Izzo to Cavs after turning down Bulls?

So first, according to the athletic directory at MSU, Izzo turned down the Bulls job:

"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.' " Several reports say the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered Izzo a five-year, $30 million deal to be their next coach.

And according to "waiting for next year", he's told players that he's leaving for the Cavs:

Sources close to WFNY have informed us that Tom Izzo has told his
players at Michigan State that he plans on taking the Cavaliers job. 
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.  While Izzo could always change his mind,
we are comfortable reporting that he has in fact informed his players
at Michigan State that he will be taking the Cavaliers job.

What does all this mean?

Well first, it explains the apparent nothingness going on with the Bulls coaching search.  They were off trying to convince Tom Izzo to come on board.   Second, it means they clearly weren't going bonkers with their contract offer since he's at the very least considering Cleveland, but turned us down.

I won't say Chicago dodged a bullet there, but given college coaches propensity for catastrophic failure, I wouldn't sign one for 5 years 30 million myself, and though I like Izzo, I'm happier with Thibodeau.

Now there could be many factors involved with his decision to (theoretically) say yes to Cleveland.   It could be the money (I read that Dan Gilbert said it's more than 30 million reported), it could be the opportunity to coach LeBron (if he has assurances LeBron will stay), or it could be a comfort level with Gilbert who's a MSU alum.

Izzo has long been one of two coaches that I'd consider hiring for a job in the NBA, the other being coach K.   He's a brilliant strategist, whose teams always outperform expectations in the tournament.  I think he's probably a good X/Os guy to do that consistently year in and year out without typically having elite talent.

That said, the college -> NBA coach has basically never panned out.   I can't remember the last successful coach to come from the college ranks.   There's Larry Brown, but the NBA wasn't anywhere near as different from college when he made the transition as it is today.

So how does this effect LeBron?   Well, to be honest, it's hard to imagine why Dan Gilbert would throw down 30 million on the coach if he didn't feel LeBron was coming back.   You could get a credible coach for a couple million a year to coach a team that's not going to go anywhere. 

At the same time, 30 million over 5 years in NBA money isn't that much, so it's not like a huge financial gamble.  It'd be less than taking the chance on some guy at the MLE.  

As for Izzo, it's easy to say he wouldn't leave MSU unless LeBron was giving him some assurances that he's staying, but every signal in the press is that LeBron isn't actively involved with anything Cleveland is doing.  Maybe he has given them assurances, as it certainly makes Izzo's decision more logical, but on the other hand, if Izzo knows LeBron is there, and that he'll get to work with a superstud, does it take 30 million to get him to leave MSU?

I'm more likely to think that Izzo and LeBron's decisions are not related than to think they are, but I understand the case to be made either way.  I certainly don't think Izzo's the kind of guy who'd lure LeBron to stay, so if the decisions are related I'm guessing LeBron made his first.


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  • If Izzo takes the Cavs' job, I'd be worried about LBJ coming not coming to Chicago.

  • not coming

  • Agreed. I don't think Izzo would leave for a Cavs team
    without Lebron. Maybe the new 3 year deal extension is true.

  • In reply to Dileg:

    I think that if they were sure to keep Lebron, they could get a much surer thing of a quality coach. On the other hand, with the MSU connection, he may be the highest impact coach they could pull off without that assurance from Lebron, in an attempt to attract him to stay.

    But, that might just be my hopes and dreams talking.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    I'm with you. The Cavs are fighting for their lives here. They has to pull out all the stops.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    When you couple this revelation with the Bulls telling Sam Smith that they aren't going to cater to Lebron's wishes on entourage, coaches, personnel, etc. I think this is very bad for Bulls chances to get Lebron but would love to be wrong.

  • In reply to MarkEichenlaub:

    If Lebron wants to come in and have his guys flying on the plane and heavily influencing basketball decisions... he can go elsewhere. We've seen how well that's gone in Cleveland, and I don't want that here.

    But, I think he's figured that out on his own.

  • In reply to MarkEichenlaub:

    It's a risk, but it's a risk that the Cavs had to take. They needed something to energize their fanbase after getting smacked in the playoffs. I think this is a good start, and I wouldn't put it pass the Cavs to end up being one of the bigger winners in 2010 free agency. Those guys are my darkhorse team to come away with Amare.

  • In reply to JimmyBulls:

    They would have to trade all of their descent players to get Amare or anyone else. Don't look for them to do too much. And if Lebron does resign which I think he will then this guy is not all about winning right now and he should know that other teams in the east are going to be much better then his Cavs next year.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I think a combination of Jamison, Hickson, and West is enough for the Suns to agree to a sign and trade. The Suns would add a veteran in Jamison that should keep Nash happy, and they'll get a nice young prospect in Hickson to boot. This trade would also allow Amare to get the 6th year on his deal. I wouldn't make the mistake to sleep on the Cavs in 2010 free agency. They will end up with somebody really good, IMO.

