Utah Jazz: Tyrone Corbin's contract will not be renewed
Lindsey's answer side-stepped a question about whether Corbing didn't follow any direct orders from the front office, which would have led to a possible chasm between the two. The GM answered by saying the Jazz are adamant about allowing the head coach to be "Babe Ruth" and make player and minute-distribution decisions.
But the GM denied that Corbin's oft-criticized dispersion of playing time for younger players in this development season was a big reason. In fact, Lindsey defended Corbin, saying the outgoing coach did a "fine job in determining who should play and rotations."
The Jazz felt that there were enough differences to go another direction from a man who's been on the coaching staff in various capacities since 2004 and played for the team from 1991-94.
"From 5,000 feet there were philosophical things. Sometimes you can have a philosophy that has great synergy, but it may just be the wrong time for a marriage or for a relationship," Lindsey said. "Sometimes there are going to be differences of opinion, whether it be personnel or what you're doing with personnel. I think you have to assume there were some different thoughts (between Corbin and Lindsey), and again that’s one of the reasons why we made the decision we made today."
Jazz owner Gail Miller, CEO Greg Miller and Miller Sports Properties president Steve Miller did not attend Monday's press conference. Lindsey, team president Randy Rigby and executive director of baskeball operations Richard Smith were the only front-office personnel at the EnergySolutions Arena gathering.
Greg Miller offered his gratitude via a press release quote and on Twitter: "Best wishes to Tyrone Corbin for success in the future. He is one of the classiest people I have ever had the privilege of working with."
The Jazz will now commence a search for only the fifth head coach in 35 years since the franchise relocated from New Orleans in 1979.
Corbin is the first Jazz coach to be let go (technically, he has until the end of June) since then-general manager Frank Layden fired Tom Nissalke, the original Utah-era coach, early in the 1981-82 season.
Layden proceeded to coach until he called it quits early in the 1988-89 season, opening the door for Sloan's legendary Utah career. Sloan, like Corbin, was tabbed as the successor as an assistant on the Jazz staff.
The Jazz will have a wide variety of candidates to choose from, but it wouldn't be surprising for Lindsey to hire somebody with whom he's had previous working experience with in San Antonio or Houston. It's uncertain how much Boylen's struggles at the University of Utah will factor into the final decision.
In addition to Boylen, other possible candidates to replace Corbin include former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy (Lindsey's old boss with the Rockets); Suns assistant Mike Longabardi, a defensive specialist who worked with Lindsey in Houston; Bulls assistant Andy Greer (also at Houston with Lindsey); well-respected college coaches Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State), Tom Izzo (Michigan State) and Larry Krystkowiak (Utah); current Jazz staffers Brad Jones and Alex Jensen (both highly regarded up-and-comers); and international coach Ettore Messina (an Italian currently coaching CSKA Moscow). Former NBA coaches George Karl, Stan Van Gundy, Lionel Hollins and Nate McMillan are also intriguing possibilities, among others.
John Stockton still has school-aged children and Karl Malone has a very busy non-basketball schedule, so don't expect either former Hall of Famer to move into contention for a full-time coaching job at this time.
Lindsey was asked last week what qualities he's looking at in a coach for the 2014-15 season.
"The head coach of this program has always been and stood for the right things, so I’d say a continuance of what Ty and Jerry and Frank Layden have started and built over the years," Lindsey said. "You guys heard the discipline and the development and the defense (themes) because this iteration needed all three characteristics, not only from coaching and playing but ownership and management."
Lindsey added that if the Jazz stay young the organization would require "clearly an improved emphasis in the defense" as well. Finishing 30th in team defense this season could have been the ultimate deciding factor against bringing Corbin back.
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