Utah Jazz Refute Reports of Coach Tyrone Corbin's Imminent Dismissal

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2014

Utah Jazz head coach Ty Corbin watches the action during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against Sacramento Kings  in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli

If the New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence's initial report that the Utah Jazz were "ready to pull the plug on Tyrone Corbin" is correct, the organization seems to be the last to know about it. Per the Deseret News' Jody Genessy, Jazz president Randy Rigby said Lawrence's claim is "not accurate":

That may come as a relief to Corbin. According to Real GM and Genessy, "Corbin's agent, Steve Kauffman, also said he has not heard of any decision as of yet."

Corbin led the team to a 25-57 record this season, in what was clearly considered a rebuilding year. The Jazz were led by young talent like Gordon Hayward, Trey Burke and Derrick Favors—not exactly a roster filled with playoff-hungry veterans.

If there's any blame to go around, it probably wouldn't be fair to point any fingers at Corbin.

Nevertheless, his future with the club remains uncertain. Back in March, The Salt Lake Tribune's Aaron Falk wrote that, "Management and the coach’s agent have remained tight-lipped when it comes to the coach’s future. And Corbin himself says he has not had talks with the Jazz front office about his status, nor does he plan to until the season ends."

It may be unwise for the Jazz to sever ties at the moment. Letting Corbin go would figure to be something of a midstream move, disrupting a culture as it attempts to transition to more winning ways and accrue valuable experience in the process.

Organizations don't always benefit from those kinds of changes in direction. Sometimes they breed instability and discourage players from really buying into the coach's program.

On the other hand, the Jazz may feel like now is as good a time as any to make a move. Waiting any longer would just allow current players to grow more accustomed to Corbin's system and philosophy. If those aren't part of the long-term picture, there's certainly a rationale for acting sooner rather than later.

It's also unclear how much of the decision lies in Corbin's hands. Nearing the end of the season, Corbin didn't feel like discussing the matter but intimated that it was something he'd yet to fully contemplate, per Falk:

I don’t know if that’s a good question to ask right now. It’s a question to be asked. It’s a question I have to ask myself. And it’s a question I have to get set on where I go from here for me. It’s been an interesting year. I have a lot of evaluating to do that I want to do for myself and figure out what’s my next step.

If the decision to be made is a mutual one, then the outcome is all the more uncertain. By all accounts Corbin has been a popular coach, but he may not have the stomach for another losing season (or two).