Tom Izzo Being Courted by Cavaliers

Tom Izzo has another suitor.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told The Associated Press on Monday the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in Izzo, but have not yet given him the chance to replace fired coach Mike Brown.

"There is not a contract offer on the table," Hollis said in a telephone interview with the AP. "Last week, there was talk that Chicago and New Jersey were interested. If I was anywhere but at Michigan State, I would be interested in Tom, too, because he's the best coach in college basketball."

The News-Herald of Willoughby, Ohio, reported Sunday the Cavs have made Izzo an offer to be their coach. The story cited an unidentified league source.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert reiterated in an e-mail to the AP the team's policy not to comment on "any rumor about potential new hires, trades, free agent signing, etc."

A message was left with Izzo.

Izzo has been regularly mentioned as a candidate for NBA and other college jobs since Michigan State won a national championship in 2000.

He led the Spartans to the Final Four this year for the sixth time in 12 seasons, a feat just two other coaches have accomplished: UCLA's John Wooden and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski.

Izzo makes more than $3 million a season and is under contract through 2016.

He has been Michigan State's head coach since the 1995-96 season, when he was promoted to replace retiring mentor Jud Heathcote.

Izzo is believed to be on the short list of coaching candidates preferred by Gilbert, a Michigan State graduate.

The Cavs are in the midst of an unprecedented summer makeover. With superstar LeBron James set to become a free agent July 1, the team is looking for a new coach and is undergoing a transition of power following general manager Danny Ferry's resignation last week.

Assistant GM Chris Grant has taken over for Ferry, who guided the Cavs through their most successful run in team history. The Cavs made it past the first round in each of Ferry's five seasons, but didn't advance to the finals the past two years despite successful regular seasons.

On Friday, Gilbert said he was "moving very quickly" in his search to replace Brown, who won 143 games the past two seasons. Gilbert said it would be ideal to have a coach in place by July 1, but wasn't sure that would happen.

Gilbert has long been impressed with Izzo. Before a late-season game in Cleveland, months before his team's playoff flop, Gilbert praised Izzo for his defensive-minded philosophy and "for being one of the nicest guys I've met."

Gilbert and Grant have a news conference scheduled for Tuesday at the team's training facility.

Complicating Cleveland's search for a coach is the uncertainty around James, who is expected to listen to offers from several teams when free agency opens. Last week, James said in an interview that Cleveland has "an edge" in re-signing him.

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