Many of us have been where the Jazz are now.
Out on a precipice, our butts blowing in the wind.
Trying to figure out our future. Trying to walk the best road. Trying to make solid decisions that will have long-lasting consequences. Trying to find real love in a cold, cruel world. Trying to navigate the meandering path of romance.
It’s just that most of us didn’t have millions of fans hanging on the outcome.
In a time of uncertainty for those following the Jazz, with no specific word on who the team’s head coach will be and only guesses about what players the Jazz will select in the draft, whether the Jazz will move up, down or out of the summer’s biggest event, team president Randy Rigby, in two different sit-downs, described the Jazz’s approach as “meticulous and methodical” and “thorough and exhaustive.”
On the open stage, there’s been only darkness and the sound of silence, but backstage, Rigby said, there’s been steady activity.
He compared the Jazz’s hiring of a new floor general to matrimony: “The Jazz don’t hire a new coach, they marry one.”
There are still things to know, then, character to judge, personality and demeanor to take into account, motivations to measure, a diamond to buy, promises to make that nobody plans on keeping.
No wonder this is taking a while.
It’s been nearly seven weeks since the Jazz let Ty Corbin go, and probably a lot longer since they knew they were going to do so, and the drip … drip … drip of the aftermath, of an ongoing process, drips, still.
In that cloud of measurement and mystery, Rigby, one of only a handful of decision-makers operating in the team’s inner sanctum, mopped up the state of the Jazz with a soaked sponge of optimism:
“I’d characterize it as exciting and dynamic. This is my 29th year with the Jazz, and I’ve never approached an offseason with so much excitement and anticipation … because of what’s in front of us. I think we’ve positioned ourselves extremely well. It started with Kevin [O’Connor] when we had to make the trade with Deron Williams. We knew then that we were going to rebuild here. We’ve gone into that mode aggressively.
“And now with the excitement of a new coach, interviewing the candidates, I’m excited about the mindset of those candidates, what they’ve proposed, their excitement about this young team, about the opportunities we have with [players], picks and the assets we have financially, all the tools. … We have a great future in front of us.”
Rigby warned that, although the coming weeks would fill in the blanks and sharpen the focus on the direction the Jazz are headed, the whole picture won’t be complete or clear immediately. He went on to quote Dennis Lindsey, saying: “’We need to be patient in an impatient business.’ And we need to make sure that we’re building this thing the right way, not skipping steps. We’re adding building blocks.”
He said club ownership and management are aware that fans are eager to get their answers and solve the team’s problems quickly, but he emphasized the far reach was more important, saying the Jazz’s aim is to take Utah back to where it was in the 1980s and ‘90s, when “the place was going wild for Jazz basketball.”
No confirmations were given regarding who the coaching candidates are or who might be a front-runner. Adrian Griffin? Alvin Gentry? Quin Snyder? The ghost of Red Auerbach?
Rigby only said he was impressed by the “intensity and vision” the candidates have shown, their desire to coach the Jazz, and acknowledged that management has studied and is studying its candidates methodically, including watching game film of the way they coach.
“This is a marriage,” he repeated. “We’re planning on the long haul.”
He said it would be nice if the Jazz got their man in place before the draft, but underscored that those kinds of pressures are secondary to getting the right guy. He added that the team’s personnel people have compiled — and continue to refine — their draft big board.
Lindsey is a meticulous, deliberate plodder when it comes to moving through information, plowing up every possibility before putting in his crop. The general manager said he is looking at every scenario in the draft, and could take the Jazz in any direction, depending on what’s available to them. He’s doing likewise in his coaching search.
The drip … drip … drip of love.
Only this romance will be settled and sealed by committee.
Ultimately, that inner sanctum, occupied by Gail Miller, Greg Miller and Steve Miller, Lindsey, Justin Zanik, and Rigby, will convene and make final decisions.
“We’ll have a healthy discussion,” Rigby said. “Everyone is invited to come to the table with their opinions and analysis. … The process is moving forward. We feel very good and comfortable where we are.
“I think we’re going to have a great result.”
GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Spence Checketts weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM/1280 and 960 AM The Zone.