wooden, Dean Smith, Jud Heathcote, the legends in basketball are the college coaches. But that’s up to Tom to determine.”
In addition to Hollis' latest comments, WLNS-TV's Lisa Byington posted a couple of interesting things on Twitter:
A source told us today that the money being thrown around us not as high as reported. Not in 6 to 7 mill but in 4 to 5 mill.
The source tells us that Izzo may feel like this is his best and last opportunity to go. But he will likely not decide in next few days.
More than anything, the timing intrigues me the most about this whole story. Cleveland obviously would like to have a head coach in place for the draft and when free agency begins, but it's going to be tough to get a big-name candidate without a definitive answer from LeBron James. LeBron has made it known that he is going to explore his options, and although he could end up coming back to Cleveland, will the Cavs have the patience to wait around to hire a coach? It seems like they almost have to since settling for a lesser name could drive LeBron away, but man, that would be putting a lot of eggs in one basket.
One theory about why the Cavaliers are coming hard after Tom Izzo is that they are preparing for life after LeBron. Many don't believe Izzo's coaching style would mesh well with LeBron, so the thinking is that the Cavs are getting their backup plan ready by attempting to hire Izzo and building a team around him. If LeBron decided to come back anyways, Cleveland would obviously be thrilled, but perhaps Dan Gilbert already knows that's not likely.
For the sake of Michigan State fans, I hope something is decided one way or another pretty soon, but I could see this process really dragging out. If Cleveland is dead set on hiring Izzo but he will only decide after he knows where LeBron will be playing, then a final answer may not come until sometime in July. That is obviously assuming that LeBron is the deciding factor in all of this, but I just can't see Izzo leaving a Michigan State team that will be one of the favorites to win the national title for a LeBron-less Cavs team. It just wouldn't make sense.
Tom Izzo was just interviewed by Jack Ebling on WILS 1320 in Lansing and made it pretty clear that he would not entertain any questions regarding the Cleveland Cavaliers rumors. When asked about the rumors, Izzo said this:
"I'm just not going to comment on any of it."
Izzo's statement makes it pretty obvious that he is at least considering this potential opportunity with the Cavaliers. If he was 100 percent going to stay with MSU no matter what, he would have come right out and said it, so his lack of a comment actually seems to say quite a bit when reading between the lines.
Via the Detroit News' Eric Lacy, Michigan State has released a statement confirming that the Cavaliers are expressing serious interest in head basketball coach Tom Izzo.
"The Cleveland Cavaliers have expressed an interest in hiring Tom Izzo for their head coaching vacancy. Tom has held discussions with the club; however, there's no contract offer on the table. I have been in regular contact with Tom over the past week."
In my opinion, Tom is the best coach in college basketball, so it's no surprise that NBA teams have expressed an interest in him. In fact, I encourage him to look at these opportunities, but it's my hope that Tom remains at Michigan State. Over the last 15 years, Tom has developed and maintained a healthy basketball program here, and we don't want him to leave."
Although no offer is on the table yet, based on everything that has been reported in the last 24 hours, it seems like one is probably going to be on its way sometime very soon. This story already has gone from a mere rumor to something very real, but it will truly pick up when that offer is made to Izzo and he has a decision to make. Until then it's all just speculation about what he will do.
Tom Izzo may not have been officially offered a deal to become the Cavaliers' next head coach just yet, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Dan Gilbert is preparing one as we speak, and it is going to be HUGE.
The offer is said to be worth approximately $6 million annually and would be for up to five years, much larger than the industry standard for a coach without previous NBA head coaching experience. The offer might also be loaded with potential bonuses and perks including free use of one of Gilbert's private jets.
Izzo makes around $3 million a year from Michigan State when bonuses and all that are factored in. The Cavs' impending offer would double that if the Plain Dealer's report holds true. Even so, money may not even be the deciding factor for someone like Izzo. In fact, for Izzo the most important thing in a deal offered by the Cavs would probably have something to do with LeBron James. Various reports have said that Izzo wouldn't want the job if LeBron left, so if The King's return isn't a guarantee, $30 million may not mean squat.
