Tom Izzo has been at Michigan State for nearly 40 years, but there are rumblings that he may finally be leaving town and heading to the NBA. Well, there were at least a few hours on Friday where that seemed to be the case.
It was reported on Thursday morning that the Orlando Magic were keying in on making Izzo their next head coach. Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweeted on Thursday that the Magic were going to make a push for Izzo and that they have “expressed interest” in having him fill their currently vacated head coaching position.
The Orlando Magic have expressed interest in Michigan State coach Tom Izzo for the team's head coaching position, league sources told The Athletic.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) May 24, 2018
And for a few hours this became a really big deal. There were certainly a number of reasons why Izzo would finally be ready to jump to the next level and give it a try in the NBA. Some — not me personally — believe he’s lost his touch at the college level and with all of the off the court troubles currently surrounding the program, it kind of made sense for him to actually consider this job. Basically, if he was ever going to leave Michigan State, this seemed like the perfect time.
There was also another key factor that made Izzo and the Magic a nice fit — he reportedly knows the Orlando’s ownership. RDV Sports Inc. — which is led by Richard DeVos and based out of Michigan — owns the Magic and it was being reported that Izzo has a relationship with the DeVos family. So that was just another reason why just maybe Izzo would finally answer the call from the NBA.
But only five hours later this entire scenario was basically put to rest by Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal. Couch tweeted that a source confirmed Izzo “won’t be taking the Orlando Magic head coaching job.”
Tom Izzo won't be taking the Orlando Magic head coaching job, a source tells me.— Graham Couch (@Graham_Couch) May 24, 2018
There’s been no official release from Izzo or Michigan State, but Couch has covered this program for years and I’m trusting his sources on this. So just like that this Izzo to Orlando thing came to screeching halt, and it appears he’s staying put in East Lansing.
Throughout his career, Izzo has been contacted by NBA teams and there have been a few instances where it appeared he was very close to leaving Michigan State. He was considered a leading candidate and close to taking the Atlanta Hawks’ head coaching position in 2000 — a few months after winning the national championship. Then there was the Cleveland Cavaliers job in 2010. He was very close to taking that job as well, before electing to stay at Michigan State. Good thing he didn’t go to Cleveland because LeBron left for Miami shortly after and odds are Izzo wouldn’t have lasted there very long without King James.
This latest refusal to leave Michigan State for the NBA should all but end any thoughts of Izzo jumping to the next level for the rest of his career. If he wasn’t going to leave now when things aren’t exactly great for the Spartans, then I don’t see a situation where he’ll ever leave. Spartan fans should breath more easily knowing Izzo should be leading Michigan State basketball for years to come.