Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who has led the Spartans to six Final Four appearances in 12 seasons, including a national championship in 2000, has turned down an offer to become the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Detroit Free Press and ESPN report.
The announcement will be made official at an 8:30 PM ET press conference (5:30 PM PT).
Now the underlying question is "What effect will this decision have on the LeBron James sweepstakes?"
This decision delivers a huge blow to the Cavs' chances of reeling in LeBron once the NBA free agency begins on July 1st, 2010. Cleveland's head coach situation is still in flux and the Cavaliers have become synonymous with not being able to execute and perform come playoff time.
James has constantly been compared to the likes of Michael Jordan and Earvin "Magic" Johnson, but his legacy will not be complete until he wins a Larry O'Brien trophy. And evidenced by the Cavaliers' recent performances in the NBA playoffs, that will not happen if he stays with Cleveland.
The only team linked to the LeBron sweepstakes that I feel has a chance to win a championship is still the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls have a young nucleus in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and I feel that those two players are the building blocks to an NBA championship. If you add LeBron to the Chicago Bulls, their projected starting lineup would be:
PG: Derrick Rose
SG: Kirk Hinrich
SF: LeBron James
PF: Taj Gibson
C: Joakim Noah
That would be a potent and defensive lineup that could lead to the Bulls hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy soon if they get LeBron.
Meanwhile, the only other realistic front runner in the sweepstakes that I see is New Jersey. But the Nets are in rebuilding mode right now and they have a new owner in billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov as well as a new head coach in former ESPN NBA analyst and Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson. I really do not believe that LeBron would go to a team in a rebuilding stage so that puts their odds in getting LeBron around 10 percent in my opinion.
LeBron Prediction: Chicago Bulls
(What is your opinion on Tom Izzo rejecting the Cavaliers' offer? The LeBron sweepstakes? Comment below.)