Report: If Spartans win title, Tom Izzo to Nets a ‘done deal’

Recently, rumors swirled that the University of Oregon was going to make a strong play for Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. The rumors were quickly shot down by Izzo himself and speculation quickly turned towards Minnesota coach Tubby Smith as choice #1 for the Ducks.

But just because Izzo isn’t packing his bags for the West coast doesn’t mean that he won’t pack his bags and leave East Lansing…if his Spartans win the National Championship.

According to sources close to Izzo, the New Jersey Nets have made clandestine overtures too attractive and convincing for Izzo to ignore. And, the source explains, if Izzo wins his second title — on the heels of making the Final Four in six out of his last 12 seasons — he will have little else to prove at the college level and will be ready for a new challenge, among many reasons why he’d leave.

If the Spartans win, it’s a “done deal,” says my source.

tom-izzo-rumorsSpeculation about Izzo’s possible move to the Nets will intensify once a recent statement new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov gave to Belarus Sports Magazine gains traction in the U.S.

According to the most recent issue of B.S. Magazine, the billionaire has had his sights set on Izzo ever since acquiring the team.

I have given immense study to basketball and what makes successful basketball player and team. Often I have heard about the, what you call it, “izzone” that players credit for good performance. “I was just in the izzone that night,” they say. In the Nets, we want to have this izzone on nightly basis. Money is no concern.

While Prokhorov is careful not to explicitly state his desire to pry the Michigan State coach away from the Breslin Center, not wanting to create a distraction for the coach during the Final Four, the inference is clear.

My source for this story, who did not want to be identified for obvious reasons, has said that the initial contract offer for Izzo is $10 million per year plus perks like unlimited corporate jet use. The source explained that it will not be an easy decision for Izzo because of his Michigan roots and affinity for Michigan State University, but that the money and opportunity simply may be too good to pass up if he can win his second title.

Plus, Izzo knows that the Nets will be actively courting the NBA’s best free agents and will likely get one or two of them. Previous college coaches have failed in the NBA because they often went to terrible teams. The Nets are awful this year but could be turned around immediately with the addition of one or two superstars and a competent coach.

Additionally and on a related note, I was given a tip regarding documents floating around the Nets marketing department that are rather interesting. These documents reveal that work is being done for a remix of a song first recorded by Prokhorov’s Nets co-owner Jay-Z in 2000. The song, called “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)“, would obviously have new relevance and be purportedly be given an eponymous second life as the official theme song of the Nets and their new coach.

The next obvious question for Spartan fans and Big Ten fans is who would take over at Michigan State in the event that Izzo leaves. When I posed this question to my source, he answered almost before I get the question out: Tom Crean. In fact, the ability to hand the job over to Crean would be a motivating factor in Izzo leaving.

Remember, Crean was hired by the Spartans in 1989 as a graduate assistant by Jud Heathcoat based on Izzo’s recommendation. That hire led to this awesome picture:


Once Izzo got the head job in East Lansing in 1995, he immediately hired his tan friend to be one of his assistants and the two built Izzo’s national title team together before Crean left to take the Marquette job.

Now, Crean is coaching at Indiana and mired in a two-season stretch during which he’s gone 16-46 and is already feeling heat from petulant, impatient, unrealistic IU zealots. Izzo apparently feels that Crean is in a no-win situation and would love to help his friend out by turning over Michigan State’s well-oiled machine to Crean. Considering the hand Crean had in getting the program to where it is today , Izzo feels — according to my source — that he owes him and that it provides further impetus and justification to leave for the Nets.

And that’s where this story gets really interesting.

The name I am hearing whispered as Crean’s possible replacement in Bloomington? You’ll think I’m making this up, but it’s Bob Knight.

The university is reportedly ready to offer Knight a blank chank, rename Assembly Hall after him, replace the statue in Showalter fountain with one of Kent Benson boxing out, and give him final say over everything basketball-related, as well as a 50-tolerance policy in place of his previously mandated zero-tolerance policy — meaning he can engage in 50 blowups, assaults, profanity-laced lambastes, etc., before the university will consider action…like how things were in the 80s.

