Tom Izzo to Cleveland would be good for Chicago

In the latest Ask Sam:

Sam: Ah, Tom Izzo. He's the Bad Internet Story of the Day. That was
Wednesday's Detroit newspaper report from a school trustee Izzo had
rejected the Bulls' offer to be head coach before they offered the job
to Thibodeau. So, I guess do we find out after all these years is Izzo
is just another one of those college coaches trying to leverage himself
into more money and a better deal? No, he had zero chance of ever being
considered to coach the Bulls because he is a college coach who doesn't
know much about the NBA and the Bulls hardly need a coach with training
wheels again. I will say of the college coaches I thought he was maybe
the best with a chance to make it in the NBA. When Vinny was fired and
I did a list of potential candidates the only college coach I mentioned
was Izzo. Yet, I gave him no chance and he really had none. Yes, the
Bulls had some talks with him. I believe it could have been more a
favor as GM Gar Forman is a college guy and still close with Tim Floyd.
But isn't it interesting the Michigan State AD says they'll replace
Izzo the moment he leaves. If the Bulls did make an offer, how come
there was no big stories of him telling the AD and talking to the team
like there have been with the Cavs apparently making him an offer. Why
the Cavs would hire some who never coached in the NBA is a mystery and
suggests maybe they do think they have lost LeBron. Izzo is a competent
college coach, no question. He's won a national championship and
generally does well in the tournament. But guys who have coached in
college a long time have no idea who plays in the NBA, how different
the game is and how much control you don't have. They don't have a
chance. NBA guys have little regard for them once they see that. It's
why none ever succeed even though they're smart guys, and there have
been more successful ones than Izzo who have tried. Izzo's in a weak
Big 10 conference and not exactly knocking off anyone's socks annually
with what seems like a slower defensive game. Derrick Rose and Joakim
Noah would love that. In the last five years, his teams have finished
fourth or worse three times. In the last 20 games last season, they
scored more than 80 points once. I don't know if Izzo has any intention
of going to the Cavs as you read that he won't unless he gets a
commitment from LeBron, who is not exactly in that business or mindset
these days. So would the Cavs wait until July 8? I can see them doing
so. Look, if LeBron leaves they're done, anyway. Might as well get a
name for the sidelines. But why would Michigan State put up with that?
Hey, I can understand a $6 million annual salary as an appeal. But I've
read Izzo makes $3 million for basically working a half year. The NBA
is hard work and a long season. And you go to the Cavs without LeBron
and miss the playoffs and lose your reputation right away. Plus, who
wants to be the coach after LeBron? But he's not asking me and has done
pretty well all these years without my advice. I don't believe
Thibodeau is the next Red Auerbach or Phil Jackson, but he knows the
NBA inside out, the players and the tendencies of teams studied over
decades. Players want a chance to get better. Not some sidelines
cheerleader. I think the Bulls are quite happy with Thibodeau, who,
unlike Izzo, hasn't had to pay to go to NBA playoff games.

Wow, I never thought of it from that perspective, but Sam Smith's really on to something there.   Nice brief summary of why the college coach typically fails in the NBA as well as what Tom Izzo is up against.

Personally, I like Izzo, I wouldn't want him to coach the Bulls because I've always feared the lack of success college coaches have, but I thought if we got a college coach I would take Izzo over someone like John Calipari (unless of course you buy into the Calipari/LeBron package).

Nice job by Sam on breaking this down though.

Some other great stuff in the Latest ask Sam, but a bunch more love for Joe Johnson.  Please, someone tell me what the appeal of Joe Johnson here is.  Sam says he'd hate to see getting Joe Johnson looked at as a failure, but Sam and I will have to disagree on that one.


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  • This was my take from the moment the story broke. Phil Jackson. Sure. But Izzo? He might be good, maybe real good, but him being the difference between LeBron staying and going just doesn't add up.

  • I disagree w/ Sam a bit. He makes it seem like Izzo isn't a great coach. I think the fact he generally makes a great run in the tournament is his biggest argument. Also the fact that he generally coaches subpar talent to Elite 8s and Final 4s is another big plus. Calipari has the best recruits but is yet to win a championship. If I had a choice between Izzo and Calipari its Izzo all day. Happy we have Mr. Thibs tho!

    Also the fact that college coaches generally don't do good in the NBA I think is overrated b/c taking a look at the situations those coaches were put in was tough! I mean we act like Phil didn't have MJ and doesn't have Kobe. Now don't get me wrong I still believe that Phil is the best coach ever to coach in the NBA...but I can't help but wonder how much of his success is due to the fact that he coached the best player ever and arguably the 2nd best ever.

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    I really don't see that Sam is downplaying Izzo's coaching abilities, just suggesting that NBA and NCAA are two different games.

    I think Izzo is a good choice if Cleveland ends up dumping everyone and starting over with young talent. At the very least he's good developmentally at any level. On the off chance that he's able to take things to the next level in the NBA, he'll be able to take them there. If not, he's our Doug Collins, and they'll just have to find their Phil Jackson down the road.

