Randy Hollis: The next few weeks may be the most critical time in the history of the Jazz

Published: Saturday, May 17 2014 5:35 p.m. MDT

Thus, they'll have a legitimate chance, if they can strike gold the way they did back in the early 1980s when Stockton and Malone were selected, to possibly bring another cornerstone piece to build around.

Sometime between now and then, though, general manager Dennis Lindsey has a couple of potential make-or-break decisions: Who will become the new head coach of this team, and how much are they willing to pay to keep swingman Gordon Hayward, a restricted free agent, in Utah?

The list of coaching candidates includes everybody from recently fired Golden State coach Mark Jackson to Stockton himself. The number of potential suitors for Hayward's services, and the amount they're willing to pay him, won't be known until July.

Whether the Jazz will match that offer and keep Hayward here remains to be seen, perhaps based partly on who they get in the June 26 draft.

Indeed, during the next couple of months, there are so many critical decisions that will go such a long way to determining the future of this franchise.

Lindsey certainly has a shrewd plan in place, a high-risk/high-reward scheme that is willing to sacrifice the present for the sake of a strong and secure long-term future.

Now they've gotta take a deep breath and pull the trigger on a critical coaching hire, a potential difference-making lottery pick, and the dicey dilemma of deciding Hayward's future with the team.

And if they can step up to the plate and hit a home run on all three of those difficult decisions, maybe, just maybe, the good ol' days of glory and hope will find their way back to Utah sometime in the forseeable future.

Yes, the summer of 2014 is so crucial to this team and holds the key to future success — or failure.

Happy days are here again? Well, let's hope so — but that still remains to be seen.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com

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