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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, turning down a chance to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and perhaps LeBron James.(WATCH THE PRESS CONFERENCE LIVE >>)

“I knew at the beginning that whatever decision I made would be a decision for life,” Izzo said during a news conference on campus.

“I am going to be a lifer. This is what I’m going to be, and I’m damn proud of it.”

For the past nine days, Izzo has been trying to decide whether to leave the place that has been his home since 1983 and jump to the NBA to perhaps make $6 million — doubling his salary — and possibly coaching one of the best basketball players in the world.

“Just as I decided to stay home, I hope a 6-8, 270-pound forward in Cleveland decides to stay home,” Izzo said in a statement released by the school.

He admitted the idea of coaching the 25-year-old superstar was very tempting.

“I thought playing one-on-one with LeBron James every day would be a good thing,” Izzo said. He admitted turning down the Cavs was a difficult decision.

“How many more offers do you get? How many more opportunities?” Izzo said. “People asked ‘why would you want to leave?’ I didn’t. I didn’t want to leave.”

James’ uncertain future will make for a difficult decision for any prospective Cavs coach. The 25-year-old superstar is unlikely to tip his hand publicly before free agency begins July 1.

Izzo’s decision ends a nearly two-week courtship by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who was hoping a reported five-year $30 million contract would be enough to land the Spartans coach, and perhaps show James he intends to remake the Cavs following a bitter postseason loss.

“The entire Cleveland Cavalier organization has nothing but respect and admiration for Coach Izzo and his family,” Gilbert said in a statement. “Tom is a special person in so many unique and positive ways. We only wish great things for him and his family in all the years ahead.”

Izzo did not look at ease as he walked into Tuesday night’s news conference along with his wife, Lupe, Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis.

He kept his head down when Simon made her opening remarks, sipping water, tapping his feet and fidgeting with his fingers and rubbing his hands.

This past season, Izzo led the Spartans to the Final Four for the sixth time in 12 years. Only the late John Wooden at UCLA and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski also have done that.

“It’s a great day, knowing he’s coming back,” said Mateen Cleaves, perhaps Izzo’s favorite player and one of the stars from his 2000 national championship team. “It put the biggest smile on my face to know he’s coming back.”

Milwaukee Bucks guard Charlie Bell, who played on the 2000 national championship team, was also glad to hear Izzo’s staying: “Izzo is Michigan State basketball.”

Two of the five former assistants who are Division I coaches were thrilled, too.

“Thought he handled very difficult process very well,” Utah coach Jim Boylen wrote in a text message. “It was a win-win situation for him. Happy for him, his family and his team that it’s over.”

South Florida coach Stan Heath sent a text that read: “Tom is great for Michigan State and for college basketball.”

For the NBA franchise in Cleveland, Izzo’s decision appears to be another setback.

Izzo’s snub has further tangled a tricky summer for the Cavaliers, who are weeks away from knowing if James will be back with them.

Since losing to Boston in the second round of the playoffs, Gilbert fired Mike Brown, the most successful coach in team history; general manager Danny Ferry left after deciding not to renew his contract following five banner years; and now Izzo, a friend of Gilbert’s, doesn’t want to be in the Cavs’ future.

James’ decision hangs over all of it. Without knowing if he’ll return, the Cavs’ pursuit of a coach has been nearly impossible. They can’t promise candidates that No. 23 — soon to be No. 6 — will be around to make another run at a title.

The Cavs were adamant that James would not be consulted during their coaching search. Even if a coach had talked to the two-time MVP, he wasn’t going to reveal his plans before hitting the free-agent market with an All-Star class that includes fellow Olympians Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Cleveland’s next option appears to be Byron Scott, who spent an hour on the phone last week with Cavs GM Chris Grant and assistant Lance Blanks. Scott may not be a slam-dunk backup plan for the Cavs because the former New Jersey and New Orleans coach would be interested in the Los Angeles job if Phil Jackson retires.

Scott won three titles playing for the Lakers and has dreamed of coaching in L.A. He had an “out clause” built into his contract with the Nets so he could pursue the Lakers’ job if it ever opened. He also loves the West Coast after being fired by the Hornets and might seriously listen to the Clippers if they’re interested in him.

The Cavs also have contacted Milwaukee assistant Kelvin Sampson and former Atlanta coach and Cavs assistant Mike Woodson. The

team could bring one of both of them in for interviews, but may wait until after they have a better sense of James’ next off-the-floor move.

Gilbert knew finding Brown’s replacement would be difficult. He said it would be ideal to have a coach in place by July 1, but that may be unrealistic. The draft is next week, and although the Cavs don’t currently have a pick, they’ve been shopping around to obtain one.

They’ve also talked to several teams about possible trades, hoping to upgrade their roster and make it more appealing to James.

Brown was fired after five seasons for failing to win a championship. His successor will be hard pressed to match Brown’s success over a five-year span, when the Cavs went to the finals, won two division titles and had the league’s best regular-season record the past two seasons.

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If Amir Johnson was a project when the Pistons drafted him, I have no idea how to categorize what Latavious Williams will be.  Williams gained headlines when he elected to play in the NBA Developmental League out of high school rather than go to college. Now, he’s old enough to enter the NBA Draft, although he’s currently considered only a late second round pick at best.  Measurables: 6-8, 205 pounds, PF from the D-League.  Stats: 7.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 53 percent field goal percentage in 20.5 minutes per game.  Projected: Undrafted (DraftExpress); 57th (NBADraft.net).  Why he fits: As an undersized teenager playing in a league of NBA hopefuls, Williams had some incredible games and moments as a member of the Tulsa 66ers, who went to the D-League Finals.  He has tremendous athleticism, he can rebound, run the floor, block some shots and finish. Just a year removed from high school, whichever team ends up taking a flyer on him could get someone with great potential for improvement.  Why he doesn’t fit: He’s undersized — both in height and bulk. He doesn’t have an offensive game to speak of right now, other than put-backs and hustle plays. When the Pistons took Johnson a few years ago, he was a similar project. The difference was size — Amir was 6-foot-10. And, it should be noted, that Johnson absolutely tore up the D-League every time he was sent down. Williams had moments, and he definitely improved as the season went on, but his numbers were still pretty so-so.  Why I’d take him: I’m rooting for him to find some professional success, but the Pistons draft too high in the second round to risk using a pick on him. There are simply much better players who will be on the board when the Pistons pick.  He’d definitely be worth a look as a rookie free agent — check out his playoff numbers for Tulsa. Not only did he get better in the postseason, but he improved drastically in each round.


LaBron James

Posted: May 14, 2010 in NBA, Sports
Tags: , , ,

So now Labron James Contract is up !!! they are out of the 2010 Play-offs, knock out by the Boston Celtics in game 6 and the question is” What does Labron do now”?. Does he leave to a team like Chicago Bulls with Derrick Rose, which I think would be A scary site or Does he go to the New York Knicks which is a team that is in disparate need of a leader or does  He stay with the team that got him this far. I was told that what ever team Labron James decides to go to they will  also try to get  Toronto Raptors  Chris Bosh. Its way to early to say where Labron will end up but i will say this, Rose, and James is crazy but if you add Bosh???? the sky is the limit. You heard it first from yours truly Steven and that was Steven’s Vision.