SALT LAKE CITY — A fourth candidate has emerged in the search for the next Utah Jazz head coach, and he's a man with strong ties to the organization.
Brad Jones is on the short list with former Missouri coach Quin Snyder, longtime NBA coach Alvin Gentry and Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin, according to multiple sources.
Although the Jazz still have a tough decision to make, it's believed that the 47-year-old Snyder remains in the front of the pack.
The former Duke player and coach was an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks this past season and has previous NBA experience with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers. With Missouri from 1999-2006, he led the Tigers to the Elite Eight before leaving the program following an NCAA investigation.
Snyder revived his coaching career with San Antonio's D-League team, guiding the Austin Toros from 2007-10 before being replaced by Jones.
While some Jazz fans had their hopes up that Utah would make a splash by hiring a coach from the international basketball scene such as CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina or Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt, it doesn't appear that will happen.
Blatt's name surfaced in reports Thursday as a possible assistant in Minnesota and Golden State, and Messina, the CSKA Moscow bench boss, isn't in the mix, although it's likely he discussed the position with Justin Zanik while the Jazz's assistant general manager was on European scouting trips after the NBA season ended.
During the past two years, Jones has worked as a full-time assistant on Tyrone Corbin's staff and as the player development director. The 45-year-old is the nephew of Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan and his late wife, Bobbye.
He rejoined Utah's organization after coaching the Austin Toros in the D-League for two years, including the 2012 championship season. He had a working relationship in Texas with Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey, who was the Spurs' assistant general manager at the time.
Jones was the Utah Flash's head coach from 2007-10, working closely with the Jazz because of the teams' affiliation. He's also spent time in the Jazz organization as a regional scout from 2001-07.
Jones coached his alma mater, Lambuth University, in Jackson, Tenn., from 1995-2001. He was twice named Mid-South Conference coach of the year.
Spurs general manager RC Buford spoke highly of Jones when he was in that organization, crediting him for the D-League championship and "his ability to and desire to teach and develop young talent."
Buford, Lindsey's former boss, wished Jones well when he left for Utah two years ago.
"We’ll miss his leadership and knowledge," Buford said in 2012. "But, at the same time, we are thrilled that he has the opportunity to join the Utah Jazz coaching staff."
Gentry and Griffin remain in the running for the Cleveland Cavaliers' opening, according to reports.