Bryan Bailey

Jazz Announce Assistant Coaches, Name Jeff Hornacek Coaching Consultant

The Jazz have made some personnel additions. Utah announced today in a press release that the team will bring back assistant coaches Alex Jensen, Lamar Skeeter, and Bryan Bailey – all of whom operated as assistants under previous Jazz head coach Quin Snyder – to work under new head coach Will Hardy.

They will join a robust assistant staff that includes the previously announced Jason Terry, Evan Bradds, Irv Roland, and Sean Sheldon. Other staffers noted in the statement include player development coaches Chris Jones and Sanjay Lumpkin, who previously had different gigs under the Snyder regime.

Utah is hiring Becca Ward as its new director of team operations. The team’s video coordinator will be Anthony Beaumont, assisted by Andrew Warren and Matthew Temple.

In terms of other new additions, the Jazz also announced that former longtime Utah wing Jeff Hornacek will return to the team as a coaching consultant. Hornacek worked as an assistant coach for Utah from 2011-13 under head coach Tyrone Corbin. Most recently, he served as an assistant coach on Stephen Silas‘s Rockets staff from 2020-22.

Utah is undergoing a seismic roster rebuild, having already offloaded veterans Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neale and Patrick Beverley this summer in separate deals. The team appears to be prioritizing a long-term rebuild, accruing oodles of future draft picks and young players in its trades this summer and building a coaching group set to develop its youth for years to come.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Butler, Coaching Staff

There’s an “overwhelming feeling” among NBA insiders that Donovan Mitchell will leave the Jazz when his contract expires in 2025 if he’s not traded before then, writes Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. That explains why Utah is exploring the trade market for the three-time All-Star even though he has three years plus a player option left on his contract.

Mitchell spent most of this offseason in his native New York City and still considers the area to be home, Larsen adds. The Knicks have been engaged in trade talks involving Mitchell, but those discussions have stalled as New York is unwilling to meet Utah’s hefty asking price of young players and draft assets.

There’s a sense that Mitchell may want to leave Salt Lake City for a larger market that would give him a chance to get more exposure and more money from sponsors, according to Larsen, who cites Miami as another potential destination.

There’s more from Utah:

  • Mitchell is likely to be moved before the start of the season, if only because the “optics” will make that an easier choice for the Jazz than bringing him back, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News opines in a mailbag column. Todd believes the Knicks are the most likely destination, but another team may have to be involved to get the deal completed. She speculates that other roster moves will be determined by whatever the team gets in return for Mitchell.
  • If the Jazz decide to commit fully to rebuilding, the upcoming season will be very important for Jared Butler, Todd adds in the same piece. The 21-year-old shooting guard was taken with the 40th pick in the 2021 draft, but he saw limited playing time as a rookie, averaging just 8.6 minutes per night in 42 games. If Mitchell is traded, Butler should have plenty of opportunity to prove he can succeed at the NBA level.
  • Assistant coach Bryan Bailey is being promoted to the front of the Jazz bench, alongside Alex Jensen and Lamar Skeeter, tweets Tony Jones of the Athletic. All three served on former coach Quin Snyder‘s staff. In addition, Utah will hire former Spurs staffer Sean Sheldon to their coaching staff, according to Jones.

Northwest Notes: A-Rod, Jazz Staff, Russell, Murray

Alex Rodriguez said he has been welcomed around the NBA, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Rodriguez is part of the Timberwolves’ ownership group and will eventually become the majority owner along with business partner Marc Lore.

“I mean, I come at it from a different perspective, being in baseball for about a quarter of a century, and now it’s interesting to take my experience from Major League Baseball, from broadcasting and now being here as an owner,” Rodriguez said. “It’s been great. The NBA has welcomed me with open arms.”

He has been especially impressed with the league office.

“Team ownership is 365, 24/7,” Rodriguez said, “I knew that (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver and his team were great, but they’re even better than what they project. His senior management team, all the way through, they’re really incredible, they add tons of value. And I think they’re great at welcoming people, whether you’re a player, media, owner, executive into the room, and they know how to do that better than anyone.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • New Jazz coach Will Hardy might retain holdovers Bryan Bailey and Irv Roland on his staff, Tony Jones of The Athletic reports. It was previously reported that Alex Jensen and Lamar Skeeter could remain on the staff. The Jazz are also in the market for a top assistant, Jones adds.
  • D’Angelo Russell is eager to get an extension this offseason, as he told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic“Obviously every player wants an extension, and you want to be in a position to do that,” the Timberwolves guard said. Russell, who has been the subject of trade rumors, added that his representation has had some dialogue with Minnesota’s front office. He’s also eager to play with the frontcourt duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. “For myself, I’ve always realized that if you put a shooter and a roller next to me, I can make the game easier for everyone around me,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to bringing that to the team.”
  • Load management will be the way the Nuggets handle Jamal Murray coming off his major knee injury, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Murray’s minutes will be limited to the 20-30 minute range at the start of next season and he’ll also have some games off.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, ‘Melo, Nuggets, Wolves, Jazz

Star point guard Damian Lillard attempted to recruit Carmelo Anthony to the Trail Blazers before the 10-time All-Star was traded to Oklahoma City in 2017 and then again before ‘Melo signed with Houston in 2018.

With Anthony once again on the lookout for a new team, Lillard has made peace with the fact that the veteran forward probably isn’t coming to Portland, as he said during an appearance on The Joe Budden Podcast (video link via ESPN). After Lillard detailed his previous recruiting efforts, he was asked if he’s “not putting [his] hand out again.”

“The team or me,” Lillard responded. “I’m like, ‘He ain’t coming here.’ He deserves to be in the league, but he ain’t coming here.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Free agent point guard Isaiah Taylor is working out for the Nuggets in Denver this week, league sources tell Harrison Wind of BSN Denver (Twitter link). After spending the 2017/18 season with Atlanta, Taylor was pushing for a spot on Cleveland’s roster last fall when he suffered a stress fracture in his leg and was subsequently waived. Now healthy, Taylor has also worked out for the Suns and Celtics, according to Wind.
  • The Timberwolves announced this week in a press release that Sam Newman-Beck will assume head coaching duties for their G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves. Newman-Beck, who was an assistant for the Erie BayHawks last season, previously spent eight years (2010-18) in Minnesota as a coaching associate/video scouting director.
  • Bryan Bailey, who was previously on the Salt Lake City Stars’ staff in the G League, has been hired as an assistant by the Jazz, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Jones adds (via Twitter) that Johnnie Bryant and Alex Jensen will continue to be Utah’s lead assistants, with Lamar Skeeter, Zach Guthrie, and Vince Legarza sharing the third assistant role and rotating on the bench.