Izzo watch continues — for now, anyway
By Zac Jackson
Fox Sports Ohio
June 14, 2010
It’s the Monday morning you were hoping wouldn’t come soon. If you believe what you’ve read elsewhere — and at this point it’s tough to decipher who really knows what on this subject — it might be the day Tom Izzo gives the Cavaliers a decision. Then again, it might not be. There’s a chance this thing has gotten complicated. But since nobody’s really talking (at least with a name attached), it’s tough to know what’s really going on.
1. We know for sure that Izzo visited Cleveland late last week, and we know he responded to a text message from a reporter asking about his status Sunday by saying “Still gathering.” From that we can assume that an offer is on the table and the ball is in his court, but there’s still very little we really know. There are rumors and reports and stories everywhere, and until Izzo or the Cavaliers issue a public statement the guessing game continues. As does the waiting game. Maybe the searching game, too, for the Cavaliers as they’ve reportedly talked to Byron Scott — and he reportedly not only is waiting on Izzo, but would also be willing to wait and see what happens with the two NBA jobs in Los Angeles. In case you’re scoring at home, I read an article last week that said John Wooden never made more than $32,000 annually. Just thought I’d throw that out there.
2. Speaking of money, a whole bunch of these reports say Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert is willing to give Izzo a lot of it. Again, it’s tough to tell where and by whom this was actually reported and how often it’s just been repeated, but it’s out there. Gilbert has a nice franchise, tons of money, tons of energy and lots of reasons to make Izzo at least strongly consider taking this job. Izzo’s history with getting the most out of his teams and appreciating defense seem to fit the profile Gilbert and Chris Grant say they’re looking for. His lack of NBA experience is a concern, and LeBron James’ status certainly is a concern for both Izzo and the franchise. This is fun, isn’t it?
3. A report broke late Sunday night that said James is “100 percent” on board with the Cavaliers’ pursuit of Izzo. There’s another report that said one big reason Izzo is willing to leave the college game is that he’s tired of the not-so-squeaky-clean and neverending recruiting game. With James set for the recruitment of his life (at least until the next one), those things don’t seem to mesh. But James’ supposed endorsement of Izzo, whether it’s been direct or via back channels, has to be a positive for the Cavaliers as they try to move forward. Will he actually take the job? We’re still waiting to see.
4. Izzo is an icon in East Lansing, a legend and a superstar. He makes lots of money. He wins lots of games. He’s really never left his home state, and he’ll forever be remembered there for the work the Spartans have done on his watch. Those are reasons there have been multiple public rallies trying to let Izzo know that folks around the Michigan State program don’t want him to leave. Those are the reasons many think he’d be silly to leave, even if the reports about Gilbert offering him in the neighborhood of $6 million per year are true. He wins there, he’s revered there and he doesn’t need the Cavaliers job, which means the search could continue. Which means I could write this all over again (and again) later this week. Is it football season yet?
5. Izzo’s name is attached to a basketball camp that begins on the Michigan State Monday morning. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll actually be there double-checking registration forms and teaching help-side defense, but there’s at least a chance he’ll be there. And so, too, will cameras. And probably reporters. Maybe a decision is coming. Maybe we’re going to start another week of rumors and reports and guesses. Only Izzo knows. Presumably, only a few in the Cavaliers’ building know what’s really been offered and said and how long the list of candidates really is.
In the end, I don’t see him leaving a great job at Michigan State. But I’ve been wrong a time or two (hundred) before. Stay tuned.
Follow Zac Jackson on Twitter @FSOhioZJackson