NBA Coaching Rumors: Pistons to Target Michigan State’s Tom Izzo As Next Coach

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Tom Izzo

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons will be in the market for a new head coach this summer, and the team may not have to look too far for its next leader.

According to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports, the Pistons are expected to reach out to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo about the same position. Izzo has previously been a candidate with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 and the Atlanta Hawks back in 2000, but has always resolved to remain in the college ranks.

“Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores will have a very busy summer trying to fix his broken team. He has to decide the fate of general manger Joe Dumars, but he  also needs to hire coach. One name he’s expected to go after is Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Izzo has flirted with the NBA before. He talked to the Cleveland  Cavaliers before it eventually went with Byron Scott.”

The Pistons fired Maurice Cheeks in the middle of the season, and things did not turn around under interim head coach John Loyer. Izzo has a reputation for instilling a strong competitiveness in his players, evident by the Spartans’ four Final Four appearances since 2000, with a chance to reach a fifth this season.

Izzo earned more than $3.7 million last season, and it’s expected he’ll have to get a raise in order to leave his post in East Lansing. A salary greater than $3.7 million would make him among the top half of the highest-paid NBA coaches. To pay a first-time NBA coach that much becomes a risk for the Pistons organization.

In an interview in ESPN’s “SportsCenter” Tuesday morning, Izzo said of his current position “This is a pretty good place for me. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

Not only will Detroit be searching for a new head coach, but likely a new general manager as well. Joe Dumars’ tenure in Detroit will almost certainly be coming to an end after an offseason in which the team inked Josh Smith to a four-year, $54 million contract to play out of his natural position, and traded for Brandon Jennings. Whoever replaces Dumars in the front office will ultimately have some say over which head coach the team targets and hires in the offseason.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.