Posted on: July 9, 2010 1:57 am
Edited on: July 9, 2010 12:59 pm
CLEVELAND --Ashley Sinegar was downtown at the Harry Buffalo a few hundred yards from Quicken Loans Arena, settled in at the bar, glass in front of her, televisions in every direction. She looked nervous, but hopeful. Anxious, but optimistic. Fidgety, but positive.
And then she cried.
She sat there in public and cried.
"It's Cleveland sports, so we're used to this, but not really," Sinegar said. "We didn't think he would do this to us."
LeBron James ended months, if not years, of speculation Thursday night when he announced in a primetime special from a safehaven in Connecticut that he'll spend the 2010-11 season playing for the Miami Heat. I watched the special at a bar in downtown Cleveland. I saw one man get arrested. I saw one girl cry. The emotions ranged from anger to disappointment to depression. It was sad to witness. Even to an admitted cynic, it was sad.
"It's awful," said Billy Kupka, who lives downtown. "They soldout the Q last season. Next season there might be like 5,000 people at the games. I couldn't believe it when he said 'South Beach.'"
That's the way LeBron said it, if you didn't hear. He said "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat." At that moment, many Cleveland fans -- the exact fans who were chanting "L-B-J" minutes earlier -- started cursing televisions. Those who had LeBron jerseys on either turned them inside-out or prepared to trash or burn them. Police gathered around the famous "We are all Witnesses" billboard just to make sure nobody did anything really stupid. The same people who planned to drink deep into the night and celebrate instead moped away sober but numb. As they crossed Prospect Avenue and East 4th Street, Ike Goldstein stood with a wooden cane and Styrofoam cup. He described himself as an "Italian, Jewish and black" man who has lived on the streets of Cleveland for 23 years. He asked for any change anybody could spare.
Naturally, he also had an opinion on LeBron's decision.
"He and Dwyane Wade are like this, " Goldstein said as he crossed two fingers on his right hand. "He had this sh-t planned two years ago."
And yes, Goldstein confirmed, this is bad for the economy of downtown Cleveland.
"Look around. People are mad," he said. "I might not get a nickel from anybody out here."
Some locals sat on the patio and drank across the street at Flannery's Pub until well after midnight, less concerned about where they'd find their next nickle as they were about where they'd find their next Eastern Conference Championship. I'd like to tell you they were optimistic, but they weren't. Mostly, they just seemed resigned to their fate and frustrated. This is a city that's lost a football team and been deflated over and over again, after all. If Cleveland couldn't keep one of its own, what hope is there for the future of Cleveland sports? That's what more than one person asked me. That seemed to be the larger topic of conversation.
Scott Kelly, a Cleveland native, kept it simpler.
"We're f-cked," he said. "What are we supposed to do now?"
Posted on: June 14, 2010 9:23 am
Edited on: June 14, 2010 9:27 am
Tom Izzo arrived at the Breslin Center to work his youth basketball camp Monday morning, giving hope to the Michigan State fans who want their 55-year-old coach to reject an offer worth about $6 million annually from the Cavaliers.
"He is at camp," a source close to Izzo told CBSSports.com. "He wouldn't disappoint his campers."
Izzo has been mulling an offer from Cleveland for more than a week. Most industry sources believe he would've already accepted if he knew LeBron James would be on the roster. But the uncertainty surrounding James -- who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 -- combined with the not-so-appealing task of rebuilding Cleveland without its two-time NBA Most Valuable Player has Izzo hesitant to pull the trigger, which could lead to him remaining at Michigan State and coaching a team CBSSports.com ranked No. 1 in the preseason Top 25 (and one) is both the smartest and safest play.
There is no timetable for a decision.
Izzo has made six Finals Fours in the past 12 years at Michigan State.
Posted on: June 13, 2010 10:46 am
Edited on: June 13, 2010 10:51 am
Tom Izzo, now three days removed from his visit to Cleveland, continues to struggle with the career-altering choice facing him and hasn't decided whether to leave Michigan State, a basketball source told CBSSports.com on Sunday.
There remains no timetable for a decision despite reports to the contrary.
It could genuinely come at any time.
Most industry sources believe Izzo would've already accepted an offer worth about $6 million annually to coach the Cavs if he knew LeBron James would be on the roster. But the uncertainty surrounding James -- who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 -- combined with the not-so-appealing task of rebuilding Cleveland without its two-time NBA Most Valuable Player has Izzo hesitant to pull the trigger, which could lead to him concluding that remaining at Michigan State and coaching a team CBSSports.com ranked No. 1 in the preseason Top 25 (and one) is both the smartest and safest play.
The point is that this remains unclear and undecided.
In that way, it's much like the future of college athletics in general.
