SALT LAKE CITY — During the past basketball season, Portland bench boss Terry Stotts spoke glowingly of backup point guard Earl Watson, even admitting he had a respectful title for the NBA veteran.
“I call him Coach Watson,” Stotts said.
One day, the former Jazzman hopes that title becomes a reality.
Watson might even throw his name in the hat for the Jazz’s head coach opening if he can convince his former coach, the legendary Hubie Brown, to join his staff, a source confirmed to the Deseret News.
Before that happens, however, the 34-year-old Watson will take time to determine whether to pursue playing a 14th season. His year with Portland ended earlier this week when the Blazers were eliminated by the Spurs in the second round.
Watson has yet to speak to the Jazz about possibly being considered as a replacement for his former coach, Tyrone Corbin, whose contract will not be renewed after three-plus seasons.
Brown, Watson’s former coach and mentor at Memphis from 2002-05, told Comcast Sportsnet Northwest that he’s intrigued by Watson’s idea but isn’t overly excited about the extensive travel involved in an NBA season.
“I’m 80 years old and I’ll be 81 in September, but I wouldn’t mind doing the practices at home. You never know what could happen,” the ESPN commentator told CSNNW.com. “He is a top professional. He has a high IQ, very coachable and very bright. He doesn’t miss a thing. He’s very inquisitive. He sees things, but picks his spots. I always say that he was one of the toughest kids to ever play for me. He’ll make an excellent NBA head coach.”
Watson also got a nod of approval from an old teammate, whom he could coach if things happen to work that way.
Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward told CSNNW.com he’s “pulling for Earl to get the job.” The two were teammates from 2010-13 and remain tight friends.
“He’s a great guy and has a great basketball mind,” Hayward said. “If he did become our coach and I got to play under him, it would be great because I know how hard he’ll work and prepare us. He’s a true professional and I think no matter where he ends up, he’ll be a great head coach in the NBA.”