Utah Jazz to interview 20-plus candidates for coaching vacancy — but not quite yet
Hugh Carey, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Don’t expect a Utah Jazz coaching decision — or even interviews — to happen anytime soon.
For one thing, Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey and assistant GM Justin Zanik are on a scouting trip in Europe through the end of next week.
For another, Jazz president Randy Rigby reiterated that the organization is just beginning the process of establishing requirements for Tyrone Corbin’s replacement.
“It will be an exhaustive search. We'll be expeditious, though,” Rigby said Wednesday during an interview on The Zone Sports Network. “But we'll be sensitive to taking the necessary time, so that we get it right and it will be the right selection for the Utah Jazz.”
Rigby said the Jazz front office won’t make exploratory phone calls until the coaching criteria, research and analysis have been completed ahead of a “very comprehensive” search.
After that’s set in place, the Jazz anticipate interviewing what Rigby described as “much more than 20” candidates — from “iconic players” to guys with NBA head coaching experience, assistants, and coaches from international leagues and the college ranks. Former University of Utah coach Jim Boylen and Italian coach Ettore Messina are two of the more popular names circulating right now, but Rigby said the organization isn't to the point where it's even identified potential targets.
The man who ends up with the job will be the team’s fifth head coach since moving to Utah in 1979.
"We don't take these things lightly. This was more often than we wanted to and we would've hoped,” Rigby said. “We want to do things and do it right and have it last for a long time for this organization and that individual. We're going to take the necessary time.”
Rigby re-emphasized a point that Lindsey made after the team announced it won’t renew Corbin’s contract after three-plus years and a 25-57 season — the new hire will be made as part of a group effort, including the Miller ownership group and the front office. He said the more opinions and voices, the better.
"I hear many people say, 'This is Dennis Lindsey's decision.' No, it's not,” Rigby said. “Dennis is going to be a key player in this decision and is going to help formulate our strategy. But he is very inclusive of our team, and it's worked very well for us in the past to make sure that everyone has a vote and a say and we're all of one mind when we come out of the room.”
Also, Rigby said the Jazz have reached out to player development coaches Alex Jensen and Johnnie Bryant about remaining with the team going forward. Utah will begin working out draft hopefuls and free agents, and they’d help run those tryout sessions until the coaching search concludes.
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