Coulda done without this:
[Cleveland Cavaliers GM Dan] Ferry fought to retain Brown, but [Owner Dan] Gilbert, a staunch Michigan State man, is determined to hire away.
Those words were written yesterday by Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski. I pay almost no attention to the NBA, so I can't speak to exactly how credible Wojnarowski is (there's nothing else in the article to back up the specific claim made above), but Yahoo! Sports has broken some big stories in recent years, so you can't fully dismiss the possibility this is something real.
Izzo has always admitted that competing at the NBA level holds some appeal for him, and, if he were ever going to leave for the pros, you'd think he'd be looking for a situation in which competing for an NBA title was a real possibility. Coaching a Cleveland Cavaliers team able to retain LeBron James' services would absolutely fit that description.
So, like, YIKES.
Stepping back some and look at the rest of Wojnarowki's piece, though, I think there's reason to think this situation isn't likely to play out as straightforwardly as the blockquoted sentence above would indicate. Here's the rest of the paragraph that follows that sentence:
Unless James tells him he wants John Calipari, and then they’ll hire John Calipari. As much as anything, the Cavaliers are giving the franchise completely over to James and his inner circle now. Whatever he wants to stay, he’ll get. Now, Ferry isn’t there to play the wet blanket anymore. He never feared fighting Gilbert on issues because he had stature, money and, truth be told, he didn’t need the job.
An earlier segment of the article focuses on Dan Gilbert's willingness to serve as James' "enabler," hiring people associated with James, allowing his friends to ride on the team airplane, etc. If James does return to the Cavs (the lead in the Wojnarowski piece is how the Bulls are setting themselves up for a run at James by hiring Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau, who's associated with "Worldwide Wes"), can you really see Tom Izzo accepting a position in which it's crystal clear he's not the final authority in terms of how his team operates on the court?
For now, I'm going to hang my peace of mind on Andy Katz's recent interview with Izzo, which was subtitled "Michigan State coach Tom Izzo isn't going anywhere until he wins another national title." (Probably a bit of hyperbole there, given that there's no specific statement from Izzo in the piece to that effect. But still.)
Nevertheless, stay prepared for a few more disconcerting sentences to be written before this is all over.
UPDATE: Well, here's the first batch of those additional disconcerting sentences:
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.
That's from the News-Herald, a newspaper in northeast Ohio--an odd source, I'd say, given the scrutiny the LEBRONSTAKES are getting from major media outlets.
The whole thing still seems fairly implausible--Izzo accepting an offer more so than Gilbert making it. As several commenters have pointed out, the timing is all wrong, with the pieces for a run at a second national title in place (and, frankly, no heir apparent to take over the program Izzo's built in East Lansing in plain view).
Bump the YIKES-meter up from 3 to 4 (on a 10-point scale), I guess.