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After a long, weird saga that included Tom Izzo and a late push by Lakers assistant Brian Shaw, it appears the Cavaliers have decided on Byron Scott to be their next head coach.
Byron Scott will be named the Cleveland Cavaliers' coach on Thursday, according to a source close to the situation.
The Cavaliers and Scott are finishing the details of a contract that could make him LeBron James' next coach.
Scott's agent, Brian McInerney, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that Scott has agreed to become Cleveland's next coach. A news conference is scheduled for Friday.
Scott began last season as the coach of the New Orleans Hornets, but was fired early in the season after a slow start. He had been with the Hornets from 2004 to 2009, and also coached the New Jersey Nets to two Finals appearances earlier in the decade. However, he was also sharply criticized for not playing promising youngsters Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton, who proved themselves after Scott was fired.
For more, head over to SB Nation's Cavaliers blog Fear the Sword.
Because after the Tom Izzo fiasco, nothing was going to be simple with the Cavaliers coaching job, Byron Scott's agent is denying the report by ESPN's Chris Broussard. In an e-mail to Fanhouse, Brian McInerney wrote, "Byron has not spoken to The Cavs today."
McInerney went on to say he was in touch with Cavs general manager Chris Grant today trying to to re-open negotiations, but that Scott has been unavailable in Arkansas all day. McInerney mentioned that he has been trying to reach him unsuccessfully all day.
The Cleveland Cavaliers Coaching Carousel is spinning to a halt, for real this time, via ESPN's Chris Broussard:
After being rebuffed in their high-profile, public courtship of Tom Izzo, the Cavs appear close to announcing Lakers assistant Brian Shaw as their next head coach...again. According to reports from both Sam Amick of Fanhouse and the Los Angeles Times, Shaw is nearing terms with the Cavs to fill their coaching vacancy, with Shaw's agent texting that his client was "close to accepting a deal". Indeed, Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski further reports that Shaw spent most of Tuesday afternoon beginning to put his coaching staff in place in Cleveland.
Granted nothing is official yet regarding Shaw (and likely won't be for at least another day, per Brian Windhorst), but it's becoming increasingly clear that the Lakers assistant will be the choice in Cleveland. And after having apprenticed with Phil Jackson the past five seasons as an assistant, Shaw is a very solid, up-and-coming choice for the Cavs...and yet, bringing him in would seem to indicate the Cavs are preparing for life after LeBron. As my colleague Andrew Sharp pointed out when the Shaw rumors first surfaced:
As a coaching hire, Shaw grades out fairly well. But you can't help but wonder, with LeBron James on the brink of free agency, if this isn't a sign that Cavs have conceded he'll go elsewhere.
With James returning, the Cavaliers could have taken a shot at any number of superstar coaches... Or, conversely, if they wanted James to return, the Cavs might have waited, so that James could help them choose between any number of superstar coaches.
Instead, here's Brian Shaw. A solid, respectable, but wholly unremarkable end to the Cavs' coaching search.
Indeed, can you see the Cavs selling LeBron playing for a first-time head coach in the league, when every other free agent suitor can offer better rosters, better markets, and LeBron's choice of coaches (Chicago excluded, which already made a move on first-time head coach Tom Thibodeau).
Shaw's seeming move to Cleveland also hints that Phil Jackson may be returning for a chance at another three-peat in Los Angeles after openly flirting with retirement, given that Shaw was widely viewed as the heir apparent for the Lakers.
On the heels of an earlier report from AOL Fanhouse, Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer cautions that nobody’s been offered the job yet, and that right now, Brian Shaw is far from a slam dunk choice:
Not saying it won’t happen but as of now, two sources now telling me Brian Shaw has not been hired by Cavs and right now is “not close.”
Obviously, the reports emerging from Cleveland are drastically different, but that's probably because of the implications a Shaw hiring would have on the rest of the franchise. In any case, the next few days should tell the rest of this story, so stay tuned.