    That's assuming they can get good young talent to develop, and that they do lose Lebron.

  • I think its possible. Lebron might say Izzo's learning curve is too much for the time he has at his peak. Idk if this is good for chicago but its probably bad for cleveland.

    I am wondering more if Lebron goes to NY tho. He has been cozying up to Jimmy Iovine and Warren Buffet. And then Jimmy sais Lebron is going to NY. I wonder how much stock I should put into it, given Iovene did produce Lebrons movie.

    Oh and Doug, If we got Lebron. What type of offense would we run if we stuck with Lebron plus the current team?

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    LeBron may go to NYC, but if it does it will be all about money, not about basketball. Warren Buffet? What team did he play for?

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    Something immulating the dribble drive motion would be great. It would be great w/two offense generators. Lebron likes the ball in his hand but something tells me he wouldn't mind giving up that responsibilty to Rose. I think they would both feed off each other and it would create a lot of open shots for everyone else...including lobs to Noah. Really the possibilities are endless(pick-and-rolls w/Lebron and Noah will end up with a lot of layups/dunks) that's why we need a killer 3pt shooter ASAP. Our offense would be in the top 3 for the next 5 years and our defense would be in the top 5-10 as well!

    There I go again...we have to secure Lebron first!! So these dreams can become a reality!!

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    IMO let them hire Tom Izzo lol He's a college coach...LeBron doesnt care about how many games he won at the college level. The NBA is whole different ball game. And the amount of money they would be paying for him is ridiculous lol

  • Agreed, but nobody ever said Gilbert's not a homer.

    I figure they're thinking that if they can pull of a couple other moves, Izzo along with them might convince Lebron. If not, Izzo will help rebuild. And it's not like it's cap space.

  • That's a bit of an oversimplification. "Winning" as Kobe's sidekick in LA wouldn't do anything for his legacy. LeBron choosing Chicago wouldn't be a decision about money, but about winning (maybe dynasty building) while also making money. Choosing NYC is really just about money, which is a point I'm not sure you even disagree with.

  • So let me get this straight, they fire Mike Brown who has like a 66% winning percentag and cavs get a College Coach who is not condition for the NBA league? If I was Lebron, my mind is made up. Chicago bulls all the way. LEROSE 2010-2011, LETS DO THIS!

  • First off, I really don't get the idea of why Lebron would want to play for a college coach. At this stage of his career, he really need to be trying to win a championship but again... who knows what is going on in this guys head. Lebron and these other free agents should be watching the finals and really examining and taking notes into how Boston and L.A. are competing and making the necessary adjustments from game to game. I know if it were me and I have been in the league for 7 or 8 years and had not gotten to the finals or won a championship, I would be trying my best to get to a team that has a pretty good chance to do so if the team that I were on chances were not good at doing so. The experience at playing at such a high level will do wonders for these guys, especially Nate Robinson who has never been in this situation before. Like I have stated before, everyone will know what Lebron is all about after this free agency period is over and done with. Either he wants to waste three more years with Cleveland being too loyal, or he is all about the money hanging around billionaires and signing with N.Y. or like he said he is supposedly all about winning and winning championships and he signs with the Bulls. So basically he will be hated even more by the entire league or he will be really be hated by his home state. As far as Joe Johnson possibly being signed by the Bulls... I don't think it will be a total failure if they do sign Joe as long as they sign him for a little less than the max and as long as the Bulls can sign in this order either Bosh, or Boozer, or maybe Stoudemire. Joe would be a good big guard for the Bulls for a few more years as long as the Bulls get some good shooters to space the floor. This way I think the Bulls can hang on to their big guys and maybe only have to give up Hinrich and a draft pick or two. I just feel like Lebron has too much going on and he's hanging around people that will influence him to sign elsewhere cause even though he say he is mature for his age he's still just a 25 year old. I would like for him to sign with the Bulls cause if he is smart he will be able to see what the Bulls are trying to do and that the Bulls are the perfect fit for him. And something else that bothers me is the reports that say he didn't have the Bulls on his list of teams to consider signing with. So I do know that I have not and still wont get my hopes up about this guy signing with the Bulls cause like I said... who knows what this guy is thinking and I am pretty sure that he already knows where he will be playing next year. A Joe Johnson and Bosh or Boozer signing would not be bad at all.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    i can live with joe johnson and bosh to the bulls. I agree, lebron's ego is soooo sooo big. I don't think we have the clot to get him. but I still believe in LEBROSE.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Happy are you just now realizing that???? lol

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    Realizing what?

    My predications haven't been that bad.

    Cheeks could still end up in Chicago and Scott could go to Cleveland when it's all said and done. If those two things happen, then I didn't do have bad.

    Plus, I was right about Dickey Johnson and Derrick Byars.

    DeJuan Blair looks to be the better pro and the Bulls' 3pt shooting was abismal.

