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10 coaches who won't coach the Utah Jazz


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SALT LAKE CITY — Whenever a team changes coaching candidates, there is sure to be a large list of names that get discussed.

Welcome to the life of a Utah Jazz fan. With every day it seems that more and more coaching candidates are being thrown around on Jazz-related stories and fan blogs, bringing the list of potential candidates that have been mentioned to 29 (accurate as of May 1). Now, with the NBA playoffs adding to that mix of candidates, the number will likely grow to include at least a handful of other names.

With that, it is important to mention some coaches who will not coach the Jazz, to make the daily water-cooler talks just a tad bit simpler.

1. Mark Jackson

If Golden State loses to the Los Angeles Clippers, there is good reason to believe that Jackson could become available on the open market. However, don’t bet on him getting a call from Utah management. Sure, he might have some wins with the Warriors on his resume, and sure he might be ranked third all time on the assists total, but his behavior in his one season playing for the Jazz might have eliminated him already.

10 coaches who won't coach the Utah Jazz
Photo: Associated Press

There’s good reason to believe Utah fans would be more excited by Derek Fisher being the head coach than Jackson, and it is due to his allegedly adversarial relationship with former point guard John Stockton and former head coach Jerry Sloan — two franchise icons. Additionally, Jackson has had personality clashes with his coaching staff at Golden State, including current Kings coach Mike Malone and Brian Scalabrine.

2. Larry Brown

No coach in the history of basketball has loaded up the moving vans more than SMU coach Larry Brown. Brown, who has been employed by nine NBA franchises as a head coach (Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana, Philadelphia, Detroit, New York and Charlotte) has long been known as a basketball nomad, and one who is known for being able to develop talent. He’s also been an effective manager of difficult personalities, bringing teams that included Mark Jackson, Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace to deep playoff runs.

However, for a Utah franchise known for valuing consistency, Brown isn’t a long-term option coach because he’s never been anywhere long term. Also, his age (73) is sure to also be a strike against him.

3. Hubie Brown

Basketball fans everywhere have either adored/hated Hubie Brown, who is known more for his television work than his coaching success. However, Brown has won a Coach of the Year award for leading Memphis to the playoffs in 2004 and has coached three different teams to playoff berths (Atlanta, New York, Memphis). Some local fans have always felt a kinship with Brown, as he was a college roommate with former Jazz head coach/general manager Frank Layden. However, Brown is 80 years old and has myriad health concerns over the years. The Jazz need a coach who will be with the franchise for quite some time; Hubie isn’t that guy and is best served soliloquizing over the “painted area” on NBA telecasts.

4. John Stockton

Of any franchise in the NBA, Jazz Nation gets more excited than any other at the prospect of bringing former greats back into the fray. Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton has gotten a moderate amount of play in fan blogs and stories related to the Utah coaching search, and has kept a strong relationship with the franchise going into his retirement. Stockton is an interesting case as his basketball IQ remains strong, his work ethic is widely lauded, and he currently serves as an unofficial “training-camp” instructor for young players looking to pick his brain on how to be a successful NBA point guard.

However, Stockton has no NBA bench experience, and the reason the Jazz won’t hire him will be the same reason they didn’t hire Jeff Hornacek to be head coach when Jerry Sloan abruptly retired — they both had no bench experience. It isn’t about where prospective coaches get bench experience, or what position they hold on a bench, but they need to have bench experience in either college or the NBA. In the coming years, it should not surprise fans to see Stockton step into a coaching role of some sort. However, the lack of bench experience will hold him back from being a head coach in the short term. But any NBA franchise would welcome him as an assistant.

5. Mike D’Antoni

D’Antoni is a coach who is suddenly on the market after resigning as the Lakers' head coach and is a name that popularly bounces around NBA circles. D’Antoni is good at utilizing a certain type of talent in NBA circles, being a team that can run the floor and shoot well from distance. However, he does not do well with coaching traditional post players (like Jazz bigs Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter), and he has not been known as a great defensive mind.

10 coaches who won't coach the Utah Jazz
Photo: Associated Press

Additionally, while D’Antoni has been lauded by players around the league for his likability, he has also been fired twice (Phoenix, New York) and didn’t get a contract extension from Lakers management. The question is, do the Jazz really want to take a guy who has failed three other places?

6. Sidney Lowe

Talk has circulated of the Jazz keeping some members of the Ty Corbin coaching staff with the organization, with talks focusing around Brad Jones, Alex Jensen and Johnnie Bryant. Make it easier on yourself, and don’t even mention Sidney Lowe when talking about people that will stay. Lowe, who has had three head coaching opportunities (Minnesota, Vancouver/Memphis, North Carolina State), has a record of 79-228 as a head coach in the NBA. Also, he finished with a record of 25-55 in conference play while coaching the Wolf Pack. Those numbers don’t exactly inspire confidence in his ability to lead a young Jazz team toward playoff contention.

7. Jerry Sloan

The argument could be made that Utah Jazz fans have clamored for Jerry Sloan to return to the bench ever since he left, and many believed he would. Nearly every NBA opening since Sloan’s retirement have at least included his name, and he currently serves as an adviser to the Jazz organization. However, while Sloan is still a valued member of the Jazz legacy, his views on basketball don’t necessarily jive, on the uninformed surface, with that of the new management, with their emphasis on metrics. It is hard to imagine Sloan believing that shooting a 3-point shot on a fast-break is the smart play, while the statistics seem to demonstrate it is smarter than traditionally thought.

Also, Sloan has reportedly turned down several opportunities over the past few years that have better situations in the short term when compared with Utah’s immediate future. Also, Sloan’s age (72) and history of health issues may complicate his consideration of a return to an NBA bench.

8. Jeff Van Gundy

Television commentators always get love from NBA people because they sound so smart when talking about matchups on the floor. For that reason alone, Van Gundy has gotten a healthy amount of love from a variety of teams around the league and has been courted by several big-name franchises since he was fired by Houston in 2007. Van Gundy is a better-than-thought coach, with an eye toward defensive success and offensive improvement. He is a perfect coach? No. Can he take a struggling team and make it instantly better? Yes, he can.

However, as much as fans might love him for his intensity or intelligence, he has said to local radio station ESPN700 that he does not expect to be contacted by the organization during the search. For that reason alone, don’t expect Van Gundy to become a top-10 guy on the Jazz coaching search. His broadcasting gig is a legitimate one, and he is the type of coach who will have other opportunities come up that will be more appealing than Utah.

9. Frank Vogel

Even if Indiana is to lose a Game Seven to Atlanta, and even if Pacers president Larry Bird decides to fire Vogel, it is easy to assume that Vogel could be the hottest commodity on the coaching carousel. Vogel, who led Indiana to the conference’s No. 1 seed, will be the target of a bevy of teams if he is indeed dismissed. Indiana is the victim of what happens when media personalities overlook a team’s flaws, and the Pacers’ weaknesses have certainly been masked by a variety of things.

10 coaches who won't coach the Utah Jazz
Photo: Associated Press

If Vogel leaves Indiana, he will be able to choose what team he wishes to go to. For that reason alone, he may choose to go to the most title-ready squad, and it most likely won’t be Utah.

10. Steve Kerr

Kerr going to the New York Knicks is about as done as Steve Nash’s career. Therefore, don’t even entertain the notion. Kerr will be enjoying the fine restaurants of Broadway well before he enjoys the diners of State Street.

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Jon Oglesby

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