Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert is a Michigan State graduate, and on that campus Tom Izzo walks on water. That’s how a college coach with plenty of questions about how he would succeed in the NBA has become the guy at the center of the Cleveland coaching discussion.
But now Byron Scott is the other guy standing in the picture.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard broke the story and his source says Scott is standing right beside Izzo. Which is not true, Izzo has a contract offer, Scott is going to have his first formal interview with the team in the next couple of days. It’s even possible Scott is being used to put pressure on Izzo to make a decision.
But Scott has had success at the NBA level. He took the New Jersey Nets all the way to the NBA finals early this past decade, and he had taken the New Orleans Hornets to the playoffs consistently. He has three championship rings as a player on the legendary Showtime Lakers teams. He has coached big stars like Jason Kidd and Chris Paul.
His style also alienated key players and he lost both teams at the end, but while they’re still listening to him they play hard.
Scott, of course, would want what Izzo wants — some word that LeBron James is coming back. While that would be the most likely scenario, it’s far from certain. And without James, the Cavaliers job is not nearly as desirable.
So we wait while these men think through their options.
Reports surfaced yesterday on the Waiting For Next Year blog that Izzo told his players he was taking the job, something refuted by a number of other mainstream sources. WFNY is standing by its story. What we know is that there was a meeting between Izzo and his players. Whether or not he told them he was taking the job, the players appear to have left the meeting with the impression he would, according to other reports.
But as of right now, there is no name on the dotted line. Just pressure growing on Izzo to decide if he is going to put his there or not.