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June 07, 2010

Izzo and the Cavs

"He's got an offer from

"An MSU alum,

"You know I read it on the Internayeeeeet ... Uh-oooooohhhh.

"I-I-I-Izzo and the Cavs."

    Most of these things don't even deserve a flinch anymore. Some Bulls fan site had Tom Izzo "interviewing" for the Bulls job last week. Whatever. I'm sure he brought along an updated resume and a list of references. This Cleveland thing, though, is at least worth a flinch.

    A report of an offer and a mention of Cleveland owner/MSU alum Dan Gilbert's Izzobsession came Sunday. These sources are a bit better than Bullzfrommybasement.com. So Sunday night, I reached Izzo via text and asked him about the Cavs. He replied that the reports are "way more (baloney) than substance."

    Also Sunday night, WLNS-TV 6 reporter Lisa Byington cited a source close to Izzo who said there is no offer. Izzo did not directly answer that question for me. And Gary Parrish of cbssports.com also reported no offer on the table per a source.

    Now let's think about this situation. Why would Gilbert be offering a job to a coach right now? I can only come up with one reason -- because LeBron James signed off on (or suggested, or at least gave an indifferent shrug to) said coach. If Gilbert wants to keep his franchise from a return to the World B. Free days, he has to re-sign James. If James mentions that he enjoys the work of Phyllis Diller, Gilbert's calling her tomorrow (she is from Lima). 

    So either the "offer" stuff is way premature, or Gilbert is acting because he knows/believes/hopes that hiring Izzo will convince James to shun Chicago and all other suitors to remain in Cleveland. All decisions revolve around keeping James. They do not revolve around the Gilbert-MSU connection or anything else. Izzo did recruit James briefly, and James actually said at a high school all-star game that his college choice would have been Michigan State (it should be noted that he was hanging out with Shannon Brown at the time of the interview).

    Meanwhile, if you're Izzo and you get this offer, and you don't know for sure that James is sticking with the Cavs, you may as well have been offered the Flint Tropics job. He'd be more likely to make Broadway a full-time pursuit (how about "Rent 2: The Wrath of Izzo"?)

    But if you're offered the job, and you're assured that James will be there if you're there, how can you not think about it? Forget the money, whatever it is, this is a chance to win an NBA championship. College coaches don't get chances like that in the NBA. They get three-years-if-lucky opportunities like Izzo nearly took with the Atlanta Hawks a decade ago.

    Is Gilbert scrambling to find an answer that will please James? Or are Gilbert and James actively collaborating? That's a big question. But even if this is real and Izzo has a chance to coach James (maybe even take over as GM?), I believe he'll be coaching Michigan State next season. I just don't think he can pull the trigger, especially with seniors back in Lucas and Summers, recruits coming in Appling and Payne, and a potential national title at hand. Still, MSU fans may find themselves flinching -- and twitching and sweating -- some in the next few weeks.

   

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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