Tom Izzo Rumors

Saunders didn’t offer the job to Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger as reported, though they did have discussions. Joerger, a Staples, Minn., native, ended up signing a contract extension with the Grizzlies on May 27. “First of all, the interview process was interesting,” Saunders said. “We talked to a lot of people, a lot of good people. Some college guys, [Michigan State’s] Tom Izzo is a friend of mine, [Iowa State’s] Freddie Hoiberg. When you go through that situation they have things they want to do. To coach at [the NBA] level is difficult because there’s a lot of factors that get involved. So when it came down to it and we started going through everybody, I went to Glen this week and I said, ‘Here’s some options we have.’ Then Glen said, based on where our team is right now, I think you’re the best viable option to coach this team and move forward.”
Saunders didn’t offer the job to Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger as reported, though they did have discussions. Joerger, a Staples, Minn., native, ended up signing a contract extension with the Grizzlies on May 27. “First of all, the interview process was interesting,” Saunders said. “We talked to a lot of people, a lot of good people. Some college guys, [Michigan State’s] Tom Izzo is a friend of mine, [Iowa State’s] Freddie Hoiberg. When you go through that situation they have things they want to do. To coach at [the NBA] level is difficult because there’s a lot of factors that get involved. So when it came down to it and we started going through everybody, I went to Glen this week and I said, ‘Here’s some options we have.’ Then Glen said, based on where our team is right now, I think you’re the best viable option to coach this team and move forward.”
Korn Ferry, a consulting firm, was hired by the Pistons to handle the initial search and 25-30 names were on that list, including Izzo and Michigan coach John Beilein, according to the source. Pistons owner Tom Gores did acknowledge he talked in person to one other candidate, but it’s unlikely it would’ve been Izzo. Steve Kerr, who wound up taking the Golden State coaching job, seems to have been the more plausible candidate in Platinum Equity’s eyes.
In a story posted on its website on Sunday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that the Michigan State coach was offered the same deal that went to Stan Van Gundy — five years, $35 million, and control of basketball operations. That same report said Izzo declined the Pistons’ offer, and Izzo also was contacted by the Cavaliers after they fired coach Mike Brown. The Pistons never made an offer to Izzo, a source with knowledge of the situation told The Detroit News.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he’ll remain with the Spartans next season despite rumors that he is a candidate for NBA openings in Minnesota and Detroit. “First of all, I’m going to be at Michigan State,” Izzo said Wednesday on ESPNU’s College Basketball podcast. “I still listen to things every day in our town about Nick Saban saying I’m not going to be the Alabama coach [when Saban was coach of the Miami Dolphins]. Nobody knows where any of us are going to be. You have to look at your track record and, over all these years, is this what he’s done?”
Two college coaches mentioned as candidates to replace Adelman, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, aren’t likely to take the job because of their popularity and security at their respective schools. The Wolves could be a playoff contender next season with the personnel additions they made this year, but Izzo or Hoiberg probably won’t move unless offered a fantastic contract with big money.
When Tom Izzo was asked after Sunday’s season-ending 60-54 loss to Connecticut in the East Regional final about “rumors swirling” that pro teams might have interest in him, he said: “Well, if (so), they’re forgetting to call me.” “What lurks ahead for me? I really do love it here,” Izzo said after his 19th season and 17th straight NCAA tournament. “I mean my (athletic director) and president are phenomenal. My family likes it here. There are things in the NBA that are frustrating, too. But there are some things in college that are very, very frustrating.”
“I’ve never met Tom Gores, never talked to him,” Izzo said. “People give me the, ‘I know you’ve talked to him. You’re just not telling me.’ No I didn’t. And I’ve been pretty honest all the way about all these jobs. Except Cleveland, I shut my mouth because we had it with the media that year and they said, ‘You shouldn’t be so honest,’ so I didn’t. I didn’t deny, I just didn’t answer.”
But unlike Hoiberg, who’s a bit new to this scuttlebutt and respectfully let out a “no comment” Thursday about anything regarding the NBA, Izzo’s more than willing to discuss where he’s at practically by the minute. You don’t see many coaches, in any sport, speak as freely on the record about their current job status or possible future situations the way Izzo does. It almost makes you halt with how frank he can be. Izzo told CBSSports.com that he has always felt much more comfortable not hiding things. He can’t fight everything off now anyway. He said even when he’s forthcoming, people still doubt him. “When there is a situation, I’ve been lucky enough to have an AD and a president that, if I want to explore it, they let me,” Izzo said. “I just get tired of people telling me — I don’t mind if somebody speculates; that’s OK, that’s your job — but when you tell me, ‘I know this guy’s talked to you.’ I haven’t talked to anybody. I want to make sure people know that.”
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One more time, Tom Izzo said Wednesday, neither he nor his people have been contacted by the Pistons or any other NBA team. But, he said on “The Dan Patrick Show,” he has some theories on how these rumors get started. “I don’t even have an agent and my wife has not been contacted,” Izzo said. “I think it’s some guy sitting behind a computer that is one of my favorite human beings on the planet, which are those social media geeks which are sitting at a computer and just making up stories, and everybody says, ‘Well, you know their owner and he’s a Michigan State guy. …’ “I’ve never met Tom Gores, I’ve never talked to Tom Gores. I think somebody, maybe it’s Michigan fans are putting that out.”
Tom Izzo has a message for the NBA should it come calling again: He’s still happy in college. “There’s been so many rumors over the years,” the Michigan State coach said on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Tuesday. “I look at people I used to recruit against years ago [that] said that I’d be gone, but I’m still here and some of those schools have had three different coaches. I’ve always said I’d never say never to anything because you never know what it brings. But I got so much more work to do here. I have a great president, a great AD and a football coach that I really get along [with]. So this is a pretty good place for me right now. We’re in a pretty good spot. Program’s in pretty good shape. Ain’t broke, so why fix it?”