According to Sam Amick of AOL Fanhouse, the deal's not done, but it's close. Brian Shaw will be named the next coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, possibly as early as Wednesday. From Fanhouse:
Shaw was a finalist with former New Orleans and New Jersey coach Byron Scott after Michigan State coach Tom Izzo declined the team's offer earlier this month. A source close to Scott said discussions for him to become the coach have not moved forward, a further indication that Shaw is the choice.
Shaw's credentials as an assistant are pretty impressive, as he's been reared under Phil Jackson in Los Angeles, and helped the Lakers win two straight championships. As a coaching hire, Shaw grades out fairly well. But you can't help but wonder, with LeBron James on the brink of free agency, if this isn't a sign that Cavs have conceded he'll go elsewhere.
With James returning, the Cavaliers could have taken a shot at any number of superstar coaches... Or, conversely, if they wanted James to return, the Cavs might have waited, so that James could help them choose between any number of superstar coaches.
Instead, here's Brian Shaw. A solid, respectable, but wholly unremarkable end to the Cavs' coaching search. Is the writing on the wall in Cleveland?
The Orange Country Register is reporting that Lakers assistant coach, Brian Shaw, has received permission from the Lakers to talk to the Cavs about their head coaching position:
As if the Lakers don’t have enough going on already, assistant Brian Shaw is talking to Cleveland about their head coaching vacancy.
Shaw received permission from the Lakers to talk with the Cavs and reportedly is scheduled to meet with
officials face-to-face next week. Shaw has been with the Lakers the past nine seasons (four as a player, five as an assistant). Cleveland
The Cavs' interest in Shaw makes Phil Jackson's decision that much more important to the Lakers who still do not know if they need to begin a head coaching search of their own.
Well, after the initial reports of Kelvin Sampson-to-the-Cavs surfaced a few weeks ago, the Cavaliers coaching search had taken on much greater proportions as owner Dan Gilbert dangled a lifetime's fortune in front Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. Now that Izzo's declined the offer, however, the Cavaliers go back to square one. Hey there, Kelvin Sampson!
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, it's time to take Sampson seriously:
The Cavs coaching situation is wide open at this point. He adds that Kelvin Sampson, formerly the coach at Indiana University and currently an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, is a legitimate candidate.
It's a throwaway note, but worth remembering. There are only so many "superstar" coaches out there, and until LeBron James commits to stay in Cleveland, it's a longshot for the Cavs to land any of them. But in Sampson, the Cavs could land a well-respected coach for a modest salary, and he's someone that's likely to accept the job regardless of what James decides in two weeks. It's still early, but don't count out Kelvin.
Any time a high-profile coach is torn between two teams, one fan base is going to end up disappointed. In this case it was the Cavs. Cue the euphoria from our Spartans faithful at The Only Colors:
Overall, it was refreshing to see the Tom Izzo we all know and love back in the public eye, offering honest and direct answers about Dan Gilbert (major factor in considering gig), LeBron James (ditto), and the conversations he had with his family and former players (major factor in staying; thank you, again, Raquel Izzo for your devotion to MSU). Unfortunately, the university-vs.-media stuff overwhelmed the other portions of Izzo's comments. [...]
To the extent Izzo dragged this out an extra 24 hours beyond the optimal announcement point, he more than made up for it with his "here for life at Michigan State" statement (his spoken comments fully backing up the written statement that was issued before the press conference). That's exactly the kind of reassurance MSU players, recruits, fans, and supporters needed to hear. And, to me, it came across as entirely genuine. If he didn't make the leap to go work for an NBA owner he obviously admires and potentially coach the most talented basketball player in the modern NBA, he's never going to leap.
As for Cleveland, the fans at Fear The Sword explain that Izzo's decision was all about one thing: where LeBron goes in free agency this summer (but really, what isn't?):
It is quite obvious to see that Izzo was only going to come to Cleveland if he could ride on the back of a superstar once he got here. It was never about being the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and all about possibly being the coach of LeBron James. And with James's silence, with James's refusal to budge from his self-imposed moratorium on giving any clues before July, Izzo did the only safe thing he could do, and hedged his bets, choosing to stay where he is adored rather than to take a leap into the unknown and perhaps, in five years, finding himself in the company of Mike Brown.
