Tag:Tom Izzo
Posted on: June 15, 2010 8:00 pm
 

Cavs stuck in LeBron limbo


LOS ANGELES -- With Tom Izzo's decision Tuesday to stay at Michigan State, the Cavaliers are right back where they've been since their stunning playoff loss to the Celtics: in LeBron limbo.

Izzo couldn't come to terms with leaving East Lansing without knowing if he'd be coaching LeBron James or not -- even if it was for $6 million a year. LeBron has strategically removed himself from the Cavs' coaching search, and in fact hasn't said a word publicly about the organizational demolition that the loss to Boston fueled. Unless you count the Larry King love fest on CNN, James hasn't publicly addressed the firing of coach Mike Brown or the unceremonious departure of general manager Danny Ferry.

Word is that while he didn't reject the notion of Izzo coaching the Cavs, he didn't entirely endorse it, either. In any event, LeBron apparently wouldn't even speak with Izzo about his intentions when it comes to his impending free agency. In fact, one person who has been in contact with the Cavs' front office said LeBron has been incommunicado with team officials, as well.

So once again, the Cavs are held hostage by LeBron. They can't move forward with any serious offseason plans -- franchise-shaping plans -- until they know whether LBJ is staying or going. Cavs GM Chris Grant has the least enviable job in the NBA, other than the media relations director of LeBron's next team, whatever that might be. (I'll expand on that another time, but for now, to say that LeBron is high maintenance is like saying Shakira has been known to slightly gyrate her hips from time to time.)

Two NBA team executives told CBSSports.com Tuesday that the Cavs were busily proceeding with their coaching search even before Izzo's decision became public, with much of the focus centering on former Hornets coach Byron Scott. One of those people said the Cavs were screening numerous candidates. But Scott, or any other candidate, would want the same information Izzo was unable to glean about LeBron's future. And Scott's situation also will be affected by how the Finals end for the Lakers. If Phil Jackson decides to step down, Scott is the most plausible candidate waiting in the wings to replace him.

Those executives also said Grant was performing his due diligence on the trade front, asking several teams about acquiring draft picks. The Cavs have no picks in the 2010 draft, having traded them to Washington (first round) and Phoenix (second round). But even in that pursuit, the executives said Grant's hands are tied because he can't possibly know what kind of trades to make if he doesn't know whether LeBron will be on the team. Grant is trying to proceed as though LeBron will stay, but as Izzo's situation proved, that's an exceedingly difficult tightrope to walk.




 


Posted on: June 14, 2010 1:45 am
 

Wade not planning for Riley to coach


BOSTON -- Dwyane Wade sat courtside Sunday night for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a stage that he desperately wants to revisit. His coach in the 2006 Finals, Pat Riley, recently floated the idea that, if asked, he wouldn't rule out a return to the bench. Wade, for one, isn't planning for such a comeback.

"That’s just something that was said," Wade said after the Celtics beat the Lakers 92-86 to take a 3-2 lead in the Finals. "That’s not anything we’re concentrating on right now in Miami."

Wade said Riley hasn't spoken with him recently about his plans for next season, when it is believed that a request from a marquee free agent would prompt Riley to come down from the executive suite and replace the highly regarded but ringless Erik Spoelstra on the sideline.

"Right now, Spo’s the coach and that’s what I plan for going forward," Wade said.

Wade, one of the top free agents of the frenzied summer that will begin in earnest July 1, prefaced his willingness to answer questions in the hallway leading to the locker rooms with the following caveat: "As long as it's not about free agency." But Wade did confirm a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he spoke last week in Los Angeles with fellow prospective free agents Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson.

"We’re just friends," Wade said. "Just like you talk to your friends, we’re all friends and we all communicate."

Though Wade said he hasn't begun the recruiting process to help lure another star to Miami, the notion of Riley returning to coach could be a big draw. Of the teams with the most cap space to chase free agents, the Nets (Avery Johnson) and Bulls (Tom Thibodeau) have committed to new coaches. The Knicks already have Mike D'Antoni, who is close to several top free agents from his time as an assistant for Mike Krzyzewski with Team USA. The Clippers are holding out hope that they could lure Larry Brown or Phil Jackson, and the Cavs have made a five-year, $30 million play for the top name in college coaching, Tom Izzo.

