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CBS Sports unsurprisingly lists Tom Izzo as potential Suns HC candidate

Like clockwork.



Mat Ishbia
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the offseason, so that must mean Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is included on NBA head coach candidate lists.

The sun comes up, the sun goes down. Just the same, an opening becomes available in the NBA and Tom Izzo is somehow mentioned. This time it’s the Suns’ job that has come up.

In a recent article for CBS Sports, Sam Quinn presented a list of coaches that could likely be linked to the head coaching vacancy with the Phoenix Suns. Izzo’s was near the top of the list with Ty Lue.

We’ve been down this road before. Izzo is used to having his name circulated with open jobs in the NBA. His interest in making the switch from college to the pros has been minimal at best. It seems as though the one window he gave it any thought was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This connection was, in part, due to his relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Similarly, Izzo’s relationship with new Phoenix Suns owner Matt Ishibia is one of the primary reasons Quinn made the connection of the Hall of Famer being a potential replacement.

That wasn’t all, though. Quinn went on to say that Michigan State has been incredibly average recently under Izzo. This seems like a harsh criticism for a team coming off a Sweet 16 appearance and not far removed from a Final Four. Quinn also questioned whether or not Izzo would want to continue dealing with the new nature of college sports.

Under Izzo, Michigan State is bringing in one of the highest-rated classes in program history in 2023. Izzo has shown that even though the nature of college sports is changing, he still has the ability to build a competitive roster and do it his way.

It’s been less than one year since Izzo signed a new lifetime contract with Michigan State. Some have drawn a similar comparison to Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh having his name frequently tied to head coaching vacancies in the NFL, but this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Outside of the Cleveland opening years back, Izzo has been very public about his desire to stay at Michigan State. You don’t hear Izzo, leaving the door cracked open and press conferences for him to engage in conversations at the next level.

When Izzo signed his lifetime contract he said:

“We have worked hard to maintain championship standards, and I’m as energized to coach now as I was when I started as the head coach in 1995.”

Is it possible Ishbia reaches out to Izzo to gauge his interest? Possibly. However, I believe it’s more likely that Ishbia would like to keep Izzo as the head coach of his alma mater.


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