[Pete and I drafted our bits at the same time. Let's move all the Izzo talk here now. -KJ]
Per Joe Rexrode:
"What I know is that they have a strong interest in Tom," said [MSU AD Mark] Hollis, who has not spoken with Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert, whom Hollis called a "good friend." "I know that Tom does not have a contract offer to respond to. And I know that he has not been able to completely think through all the implications of a change."
In Rexrode's words, "This is the real thing." This looks to be Izzo's most serious dalliance with the NBA since his near move to Atlanta after the 2000 season.
Still, the Hollis quote basically just confirms what we could already read from the tea leaves: Dan Gilbert definitely wants Tom Izzo (the lack of a formal contract offer is a mere technicality). But it's not yet clear whether Izzo is intrigued enough by the possibility to give it a long, hard look.
And there's a third factor here we know absolutely nothing about: Does Lebron James want to be coached by Tom Izzo? On the one hand, that seems like a prerequisite to Izzo standing on the Cavs' sideline--from both sides of the equation. On the other hand, it still seems hard to believe Izzo would put himself in a position where his control over his basketball team is obviously far from complete.
Beyond all the other factors that say Izzo stays put (deep, talented returning roster; strong support team at MSU with Hollis/Dantonio; intense personality more suited for college kids than multi-millionaire pros), I'm hoping the timing here will work in MSU's favor. Unless James were to announce in the very near future that he's returning to the Cavs (I assume he can't officially make that happen until July 1), is Izzo going to be willing to let this situation drag out for the next 3+ weeks, potentially harming recruiting efforts and team chemistry without any guarantee the situation with the Cavs actually pans out?
Let's hope not.
P.S. Just saw these tweets from The Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst:
Sources: Dan Gilbert has discussed framework of massive contract with Tom Izzo, up to 5 yrs at around $6 million a year.
Offer may not be formalized, but heard there's many perks including free use of a private jet.
Izzo currently makes $2.6 million per at MSU with bonuses that push to $3. Sounds like Gilbert just offered to double it.
(Story version is here.)
Very, very real. Now it's a matter of how long it stays real.