Utah Jazz Rumors

Draft Notes: Exum, Wiggins, College Returnees

April 23 at 6:09pm CDT By Alex Lee

There has been plenty of talk about the top of June’s draft and that it sure to continue. For instance, the Magic, Jazz, Bucks, in addition to Lakers, are high on Dante Exum, Chad Ford of ESPN.com writes in his latest chat with readers. Ford has linked the Magic to Exum in the past, and he says this time around that the team is indeed looking for a point guard in spite of its experiment with Victor Oladipo at the position. Meanwhile, Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times tweets that the Sixers are targeting Andrew Wiggins with their selection, a report that echoes what we heard a few months ago out of Philadelphia.

However, as Sunday’s Early Entry Eligibility Deadline approaches, we are also sure to hear a lot about the players on the other end of the draft spectrum. Let’s take a look at some of the college players who have chosen not to partake in June’s NBA Draft.

  • LSU freshman Jordan Mickey will return to school instead of entering the draft, the Tigers announced (Twitter link). Chad Ford of ESPN.com has Mickey as the 23rd-best prospect for next year and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, who’s listed him as the 55th-best prospect for 2014, puts him 36th in his 2015 mock draft.
  • Sophomore Alex Poythress and freshman Dakari Johnson will both return to Kentucky next year, the Wildcats announced in separate releases. Poythress kicked the tires on entering the draft a year ago as well before ultimately deciding to return. They will join teammates Willie Cauley-Stein and Marcus Lee in Lexington next year, both of whom also chose to stay in school. Johnson could flirt with the lottery next year, according to Givony, who has Poythress squarely in the second round.
  • Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant will not enter the draft, reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. Grant was averaging 19 points per game before withdrawing from school for academic reasons in December. His brother, Syracuse’s Jerami Grant, announced last week that he would enter the draft. Givony has the 6’4″ shooting guard pegged as the 57th pick next June.

Latest On Jazz Coaching Search

April 23 at 4:21pm CDT By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 4:21pm: Hawks assistant Quin Snyder is also a candidate, Stein hears (Twitter link). Snyder worked with Lindsey in San Antonio, as Stein points out via Twitter, noting that he also spent time in Russia as an assistant under Messina.

TUESDAY, 1:59pm: Current Jazz assistant Brad Jones has also drawn mention as a potential candidate, Stein writes, though the ESPN scribe casts Boylen and Messina as the favorites. Still, neither Boylen nor Messina is likely to become available until June as their respective teams play on in the postseason. If Lindsey decides Boylen is the right choice, he wouldn’t allow the sentiment of locals turned off by Boylen’s poor performance at the University of Utah to dissuade him, according to Stein.

9:30am: Rumored candidate Jim Boylen is indeed in the running for the Jazz head coaching job, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, and the Spurs assistant is at the top of the list, a source tells Mike Monroe of the San Antonio-Express News. The Jazz will also consider longtime European coach and former Lakers assistant Ettore Messina, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Jazz are perhaps more open to hiring a European coach than any other NBA team, a source tells Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (Twitter link). The name of Bulls lead assistant coach Adrian Griffin has come up in regard to the Jazz as well as other teams of late, Genessy tweets. Griffin was a candidate for the Sixers and Pistons last year and the Blazers in 2012.

Utah GM Dennis Lindsey and assistant GM Justin Zanik are well-known fans of Messina, who’s apparently itching to come to the NBA, Stein says in a pair of tweets. Messina is the coach of CSKA Moscow, though his roots are in Italy, where he coached for more than a decade and a half and established himself as one of Europe’s top sideline bosses. Critics say he’s too tough on players to succeed as an NBA coach, though proponents point to his year of experience as an assistant in the NBA with the Lakers 2011/12, when the team had plenty of title-winning veterans, to suggest that he can succeed, Stein tweets. Messina was a candidate for the Hawks head coaching job last year.

Boylen’s connection to Lindsey dates back to their time together in the Rockets organization. They share the same agent and have a close relationship, Jones tweets, though Boylen’s time as coach of the University of Utah, a tenure marked by back-to-back losing seasons in his final two years, would be viewed as a negative, according to Jones, as well as Stein (Twitter link).

