Michigan State's Tom Izzo told his team he has talked to the Cleveland Cavaliers about their coaching vacancy, imploring them to concentrate on their classes and workouts to get better on and off the court.
"That was the gist of the meeting yesterday," associate head coach Mark Montgomery told the Associated Press yesterday.
Izzo did not tell the Spartans he was leaving the school to coach the Cavs.
His decision, which could come within days or drag out for a month, might hinge on whether LeBron James re-signs in Cleveland.
A text message was sent yesterday by the AP to Izzo, who declined to comment about Cleveland-related reports in a radio interview earlier this week.
Some of his ex-players and a former assistant coach - along with Michigan State fans - have been riveted to developments about a possible departure.
"I have mixed emotions," former Michigan State star Mateen Cleaves said. "Selfishly, I want him to stay at Michigan State because he's good for the school, the state, and college basketball as a whole.
"But it's a great opportunity if LeBron comes back."
There's the rub.
The Cavs may not want to wait until July, the earliest James could re-sign, to hire a coach.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said James will not be consulted during the coaching search, which began when he fired Mike Brown after the team's second consecutive early exit in the playoffs.
Cleveland general manager Chris Grant has confirmed the team has been in contact with Izzo and other candidates, and he says there is no timetable for a hiring. The team also has had contact with former New Orleans coach Byron Scott and Milwaukee assistant Kelvin Sampson.
"Whether LeBron stays is the million dollar question, I'm sure, for Tom," said South Florida coach Stan Heath, one of five former Izzo assistants currently leading Division I teams. "I remember how much Tom wrestled with the opportunity the Atlanta Hawks gave him. But that wasn't a great situation like Cleveland has with a Michigan State guy as the owner and one of the top players in the game potentially on the team, so I can only imagine how hard he's thinking about this."
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