  • In reply to JimmyBulls:

    The Suns should ask for Mo Williams to be included with Jamison and Hickson instead of West if they should do A sign and trade with Cleveland cause they will probably get rid of both with West having his emotional issues and not to mention the rumors that are flying around about him and Lebron's mother.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    That still wont get it done for Cleveland, having Amare.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Only 500,000 of West contract is guaranteed, I think the Suns would love to take advantage of the savings. There is no reason to believe the Suns would rather take on Williams contract. I think a trade that would send Jamsion, Hickson, West and a first for Amare and Clark is probably as good as the Suns could get if they don't want to lose Stat for nothing.

  • In reply to JimmyBulls:

    thats too much of a trade for amare..they wont trade hickson and jamison..if he wanted to leave then jamison,west,gibson and a future 1st..

    there goina need a proven shooting guard.. maybe joe johnson for mo willams? and trade for calderon with hickson? and bring in a shooting 4? troy murphy?

    jose calderon
    joe johnson
    lebron james
    amare stoudemire
    andy varejao

    draft pick,?,murphy,z, coach izzo..

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    I'd worship the new GM if he can pull this off.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    BOSH is the key.

    The Bulls' management has to get Chris Bosh.

    Also, I would keep an eye on the Carmelo Anthony extention talks. If he waits, which he should, then the Bulls' management could always go hard after him via trade.

    Deng seems more Denver, while Melo is more City.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    There is absolutely no way that Denver trades Melo... no way.

  • In reply to bryield:

    what about if he wants to come to chicago.. and likes the idea of rose,anthony and bosh.. we easily be the team to beat.. especially with them playing d finally with thibs under control..

    i'll trade noah for anthony if it brought him..
    noah and deng for carmelo

    hinrich,gibson,1st(bobcats),asik,james johnson.. we could sign a center or two.. bring back miller and draft one..

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    . rose and melo is the perfect one two and with bosh? thats flattering too mee..trading kirk,deng and noah and basically everyone & having three guys who could be in the mvp disscussion at some point? and filling out the team with the rest of the money.. guys like camby or haywood? if they wanted to give us nene in cap relief than i'll do it too.. anthony,& nene for noah,deng and bobcats 1st

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    Have you been hanging around Mr Happy? He must be contagious.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    I have no doubt that Rose and Melo (with or without Bosh) would be pretty awesome. My point is that there is just no way that Denver trades him, especially not for Deng and/or Noah. The Nuggets will do everything they can to resign him. If he is determined to leave, then maybe Denver works out a S&T next summer, but not before then.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    I don't know if any of you guys caught this one, but McGraw at the Daily Herald said in a matter of fact one liner, that the Herald has confirmed that Lebron called Rose and told him that he wanted to come to Chicago.

    If that is true this should be a huge story, how come nobody is talking about it. What do you know/hear Doug.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    It was mentioned before. It sort of lost steam with all the other Lebron news/rumors. I do think that it is a plus though. Like I said before I'm pretty sure all these FA already have a good idea where they are going. Only some extreme turn of events would change their minds most likely. We unfortunately have to play the waiting/speculating game lol.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    Why is everyone SO quick to say goodbye to Noah??? If the Bulls knows what's good they WILL NOT trade Noah. If we get Lebron we will be ok even w/o Bosh. If we have to trade Noah for Bosh I say no! I would rather get David Lee or Boozer and keep Noah...you can't replace his fire and drive.

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    I agree, he's the heart of the team. I don't think I'd want Boozer, though, regardless. I'm high on Lee, especially if he's a second signing. Any of the other PF free agents will have problems playing third option, but I doubt Lee would.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    Bigway, Its funny I read an interview with Rose that said he hasnt spoke to Lebron and that all the stories are getting out of hand. Its hard to really gauge whats going on, but I'm happy with the coach we got and never really wanted IZZO. IMO I think the bulls got the best available coach and there werent too many coaches I placed higher, maybe Phil jackson and Maurice Cheeks but thats about it.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    So some trustee/college pal says Tom Izzo told him the Bulls offered him the job, and everybody takes that as the truth? Bulls apparently are saying flat out they talked to Izzo, but never offered him the head coaching job.

    In this age of leaks and pre-released news do people really think not a word would have been uttered/reported about this if it came to an actual offer, and not just talk?

    Thank god an offer was not made. You've got a multi Finals defensive architect who is a well respected teacher to NBA stars across the league versus a college coach with no NBA expereince..?

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    I doubt the Bulls would have offered the job to Izzo. The Bulls are too slow and cheap to offer it to Izzo so quickly. That is not in GAR/PAX/Reinsdorf's DNA. The only reason Thibs got it so fast was because of the Hornets offer/Thibs wanted it/he was coming relatively cheap

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    Honestly, I don't see the big deal about the Cavs going after Izzo. The Cavs' owner is a MSU alum. Maybe he's just a homer?

    I'd think that Coach K (he of 2008 Olympic Gold Medal experience with LBJ in tow) would have been the coach to worry about if it was designed to keep LeBron in Cleveland.