Coaches are perhaps the most proficient sorts of people at speaking out of three sides of their mouths simultaneously, but Tom Izzo left no room for speculation Tuesday night as he shot down reports he might leave the Spartans for the Cleveland Cavaliers:
It's been an agonizing week as I tried to make a decision about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I apologize for the time the process has taken, but sometimes there are opportunities that come about that must be thoroughly examined. I'm no different than any other successful coach in that I've had multiple inquiries before, but this one was uniquely intriguing. There was a lot of information to gather and consider and some of it wasn't easily obtainable. But when making a life decision, I owed it to myself and my family to do my due diligence. From that I never wavered. And I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State.
Well, that's direct. And a warm welcome back to our favorite John Calipari jokes! We've missed you dreadfully.
It appears that the Tom Izzo melodrama is drawing to a close. According to a report from WDIV-TV in Detroit, Izzo has scheduled a press conference Tuesday night at 8PM ET to announce that he will remain at Michigan State, and turn down the overtures from the Cavs to become their next head coach. Cavs beat man Brian Windhorst corroborates this account, confirming that the Cavs are continuing their coaching search, indicating that Izzo's announcement will be that he is passing on the job.
The news that Izzo will resist the reported riches the Cavs were apparently willing to offer him comes as something of a surprise given his own rather open flirtations with the team, and the seeming signals that he was on the verge of leaving Michigan State. Indeed, after visiting the Cavs' facilities last week, stories from "confidants" close to Izzo kept insisting that he was "leaning towards" leaving, in part because he was "sick of recruiting" in college. Izzo's own refusal to quell these rumors the past few days only fueled the speculation that it was but a matter of time until he left for Cleveland. This scuttlebutt continued up till even a few hours ago, with reports surfacing that Izzo was taking his time deliberating because he wasn't sure if this would be his last opportunity to possibly make the jump to the NBA.
Still, with the uncertainty around a certain LeBron's free agency swirling around the Cavs franchise, it was no sure thing that Cleveland was even a desirable job for a high-profile coach like Izzo. LeBron and his people sent out mixed signals about whether the putative Chosen One would embrace a career college coach like Izzo, and it seems unlikely that Izzo ever would have left Michigan State without some kind of assurance that he wouldn't be stuck with a Mo Williams-Antawn Jamison wasteland of a team, bereft of James' otherworldly talents.
Izzo will return to lead a ridiculously loaded Michigan State team, fresh off consecutive Final Fours that will welcome back a healthy Kalin Lucas, as well as a top incoming recruiting class. The Spartans figure to be a top-two preseason team, along with co-favorites Duke.
As for the Cavs, it seems that they might turn back to Byron Scott, who the team interviewed last week, as well as considering new candidates, as they try to find a coach suitable for LeBron.
Despite flirting with other candidates, it seems Tom Izzo remains at the center of the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching search. Today, the spotlight continued to shine on Izzo.
From the Detroit Free-Press:
Tom Izzo’s basketball camp was going smoothly this morning until the question-and-answer session. And that’s when it turned, briefly, into a journalism camp.
The question, of course, is the one that every Michigan State fan is asking: Will Izzo leave MSU to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers?
As of this morning, there were no indications that Izzo had made a decision. It seemed unlikely that he would hold a news conference today simply because of logistics – he has a camp to run. But Izzo said Thursday that “it’s not gonna be forever, that’s for sure” and several people who know the coach said they expect the situation to be resolved soon.
There were numerous members of the press sitting in the bleachers at Izzo's basketball camp, but still nothing from the man at the eye of this media hurricane. In other words, despite a week's worth of rampant speculation and rabid reporters hounding his every move, Izzo still won't issue a firm denial that could end it all. Take from that what you will, but if you're a fan of the Michigan State Spartans, it can't be too encouraging.
The Cleveland Cavaliers' two pressing priorities are to keep LeBron James in their jersey and to find a new head coach. An update from SB Nation's brand-spankin'-new Detroit hub demonstrates that the two are interlocked.
