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Utah Jazz: Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin focused on task at hand

Published: Thursday, April 29 2010 12:04 a.m. MDT

Jazz assistant coach Tyrone Corbin applauds during Game 5 of the first round of the NBA playoffs in Denver on Wednesday. The Jazz lost 116-102. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Jazz assistant coach Tyrone Corbin applauds during Game 5 of the first round of the NBA playoffs in Denver on Wednesday. The Jazz lost 116-102. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

DENVER — For now, with the Jazz thick in the midst of NBA postseason play, it's one of the least of assistant coach Tyrone Corbin's concerns.

But Corbin and former Jazz point guard Mark Jackson both are candidates for the vacant New Orleans Hornets head coaching job, the New Orleans Times Picayune reported Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, Corbin is on a list of "several top assistant coaches on playoff teams" who "are expected to be considered," along with Portland's Monty Williams, Dallas' Dwane Casey and Boston's Tom Thibodeau.

Utah coaches Tyrone Corbin (center) and Scott Layden (right) plead with the refs. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) Utah coaches Tyrone Corbin (center) and Scott Layden (right) plead with the refs. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

News to him, Corbin — also a former Jazz forward and longtime NBA player — suggested Wednesday morning.

"I'm just focused on where we are right now," he said after a shootaround prior to Wednesday night's Game 5 of Utah's first-round playoff series with the Denver Nuggets.

"I can't think about anything else right now," Corbin added. "Everything else has to work itself out."

No other NBA team has asked for permission from the Jazz to contact him about a job opening, Corbin indicated.

"Not that I know of," he said. "I haven't heard of anything."

Jackson is "the next candidate" the Hornets "are expected to contact to gauge his interest," the Times Picayune reported.

Utah Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin can just sit and watch as the Jazz and the Lakers play in 2009. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) Utah Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin can just sit and watch as the Jazz and the Lakers play in 2009. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

New Orleans already has made what the newspaper called "preliminary contact with representatives of" ex-Dallas Avery Johnson, former New York and Houston coach and current ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy and longtime NBA coach/current TNT analyst Doug Collins.

Corbin, an assistant to Jerry Sloan in Utah for six seasons, recently hired representation to aid his coaching-career pursuits. He's also been mentioned as a potential candidate to coach at his alma mater, DePaul, and interviewed last offseason for head coaching jobs that went to Vinny Del Negro in Chicago and Alvin Gentry in Phoenix.

Jackson, a longtime NBA point guard who spent one season in Utah as John Stockton's back, currently is an NBA television analyst for ESPN and ABC.

He was a finalist for the Minnesota job that went to Kurt Rambis last offseason and was a candidate for the New York job given to Mike D'Antoni in 2008.

Jackson also is a likely candidate for the currently vacant L.A. Clippers coaching post.

The Times Picayune also reported Wednesday that while general manager Jeff Bower said last week that the Hornets "would prefer having an experienced coach," they also "plan to give serious consideration to assistants and up-and-coming young coaches."

Meanwhile, a CBSSports.com report listed 15 candidates for Philadelphia's vacant head coaching job, including five current NBA assistant coaches — but neither Corbin nor Jackson was mentioned.

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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