Tom Izzo Turns Down Cavaliers Offer

Michigan State is where Tom Izzo‘s heart is. The longtime Spartans coach passed up on an offer to coach the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and possibly LeBron James, saying the “grass is pretty green” at Michigan State.

Izzo, who would have earned at least double of his $3 million a year salary at Michigan State had he accepted the Cavs’ offer, announced his decision on Tuesday, ending the guessing game on whether the celebrated college coach would finally make the jump to the big league. Izzo spent about nine days to decide what could turn out to be a career-defining choice. The 55-year-old Izzo said the Cavs episode would be the last time he would consider an NBA coaching job. The Atlanta Hawks pursued Izzo about a decade ago but he rejected them as well. Izzo, who has been the Spartans head coach since 1995, said he would be a “lifer” at Michigan State.

Izzo admitted that his failure to sit down and talk to James regarding his plans for next season weighed heavily on his decision. “That was not the only factor,” he said. “Was it a big factor? Sure.”

With Izzo out of the picture, the Cavs are expected to go after former New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets coach Byron Scott. However, Scott’s decision might depend on whether Phil Jackson would return to coach the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Scott has been vocal about his desire to coach the Lakers, with whom he won three championships as a player in the 1980s.