Jazz don’t keep Corbin, begin search for new coach
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Tyrone Corbin oversaw Utah’s transition from Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams to a youth movement, one he won’t get to see to fruition.
The Jazz are in the market for a new coach after deciding not to offer Corbin a new contract Monday.
Corbin went 112-146 in three-plus seasons in Salt Lake City. He took over on Feb. 10, 2011, following the resignation of Sloan, for whom he played three seasons and served as a longtime assistant.
Corbin reached the playoffs in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season, but his team was swept by San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs. The Jazz went 43-39 the next season and dumped a number of veterans. This year, they went 25-57, the worst season by the Jazz since 1979-80, when Utah was 24-58 following the franchise’s relocation from New Orleans.
Still, it wasn’t easy to cut ties with a classy man who steered the franchise through the difficult stretch and who’s worked for the organization for more than a dozen years.
”Ty’s a man of dignity, class, integrity and we’ll do nothing now in this press conference or moving forward that will disparage him or his coaches in any way,” Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said. ”Today, we’re grateful for a period that they saw us through and following coach Sloan in many ways … is like following John Wooden.”
Lindsey said he doesn’t have a short list of preferred coaching candidates nor does he have a deadline for hiring Corbin’s replacement.
Corbin was the seventh coach in franchise history. He served as an assistant under Sloan from 2004-11. He also played for nine teams during a 16-year NBA career, including three seasons with the Jazz from 1991-94.
Lindsey left open the possibility of Corbin returning to the organization in some capacity.
”I don’t want to speak for Ty and understand his range of emotions, from disappointment to anger to everything in between, but (he’s) a good man who was a very good player, very good assistant that led us well through a tough three-plus years where there was significant change of personnel,” Lindsey said. ”So, I wouldn’t rule anything out, just because he’s that high of character.
”And I’ll say this, as well: I think Ty is … going to be a better coach or is potentially going to be a better head coach for his experience, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him land on his feet to be a head coach and to do very well going forward. If that doesn’t happen and he were to want to come back in some fashion, I don’t think there’s anybody within the organization that would prevent that.”
Owner and CEO Greg Miller said in a statement that Corbin ”has always represented the Jazz franchise in a first-class manner both on the court and in the community. He did a wonderful job of building relationships with the players and encouraged their growth throughout the season.”
After jettisoning veteran salaries last summer, the Jazz started 1-14 amid injury woes, but improved as the season progressed. Rookie point guard Trey Burke started the season on the bench with a broken finger, pressed through a shooting slump and ended with a season-high 32 points in the final game. He averaged 12.8 points and 5.7 assists.
Despite the losses, the team never splintered. Players pointed to Corbin’s positivity and the veteran influence of Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson, who resurrected his career, shooting 41 percent from 3-point range and scoring 10.1 points after rarely playing at Golden State last year.
A lottery pick, another first-round choice and sizeable salary cap flexibility will benefit the Jazz and Corbin’s successor this offseason. And there’s plenty of promise in Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks. The two big men improved in all statistical areas. Burks became a go-to scorer and ended up as the second-leading scorer despite playing as a reserve most of the season.