Published June 12, 2010
Tom Izzo is trying to take his time as he weighs the pros and cons of leaving to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers or staying at Michigan State.
Izzo indicated he's still undecided.
"Still gathering," Izzo wrote Sunday in a text message to The Associated Press.
The Cavs have been wooing Izzo for at least a week to coach their team — and perhaps LeBron James.
Izzo spent several hours in Cleveland with team officials on Thursday, and he told reporters that night at the Lansing, Mich., airport that the situation wouldn't go on forever.
On Monday morning, the Tom Izzo Spartan Basketball Camp opens in East Lansing.
It's not clear if the camp's namesake will be there.
Cleveland may intensify talks with Byron Scott if Izzo tells Cavs owner Dan Gilbert that he's declining the offer. The Spartans may hire one of Izzo's former assistants, such as Dayton's Brian Gregory, should Izzo find himself with a new employer for the first time since 1983.
The Cavaliers are not commenting on their coaching search.
If Izzo leaves, he would be making a jump perhaps only one highly successful college coach — Lou Carnesecca — has made with similar roots at a program.
Carnesecca was an assistant to Joe Lapchick at St. John's from 1956-65 and took over as head coach from 1966-70 before leaving to coach the ABA's New York Nets for three seasons. Carnesecca returned to St. John's in 1974 and remained there until 1992.
Gilbert, a Michigan State graduate, is seeking a replacement for fired coach Mike Brown, and the team will also attempt to re-sign James when free agency begins July 1.
Without knowing what the two-time MVP will do next month, Izzo may be trying to figure out what James is planning before making his stay-or-go decision.
It's not known if Izzo has tried to contact James. Gilbert has said James wouldn't be consulted during his coaching search.
Scott fits the profile of the type of coach Gilbert wants, but the three-time NBA champion guard for the Lakers could be waiting for Phil Jackson's decision to stick with that franchise or step away. Scott's agent, Brian McInerney, has deferred all inquiries to the Cavs.
Michigan State wouldn't be able to truly replace Izzo if he goes, but it might have to try to do just that if he can't turn down an opportunity to perhaps make $6 million — doubling his salary — while coaching a team that might include one of the world's best basketball players.
Gregory, Tulsa's Doug Wojcik, Utah's Jim Boylen — all assistants under Izzo — likely would be on the list of candidates, along with Michigan State associate head coach Mark Montgomery and Dwayne Stephens. Both played for the Spartans when Izzo was a relatively unknown assistant for Jud Heathcote.
Michigan State fans, though, hope the school doesn't have to hire a new coach for the first time since Izzo was promoted in 1995. Many "We Love Izzo" signs — with the love represented by a red heart — had been planted in Lansing-area lawns, including one at the Capitol by Sunday afternoon.
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland, AP Basketball Writer Jim O'Connell in New York and Associated Press Writer Tim Martin in Lansing, Mich., contributed to this report.