Johnson to guide Nets

When it came time for Rod Thorn to make a decision on the next coach for the NBA's worst team, the New Jersey Nets president and general manager went with his gut: Former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson had wowed him in interviews, and there was no way Thorn was going to let him slip away.

"Thinking long and hard about it, I just felt that Avery was a good fit for us," Thorn said Thursday.

New Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov called the hiring the first step toward turning the team that posted the worst record (12-70) in franchise history last season.

Cavs closing in on Izzo

Tom Izzo has flirted with the NBA before. He may finally be ready to commit.

The Michigan State coach visited the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday to inspect the franchise.

After flying to Cleveland in one of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's jets, Izzo spent several hours visiting the front office and touring the facilities. Izzo, who has been courted by pro teams in the past, is believed to be considering a contract worth up to $6 million a season.

Meanwhile, in East Lansing, Mich., fans were working spreading word about a rally Thursday night to show their desire for keeping Izzo at State.

- Associated Press