James has let team owner Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers organization know he's interested in playing for a coach who played in the NBA, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, attributing the information to a source.
This would suggest that LeBron isn't interested in playing for Tom Izzo, who did not play in the NBA. Izzo, as the rest of our StoryStream documents, has been linked to the Cavs this week, but LeBron certainly holds enough leverage to put the kibosh on proceedings.
Just for fun, let's yield the floor to the Pistons fans at SB Nation Detroit.
You know how this should play out? Izzo should turn down the gig because he doesn't want to be the reason Gilbert's head is put on a stake. After scaring off Cleveland's 1a coaching candidate, LeBron still doesn't re-sign. Gilbert is so peeved with the situation that he steps down as the Cavs owner, only to buy the for-sale-Pistons. Pistons win another championship within a few years and Cleveland is left title-less forever. I like that daydream.
As of late Friday morning, Tom Izzo has still not made a decision about whether he will leave Michigan State to coach the Cavs, according to the AP.
Izzo texted the AP Friday morning about his non-decision, a day after touring the Cavs' facilities and visiting with the team's front office staff. Izzo returned back to campus at East Lansing late Thursday night. That Izzo is still undecided is something of a surprise given the seeming momentum that pointed towards him leaving for the pros the past few days. Still, despite being reportedly "sick of recruting", leaving Michigan State, where Izzo is on the Coach K-track to be an all-time great associated with a single program, is an enormous risk for Izzo -- especially given the uncertainty over whether LeBron will return to Cleveland.
Rumors continue to point towards Tom Izzo leaving Michigan State to coach the Cavs, but the team interviewed someone else for coaching vacancy on Thursday: Byron Scott.
The former Nets and Hornets coach had been mentioned as a late contender for the job, reportedly on par with Izzo, earlier on Thursday, and an interview was expected to happen before the end of the weekend. Those plans were apparently accelerated, however, as Scott's agent told Sam Amick of FanHouse that Scott had an hour-long phone interview with Cavs GM Chris Grant on Thursday.
Scott is certainly a proven NBA commodity, having twice shepherded the Nets to the Finals and taking home the Coach of the Year award in 2008, but as a retread he doesn't command any of the WOW factor that Izzo would. Still, he's a decent back-up plan, and by interviewing him now, the Cavs put pressure on Izzo to make a decision now, rather than mulling things over and potentially lose some of the momentum seemingly pushing him towards leaving the Spartans.
The signs that Tom Izzo is on the verge of leaving Michigan State to coach the Cavs (and hopefully LeBron) continue to pile up. Indeed, according to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, Izzo has told close friends that a major reason he's considering leaving the college game is because he's "sick of recruiting."
If that sounds like a man who's getting ready to get the hell out of dodge, that's because it is. Confidants don't leak those kind of quotes unless you're already all but gone. It's something you say to preemptively silence any detractors, because it's such a believable reason to leave for the pros.
After all, the world of college recruiting is about as shady as it comes; as Kansas coach Bill Self said, it's "cutthroat on a good day". Why not go to the NBA where you can pay players over the table instead of whatever sleazy arrangement your boosters have set up? That's not to say that Izzo is dirty -- if anyone is clean, he is -- but just that it's damn near impossible to build an elite college program without at least looking the other way while your boosters do questionable things. Hell, even the beatific John Wooden was dogged by his own booster issues. And the nature of the college game, especially nowadays with so many one-and-dones, means that recruiting is non-stop. It's certainly understandable and plausible if Izzo didn't want to have to put up with that aspect of the game anymore.
Izzo was originally rumored to announce his decision to jump ship to the Cavs on Friday, which would coincide nicely with his visit to the team's facilities on Thursday. Don't be surprised if that original report turns out to be true.
According to ESPN's Andy Katz, Tom Izzo might be more likely than not to take the Cavs head coaching gig, assuming the team offers him the job. This is a third-hand account (Katz's source is someone who knows someone who's a "close confidant of Izzo"), so take it with a massive grain of salt, but still...Izzo is touring the Cav's facilities today. Plenty of smoke here. From ESPN:
The source told Katz that Izzo, who talked to his team earlier this week about his interest in the Cavaliers, is leaning toward taking the job if it is offered.
