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Utah Jazz assistant Corbin again a head-coaching candidate
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The NBA coaching merry-go-round is spinning furiously and, once again, the Jazz's Tyrone Corbin is along for the ride.

A member of coach Jerry Sloan's staff for the past six years, Corbin is among a handful of current assistants most organizations consider a head-coach-in-waiting.

Six jobs in the 30-team NBA have opened since the end of the season, and there could be more.

Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, New Jersey, Atlanta and the L.A. Clippers need a head coach, while Cleveland and Charlotte might be looking, too.

The Cavaliers are pondering Mike Brown's future after their second-round playoff loss to Boston, and nomadic Larry Brown is deciding if he wants to leave the Bobcats for what he calls family considerations.

So far, Corbin's name has been most closely connected to the coaching searches in Atlanta and New Orleans.

This is nothing new.

In 2007, he was a finalist for the head coaching job in Seattle, which went to P.J. Carlesimo.

In 2008, he was a finalist in Chicago and Phoenix, which eventually hired Vinny Del Negro and Terry Porter, respectively.

"It's a great honor to be considered for a head coaching job in this business," Corbin said last week after the Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs.

"There are a limited number of jobs and it says a lot about the reputation of this organization for me to be considered for a [head coaching] job in this league."

In March, Corbin hired an agent — Steve Kauffman, of Malibu, Calif. — for the first time.

Kauffman also represents assistant coaches Jack Sikma, Mario Elie and Monty Williams, as well as TV broadcaster Mark Jackson.

"I did hire an agent — I got kind of tired of dealing with the stuff myself," Corbin said. "You kind of want somebody else to help give you direction on what to do.

"I've been fortunate to have gotten the interviews I've gotten. But the process will remain the same. If I get a call for an interview, I'll do it. If not, I'll continue to work here and feel very blessed to do so."

Among the available jobs, Chicago, New Jersey and the L.A. Clippers might give a new coach the best chance for quick success, given existing talent levels, salary structures and ability to compete for high-profile free agents.

Corbin knows, however, that an aspiring assistant can't be too picky.

"Some [jobs] are better than others and, as a young guy trying to get a job and hold onto it, you'd like to get the best team you can," he said. "But you have to take advantage of any opportunity. So maybe you get a chance — get a couple of years — to rebuild a franchise and get a team turned around."

Corbin believes his association with Sloan and veteran lead assistant Phil Johnson since 2004-05 is a huge benefit when other teams start examining his credentials.

With Corbin on the staff, the Jazz have won two Northwest Division titles, qualified for the playoffs four straight times and reached one Western Conference final.

"I've learn so much from Jerry and Phil," Corbin said. "... Their consistency with what they want done on the floor. The way they demand the guys come in and be ready to do their job — to be in shape to do their job.

"They teach everyone around them that whatever you do — on and off the floor — reflects on your organization. So guys have a sense of pride about who they are and who they are working for."

Corbin's coaching candidacy gets an enthusiastic endorsement from his players in Utah.

"He'll be a great head coach some day," said Wesley Matthews.

Why?

"His passion for the game," Matthews replied, "and he's tough. But he understands everything, too. And he's going to make you better. That's what you want from your coach."

Asked if Corbin helped Matthews develop from an undrafted free agent to Utah's starter at shooting guard, he said, "Oh, yeah. Every time I needed to work, Ty was there. It was like, 'Ty, I need to get some shots up. Ty, I need to get my edge back.' He always had something for me to help me get better."

Backup point guard Ronnie Price agreed.

"I'm a big fan," he said. "… Ty knows the game. He played in this league, he's had a lot of success in this league and I think that success has carried over and helped him become a great coach."

During a 16-year NBA career, Corbin played for nine teams, including the Jazz.

"He knows the ups and downs that we go through, mentally and physically," Price said. "He knows the ins and outs of the game from a player's perspective. And I think that would help him handle players."

Price is "not surprised at all" by the fact that Corbin's name has been connected with several job openings over the past two years.

"I'm selfish," Price said. "I want him to be with us. But if it's meant for him to achieve his goal somewhere else, then I'm behind him and support him and know he will be a great coach in this league for many, many years to come."

If Price ever played against a Corbin-coached team, what would be expect?

"They would be extremely well-coached," Price said. "The players would have a ton of respect for him. They will play defense. They will be a tenacious defensive team. You'll know his players will do anything for him while they're on the floor."

luhm@sltrib.com

NBA coaching market

ATLANTA HAWKS

Out • Mike Woodson

Known candidates • Dwane Casey, Tyrone Corbin, Larry Drew, Dan Majerle, Monty Williams

Dark horse • Sam Mitchell

CHICAGO BULLS

Out • Vinny Del Negro

Known candidates • Mo Cheeks, Doug Collins, Lawrence Frank, Avery Johnson, Kevin McHale, Sam Mitchell, Byron Scott, Elston Turner, Monty Williams

Dark horse • John Calipari

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

Out • Kim Hughes (interim)

Known candidates • Mark Jackson, Tom Thibodeau

Dark horse • Larry Brown

NEW ORLEANS HORNETS

Out • Jeff Bower (interim)

Known candidates • Dwane Casey, Doug Collins, Tyrone Corbin, Mike Fratello, Mark Jackson, Avery Johnson, Tom Thibodeau, Monty Williams

Dark horse • Lawrence Frank

NEW JERSEY NETS

Out • Kiki Vandeweghe (interim)

Known candidates • Avery Johnson, Tom Thibodeau, Jay Wright, Jeff Van Gundy

Dark horse • Mike Krzyzewski

PHILADELPHIA 76ers

Out • Tony DiLeo (interim)

Known candidates • Doug Collins, Avery Johnson, Bill Laimbeer, Dan Majerle, Sam Mitchell, Elston Turner, Monty Williams.

Dark horse • Larry Brown

NBA • Jazz assistant is once again a head-coaching candidate as the league's merry-go-round turns.
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