The Utah Jazz coaching search could be nearing the home stretch, with at least a few candidates separating themselves from the pack, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned.
Multiple sources tell The Tribune that Chicago Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin will interview a second time for Utah’s head coaching vacancy. The interview is scheduled to take place sometime in the next week.
Griffin originally interviewed two weeks ago. And while he is drawing significant interest from the Jazz, he also is a candidate for the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching vacancy and has interviewed there as well. Additionally, Griffin is apparently on the radar of the New York Knicks, who were forced to hit the reset button on their search after unexpectedly losing Steve Kerr to the Golden State Warriors.
A former NBA player, Griffin is seeking his first head coaching position. But he has been an assistant coach under Tom Thibodeau in Chicago and has been assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks.
And there is apparently another candidate drawing high interest from the Jazz.
The Tribune has confirmed that Atlanta Hawks assistant Quin Snyder has interviewed once with Utah, and like Griffin, has been called back for a second interview.
Sources also say there may be another candidate who hasn’t yet surfaced publicly.
Both Griffin and Snyder are considered young, up and coming coaches, with Snyder having college (Missouri) and pro pedigrees. Snyder also has coached at the international level.
Griffin is known as a defensive guru, and would be counted on to come in and guide a team that finished near the bottom of the NBA in several defensive categories.
Griffin does have some familiarity with the roster. Jazz backup point guard John Lucas III played under Griffin during his time with the Bulls. In an interview with The Tribune last week, Lucas III offered a strong endorsement to Griffin’s candidacy.
“He was constantly at the practice gym late at night, watching film,” Lucas said. “He’s really about the game of basketball. He knows what it takes to win. I think guys will buy into his system. We’re a young team. We’ve got to get a teacher and Adrian can definitely teach the game.”
Griffin is known in NBA coaching circles as a hard worker, a reputation that extends back to his playing days. He will turn 40 on July 4, and played eight full years in the league for five teams, despite going undrafted out of Seton Hall.
He lasted in the league because of his defense, his grit and leadership. In 2006, he was a starter on the Dallas Mavericks team that was beaten in the NBA Finals by the Dwyane Wade led Miami Heat.
Utah’s coaching vacancy was created six weeks ago when General Manager Dennis Lindsey failed to renew Ty Corbin’s contract.