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Report: Tom Izzo was offered same 5-year, $35 million to coach and run the Pistons that Stan Van Gundy received

May 18, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Tom Izzo

The Detroit Pistons desperately needed new leadership in both the front office and on the sidelines, and appeared to make a brilliant move toward achieving that by inking Stan Van Gundy to a long-term deal to coach the team and run it as president of basketball operations.

But the franchise almost went in an entirely different direction, reportedly offering the same level of power to someone completely unproven at the NBA level.

In a piece detailing the Timberwolves search for a head coach, one that appears to have at least one candidate identified in Sam Mitchell, it was revealed that Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo was considered for the role in Detroit that Van Gundy ultimately accepted.

From Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:

Izzo was offered the same five-year, $35 million offer to coach and run the Pistons that Van Gundy eventually accepted last week. Izzo also declined when Cleveland fired Mike Brown and called for the second time in four years.

In my opinion, this would have been a complete disaster.

Izzo has proven to be an excellent coach at the college level in his 19 seasons at Michigan State, and is no doubt well-respected in Detroit due to his reputation as a winner within the state. But with zero NBA experience, either as a coach or in the front office, turning over the keys to the franchise to someone wholly unprepared for those complexities would have been extremely misguided.

Thankfully, Van Gundy accepted the position, and by his doing so, Detroit likely has itself the best front office and head coaching hire of the offseason.

  1. money2long - May 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Hmm

    • pbtunpaidwriter - May 18, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      The money that’s being thrown at coaches nowadays is pretty amazing.

      Idk how Izzo or anyone could ever reject that. Especially since these are all guaranteed contracts so there’s nothing to worry about if you get fired.

  2. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Love Izzo, but glad he’s staying at Michigan St

  3. kb2408 - May 18, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    I completely concur, hiring Izzo would’ve been disastrous.

  4. mikeymo74 - May 18, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Izzo would have been a risky hire, but Van Gundy is the most over-rated coach in the league since D’Antoni. The media loved him too because he was just like one of them, but what has he really done? Shaq was dead on when he called him a front-runner who panics in the clutch and doesn’t have the temperament to motivate and guide a team, which is what you really want in a head coach.

    • jcmeyer10 - May 18, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      He motivates players with books about BBQ. If you can’t appreciate that, then good sir, I don’t know if we can be internet acquaintances.

    • imakcds - May 19, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      I used to blame Van Gundy for not being able to win with the ‘best’ center in the game, D Howard.
      After Howard’s stint with the Lakers, my opinion about both SVG and DH have drastically changed.
      I think SVG is a great hire and will do a heck of a job.

  5. haaaaasoooooo - May 18, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Thankfully, Van Gundy accepted the position, and by his doing so, Detroit likely has itself the best front office and head coaching hire of the offseason.

    So far!! How can you know that it’s the best hire of the offseason? You can see I to the future? If you have a crystal ball, I need some lotto numbers.

    • sugarkeyboards - May 18, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      dude, he said ‘LIKELY.” when you copied the statement you even pointed that out

  6. anarchopurplism - May 18, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    I they gonna ask you to make the dinna, at least they oughtta let ya shop for some of the groceries

    Love Izzo……but that’s too rich for someone going from college to the pros

  7. bellerophon30 - May 18, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    I love Tom Izzo, and dislike Stan Van Gundy, but the Pistons should be glad that Izzo turned them down. That much coin, and that much power, for a college coach who’s at best fifth best at his craft (Coach K, Billy D., Roy, Cal) is begging for trouble.

    And as an MSU alum, I now know that he’s never leaving, because he’s never going to get a better offer. Everyone wins.

    • duhwighthoward - May 18, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      What the hell kind of logic is that? Being the 5th best out of 300+ head coaches is begging for trouble?

      Glad I didn’t go to Michigan State. Can’t believe they let you walk.

      • bellerophon30 - May 18, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        Wow, that comment was loaded with hostility isn’t it? Yikes dude, it’s just sports.

  8. packhawk04 - May 19, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Izzo is something like 59 years old isnt he? He isnt going to take that leap to the NBA now… and i highly doubt he ever would have regardless of the offer.

  9. imakcds - May 19, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Izzo is on top of his game, and is in a nice comfort zone, now and for the rest of his life, why would he change that?

  10. mintberrycrunch1 - May 19, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    From the linked Star Tribune article: “• He kicked the tires — inquiring about their interest through conversations without formal interviews — on college coaches Tom Izzo and Fred Hoiberg as well as veteran NBA coach Stan Van Gundy, but discussions didn’t go beyond that.”

    It doesn’t say anything in the article about Izzo getting the same offer from the Pistons as SVG, unless I missed it.

  11. bostonfrogs - May 20, 2014 at 12:29 AM

    The Pistons are a rudderless ship–basically have been since Jack McCloskey left–and I’m fed up with them. I wonder if it’s too late to get season tickets to Detroit Spirits home games…

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