For now, in Wade's mind, Riley should be excluded from that list. Just know that recruiting season hasn't really begun yet.  



Posted on: June 9, 2010 7:25 pm
 

Lakers' Brown warns Izzo about NBA jump


BOSTON -- Lakers guard Shannon Brown would be happy for his college coach, Tom Izzo, if he made the jump to the NBA as coach of the Cavaliers. But Brown's enthusiasm, offered in the locker room after Game 3 of the NBA Finals, didn't come without a warning.

"He’s gonna have to, in my opinion, adjust some of his coaching tactics and techniques," said Brown, one of numerous NBA players who played for Izzo in East Lansing. "But I definitely think he could be successful at this level. The legacy that he has and could possibly leave at Michigan State is something that not too many people could do. If he stays, I'm happy for him. If he goes, I’m happy for him. He definitely has the options in his hands."

Izzo is mulling an offer from the Cavs that is anticipated to be in the $6 million-a-year range. Despite a flurry of speculation Wednesday that Izzo had accepted or verbally committed, sources told CBSSports.com that wasn't the case. Izzo is said to be doing his due diligence -- read, trying to figure out if he'd be coaching LeBron James or a rebuilding team -- and the negotiation is ongoing, according to a person involved in it.

Izzo, who has led the Spartans to six Final Fours and one national title, is known for his intense, fiery demeanor and for being extremely hard on his players. That's fine for a college coach, but won't work in the NBA. One factor that could work in Izzo's favor is that he's been at Michigan State so long, his name and accomplishments mean something to a cross section of NBA players who would respect what he's done at the college level.

"I’d just tell him it’s a whole different thing from college to the NBA," said Brown, who played for Izzo from 2003-06. "It’s a whole different business. You've got to be ready for anything."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who soon will enter into a contract negotiation for next season having already acknowledged that he'll be asked to take a pay cut from his current $12 million salary, was asked before Game 3 Tuesday night for his thoughts on a college coaching hauling in half that much per year.

"Good for him," Jackson said. "Way to go."

But Jackson warned that coaching in the NBA is an "arduous task."

"It's not an easy job, and you know, when it's 200 some days, depending on how far you go into the playoffs, it's pretty arduous as far as dealing with stars of all ranges coming to the NBA," he said. "And from that, it has to go on for 82 games. It's a long march, and that gets difficult. The game itself, 82 games is a big difference from 30 or whatever you coach in college."

Nobody has coached more NBA superstars than Jackson, and Brown said communication will be the key for Izzo.

"It would be tough for him," Brown said. "He likes guys that are like him. He likes fiery guys. He probably couldn't talk to them the way he does sometimes, but I think if he made the adjustment he would be great."
Posted on: April 27, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Brown has Sixers in limbo

On the first day the Sixers could reach out to Larry Brown to discuss his interest in returning to the organization he led to the 2001 NBA Finals, all was quiet on the Next Town front. The Sixers, according to sources, were busy little worker bees on Tuesday -- making a list of coaching candidates, checking it twice, doing background checks and the like.

But make no mistake. The Sixers' world as we know it is in the hands of Brown, who continues to artfully dodge the notion that he is angling to return to the city where his wife and children live.

After the Bobcats were swept by the defending conference champion Magic, Brown reiterated Monday night, "I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte," and,"I'm not coaching anywhere but for Michael Jordan." These statements were part sincere and part lawyerly. Coaching is one thing. Being in charge of the whole shebang is quite another.

So while the Sixers' basketball staff, led by team president Ed Stefanski, is finalizing its list of coaching candidates to reach out to by the end of the week, sources familiar with the situation say no one's quite sure who will actually be hiring the coach. That's because it's understood that Stefanski is conducting the preliminary search with the understanding that he won't be around if Brown, 70, decides to return to his adopted home as the head of basketball operations.

