Any Michigan State fans worried they could lose Tom Izzo to the Minnesota Timberwolves can now breathe a bit easier.
Izzo quashed such speculation in an ESPN.com podcast released Wednesday, saying he expects to be at Michigan State next season but also noting he will "never say never" to the NBA.
"I'm going to be at Michigan State, but even you can’t trick me into that anymore,” Izzo said, relaying the story of his friend Nick Saban's oft-cited proclamation that he wouldn't leave the Miami Dolphins for Alabama before days later doing exactly that.
“If somebody made me an offer, 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. But put it this way: I’ve got a big-time recruit coming in right now in about an hour. If I was leaving, I wouldn’t be recruiting."
The Minnesota job was thought to be potentially of interest to Izzo because of his close friendship with team president Flip Saunders.
The Timberwolves need to find a coach capable of helping them to persuade Kevin Love to stick around for the long haul rather than opting out of his contract after next season. With the core of last season's Michigan State team graduating and Izzo perhaps tiring of the challenges of big-time recruiting, it seemed possible the timing was right.
Apparently that's not the case — and that's probably a wise decision from Izzo. Working with Saunders may have been tempting, but it's very uncertain that Love would remain in Minnesota long-term, which means the next coach may soon be overseeing a rebuilding job.
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