Amid latest NBA rumors, Tom Izzo says he's not leaving Michigan State
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When it comes to NBA coaching rumors, Michigan State's Tom Izzo has routinely been a popular name.
This year has been no different. Izzo has been speculated as a possible candidate for the Minnesota Timberwolves' coaching vacancy, as well as for the opening in Detroit.
However, during an appearance Wednesday on ESPN U's College Basketball podcast, the 59-year-old veteran coach insisted he has no intention of making the leap to the NBA.
"First of all, I'm going to be at Michigan State," Izzo told ESPN's Andy Katz, when asked where he intends to be coaching next season. "I still listen to things everyday about (former Michigan State football coach) Nick Saban here in our town. I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."
Izzo added: "If somebody made me an offer with the Los Angeles Lakers that was so good that it would impress everybody, does that mean I would never say never? I'm not doing that anymore, because I've seen too many people get stung that way. I'll put it this way; I've got a big-time recruit coming in in about an hour. If I was leaving I wouldn't be recruiting."
Izzo, who has coached the Spartans for 19 seasons, was reportedly close to taking the Cleveland Cavaliers' job in 2010 but ultimately turned it down.
He is a close friend of Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders -- a bond that has led to increased speculation this year that the Minnesota opening could be the right situation for Izzo.
But as he has each year, Izzo brushed off the idea of moving on to the NBA.
"I laugh, number one," Izzo said, discussing his reaction when his name is brought up in rumors. "There's me and Billy (Donovan) and I guess Freddy Hoiberg. Cal's (John Calipari) always in it ..."
"I look at it as a compliment to a certain extent. Unfortunately, I think I'm only a college guy. I heard my name mentioned with jobs over the years and this year. Nobody ever talked to me once. If I'm good enough to coach in that league or somebody thinks I am I should be good enough to coach college players (laughs).
The Wolves' coaching search officially got underway on April 21 when Rick Adelman announced his retirement. Since then, news from the search has been relatively quiet.