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Dan Gilbert thinks Tom Izzo would have been perfect for LeBron

Jul 13, 2010, 5:57 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for dgilbert.jpgThe job falls to Erik Spoelstra, but the question still hangs over the situation: Who is the best coach for LeBron James? Who can connect with him, who can get more out of his game?

Dan Gilbert was convinced that man was Tom Izzo, something he said in his Sports Illustrated interview (from which we discussed some of his other comments).

“You asked about LeBron and what it would take for him to get to that [championship] level — I think it has to come from the inside,” Gilbert said. “[Izzo] is one of these guys who is extremely passionate and emotional, and I think that’s what LeBron needs. Mike Brown [who was recently fired as coach], as great as he was, he wasn’t going to have that one-on-one relationship like Phil [Jackson] had with Jordan. [Izzo] had that right stuff without having the NBA experience, and so we probably would have wanted to bring him some extremely experienced assistants.

“But then LeBron wouldn’t even talk to [Izzo]. Wouldn’t even talk to him. Those are the things we let him get away with.”

Izzo is a very well respected and loved coach by all Michigan State alums, like Gilbert. He is a fantastic, legendary college coach. So pardon my skepticism that he was going to reach LeBron.

To really get players to buy in you have to get their respect. Nobody could get Kobe and Shaq to play nice together until Phil Jackson and him Michael Jordan rings and pull walked in the room. You have to have that kind of presence, through precedence or earned in the gym with the team.

Pat Riley has that. He transfers it to Spoelstra (at least for now). Izzo is a college coach who has gotten good talent to play like great talent. But can he reach great talent? That is a very different question all together.

Gilbert, however, was in a position where he needed to take some risks, he needed to make big moves. Izzo would have been that.

  1. Dirk Simmons - Jul 13, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Your skepticism is not excused. Anyone over the age of six knows Tom Izzo is one the top three coaches in college basketball. Lebron was already set on leaving, hence why he didn’t want to talk to Izzo or Byron Scott. He could care less who his coach is as long as he has D-Wade and Bosh covering for him.

  2. t-gunn - Jul 13, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    Dirk is exactly right. None of it mattered, and that was proven by LeBron’s actions the other night. Why talk to Izzo when you know you are leaving? Pointless article.
    Some errors again Kurt, time to proof read before hitting publish.

  3. MR.ONE50 - Jul 13, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    How disloyal would Izzo be had he left Michigan State to coach the Cavs? Or better yet, had he went on to coach another team instesd of the Cavs. Would Gilbert give him a lashing in comic sans on the Cavs website? Just wondering.

  4. MeONE50 - Jul 13, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    How disloyal would Izzo be had he left Michigan State to coach the Cavs? Or better yet, had he went on to coach another team instesd of the Cavs. Would Gilbert give him a lashing in comic sans on the Cavs website? Just wondering.

  5. Larry - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    Do you guys proofread the stuff you post? Sometimes your thoughts are hard to follow given the typos. I’m not being critical but I’d like to see fewer mistakes. Just one reader’s opinion. Nonetheless, keep up the good work.

  6. proofreader - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    I think I should become a writer for NBC sports. No, I did not attend college. No, I do not have any background in writing. But between this site and profootballtalk, I’m convinced it doesn’t take very much.

  7. Anonymous - Jul 14, 2010 at 8:02 AM

    Does anyone think that the reason that James didn’t speak to Izzo was because he felt Gilbert was trying to use Izzo to see if he was going to re-sign with the team? I am glad Izzo did stay at State because he would have been put in the same situation that James is in now. Viewed as a TRAITOR when all he was looking for was more money!!!!!

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