As if the Lebron James-Cleveland Cavaliers saga wasn’t complicated enough, a new character has been added to the story.
Early today, incorrect reports surfaced that the Cavaliers had extended a head coaching offer to Michigan State’s long-time head coach, Tom Izzo.
The school’s athletics director, Mark Hollis told the Associated Press on Monday that the Cavaliers are interested in Izzo, but have not yet given him an offer.
"There is not a contract offer on the table," Hollis said in a telephone interview with the AP. "Last week, there was talk that Chicago and New Jersey were interested. If I was anywhere but at Michigan State, I would be interested in Tom, too, because he's the best coach in college basketball."
Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert was a bit more evasive when the AP tried to contact him. When reporters attempted to contact Gilbert, he replied via email, saying the team’s policy on not commenting on “any rumor about potential new hires, trades, free agent signings, etc.”
Izzo led Michigan State to the Final Four this year for the sixth time in his 12 seasons. The only other coaches to accomplish that feat are UCLA’s John Wooden and Duke’s Mike Krzyzwski.
With a contact worth more than $3 million per season, Izzo is under contract with the Spartans through 2016. That, however, hasn’t stopped him from being an oft-mentioned name for various professional franchises.
This whole ordeal is yet another twist in what has been a crazy summer for the Cavalier franchise. With their hometown superstar James set to become a free agent on July 1, the team fired head coach Mike Brown and parted ways with general manager Danny Ferry.
This past Friday, Gilbert said he was “moving very quickly” in a search to fill Cleveland’s coaching vacancy. Prior to being fired, Mike Brown won 143 games over the past two seasons, but showed an inability to advance to the NBA Finals despite being favored for two straight years.
Before the Izzo rumors, it was suspected that James was behind all of the team’s moves thus far this summer. However, it is very doubtful that the King would ask for an unproven coach to come in and lead a team that has obvious deficiencies and holes to fill. Rather, it now appears as though the guiding force behind all of the team’s moves this summer has been Gilbert, who is looking to take a more Jerry Jones–ish role in team operations.