It’s unlikely that the Jazz’s next coach will be a retread, Jones says via Twitter. Lindsey insisted that the team hadn’t considered any candidates before announcing Monday that Tyrone Corbin wouldn’t be back, as fellow Tribune scribe Aaron Falk observes. Lindsey didn’t rule out the idea of Corbin remaining with the organization in a different capacity, Jones tweets.

Coaching Rumors: Jazz, Knicks

April 22 at 11:52pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

The Jazz do not currently have a timeline set for finding their new head coach, writes Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Genessy adds that GM Dennis Lindsey is entering uncharted territory, as the only time he had been involved in a head coaching search was in 2003 with the Rockets, when he assisted then-GM Carroll Dawson as vice president of basketball operations. Despite his inexperience, Lindsey insisted that the search will be conducted with the “right professional decorum” and later added:

“…we’ll meet quickly, internally…We’ll set some criteria. We’ll look at some objective measures. We’ll look at some subjective measures about coaches and who’s going to be the new leader of the Utah Jazz and define some timelines about who we’re going to interview.”

According to Genessy, the new coaching hire will be decided on as a group that includes Lindsey, Jazz owner Gail Miller, CEO Greg Miller, Miller Sports Properties president Steve Miller, team president Randy Rigby, executive VP of basketball operations Kevin O’Connor, and CFO Bob Hyde.

You can read more coaching-related links below:

  • Genessy mentions that in addition to Jazz assistant Brad Jones, Lindsey has close ties with Jeff Van Gundy (who the Rockets ultimately hired to succeed Rudy Tomjanovich in 2003), Suns assistant Mike Longabardi, and Bulls assistant Andy Greer. Along with Jones, Genessy lists Jim Boylen and Ettore Messina as possible candidates, just as we had noted from Mike Monroe of the San Antonio-Express News and ESPN’s Marc Stein earlier today.
  • Former Bulls player Bill Wennington tells Newsday’s Al Iannazzone that Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson would fit together well in New York: “Their history together and just the way they work together and have worked together in the past with the offense and everything is a good combination…To me it’s a no-brainer.” Though Wennington admits that he has an interest in coaching, he tells Iannazzone that he hasn’t spoken to Jackson about possibly joining the Knicks.
  • Iannazzone lists Frank Hamblen, Jim Cleamons, Bill Cartwright, Scottie Pippen, Kurt Rambis, and Derek Fisher as a few names who could join the Knicks in some capacity at some point. As Marc Berman of the New York Post mentioned earlier, Ron Harper could surface on the team’s radar as well.

And-Ones: Harper, Kerr, Rockets

April 22 at 9:04pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Since Phil Jackson joined the Knicks, there has been ample speculation about him bringing along connections from his winning past to work for the organization. As we’ve noted recently, Steve Kerr appears to be the strongest candidate being considered for the team’s head coaching position. We also relayed that former Jackson-assistant Jim Cleamons has his sights set on joining the team in any capacity. Today, Ron Harper – who played for Jackson in Chicago and Los Angeles – told Marc Berman of the New York Post that he expects to interview for a position:

“I would expect so…A few guys are expecting to hear from (Jackson). We’re in a wait-and-see mode. Whatever he needs me to do, I will do. He knows that.”

Here are more of tonight’s miscellaneous notes:

  • Though there are reports that the Kerr wants the Knicks job, Berman writes that his ideal preference would be a West coast team, echoing Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. Kerr currently lives in San Diego, and an opportunity to stay close to home could present itself with Mike D’Antoni allegedly on thin ice in Los Angeles; however, it wouldn’t seem likely that Lakers president Jeanie Buss would try to compete with Jackson for Kerr’s services.
  • If Carmelo Anthony doesn’t remain with the Knicks as expected, the Rockets would be in prime position to acquire him this summer, says Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW. Sefko imagines that the Mavericks would also try to land Anthony, but isn’t sure if putting hope in him as a number one guy would be the most prudent thing to do at this point.
  • Kevin McHale doesn’t seem to be the right coach for Houston, opines Bill Ingram of Basketball Insiders, who in his weekly chat addressed a scenario in which the Rockets attempted to pursue George Karl if they ultimately decided to make a coaching change. Such a courtship would be incompatible with the team’s interest in Carmelo, opines Ingram, to the point that Karl would not even consider accepting the job if they acquired the star forward.
  • It’s worth pointing out that almost all of the potential coaching candidates for the Jazz opening are represented by Warren LeGarie, who also happens to be the agent of Utah GM Dennis Lindsey (Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune mentions via Twitter).
  • Former NBA forward Dominic McGuire has signed with Gigantes de Guayana of the Venezuelan league, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

