Orlando Magic Interested In Izzo

Orlando Magic Interested In Izzo

Crowley Sullivan

Orlando Magic Interested In Izzo

We’ve been down this road before.  Now, it’s the Orlando Magic expressing interest in Tom Izzo filling their head coaching vacancy.

Contact @crowleysullivan

It’s been a pretty familiar cat and mouse game that’s played out several times over Tim Izzo’s time as head coach at Michigan State.

He flirted – maybe even played some pretty heavy footsie – with the Atlanta Hawks in 2000.

He and the Cleveland Cavs batted their eyelashes back and forth back in 2010.

And then there are the many overtures and clandestine discussions that have taken place that never were made public with college and NBA teams over the years.

Tom Izzo has told the Spartan community that he’s a “Spartan for life.”

We can and should take him at his word.

But is this time potentially different?

With the emotions of the loss to Syracuse maybe not quite as raw as they were when Izzo said “I’ve taken too many bullets this year not to be here,” perhaps Izzo might see this as a chance for a fresh start after what has been a tumultuous period for him and his program.

Any time there is examination of Izzo, for some reason there is always the need to make the obligatory statements of respect and appreciation for everything he has done for Michigan State.  So, we’ll do that right now.

Tom Izzo has elevated Michigan State’s basketball program to never-dreamed-of heights.

He’s reached seven Final Fours.

He’s won eight regular season Big Ten Championships to go along with five Big Ten Tournament Championships.

Of course, he led Michigan State to the National Championship eighteen years ago.

And while we love the emotion and the never-to-be-questioned commitment and passion, he’s had moments of frustration where he’s lashed out at the fans for not showing him and the program what he believes is the proper type of support; at times, he’s bristled at the way he and his program are treated by the media; and, currently, despite saying over and over again that he’ll address all of the references to and even allegations related to sexual assault incidents involving players in his program (including an incident from this season that just concluded), he has not addressed anything and has not communicating thoroughly and effectively with the Spartan community at a time when he must.

I’ve said this before and the hope is that it doesn’t get misinterpreted –

Twenty-years as a head coach in one place is a long time.

And, let’s not forget the twelve years he spent as Jud’s assistant and, eventually, his right hand man.

By my count, that’s thirty five years in East Lansing for Izzo.

That’s a long time.

That type of longevity demands respect and admiration.

But, is it fair to ask if the walls start to move in when someone is in the same place for that long?

Is it fair to ask if the walls themselves might even want some new furniture in the room?

It would be a surprise if Tom Izzo was coaching the Orlando Magic in the NBA next season.

But, if that’s what he winds up doing, maybe he could take a deep breath and get a fresh start with a new challenge.

And maybe – just maybe – life in East Lansing wouldn’t cease upon Izzo’s departure.

Maybe life would go on.

Maybe life would even be kind of okay.

Ignorant and lack-of-perspective comments from a basement-dwelling Internet knucklehead?

Maybe.

But if we’re all really honest with ourselves, isn’t it fair to recognize that, at some point, Michigan State will need a new head basketball coach and it’s fair to contemplate the possibility that the Breslin Center won’t implode when that time comes?

NBA’s Magic reportedly interested in hiring MSU’s Izzo

The Orlando Magic are looking for a head coach, and according to one report, the team is interested in Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.

The Athletic’s Michael Scotto tweeted on Thursday morning: “The Orlando Magic have expressed interest in Michigan State coach Tom Izzo for the team’s head coaching position, league sources told The Athletic.”

Michigan State officials said they would have no comment on the report and there was no indication whether Izzo was at all interested in heading to the NBA. Izzo has been in this spot before, considering the Atlanta Hawks job in 2000 and the Cleveland Cavaliers opening in 2010. Both times he opted to remain at Michigan State, where he just completed his 23rd season.

However, if there was a chance Izzo, 63, would consider a move to the NBA, this could be the year. He is coming off a season when he and his program fell under plenty of scrutiny for its handling of past sexual assault cases. Add to that, the Big Ten regular-season champions entered the NCAA Tournament as one of the favorites only to lose in the second round to Syracuse.

After the loss at Little Caesars Arena, Izzo said he had no intention of leaving Michigan State.

“I don’t plan on going anywhere,” Izzo said. “I’ve got a job to do and I’ve never run from anything in my life. Nothing. I don’t plan on starting now. So I’ll be here. I took too many bullets this year not to be here. So I’ll be here and we’ll be back knocking on the door to win a championship, I’m gonna make damn sure of that. I’m gonna get the help of my people, my team, my support and hopefully I’ll do a better job handling all the other things.”

The Magic, who fired Frank Vogel at the end of the season, are owned by Grand Rapids native Richard DeVos. Former MSU star Scott Skiles was the coach from 2015-16 and former Pistons executive John Hammond is the current general manager.

Izzo, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, has won 574 games in his career, reached seven Final Fours and has one national championship along with eight Big Ten regular-season championships.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

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