Not a good sign

Tom Izzo rejects the Cavs’ offer:

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.

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34 Responses to Not a good sign

  1. Erik says:

    They better be a 20-win squad without LeBron. If/when he leaves, it's all about the ping-pong balls.Worst-case scenario would be if LeBron leaves and they're a 40-win team destined for a 7 or 8 seed and a first-round bitchslap at the hands of the C's or Magic. Nothing in the NBA is more pointless than being a perennial 7/8 seed.FTR, Wes Wesley has been leaking to whoever will listen that Bron is seriously considering the Bulls. That's probably what Izzo heard. If the Cavs don't make some kind of big trade or coaching move before free agency starts, Chicago is probably the frontrunner for LeBron. Doesn't mean he'll go there for sure, but the Bulls will hold the rail for the early furlongs at least.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The buzz out there is that Byron is waiting to see what Phil Jackson does. If Jackson doesn't resign with the Lakers as a coach, Byron wants to make a hard move for that job.Which brings me to Brian Shaw, assistant coach for the Lakers. He was on that original short list of possible assistants the Cavs were looking at before the long shot at Izzo. If Phil doesn't sign a new contract he would also want the head coaching job in LA. So it looks like we may be waiting until the end of the finals, and for Phil Jackson, to make a move on anyone.The question is, if Phil doesn't sign a new deal, and Byron Scott goes to the Lakers, how willing would we be to take a shot at another untested assistant coach? Or, how willing would Gilbert be at throwing about $10 million at Phil Jackson?Nick…

  3. Graham says:

    Looks to me like LeBron has one foot out the door. All signs have pointed that way since Game 5 and 6. There's just nothing concrete you can point to that say "OK, well that's reassuring" or anything of the sort. My money is on the Knicks right now, to go play with Bosh (and maybe another guy?). If he forsakes his hometown, I think its for the bright lights of NYC.

  4. davemanddd says:

    how about this for a legacy – lebron james, quitter??? just like c.c. sabathia, he couldn't get it done in cleveland, but he goes somewhere else and finally wins the big one. nobody loves a carpetbagger, except for the ones who benefit from him. i guess he could always get that "loyalty" tattoo laser-removed and "the chosen one" changed to "the chafen one".

  5. Ben says:

    I think Chicago is the front runner, but I really don't know. I could totally see him coming back here for a 3 year deal… which would be just a little north of pointless.

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