And-Ones: Ratings, Kerr, Kings, Sixers

April 22 at 4:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

All five of the teams in the NBA’s three largest media markets saw declines in local ratings during the regular season, and local ratings fell about 5% leaguewide, report John Ourand and John Lombardo of Sports Business Journal. The news belies an otherwise rosy financial picture for the league, with the latest salary cap projection for 2014/15 coming in at $63.2MM, a more than 7.7% hike from this season. Here’s the latest from the Association:

  • Steve Kerr is concerned with the failure of the Knicks to capitalize on their resources in the James Dolan era, and Kerr intends to do his research before taking any offer from the team, a source tells Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
  • Former New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum is likely to become Kerr’s agent, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports.
  • Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro isn’t ruling out the idea of trading the team’s first-round pick, and he’ll also try to trade for a second-round pick, as he told reporters, including Ailene Voisin and Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (All Twitter links).
  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News would be shocked if Arnett Moultrie were back with the Sixers for 2014/15. Cooney sizes up the future for each Sixer and looks ahead to the draft, noting that Brett Brown is enamored with Dante Exum.
  • The Warriors‘ purchase of land in San Francisco for a new arena appears to end any hope that they’ll remain in Oakland, writes Matthew Artz of the Bay Area News Group“I wish them well,” Oakland city councilman Larry Reid said. “It was my hope that the Warriors would build a new arena in Oakland, but there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do.”
  • Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune provides a taste of the local antipathy toward leading Jazz coaching candidate Jim Boylen.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Corbin, Trail Blazers

April 21 at 5:05pm CDT By Zach Links

Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard is rarely rattled on the basketball court, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “[Sunday night] was a Damian Lillard performance,” Head coach Terry Stotts said. “Damian rises to the occasion. For all those people who were wanting to know if he was ready for the playoffs, I think he answered that question, so we don’t have to answer that anymore. He made big plays. The three was big, getting to the rim was big, making free throws – it was a big time performance.”  The latest out of the Northwest Division..

  • Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (on Twitter) says that Tyrone Corbin had some support from Jazz leadership but not enough in basketball operations to get an extension with the team.
  • In an afternoon press conference, Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey called Corbin ”a man of dignity, class, and integrity,” tweets Jody Genessy of the Deseret News.  Lindsey also explained that he hasn’t picked out a successor yet (link).  ”Literally we haven’t had one conversation with regards to other names. … Now that the decisions closed we’ll meet quickly,” said the GM.
  • Even though Jim Boylen might fit Lindsey’s vision and is an outstanding coach, he’d be a very tough sell for Jazz fans, opines Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune (on Twitter).  He also wouldn’t have a honeymoon period and would be expected to deliver wins off the bat.
  • Guard Dee Bost, who was waived by the Trail Blazers in October, signed a deal in Venezuela with Trotamundos de Carabobo, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The player spent the season in D-League with the Idaho Stampede averaging 15.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 8.4 assists, and 2.1 steals in 50 games.

Jazz Likely To Target Jim Boylen For Coach

April 21 at 3:54pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Spurs assistant coach Jim Boylen will likely be a candidate for the Jazz head coaching vacancy, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). He’s not to be confused with Cavs assistant Jim Boylan, the former interim head coach of the Bulls and Bucks.

GM Dennis Lindsey, a former Spurs executive, wants a defensive-minded coach who believes in analytics, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. The team is likely to tap into Lindsey’s San Antonio connections for their next hire, whether it’s Boylen or someone else, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick (on Twitter).