"It all depends on Larry Brown," a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Sixers chairman Ed Snider fought the good fight Tuesday, blasting a report by Yahoo! Sports that detailed Brown's interest, right down to the coach (Atlanta's Mike Woodson) and GM (Wizards front office man Milt Newton) he wanted to bring with him. But Snider never specified which part of the report he was disagreeing with, saying only that the team hadn't reached out to Brown -- which, technically was true.

Of course, in Brown's case, the idea of contact -- who initiates it, and when -- is largely irrelevant. He has become the Bill Parcells of the NBA -- always denying the obvious. Everybody knows where to find Brown when it's time to do business.

In the meantime, the Sixers have formulated a wide-ranging list of former NBA head coaches, current assistants and current college coaches. Once it's pared down, the team is expected to begin contacting candidates for interviews toward the end of the week. The list includes Jeff Van Gundy, Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell, Mike Fratello and Doug Collins among the former head coaches -- though there's little indication Van Gundy wants to return to the sideline. (Plus, why would any of the above interview for a job that could be decided by somebody else, namely Brown?)

Among the current assistants on the Sixers' list are Tom Thibodeau (Celtics), Dwane Casey (Dallas), Mike Budenholzer (Spurs), Monty Williams (Spurs), and Elston Turner (Rockets). The college coaches that have been discussed internally include all the usual suspects: Tom Izzo (Michigan State), John Calipari (Kentucky), Jay Wright (Villanova) and Rick Barnes (Texas).

But it really only comes down to one name if you're the Sixers. What can Brown do for you?



Posted on: April 27, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Brown has Sixers in limbo

On the first day the Sixers could reach out to Larry Brown to discuss his interest in returning to the organization he led to the 2001 NBA Finals, all was quiet on the Next Town front. The Sixers, according to sources, were busy little worker bees on Tuesday -- making a list of coaching candidates, checking it twice, doing background checks and the like.

But make no mistake. The Sixers' world as we know it is in the hands of Brown, who continues to artfully dodge the notion that he is angling to return to the city where his wife and children live.

After the Bobcats were swept by the defending conference champion Magic, Brown reiterated Monday night, "I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte," and,"I'm not coaching anywhere but for Michael Jordan." These statements were part sincere and part lawyerly. Coaching is one thing. Being in charge of the whole shebang is quite another.

So while the Sixers' basketball staff, led by team president Ed Stefanski, is finalizing its list of coaching candidates to reach out to by the end of the week, sources familiar with the situation say no one's quite sure who will actually be hiring the coach. That's because it's understood that Stefanski is conducting the preliminary search with the understanding that he won't be around if Brown, 70, decides to return to his adopted home as the head of basketball operations.

"It all depends on Larry Brown," a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Sixers chairman Ed Snider fought the good fight Tuesday, blasting a report by Yahoo! Sports that detailed Brown's interest, right down to the coach (Atlanta's Mike Woodson) and GM (Wizards front office man Milt Newton) he wanted to bring with him. But Snider never specified which part of the report he was disagreeing with, saying only that the team hadn't reached out to Brown -- which, technically was true.

Of course, in Brown's case, the idea of contact -- who initiates it, and when -- is largely irrelevant. He has become the Bill Parcells of the NBA -- always denying the obvious. Everybody knows where to find Brown when it's time to do business.

In the meantime, the Sixers have formulated a wide-ranging list of former NBA head coaches, current assistants and current college coaches. Once it's pared down, the team is expected to begin contacting candidates for interviews toward the end of the week. The list includes Jeff Van Gundy, Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell, Mike Fratello and Doug Collins among the former head coaches -- though there's little indication Van Gundy wants to return to the sideline. (Plus, why would any of the above interview for a job that could be decided by somebody else, namely Brown?)

Among the current assistants on the Sixers' list are Tom Thibodeau (Celtics), Dwane Casey (Dallas), Mike Budenholzer (Spurs), Monty Williams (Spurs), and Elston Turner (Rockets). The college coaches that have been discussed internally include all the usual suspects: Tom Izzo (Michigan State), John Calipari (Kentucky), Jay Wright (Villanova) and Rick Barnes (Texas).

But it really only comes down to one name if you're the Sixers. What can Brown do for you?



 
 
 
 
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