Of course, Cavs beat man Brian Windhorst counters that despite all the rumors of Izzo's imminent departure, the coach's close friends still expect him to remain at Michigan State.
The other nugget from ESPN's report was that Byron Scott has jumped onto the Cavs' radar as a possible coach, apparently on par with Izzo. This latest news came via an unnamed "Eastern Conference executive", who told ESPN's Chris Broussard that Scott had talked to people in the Cavs front office over the past few days, and that discussions took a "more serious nature" beginning Wednesday night. Scott is reportedly expected to formally interview for Cleveland's head coaching vacancy some time before the beginning of next week.
Are the flirtations with Scott both a backup plan and a way to leverage Izzo into making a decision sooner rather than later? That would seem to be the case; indeed, while Scott is a proven NBA commodity, he lacks the WOW factor that landing Izzo would bring to a Cavs franchise desperate to retain LeBron.
Stay tuned. If Izzo does jump to the NBA, he'll likely decide in the next day or so.
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, while nothing's been agreed upon, Tom Izzo is inching closer and closer to becoming the next coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Thursday, according to the Plain-Dealer, Izzo will visit Cleveland to meet with the team and tour facilities:
According to a Michigan State source, Izzo has scheduled a trip to Cleveland on Thursday to meet with team officials and possibly tour the Cavs' facilities... Michigan State has acknowledged the Cavs are interested. The Cavs have said they're interested. Izzo has declined to comment or dismiss the speculation. Now his players are concerned they are losing their coach.
Which is why the Cavs might just be close to getting theirs.
It's still early and much of this news is shrouded in speculation, but where there's smoke... There's usually a coach willing to leave his college program for insane amounts of money. Just sayin'...
Tom Izzo told his Michigan State players he was leaving for Cleveland. Then Izzo said that report was "absolutely untrue." While the Tom Izzo to Cleveland rumors continue to swirl, it's wise to take a brief moment and see where it all stands. As it is right now, we know that Izzo did indeed meet with his players at Michigan State on Tuesday.
And now, thanks to the AP's Larry Lige, we know that Izzo has at least told his players that he had a meeting with Cleveland.
Obviously, this is a story that is just getting started. Follow this SStoryStreamm for more news and updates as they become available.
While details of the meeting are still unclear, the Lansing State Journal confirms that a meeting between Izzo and his Michigan State players did, in fact, take place on Tuesday:
[Michigan State athletic director, Mark] Hollis said he doesn’t see Izzo waiting until July 1, the first day of the NBA’s free agency period and the first day Cavs star LeBron James can re-sign with Cleveland or jump to another team.
“I would anticipate and hope that decisions are made earlier than that,” Hollis said. “I’m talking to Tom every day, and throughout the process he’s been very open with me. He has to analyze how good things are at Michigan State and compare that to the situation in Cleveland.”
Hollis said that Izzo met with MSU players Tuesday but declined to detail what discussions took place.
“A meeting took place, and what was said is an internal issue between Tom and his players,” Hollis said.
It certainly helps corroborate the earlier reports that Izzo told his players he'd be leaving, but then, you'd have to think Izzo would relay the news to MSU athletic director, as well. Or, if not Izzo, you'd think that word of the coach's decision would reach the athletic director before it reached a blog. And, frankly, Hollis genuinely sounds like he's unsure of what his head basketball coach may do. So... Stay tuned.
A Michigan State source called the report that Tom Izzo plans to leave Michigan State for the Cavs “absolutely untrue,” according to FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman. Of course, a source denying the report doesn’t make it any more or less valid: If it is true, the Spartans coach isn’t going to come out and confirm it before he’s ready to make it official. A firm denial is standard operating procedure here.
