Tom Izzo announced Tuesday afternoon that he will remain the head coach at Michigan State University, turning down a substantial increase in salary and possibly the opportunity to coach superstar LeBron James. Izzo had been contemplating taking the job for some time and had met with team officials in Cleveland before turning down the position.
Reports say that Coach Izzo had contacted announcer Dick Vitale for a second opinion on his decision and not surprisingly, Vitale told Izzo to stay at Michigan State. Vitale is known for his passion for anything and everything college basketball and his words may have influenced Izzos decision. A more likely influential factor in his decision to stay may have been the lack of a commitment from LeBron James to stay in Cleveland. Sport fan or not, the entire world seems to be aware of James’ impending free agency. It has been the sports story of the summer thus far and free agency has yet to even begin. LeBron is looking to win his first NBA championship and is seemingly getting further and further from that goal in Cleveland. Many declare Chicago his best opportunity to win because of the young and talented supporting cast James would have there. Of course going to Chicago would mean that James would be playing in the shadow of the greatest basketball player of all time, creating a sense of pressure to win that LeBron really has not faced in Cleveland.
I have always fallowed the NBA very intently and with this summer’s epic free agent market, I will be watching every move and acquisition with curiosity. It had been my assumption that LeBron James would undoubtedly stay at home in Ohio and finish out his career where it started. With the recent developments in the Cavaliers coaching position, I now think for the first time that LeBron may leave. I assume that Izzo was waiting for some confirmation from James that he would be returning to play for Cleveland next season and he simply did not get that. If LeBron knew that he was going to come back to the Cavaliers wouldn’t he try and convince Izzo to take the job? Why wouldn’t he want a coach who does nothing but win and take his team to the final four year after year. It appears that LeBron James truly does not know where he will be playing next year.
It will be interesting to see where James, as well as many other superstars land after this summer’s free agent market. It truly will change the landscape of the NBA for the next decade.