Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has had his fair share of NBA interest over the years.
The 59-year-old Izzo has made six Final Four appearances and won a national championship in 2000, so why wouldn’t The League be interested?
Izzo’s name has been linked to the Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason and it appears the Pistons were pretty serious in their pursuit of Michigan State’s longtime head coach.
According to a report from Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Pistons even put forth an offer to Izzo.
How serious was this offer, you ask?
The Detroit Pistons reportedly offered Izzo the same five-year, $35-million deal the team eventually gave to Stan Van Gundy to run and coach the team:
(Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders) kicked the tires — inquiring about their interest through conversations without formal interviews — on college coaches Tom Izzo and Fred Hoiberg as well as veteran NBA coach Stan Van Gundy, but discussions didn’t go beyond that.
(Izzo was offered the same five-year, $35 million offer to coach and run the Pistons that Van Gundy eventually accepted last week. Izzo also declined when Cleveland fired Mike Brown and called for the second time in four years. Hoiberg, too, appears content to remain in college coaching, at least for now.)
If Izzo really did turn down a $35 million offer to have complete control of the Detroit Pistons, then he must either really love Michigan State or must really not want to coach in Detroit.
With the Pistons coming off of back-to-back 29-53 seasons, they’re not exactly an attractive fit right now and for a first-time NBA coach and president of basketball operations like Izzo would have been, it would have been a very difficult turnaround.