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Izzo's snub has further tangled a tricky summer for the Cavaliers, who are weeks away from knowing if James will be back with them.
Since losing to Boston in the second round of the playoffs, Gilbert fired Mike Brown, the most successful coach in team history; general manager Danny Ferry left after deciding not to renew his contract following five banner years; and now Izzo, a friend of Gilbert's, doesn't want to be in the Cavs' future.
James' decision hangs over all of it. Without knowing if he'll return, the Cavs' pursuit of a coach has been nearly impossible. They can't promise candidates that No. 23 -- soon to be No. 6 -- will be around to make another run at a title.
The Cavs were adamant that James would not be consulted during their coaching search. Even if a coach had talked to the two-time MVP, he wasn't going to reveal his plans before hitting the free-agent market with an All-Star class that includes fellow Olympians Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Cleveland's next option appears to be Byron Scott, who spent an hour on the phone last week with Cavs GM Chris Grant and assistant Lance Blanks. Scott may not be a slam-dunk backup plan for the Cavs because the former New Jersey and New Orleans coach would be interested in the Los Angeles job if Phil Jackson retires.
Scott won three titles playing for the Lakers and has dreamed of coaching in L.A. He had an "out clause" built into his contract with the Nets so he could pursue the Lakers' job if it ever opened. He also loves the West Coast after being fired by the Hornets and might seriously listen to the Clippers if they're interested in him.
The Cavs also have contacted Milwaukee assistant Kelvin Sampson and former Atlanta coach and Cavs assistant Mike Woodson. The team could bring one of both of them in for interviews, but may wait until after they have a better sense of James' next off-the-floor move.
Gilbert knew finding Brown's replacement would be difficult. He said it would be ideal to have a coach in place by July 1, but that may be unrealistic. The draft is next week, and although the Cavs don't currently have a pick, they've been shopping around to obtain one.
They've also talked to several teams about possible trades, hoping to upgrade their roster and make it more appealing to James.
Brown was fired after five seasons for failing to win a championship. His successor will be hard pressed to match Brown's success over a five-year span, when the Cavs went to the finals, won two division titles and had the league's best regular-season record the past two seasons.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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