According to popular (and reliable) Cleveland sports website Waiting For Next Year, Tom Izzo has told Michigan State players that he will be leaving to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers next year. He is reportedly waiting until the end of the week to make an official announcement, but multiple players have confirmed that Izzo has already relayed the news. He plans to leave East Lansing, Michigan and join the Cavaliers, with their owner, Michigan State alumnus Dan Gilbert, footing what's certain to be a significant bill for his services.
We'll have much more as news emerges, but for now, it looks like Gilbert has landed his man, and LeBron James or no LeBron James, Tom Izzo will be the next coach of the Cavaliers.
On the heels of this morning's report that the Cleveland Cavaliers may have offered Tom Izzo a head coaching job, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Brian Windhorst checks in to clear the air with some definitive reporting. The Cavs haven't offered Izzo yet, but when they do, they will NOT be messing around. Big numbers, here:
According to multiple sources, Gilbert has discussed the framework of a massive contract offer to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. Gilbert, a Michigan State graduate, has handled the recruitment personally and Izzo is said to be mulling the chance to jump to the NBA. The offer is said to be worth approximately $6 million annually and would be for up to five years, much larger than the industry standard for a coach without previous NBA head coaching experience. The offer might also be loaded with potential bonuses and perks including free use of one of Gilbert's private jets. Most of the NBA's most attractive coaching candidates, including Izzo, seem to reluctant to join up with the Cavs before LeBron James makes a decision in free agency. If James bolts for say, Chicago, then the cupboard in Cleveland suddenly looks a lot more bare. Gilbert knows this. That's why he's willing to put up so much cash, even a coach with Izzo's security can't say no. Of Gilbert's response to the "wait-and-see" approach from candidates like Izzo, Windhorst writes: This is a position most in the NBA have taken since Brown was fired. It appears Gilbert is trying to overcome this worry by presenting such a large salary and benefits. Izzo's base salary at Michigan State is $1.6 million with a guaranteed $1 million in bonuses per year. After leading the Spartans to their sixth Final Four in the last 12 years, Izzo hit bonuses that jacked up his pay package to more than $3 million. Gilbert, it seems, has offered to double that. And you can say this much for Gilbert and the Cavs: They may have something of an inferiority complex when it comes to LeBron's impending free agency, but as far as this coaching search is concerned, it certainly looks like they'll be swinging for the fences.
According to multiple sources, Gilbert has discussed the framework of a massive contract offer to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. Gilbert, a Michigan State graduate, has handled the recruitment personally and Izzo is said to be mulling the chance to jump to the NBA.
The offer is said to be worth approximately $6 million annually and would be for up to five years, much larger than the industry standard for a coach without previous NBA head coaching experience. The offer might also be loaded with potential bonuses and perks including free use of one of Gilbert's private jets.
Most of the NBA's most attractive coaching candidates, including Izzo, seem to reluctant to join up with the Cavs before LeBron James makes a decision in free agency. If James bolts for say, Chicago, then the cupboard in Cleveland suddenly looks a lot more bare. Gilbert knows this. That's why he's willing to put up so much cash, even a coach with Izzo's security can't say no. Of Gilbert's response to the "wait-and-see" approach from candidates like Izzo, Windhorst writes:
This is a position most in the NBA have taken since Brown was fired. It appears Gilbert is trying to overcome this worry by presenting such a large salary and benefits.
Izzo's base salary at Michigan State is $1.6 million with a guaranteed $1 million in bonuses per year. After leading the Spartans to their sixth Final Four in the last 12 years, Izzo hit bonuses that jacked up his pay package to more than $3 million. Gilbert, it seems, has offered to double that.
And you can say this much for Gilbert and the Cavs: They may have something of an inferiority complex when it comes to LeBron's impending free agency, but as far as this coaching search is concerned, it certainly looks like they'll be swinging for the fences.
After reportedly flirting with Bucks assistant and former college coach Kelvin Sampson, the Cleveland Cavaliers have entered another echelon of coaching excellence. Tom Izzo, arguably one of the top five coaches in college basketball—and head coach of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's alma mater, Michigan State—has been offered the Cavs' head coaching job, according to a report out of Ohio:
The Cavaliers want to make a big splash with their next coaching hire. According to a league source, they are centering their efforts on bringing in Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
In fact, they've already made him an offer to be their coach, the source said. It's going to take a lot of money to convince Izzo to leave the confines of the college ranks. [...] The Cavs' recruiting efforts have been done behind the scenes. The source said Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wants Izzo desperately.
