Cleveland Cavaliers

Tom Izzo to the Cavs Is a Lose-Lose Proposition That's Flush with Cash

INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 02:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans looks on during practice prior to the 2010 Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Chad RidgewayCorrespondent IJune 8, 2010

Tom Izzo will soon be a very rich man. At least, twice as rich as he already was. There aren't many people in the world who wouldn't change jobs to double their salary. Even if the new job is worse.

In this case, it is.

You can expect that as soon as the NBA Finals wrap up, the Cleveland Cavaliers will host a press conference to introduce their new hire. Words like "proven record" and "championship caliber" will be tossed around like the confetti that Cavs fans hope will eventually litter the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena.

And it will happen just in time for the Cavs to launch their aggressive "Bring 'Bron Back" campaign, with Mr. Izzo as the centerpiece of that master plan.

I also predict that midway through his second season on the job, Izzo will be unceremoniously fired, and the Cavaliers will be scrambling, worse off than they are now.

Mr. Izzo, this is a lose-lose proposition for you. If LeBron doesn't re-sign, you're stuck with a terrible team.

The people in Cleveland are used to winning 60-plus games a year and watching their team put on a show 41 times a season in downtown Cleveland. The Cavs are the one reason to go to downtown Cleveland.

Even without LeBron, the fans won't be expecting a lottery team, but that's precisely what they'll be.

And you'll get the blame.

If LeBron does re-sign, the only acceptable outcome will be to win championships. And a college coach trying to manage the biggest prima donna of our generation coupled with grander expectations than East Lansing ever bestowed upon him is not a winning formula.

Again, you'll get the blame.

But take the money. $30 million over five years is top tier money for NBA coaches. That's Mike D'Antoni/Larry Brown money. And if you can get $15 million of that guaranteed, that's not bad money for 18 months of work.

In the end, you'll be tossed aside like those who came before you; Mike Montgomery, Tim Floyd, Rick Pitino, etc. were successful college coaches who crashed and burned after flying in under great expectations.

And you'll serve as yet another cautionary tale. That is, until you're forgotten like your predecessors and another GM is dumb enough to think a college coach is the solution to his franchise's problems.

But take the money. We'd all do the same thing.

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