Monday, June 14, 2010
Updated: June 15, 11:10 AM ET
Izzo won't answer camper's query
ESPN.com news services
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Tom Izzo wouldn't even tell one of his young campers if he wants to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers or stay at Michigan State.
Izzo was at his basketball camp Monday when a boy tried to get the scoop, inquiring about the coach's interest in jumping to the NBA.
"Bad question," Izzo said. "Those guys up there want to know that."
A pack of reporters, six TV cameras and two photographers were given limited access to the camp as Izzo addressed hundreds of boys and many of their parents at the Breslin Center, where Michigan State's championship and Final Four banners are in the rafters.
Izzo did not look at or talk with reporters when he arrived at his office Monday morning, about 20 hours after indicating in a text message to The Associated Press he was still undecided, and declined comment to two reporters waiting outside his office on Monday night. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Chris Grant also declined comment Monday.
As he ponders the biggest decision of his career, Izzo clearly would like to know whether he would have LeBron James to coach next season. Gilbert has said James wouldn't be consulted during his coaching search.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported on its website Sunday night that James would not oppose Izzo's hiring after it was previously reported that James prefers to play for a coach who has played in the NBA.
The Plain Dealer, quoting what it termed a "high-level source," said James would "100 percent" endorse Izzo's hiring.
However, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that James has not spoken to Izzo about the job, and the two-time MVP has no plans to get involved in the Cavaliers' search.
Izzo could perhaps make $6 million -- doubling his salary -- by going to the Cavaliers. He spent several hours in Cleveland with team officials Thursday, and said at the Lansing, Mich., airport the situation wouldn't "go on forever."
Michigan State fans are doing their best to keep Izzo at the school where he has been since 1983. Many "WE [heart] IZZO" signs were planted along roads the coach takes on his way to campus, and three of them were just outside his office.
Izzo tried to conduct business as usual at his camp, joking and giving the boys a sense of what the week would be like. "Our motto is: Learn to listen and listen to learn." He used a few of his current players and a couple of former ones to run the team's motion offense.
"The NBA does a great job of spacing," said Izzo, who made more than one reference to the league.
After Izzo sent the campers off to other gyms, he spoke to his wife, Lupe, for a few minutes. She later left in her car after waving to reporters.
While the Cavs wait for Izzo, they're working on what seems to be Plan B.
Grant spoke by phone last week to Byron Scott, a former New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets coach. Scott fits the profile of the kind of coach Gilbert wants. But the three-time NBA champion guard for the Lakers could be waiting to see if Phil Jackson leaves Los Angeles. Scott's agent, Brian McInerney, has deferred all inquiries to the Cavs.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.