Boylen was the head coach at the University of Utah from 2007-11, and he was with the Pacers prior to joining the Spurs staff this past offseason. He was an assistant coach for the Bucks, Warriors and Rockets before taking the University of Utah job.

Jazz, Tyrone Corbin Officially Part Ways

April 21 at 3:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Jazz have decided to part ways with coach Tyrone Corbin, the team announced. He was on an expiring contract this season, as rumors of his cloudy future with the team swirled after the Jazz decided to embark on a rebuilding project this past summer. Utah went 25-57, finishing in last place in the Western Conference this year.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah JazzCorbin took over in the middle of the 2010/11 season after longtime coach Jerry Sloan stepped down. The Jazz made Corbin only their fourth head coach since the franchise moved to Utah for the 1979/80 season. The team went 8-20 the rest of the way that year, but Corbin guided the team to winning records the following two seasons. Utah appeared in the playoffs only once during Corbin’s tenure, and they were swept by the Spurs in the opening round in 2012.

Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward, a restricted free agent this summer, praised the job Corbin did this season, after a summer in which the team let Al JeffersonPaul MillsapMo Williams and others sign elsewhere. The Jazz sacrificed their cap flexibility this past offseason to acquire draft picks attached to player-friendly contracts in a trade with Golden State, leaving the team with a mix of untested young players and mediocre veterans.

Richard Jefferson, at 33, started 78 games and received the third-most minutes on the team this season, and Marvin Williams saw significant playing time for Corbin, too. That led center Enes Kanter, up for a rookie scale extension this summer, to make a public call last week for the team to feature more of its young players on the floor together.

The Jazz also parted ways with Corbin’s assistant coaches, according to Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). It’s unclear if the team’s player development staff will return, Falk adds (on Twitter).

Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reported Friday that Corbin was out as coach, (Twitter links), though the team and Corbin’s agent denied the report to Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Photo Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Jazz Could Decide Corbin’s Fate Tomorrow

April 20 at 8:18pm CDT By Zach Links

Tyrone Corbin‘s job security in Utah has come into question and we could have a resolution sooner rather than later.  Multiple sources tell Tony Jones and Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune that Corbin and General Manager Dennis Lindsey are scheduled to meet on Monday and an announcement concerning Corbin’s future could come soon after that meeting.

A report late last week indicated that the Jazz already decided to part ways with Corbin, but both the club and the coach’s agent came out to deny the story.  It’s very possible that the Jazz will let Corbin go after a 25-57 season and a last place finish in the Western Conference, but nothing has been decided yet.  The sources told Jones and Luhm that Lindsey wanted to take the Easter weekend as a short cooling off period heading into tomorrow’s meeting.

Corbin took over in the middle of the 2010/11 season after longtime coach Jerry Sloan stepped down. The team went 8-20 the rest of the way that year, but Corbin guided the team to winning records the following two seasons. Utah appeared in the playoffs only once during Corbin’s tenure, and they were swept by the Spurs in the opening round in 2012.

Western Notes: Jefferson, Lakers, Jackson

April 19 at 8:34pm CDT By Cray Allred

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com thinks that the modern NBA is marked by owners who unnecessarily intrude on basketball affairs, citing the pressure Warriors owner Joe Lacob has put on coach Mark Jackson. More from the Western Conference:

  • Richard Jefferson tells Mike Sorenson of Deseret News that he will be looking to join a playoff team when the Jazz veteran becomes a free agent this summer. “When you get to be almost 34 years old, you do want to play in the playoffs,” Jefferson said. “If that opportunity doesn’t present itself, then being here in Utah with a great group of guys and a quality coaching staff and the amazing fans…that would be something that would be high on my list.’’
  • Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss tells Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times [subscription-only] that his family faces a crucial time in running the storied franchise. “If we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed,” said Buss. “I don’t know if you can fire yourself if you own the team … but what I would say is I’d walk away and [let the Buss family] figure out who’s going to run basketball operations because I obviously couldn’t do the job.”
  • Despite the strong words, Buss reiterated that his family has no plans to sell the team. “There’s no question in my mind we will accomplish success.” said Buss. “We’re not selling the team. It’s not what we were raised to do. My dad groomed us for basically 20 years to do what we’re doing.”