Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, turning down a chance to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and perhaps LeBron James.
"I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State," Izzo said in a statement released by the school on Tuesday night.
For the past nine days, the 55-year-old Izzo has been trying to decide whether to leave the place that has been his home since 1983 and jump to the NBA to perhaps make $6 million -- doubling his salary -- and possibly coaching one of the best basketball players in the world.
"Just as I decided to stay home, I hope a 6-8, 270-pound forward in Cleveland decides to stay home," Izzo said in a statement.
So... if one filters every bit of Cavs news through the "Is LeBron Leaving" lens, this can't be a good sign, right? You gotta think that if Izzo thought LeBron was going to be a Cavalier in 2010, he'd have signed the contract that doubled his salary, no?
Now, I've long maintained that not even LeBron knows what he's going to do come July 1st, so maybe he couldn't give Izzo his word whether or not he'd reup with the Cavs. I can buy that.
But this tweet from Brian Windhorst has got to concern Cavs fans just a tad:
Tom Izzo says he did not talk to LeBron. Said he talked to people in his camp and "felt comfortable with things I needed to know."
Seriously? This kills me. Tom Izzo couldn't even speak with LeBron directly. Not good. No me gusta.
As for Plan B, who knows. The only NBA coaching retread that even mildly interests me is Byron Scott. But Terry Pluto says that Scott isn't a slam dunk:
1. Many Cavs fans assume that if Tom Izzo turns down the coaching job, then their favorite team will turn to Byron Scott. Yes, the Cavs have talked to Scott. Yes, the Cavs are interested in Scott. But I'm hearing that Scott to the Cavs IS NOT close to a done deal. Nor is Scott in a hurry to take any job. He was paid $5.5 million after being fired by New Orleans early last season.
4. If Izzo does turn down the Cavs, it could be a while before they hire a coach. The only two jobs open are the Cavs and Clippers. I also hear that Scott may be interested in the Clippers. He should be smarter than that -- even though the Clippers do have some intriguing young talent. The Clippers will always be a mess as long as they are owned by Donald Sterling, and everyone in the NBA knows that.
Great. So the Cavs (and their fans) are left flailing in the wind. We get to wait for LeBron (and his 'camp') to play out the dance that is free agency all the while being directionless and coachless.
LeBron could very well end up resigning with the Cavs. I still believe it's a definite possibility. But I'm willing to bet that if his camp told Izzo that LeBron is leaning towards Cleveland, Izzo would be accepting Dan Gilbert's offer today.
I will say that I'm bummed that Izzo won't be coming here. I liked the idea of hiring Big Name, whether or not he was a college coach. It was nice to have the Cavs making news that didn't involve choking, firing or LeBron's diva tour.
Lord knows where the Cavs go from here. I'd love to see Byron Scott but I can't fault him or any coach for waiting for LeBron. I don't think the Cavs are as screwed sans LeBron as the national media thinks they are (Tony Kornheiser called them a 20 win squad without James on PTI) but obviously the nature of the job changes with LeBron's pending decision.
So we get to wait. Awesome.