My approach to blogging has always been to blog about whatever interests me about MSU athletics at the moment. Well, guess what interests me right now? Hence, the fifth/Cleveland Cavaliers post in four days.
What I think I think as of 10:00 p.m., Wednesday night:
- Tom Izzo has absolutely earned the right to consider and pursue whatever opportunities are presented to him. If he leaves MSU, I will be hugely disappointed but I will also be enormously grateful for what he's done for the university and its fans over the last 15 years. We've experienced a decade-plus run matched by only a few teams in the history of the sport.
- Izzo has never hid the fact that competing at the NBA level holds a certain appeal for him. This opportunity with the Cavs is quite likely the best NBA opportunity he'll ever get. An owner with whom he already has a working relationship. A bucket load of money. The possibility of coaching one of the most talented basketball players in the history of the sport in the prime of his career. He owes it to himself to do his due diligence, which is exactly what he is doing.
- Izzo has apparently been direct and honest with his players about what the situation is. I'd expect no less. When 19- and 20-year old kids hear their head coach talking about seriously considering another job, that's going to sound an awful lot like he's on the verge of leaving.
- Valid internet reports that someone is definitely going to do something do not begin with "sources close to [internet site]." They begin with "sources close to [the someone]." "Sources close to [internet site]" sounds an awful lot like "a guy I know who goes to MSU who has a friend that has a class with an MSU basketball player."
- That report was "ridiculous." I have not seen the multiple "ridiculous" reports that Mark Hollis referred to today. But I do live in the TOC bubble as far as MSU fan chatter goes. I sympathize with the position Hollis is in right now, but it's reality. There's no sense blaming the situation on the media and/or fan base.
- The modern minute-by-minute news cycle is exacerbating the sense that Izzo is definitely taking the Cavs job. It's been maybe a week since the Cavaliers contacted Izzo. It's been four days since the first public hint it was a real possibility. It's been three days since the thing really started to blow up as a story. That's not an inordinate amount of time to contemplate a major job opportunity.
- Ultimately, the pull of what Izzo has built at MSU, both in terms of the people around him and the potential for joining the ranks of the greatest college coaches of all time, is going to exert an awful lot of gravity on him. This is a man who sleeps on the floor of his basketball arena with his team.
- There's still no reason to think the timing in terms of Izzo's and LeBron James' decisions is going to come together. James does not show any sign of re-signing with the Cavs before July 1. And it's going to be pretty tough for both Izzo and the Cavaliers to wait 3+ weeks before moving in other directions. Unless Dan Gilbert is 100% sure Izzo is the guy James wants (and can convince Izzo of that), Izzo would have to take a leap of faith. If he wants NBA success bad enough, maybe that's a reasonable gamble. But it's a pretty big one.
- I still think the odds he goes are well below 50%.
(Admittedly, that last bullet veers off somewhat from "things I think" to "things I hope." Speaking of hopes, here's hoping Izzo gives Rick Pitino a call some time soon.)