Of course, there have been the requisite denials since this news broke last night. As Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports via Twitter:
Despite published report, two sources close to MIchigan State's Tom Izzo say the Cavs still haven't made him an offer. "Not yet," one said. Izzo has turned down chance to talk with a few NBA teams in last two years. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has targeted him as top choice. In talking to Izzo people, sense is Cavs franchise is too unsettled for him to leave Mich State now. NBA intrigues him, but he's cautious.
One thing's for sure: Tom Izzo knows how badly Cavs owner wants him and is inclined to gather more information on chances of keeping LBJ.
So who's telling the truth here? Well, from an outsider's perspective, Woj's sources sound more legitimate, but even in denying the report of an offer, Woj sure makes it sound like there's some mutual interest... And you have to wonder, where does LeBron James fit in all this? Would he want to play for a college coach that's not named John Calipari? Stay tuned.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cleveland Cavaliers have turned their coaching search to Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, formerly of Indiana and Oklahoma basketball. From Woj:
For now, the Cavaliers’ interest appears to be strictly in the fact-finding phase, but some league personnel believe it’s just a matter of time until Sampson becomes a legitimate head coaching candidate in the NBA.
Sampson is a favorite of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and GM R.C. Buford, both close confidants of Ferry. Popovich coached on Team USA with Sampson in the 2002 World Championships and has stayed close with him. After Sampson’s firing for NCAA violations at Indiana in 2008, the Spurs staff brought him to San Antonio to spend the rest of the season with the team. After an abrupt and humiliating end to his college career, the embrace of the Spurs elders started to rebrand Sampson for the pro game.
Indeed, Cavs' beat writer Brian Windhorst confirmed the report, saying "I'm told he may be near top of list." And... Well, you how when someone senses a breakup coming, he or she does something designed to push the other person away? I'm not saying that's what's happening here, but if you wanted to see it that way, you could. It's your choice, LeBron: Derrick Rose in Chicago, Mikhail and Jay-Z in Brooklyn, or Kelvin Sampson and Antawn Jamison in Cleveland?
It was time for a change in Cleveland.
You may say, "How does Mike Brown possibly deserve to get fired after two 60-win seasons? How do we know it's his fault that the Cavs got knocked out by Boston?" And to that, I'd paraphrase Snoop from The Wire. "It was his time, is all. In the coaching game, deserve got nothin' to do with it."
And it's true.
Regardless of whether it's "fair," or whether LeBron James stays, the team has maxed out their potential under Mike Brown. For all the defensive intensity instilled over the course of his years in Cleveland, the offense has lagged. Particularly in the playoffs, when it mattered most. Looking for proof? This year, rather than experiment with different lineups when the going got tough against Boston, Brown tethered his team's hopes—and his own future, apparently—to a lineup anchored by Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James.
In the end, it cost him his job.
Back in March, I wrote that Shaq's thumb injury might prove a blessing. As I said then, "For a few years now, the Cavs have been better when they play small. More fun, more explosive, and just better. The problem this whole time is that Mike Brown, for all his defensive wizardry, almost never goes to small ball unless foul trouble or injuries forces his hand. This doesn't necessarily make the Cavaliers a bad team, but ... it transforms their offense from what should be a sports car, into a plain-but-perfectly-reliable sedan."
"Playing small, the matchups get a lot more impossible for Cleveland opponents. They can spread the floor with shooters, put Lebron and JJ Hickson in the high or low posts, and ... just eviscerate defenses."
"Suddenly, that team goes from a Ford to Ferrari."
Without Shaq in the lineup, the Cavaliers went 21-4 to close out the regular season, running roughshod over just about everyone in their path. Of course, when Shaq came back from injury just in time for the playoffs, there was Mike Brown, and the Cavs were ordinary again.