Posted on: June 11, 2010 12:35 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2010 12:53 pm
A golf outing scheduled to feature Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, his athletic director and multiple donors was canceled Friday, which added fuel to the belief that Izzo might be close to accepting an offer to be the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"MSU [football] coaches say it doesn't look good," Tweeted Jim Comparoni of SpartanMag.com. Meantime, Izzo sent a text message to the Associated Press around 11:45 a.m. ET to say he remained undecided on his future. There is no timetable for a decision, but a source told CBSSports.com on Friday that Izzo and the Cavs would both like to have this resolved soon, one way or another.
Izzo is mulling an offer believed to be worth around $6 million per year.
He's made six Final Fours in the past 12 seasons at Michigan State and won one national title.
Posted on: June 10, 2010 7:29 am
Edited on: June 10, 2010 7:46 am
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is expected to visit Cleveland on Thursday to meet the Cavs' front-office personnel and tour the facilities, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com.
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported the development Wednesday night.
Izzo's planned visit is the latest sign that he's seriously considering an offer believed to be around $6 million per year, and backs what a source told CBSSports.com on Wednesday. "[Izzo is doing] his due diligence," the source said, which is another way of saying that Izzo wants to know as much as he possibly can about Cleveland's chances to keep LeBron James, the two-time Most Valuable Player who is set to become a free agent on July 1.
It's unlikely Izzo could know with certainty what James will do before next month because James has said many times that he plans to go through the process of free agency. Whether Izzo would take the job without assurances from James is unclear. Another possible option would be for Izzo to wait until after James makes a decision to make a decision, though handling the constant speculation on his job status for another month wouldn't be ideal, and there's no guarantee Cleveland would be willing to let Izzo wait that long.
Posted on: June 9, 2010 3:48 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 3:51 pm
Tom Izzo has addressed with his players the speculation that he could leave Michigan State for Cleveland, but he has not accepted the job or told his players that he plans to accept the job despite an internet report to the contrary, a source close to Izzo told CBSSports.com on Wednesday.
"That report is absolutely untrue," the source said.
Izzo has been informally offered a deal worth what a source told CBSSports.com is around $6 million per year to coach Cleveland, but he's hesitant to accept without a good understanding of what LeBron James will do, the source said. James becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1. The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player has said many times that he plans to go through the process, which has Izzo currently doing "his due diligence," according to a source close with Izzo.
Put another way, Izzo is very interested in coaching James in Cleveland, but not nearly as interested in coaching Cleveland without James. There is no timetable for a decision, either way. But it's worth noting that Cleveland general manager Chris Grant has said he's willing to wait at least six weeks for the "right guy," though it's unclear if Izzo could handle the constant speculation on his career for another six weeks.
Posted on: June 7, 2010 9:40 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2010 9:52 pm
Tom Izzo still hasn't been formally offered Cleveland's coaching job, but he's aware he can replace Mike Brown if he wants, a college basketball source told CBSSports.com on Monday night.
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, a contract worth more than $6 million per year is possible. But the Plain-Dealer reported Izzo isn't leaning toward taking the job because -- as CBSSports.com reported Sunday night -- he probably won't be able to commit to the Cavs without a clear understanding of whether their roster will feature LeBron James, the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player.
James becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.
He has said many times he plans to go through the process of free agency.
"Even if an offer does come, [Izzo] can't seriously consider it until he knows where that franchise is going to be [going forward]," a source told CBSSports.com on Sunday night. "He'll listen. But ... I just don't think there's any way he'd take a job like Cleveland unless he knew it was a nice situation, and I don't think anybody is going to know if Cleveland is going to be a nice situation until LeBron says so."
Posted on: June 6, 2010 10:34 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2010 11:01 pm
The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in Tom Izzo but haven't made an offer to the Michigan State coach despite a report to the contrary, multiple sources told CBSSports.com on Sunday night.
The Cavs are looking for Mike Brown's replacement.
Brown was fired last month after the Cavs lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
A college basketball source told CBSSports.com that Izzo has been and remains intrigued by the NBA, but that he wouldn't seriously consider an offer without an understanding of the roster he'd inherit, which isn't the case in Cleveland. Obviously, coaching the Cavs is a great job if LeBron James is involved. But it could be a terrible job if the two-time and reigning Most Valuable Player opts for New York, New Jersey, Chicago or anywhere else.
"And why would Tom leave [Michigan State] for a bad job?" the source asked. "Even if an offer does come, he can't seriously consider it until he knows where that franchise is going to be [going forward]. He'll listen. But you know Tom. It would be hard for him to leave Michigan State even if he knew he was getting a great NBA job. He might do it, but it would be hard. So even though I wouldn't rule out him leaving for the NBA, I just don't think there's any way he'd take a job like Cleveland unless he knew it was a nice situation, and I don't think anybody is going to know if Cleveland is going to be a nice situation until LeBron says so."
James is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
He has said many times he's committed to going through the process of free agency.