Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — About half of the Utah Jazz players are entering contract years.
While it's too late to do anything about those situations, the organization wanted to make sure it didn't have one contract year simmering away on the back burner.
A day before the 2012-13 season tipoff, the Jazz exercised its option on the final year of coach Tyrone Corbin's deal.
"We prefer to stay away from coaches in the last years of their deals, especially coaches that have performed well here," Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said. "We want to make sure everybody understands that Ty's the leader and he's in charge, and it's important for everybody to follow his lead and instructions."
The move puts the head coach under contract through the 2013-14 season.
"It's a tremendous honor," Corbin said. "I appreciate the Miller family and the Jazz organization for having more confidence in me to continue to be the head coach of this team."
Corbin said the message he received from upper management was one of appreciation for making the playoffs last season and for "the way the team grew together, the way we stuck together."
The 49-year-old, who's been a player, assistant and top bench boss in Utah, was counted on to guide the Jazz through rough times in the aftermath of Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan's unexpected midseason resignation in 2011 and the ensuing trade of All-Star point guard Deron Williams.
The Jazz fizzled at the end of that 2011 season, going 8-20 under Corbin. But Utah bounced back last season with a 36-30 record to earn the West's eighth playoff seed in the lockout-shortened campaign.
Lindsey echoed previous statement of his predecessor, executive vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor, in admitting that Corbin was given a tough hand to play at the beginning of his first head-coaching gig.
"He deserves it (the extension). Ty's done very well. He inherited a really difficult circumstance after Coach Sloan stepped down (and) the Deron trade," Lindsey said. "That was a pivotal point in Ty's growth here, was how he handled that difficult situation."
Lindsey credited Corbin for showing "great poise" as a head coach, something he felt was critical to the Jazz's playoff surge last spring. The Jazz were swept out of the playoffs by Lindsey's old organization, but the then-assistant Spurs GM respected what Utah accomplished.
"Last year with minimal expectations and a very youthful club, he performed really well," Lindsey said, "and kept a group together and closed really well, which I think shows his ability to organize, motivate, lead."
The move is the latest example that re-emphasizes the Jazz organization's philosophy of loyalty and steadiness in key positions.
"Continuity, stability is the message here," Lindsey said. "It's what we believe in."
NERVOUS NELLIES?: The Jazz are eager to begin the season regardless of the opponent.
"I'm not really concerned about nothing," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "I'm just ready to take what we've been doing in the preseason and take it over to the regular season."
Big Al said he won't be affected by opening-night nerves.
"I don't have no butterflies," he said. "I'm anxious. I'm just really excited to get out there and play."
COACH SPEAK: Jefferson, one of the Jazz guys in the final year of their deals, was happy about Corbin's extension.
"He always going to let you know how it is 100 percent and you've got to respect a man for that, so I think a lot of the other guys on the team relate to him too," Jefferson said. "It's a good move to know that he will be the head coach for another year after this year."
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