    Blair and Byars could have helped this team more than Johnson and Pargo have.

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    Well I think if Lebron signed with Orlando or the Lakers for the MLE that would be going too far. That would be selling out for a championship. Just like Karl Malone and Gary Payton tried to sell out for a chip with the Lakers, too bad they bet on the ultimate team Killer Kobay Bryant and lost. (Payton just followed a true winner SHAQ and got a ring in Miami). Lebron wants to earn a Chip, so he just wants to go to a good situation like Chicago! I don't think he wants it set up for him or he would go to Miami. I am really surprised that there isn't more talk about that. I think he wants to earn it even though it would be tough with him and Wade and bums, I just don't see him doing it. Go LeRose I like that!

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    LEBROSE. i love it. lets do this!

  • LEBROSE 2010-2011, LETS DO THIS!


    Chicago Bulls - Maurice Cheeks (could be on the staff)
    Cleveland Cavs - Byron Scott (still possible)
    New Jersey Nets - Avery Johnson (correct)
    Los Angeles Clippers - Monty Williams (Brian Shaw is my next guess)
    New Orleans - Tom Thibodeau (they did offer him the job)

    * Predictions never seem to go right. I'm done with them....haha.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    wade to the bulls. thats another one of your failed predictions.

  • In reply to vinmotors:

    It's not July 8th yet is it?

    I'm doing pretty good on my coaching predictions. That's assuming Byron Scott gets the Cavs' job.

    I was also right about Dickey Johnson vs. DeJuan Blair. At least, as of right now.

    And couldn't the Bulls have used Derrick Byars' 3pt. shooting this year?

    I think so.

  • WRONG. First of all, he cannot just "sign" with Orlando because they are way over the cap. And no, he and none of the max players are signing for the MLE, that is WAY too much money to lose and it's embarrassing.

    Second, Orlando, although a better team than the Bulls right now, are not a good fit for LeBron. Orlando is an inside-out, post-up Howard while spacing the floor with 3-pt shooters, team. LeBron is a slasher, not a shooter or a post-up player. Yes, he is so talented they would still be very good, but you can DEFINITELY make the argument that the Bulls+LeBron+(other medium free agent) will be better than Orlando+LeBron-(what they give up in sign and trade). B/c yes, Orlando would HAVE to sign and trade for LeBron, unlike Chicago, who can sign him outright.

    Finally, going to a rival like Orlando is again selling out, almost as bad as going to LA. LeBron played out of his mind 2 years ago against Orlando (38-8-8 for the SERIES) and still lost to them. He does not want to look like "well, I can't beat them, so I'll just join them." He wants to beat them. With Chicago he will.

    Educate yourself about basketball and recent NBA history before posting anymore weak arguments.

  • Check out cool site!

    Happy, I can't wait til next year James Johnson will prove you wrong. And you also said Wade was coming to Chicago...some top secret whisperings you heard! lol...That also is a flop for ya!

  • Sorry Doug, but Simpkins was a 6'9" not very powerfull power forward.

    I have no idea why, but the very first time that I heard James Johnson to the Bulls I had no idea who he was and my first thought was, oh no not another dickie Simpkins.

    To me Simpkins represents a not particularly athletic player with a mope a dope personality, who looks too dumb and is too lazy to care about being an NBA player.

  • Wouldn't we all be happier today if they had taken Blair at 16 and still taken Gibson at 26, they may play the same position, but they sure play it in different ways.

  • Dickey Simpkins WAS TERRIBLE...couldnt dribble, barely could pass, he was a BUM. James Johnson is no where near what Dickey Simpkins was. lol If James actually got some playing time this year, we might actually be selling him as part of our great supporting cast to LeBron. James has a lot of talent, but he came in last year not ready. Vinny didnt help much by not playing him either. I think this coming year is going to be a make it or break it type year for him. If Thibs gives him minutes...James should be alright, but if he is rotting on the bench...he isnt going to be anything. I can see him in a Bonzi Wells type role off the bench.

    Just wondering...but i wonder where he ranks on our team in dunks...everytime i saw him this year, he was dunking the ball. I bet he has the 3rd most dunks on our team this year.

  • The question about Blair was always how his knees will hold up. It hasn't been answered yet. Neither has the question of if JJ will ever pull his head out of his ass.

    In three years we might be thrilled that they picked JJ and Taj over Blair. Or we might not. It's way too early to tell.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    And I have to say, I have high hopes for JJ after some time with Thibs. With his body control and what I'm assuming is an ability to focus (from his martial arts training), he should be able to be a very good defender. If his defense can get him on the court more, I think his offensive game will come. He showed flashes later in the year, he just needs to catch up to the speed of the game.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Weak Big 10? Really? Big 10 won the ACC challenge this year, and it had an excellent record in the tournament. Almost every qualified college commentator had the Big 10 #1 or #1 this year. Purdue, Ohio State, and Michigan State were 3 of the best teams in the country. Please Sam, stick to the pros.

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