Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and recently hired Raptors general manager Rob Babcock spoke last week about Toronto's vacant coaching job, although Izzo has given no indication that he will meet with Babcock.
Izzo told the Lansing State Journal a phone conversation he's had with Babcock focused on college players who will be available in the draft. In that conversation, Izzo told the newspaper, Babcock inquired about the coach's general interest in the NBA.
"He asked if I had an interest," Izzo told the Journal. "And I didn't say anything either way. ... I've learned I'm not gonna say anything either way to [NBA teams] or the media.
"As for me, I have a good job and I'm focused on winning another national championship," Izzo told the Lansing paper. "... Put it this way: I'm not looking. I'm not pursuing any NBA jobs."
The Toronto Sun reported Monday that Izzo and former Warriors coach Eric Musselman are candidates for the job. Pistons assistant coach Mike Woodson, Sonics associate head coach Dwayne Casey, and Timberwolves assistant Randy Wittman are also candidates, according to the Sun's report.
The Raptors fired Kevin O'Neill at the close of the regular season.
Izzo considered leaving the college ranks for the NBA before but spurned an offer to coach the Hawks four years ago; Atlanta then turned to Lon Kruger. Izzo said at the time he was better suited to coach college basketball. Izzo led Michigan State to the Final Four in 1999, 2000 and 2001; the 2000 team won the NCAA championship.
But Izzo isn't against listening to offers from the pros and might be convinced to seriously listen to a proposal. College coaches are becoming increasingly frustrated by NCAA regulations and the growing number of early-entry candidates and college underclassmen who declare for the NBA draft.