MSU athletic director Mark Hollis said in an interview with Joe Rexrode that the Cavs have a "high" and "strong" interest in Izzo. Hollis also mentioned that he is a "good friend" of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, though the two have yet to speak with each other about Izzo.
I still have a hard time believing Izzo would leave Michigan State, but if his hiring meant that LeBron James would stay in Cleveland, then I could see it happening. Problem is, LeBron wants to test the free agent market, so the timing just doesn't seem like it will work. Many possible candidates for the Cavs job apparently want to wait to see what LeBron does before making any decisions, but at the same time, Cleveland can't just sit around and not have a coach. It's certainly a tough situation, but for Izzo, at least, I doubt he'd jump into it without a strong idea of if LeBron is staying or going.
According to Larry Lage, Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told the Associated Press that the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in Tom Izzo, but no offer has been made (not yet, anyway).
This confirms the last update on this story and debunks The News-Herald's report that Izzo was already offered the head coaching job of the Cavaliers. While I don't doubt that an offer could be coming his way sometime soon, it doesn't appear the process is at that point right now.
A few different sources out there are reporting that Tom Izzo has not been offered the head coaching job of the Cleveland Cavaliers, at least not yet.
CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish reports that although Izzo is on Cleveland's radar, there is no offer right now. And even if there were, chances are Izzo wouldn't be interested in accepting it because how uncertain the future of the franchise is.
A college basketball source told CBSSports.com that Izzo has been and remains intrigued by the NBA, but that he wouldn't seriously consider an offer without an understanding of the roster he'd inherit, which isn't the case in Cleveland. Obviously, coaching the Cavs is a great job if LeBron James is involved. But it could be a terrible job if the two-time and reigning Most Valuable Player opts for New York, New Jersey, Chicago or anywhere else.
In addition, Joe Rexrode texted Izzo about these rumors last night and heard back from him:
He replied that the reports are "way more (baloney) than substance."
A reporter at WLNS-TV 6 also reports that there is no offer right now, making this story seem even shakier than it originally appeared. To recap: Izzo reportedly has not been offered the job yet by the Cavaliers, and even that were to happen, chances are he wouldn't be interested unless LeBron James was for sure coming back to Cleveland. Then and only then would Izzo realistically consider taking the job, and I still don't know if he would leave. While coaching LeBron would be a great opportunity, I just don't believe Izzo will ever leave Michigan State for an NBA job. He's had plenty of chances to leave in the past, and I honestly don't think this would be a special enough opportunity for him to leave East Lansing.
From Adrian Wojnarowski’s official Twitter page:
In talking to Izzo people, sense is Cavs franchise is too unsettled for him to leave Mich State now. NBA intrigues him, but he’s cautious.
Izzo has flirted with the NBA before, but after two consecutive runs to the Final Four, it’s hard to believe he’d leave MSU at this juncture in his career, even with the prospect of coaching LeBron James.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in search of a new coach after firing Mike Brown last week. (General manager Danny Ferry voluntarily followed him out the door a few days later.) Owner Dan Gilbert needs to hire a replacement who will impress his free agent superstar, LeBron James. But in the process, might he also want to indulge his inner Michigan State Spartans fan?
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Gilbert is very interested in bringing his alma mater's men's basketball coach from East Lansing to Cleveland.
[Cleveland Cavaliers GM Dan] Ferry fought to retain Brown, but [Owner Dan] Gilbert, a staunch Michigan State man, is determined to hire away.
The only thing that might stop Gilbert from putting the full-court press on Izzo is if King James says he wants Kentucky's John Calipari as his coach instead.
Izzo has always admitted that competing at the NBA level holds some appeal for him, and, if he were ever going to leave for the pros, you'd think he'd be looking for a situation in which competing for an NBA title was a real possibility. Coaching a Cleveland Cavaliers team able to retain LeBron James' services would absolutely fit that description.
So, like, YIKES.
KJ has a further update, passing along a report that the Cavs have already offered Izzo the job.
According to a league source, they are centering their efforts on bringing in Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
In fact, they've already made him an offer to be their coach, the source said. It's going to take a lot of money to convince Izzo to leave the confines of the college ranks.
Gilbert says his preference is to have a new coach in place by July 1.
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