Tom Izzo Reportedly Closer to Taking Cavaliers Job
According to an online report, the Michigan State coach is leaning toward taking the Cleveland Cavaliers job if it is offered.
A source described as "close confidant of Izzo" told ESPN's Andy Katz that Izzo's mind has changed in recent weeks and he is now thought to be favoring the Cavaliers job over Michigan State.
The report echoes Jud Heathcote's comments Wednesday. The former Michigan State coach said he expected Izzo to take the Cavaliers job if LeBron James, who could become a free agent July 1, remains with the Cavaliers.
In late May, however, Izzo dismissed speculation about leaving Michigan State to FanHouse's Brett McMurphy
"I don't say that, but I'm happy where I'm at," the coach told FanHouse. "It's a compliment if people think you're good enough to look at jobs, but I think my loyalty -- if people that are recruiting against me ever say he won't be there, there are very few people that haven't moved in 27 years."
But Izzo said he wouldn't rule out anything.
"I've never been one to say never," Izzo said. "My good friend, Nick Saban ... they're still hitting him on [saying] 'I'll never be the Alabama coach.'"
Izzo is in Cleveland Thursday to discuss the position. FanHouse's Sam Amick confirmed Thursday that Byron Scott is also a candidate for the position. Scott, the former Nets and Hornets coach, interviewed with the Cavaliers Thursday.
Michigan State's coach met with his team Wednesday, according to assistant coach Mark Montgomery, but did not announce his intentions.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Izzo had been offered a four-to-five-year deal, worth roughly $6 million per season.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis released an angry statement Wednesday, but offered no further comment on Izzo's status.
"Nothing has changed from my initial statement, and yet, there have been many ridiculous reports," Hollis said in the statement. "I'm angry at the impact they have on student-athletes, coaches, wives and children, and other people at universities and organizations. Tom Izzo is the head basketball coach at Michigan State University."
Izzo, 55, is under contract to Michigan State through 2016 with $500,000 buyout. He has led the Spartans to six Final Fours in the past 12 seasons, including a national title in 2000. Michigan State, along with Duke and Purdue, expect to enter the season as preseason favorites for the national title.
The Izzo report comes on the same day as sanctions against USC and the exodus from the Big 12, and less than a week after the death of legendary coach John Wooden.
-- Ray Holloman