J.J. Hickson went to the bench, Shaq went back to starting and playing most of the game, and a team that had looked invincible down the stretch suddenly looked... Vincible?
Whether "vincible" or vulnerable or vexed, the Cavs didn't have what it takes to win a championship with this, their best roster yet. That's not necessarily Mike Brown's fault, but he's been around long enough that it's his turn to take the blame. That's the way coaching works, and frankly, sometimes it's completely reasonable. Brown's been great for Cleveland, but if LeBron comes back, it's probably time for a new voice in that locker room.
Just the way Jon Gruden's arrival in Tampa Bay helped take Tony Dungy's Buccaneers team to a Super Bowl, in pro sports, sometimes a different voice is all it takes to remove the "underachieving" label from a great team. Just like Gruden's success wasn't an indication of Dungy's failure, any future coach of the Cavs isn't going to make Mike Brown look like the dunce here. He did a great job turning this team into a contender. But sometimes, even with the best of coaches, a team needs a change of pace.
Will a new voice in Cleveland be the change that takes the Cavaliers from "good" to "great"?
Maybe not, but the Cavs owed it to their fans to find out.
Late Sunday afternoon, ESPN's Ric Bucher reported via Twitter, "[The] Cavs have until midnight to fire Mike Brown or they owe him full $4.5 mil for next season. [They] haven't done so yet, according to a source." But a few hours later, and the news had changed, as Bucher broke the story that Brown has officially been fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Monday morning, the Cavaliers released a statement explaining their decision. Courtesy of SB Nation's Cavs blog, Fear the Sword: "Mike Brown is a class act. On behalf of the entire Cavaliers organization, there is only gratitude and appreciation for Mike's accomplishments over the past five years," stated Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert. "I think it is clear that Mike Brown has been instrumental in contributing to the growth and progress we have experienced in recent years. We wish Mike and his family the best of luck in any future challenges that Mike chooses to accept going forward.
"After a long and deep analysis of all of the factors that led to the disappointing early ends to our playoff runs over the past two seasons, we concluded that it was time for the Cavaliers to move in a different direction," Gilbert added. "The expectations of this organization are very high and, although change always carries an element of risk, there are times when that risk must be taken in an attempt to break through to new, higher levels of accomplishment. This is one of those times."
Indeed, for all of Brown's failure in the playoffs, this is still a significant risk--that is, saying goodbye to a man that won 60 games in each of the past two seasons. Apparently, that wasn't enough to save him, even as Boston has proven against Orlando that their victory over the Cavaliers wasn't a fluke.
For more reaction and analysis, check out SB Nation's Cavaliers blog, Fear The Sword.
Well this is interesting. Despite owner Dan Gilbert's statements that say otherwise, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated is standing by his report that Mike Brown is out as Cavaliers coach.
Dan Gilbert denies SI report that Mike Brown is out. SI stands by reporting: Gilbert has made his decision. Brown will not be back.
And the roller coaster continues.
Dan Gilbert is holding a press conference right now, but before it, he told Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he has not fired Mike Brown, contrary to previous reports.
Dan Gilbert says he has not fired Mike Brown, he's going through the evaluation process. So there, from owner's mouth.
Gilbert told Windhorst that evaluation process will take place in the next 7-10 days.
Maybe Mike Brown hasn't been fired quite yet. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst reports that Brown is still the Cavaliers' coach ... for now.
This is not true. As of this moment, at least RT @ChrisMannixSI 2 league sources say the Cavs will announce that Mike Brown has been fired
Windhorst is certainly very plugged in with the Cavaliers, so his report carries a lot of weight.
It didn't take long for the Cavaliers to make a change after their disappointing second-round NBA Playoffs loss to the Celtics. Two league sources have told SI's Chris Mannix that the Cavaliers have fired coach Mike Brown.
Two league sources say the Cavaliers will announce that Mike Brown has been fired today
Brown has been sharply criticized for his rotation decisions and coaching adjustments during the playoffs.
For more on this story, visit SB Nation's Cavaliers blog Fear the Sword.
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