UPDATE: Detroit hired a search firm and its list of candidates included Tom Izzo, as well as Michigan's John Beilein, Florida's Billy Donovan, UConn's Kevin Ollie and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. A source speaking to Ellis denied that Izzo received a formal offer and said that he never had a meeting in Los Angeles with Pistons owner Tom Gores.
Given Tom Izzo's success as the head coach of the Michigan State Spartans, and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores being an MSU alum, the talk in late March about the Pistons chasing Izzo as a head coach sounded pretty logical. It wasn't the first time Izzo had been linked to Detroit, and this time the franchise needed to make a splash. He handled the rampant rumors deftly, and the Pistons ended up handing their franchise over to Stan Van Gundy, naming him the president and head coach.
According to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda, they offered Izzo the same five-year, $35 million deal that Van Gundy accepted.
That's no small chunk of change, especially for someone who has never worked in the NBA in any capacity. It would have been quite a step to make Izzo both the president and the head coach, as either one of those positions would come with a large learning curve.
If Detroit really wanted him, though, it makes sense that they'd need to overpay. Izzo is beloved in East Lansing, and going to the pros would come with significant risk. It's the same reason Brad Stevens got a six-year deal from the Boston Celtics, and it's why it is going to take an excellent offer to pry Kevin Ollie away from UConn or Fred Hoiberg from Iowa State.
It's a complete unknown how Izzo would have fared in the NBA, and he's certainly comfortable in college. Since the Pistons wound up with one of the best basketball minds on the planet in Van Gundy, things probably worked out best for all involved.