Okay, fine. Indiana isn’t ready to give Knight all of that. I take it back. April Fool’s! Ha, ha. But…for obvious reasons he would be the #1 choice should the Izzo-Crean dominoes fall as described above. And why not? The Indiana fan base has had nothing to feel good about in over two years while reports have circulated ever since he left Texas Tech that Knight still wants to coach. Knight would reportedly want to bring his son Pat with him and then hand the program over after 2-3 years.

We’ll have to wait and see on that one. IU fans shouldn’t get too excited yet as a lot still has to happen for the Red Sweater to be back roaming the IU bench.

Now the question for Michigan State fans is this: knowing that Tom Izzo will probably bolt East Lansing if the Spartans win the title, do you want them to win it all and then have Tom Crean take over next year? Or would you rather the Spartans fall just short, as they did last year, but keep your coach and the expectation of a Final Four once every two years?

Chime in below.

Which scenario would be better for Michigan State?

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* – Tom Izzo photo credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images via

* – Tom Crean / Tom Izzo at Michigan State photo credit:

About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.


  1. April Fools!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. haha go blue says:

    Horrible article, let’s get real, these rumors start every year. You need to be more creative in your topic selection rather than following everyone else. Big thumbs down.

  3. haha go blue says:

    Horrible article, let's get real, these rumors start every year. You need to be more creative in your topic selection rather than following everyone else. Big thumbs down.

  4. Senotonom205 says:

    Really… I hope your response is an April Fools joke

  5. Dickba Jones says:

    Awesome! More Tom Izzo news. Izzo is God and we’re just borrowing space in his universe.

  6. Dickba Jones says:

    Awesome! More Tom Izzo news. Izzo is God and we're just borrowing space in his universe.

  7. That’s what I voted for.

  8. Seriously…the author’s an idiot. Who would believe this drivel?

  9. it’s not even a good April fools joke, coaches make more money in college than they do in the NBA, there is way more prestige here because, think about it, who are they talking about with the Spartans run to the final four, Tom Fucking Izzo, whoever wins the NBA championship this year the credit will be going to the players, not the coaches, thats just the nature of it. i mean honestly off the top of their head who can name Cleavland’s coach? probably a lot less than the people who can name Tom Izzo and throw around some stats and facts about his coaching career. So way to fail hard, where did you get your journalism degree, U of M, HA.

  10. $10 million a season? HAHA! Yeah right anyone in the NBA would give Tom Izzo Phil Jackson type of money just because dude has a stacked college resume! To top it all off, the writer of this article cited a magazine named B.S. Magazine…enough said.

  11. lame, the only april fool is the author

  12. Jeff, you're 100% correct about coaches having more prestige in college. And part of the joke here is that there is NO WAY Izzo is going to an NBA team, at least I don't think so. The guy is perfect for college, perfect for East Lansing, and he'd be crazy to even think about leaving. (Truth is, when I wrote this, I had no idea that Izzo to the Nets had even been discussed, but I guess the rumor was out there the last couple of days.)

    As for it being a good April Fools joke…obviously for you it wasn't. But it "got" a decent number of people through the first few paragraphs, which is really all I was going for. Once the B.S. Magazine part was in there, I figured people would start getting clued in.

    As for journalism degree…haha…I'm a blogger, not a journalist. But good job getting a dig in at U of M. We love rival dissing here at MSF.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. Read the archives and you'll see how big of a man crush I have on Izzo. He's terrific.

  13. Comment of the day so far.

  14. Well done, you caught the B.S. Magazine reference. I figured people might start to catch on right about there. Just having a little fun on April Fools day. Anyone who could read this and think Bob Knight coming back to Indiana is even a remote possibility…well…there’s really not much to say to that.

  15. Thanks Devon. Just having a little fun today.

  16. Can’t disagree here.

  17. Hugginssucks says:

    How about Dane Fife to IU, they would like a son return home. He also does have an IU clause in his contract allowing him to leave IPFW. Give him some better recruits and maybe he could win 20 games.

  18. Haha! Wow J!
    I was reading this, and going…is Jerod nuts!?

    …til I got to the bottom!
    Classic joke, really got me Jerod!

  19. coachmo says:

    Knight turns down IU offer. Job goes to Callipari with rumors of Kentucky going on probation…April Fools

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