Pistons Expected To Pursue Tom Izzo

WEDNESDAY, 10:00am: Izzo said in a radio appearance on the Dan Patrick Show today that he’s not eyeing the Detroit gig, as Kevin Gehl of WLNS-TV tweets (hat tip to MLive’s David Mayo). Izzo added that he’s never spoken with Gores (Twitter link).

“I have no interest in the #Pistons job right now… 150% no,” Izzo said.

TUESDAY, 4:06pm: Izzo made it clear during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter today that he’s content at Michigan State, but he stopped short of dismissing the notion that he’d head to the NBA (transcription via ESPN.com).

“There’s been so many rumors over the years,” Izzo said. “I look at people I used to recruit against years ago [that] said that I’d be gone, but I’m still here and some of those schools have had three different coaches. I’ve always said I’d never say never to anything because you never know what it brings. But I got so much more work to do here. I have a great president, a great [athletics director] and a football coach that I really get along [with]. So this is a pretty good place for me right now. We’re in a pretty good spot. [The] program’s in pretty good shape. [It] ain’t broke, so why fix it?”

8:40am: Pistons owner Tom Gores is expected to pursue Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo to take over permanent head coaching duties on Detroit’s bench, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports (video link). John Loyer is serving as interim coach in place of Maurice Cheeks, whom Gores fired in February. Lionel Hollins is also rumored to be a candidate for the job.

Gores is a graduate of Michigan State, just like Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who attempted to woo Izzo to Cleveland in 2010. Izzo spoke with the Cavs then, Amick points out, but they were unable to lure him from the college ranks, where he’s established himself as one of the premier sideline bosses, guiding the Spartans to six Final Four appearances and the 2000 national championship.

Izzo, 59, spoke about his recruiting frustrations recently with Michael Rosenberg of SI.com, and while he said he’ll remain at Michigan State, he admits that the question of whether he’d be better off leaving for a job in broadcasting or the NBA is a fair one. A report last summer suggested the Timberwolves were eyeing Izzo as a possible replacement for Rick Adelman, who instead decided to return for another season. There’s speculation that Adelman will step aside this summer, so the Pistons might have NBA competition for Izzo.

Gores, and not president of basketball operations Joe Dumars, appeared to be the one to make the call to fire Cheeks. Dumars is in the final year of his contract and on shaky ground. Teams usually identify a primary front office executive before hiring a coach, but occasionally a coach comes aboard first, as was the case last summer with the Kings, who brought on coach Michael Malone before GM Pete D’Alessandro.

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