    Just saying.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    this is a pretty cool article.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    Many websites are shooting down the notion that Izzo told his team he was leaving for the Cavs job. It seems he just had a reg team meeting.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    IMO Izzo really wont have much influence on LeBron. I think Dan Gilbert has no idea who to turn to besides his old coach where he use to go to school. What would really make Tom Izzo so intriguing for LeBron to skip out on a chance to play with the Bulls? LeBron wants Titles...not a rookie college coach. If Izzo says no to the job...Cleveland will be taking a big hit.

  • In reply to Yunqn:


    NIKE thinks that LBJ will go where he will win.


    NIKE does = Power (Broker...haha).

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    There are reports that he talked to his players, YES, but there is nothing that says he told them he's leaving. Add to that, the Bulls coming out & saying they did not make Izzo an offer, they only held a preliminary conversation to gauge interest, all this is is just another rumor flying around.

    And I highly doubt there are assurances of any kind that LBJ will be there. Simply put, the Cavs need to pull out all the stops to try & keep their star & hiring one of the most successful college coaches in recent history certainly doesn't hurt. But then again neither does the Bulls signing the guy who designed the D that put the clamps on not only the Cavs but the Magic. I still give us the edge in the coach department.

  • In reply to Reese1:



    Uh...oh...LBJ (Bulls') fans.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I find it curious that the Bulls were interested in Izzo in the first place. Isn't it very possible that he's a guy that Lebron wanted to play for? Plus, as far as "splashy" hires go, all you have to do is watch ESPN for five minutes to see that Izzo is way more of a high profile hire than Thibodeau.

    The thing that scares me is the idea that Lebron wanted Izzo, so the Bulls spoke to him and weren't willing to pony up the cash. Under normal circumstances that would be a good thing, because I like Thibs better as a coach. But if hiring Izzo was a chance to get Lebron, and the Bulls passed because of financial concerns, that would be pretty devastating. And yet another example of how this franchise is run like they play in Oklahoma City rather than the third largest market in the country.

  • In reply to MarkEichenlaub:

    He will resign in Cleveland. Why else would Izzo leave Michigan besides the money. If he indeed does resign with them then I say let him stay there and continue to lose in the playoffs. The Bulls will then know who they need to make their first priority and that should be Bosh. Unless they can get another veteran guard I think they should go after Joe Johnson but not with a max deal. It's been rumored that he has been hanging out in Chicago lately with his ex college team mate Pargo.

  • In reply to Dileg:

    It can be the other way too. If the Cavs are going to go with some kind of an younger group, they need to have the franchise value not go down by 75% if LeBron leaves. A well named coach with a sprinkle of decent players will atleast reduce that number.
    A good coach is also a start to teach the younger players and implement a philosophy and rebuild:-)

    Or it might be that LeBron has told that he is staying with a 3 year player opt-out deal. But it is hard to imagine what difference would Izzo make in winning a championship and not just going to conference finals....This is not Amare, Boozer or even Wade who might be satisfied making a deep playoff run. LeBron needs to win rings to create his legacy and anything else is useless.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I think they're making a big push for Izzo to try to make one last desperate push to win LeBron back, not a sign that LBJ is in on the deal. And I find it ultimately hard to accept that hiring Izzo, while I respect him, would be something that could make LeBron stay if he was otherwise certain to leave.

  • In reply to Dileg:

    According to my source inside the MSU athletic dept, the conversation you reference never happened. Nothing but smoke and mirrors. And I trust my source more than a radio station in NY...

  • I'm guessing this is the first in a series of moves that Gilbert is going to make this month to try to get Lebron to stay or another star to come. I'd expect them to try to move up in the draft, or make some soft of significant draft day trade. I really can't fathom that the Cavs have already given up on him, which some are suggesting hiring Izzo demonstrates.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    mo willams for joe johnson
    jj hickson and ? for calderon
    jamison,west,gibson and 1st for amare

    sign tom izzo...

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    Maybe the second option but the other two... I would not do. Cleveland has garbage players except for maybe Hickson.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    Well... looks like he will be wasting three more years of his career. Just so long the Bulls make the right moves to contend in the east and for the championship. Izzo is not leaving Michigan ST. for nothing. Bosh should be at the Top of the List as it is suppose to be. I just do not understand why Lebron would be willing to play for a college coach at this point of his career. Like I said before, who knows what Lebron is thinking.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    A doubling of his salary is nothing?

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I know that college coaches don't translate well, but why is that?
    This might be a column for the slow summer months, but what are the major differences between college ball and pro ball?
    Shot clock
    3pt line
    all around bigger players
    What else?

    More importantly though how does that affect the coaching?

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Not to give up...but I doubt the Bulls thought about getting LeBron a couple of months. They must have a lot of alternate plans in terms of salary dumps, trades etc...and not just FA. Listen to what Gar/Pax said in their press conferences....salary cap space is the biggest thing for this franchise and that can do wonders.

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