NBA: Jazz’s Hornacek gets head coach job in Phoenix
NBA • Jazz assistant played his first six seasons with Suns.
Published: May 26, 2013 09:43PM
Updated: December 7, 2013 11:32PM
Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Jeff Hornacek chats with Karl Malone, before the Jazz, Spurs game in Salt Lake City, Monday, February 20, 2012.

Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek is leaving Utah to become the head coach of the Phoenix Suns.

Hornacek, who turned 50 on May 3, will sign a three-year contract. It will be finalized by Tuesday.

Hornacek’s hiring was first reported Sunday afternoon by the Arizona reported Sunday night his deal will be worth “slightly less than $6 million” with a team option for a fourth year.

The Tribune confirmed Sunday night that the Utah Jazz expect Hornacek to become the next coach of the Suns.

On Twitter, Jazz forward DeMarre Carroll wrote, “Congrats to my man coach Jeff Hornacek. He is going to make a great [head] coach. He’s the one [who] gave me confidence in my shot.”

Carroll added the hashtags “respect” and “well-deserved” to his tweet.

Informed via a text message that Hornacek got the Suns’ head coaching job, former teammate Karl Malone replied, “I think it’s awesome.”

Malone added that he would be “interested” if he approached by Hornacek to be an assistant in Phoenix.

Of course, Hornacek’s departure impacts the Jazz by opening a vacancy on coach Tyrone Corbin’s staff.

A possible replacement could be Brad Jones, who is currently the team’s director of player development.

Jones, a former scout for the Jazz who returned to the team a year ago, is highly regarded within the organization. He has considerable coaching experience, including an NBA Development League championship in Austin, Texas.

For Hornacek, the move to Phoenix ends a long and successful association with the Jazz. He is one of seven players in franchise history who have had their number retired. He spent seven of his 14 seasons in the NBA with Utah.

Along with Hall of Famers John Stockton and Malone, Hornacek anchored teams that reached the Western Conference finals four times and the NBA Finals twice between 1994 and 1998.

In 436 regular-season games with the Jazz, Hornacek averaged 14.4 points and four assists. He shot 49.4 percent from the field, including 42.8 percent from the 3-point line.

Hornacek started his professional career in 1986, after Phoenix selected him in the second round of the draft. He played six seasons with the Suns and became an All-Star in 1991-92, when he averaged 20.1 points per game.

The following season, he was traded to Philadelphia, where he played until being acquired by the Jazz on Feb. 24. 1994.

Hornacek retired from the NBA after the 1999-2000 season and has been a full-time member of Corbin’s staff in Utah since Feb. 14, 2011.

Previously, Hornacek worked as a part-time shooting coach for former coach Jerry Sloan for three seasons.