Report: Utah Jazz Eye Jim Boylen, Ettore Messina for Next Head Coach

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2014

Could Jim Boylen be Utah's next head coach?
Could Jim Boylen be Utah's next head coach?Eric Gay

With the Utah Jazz passing on the possibility of a Ty Corbin return, the search for his replacement now begins.

Based on the options being discussed thus far, the organization may be looking at some unconventional candidates. Spurs Nation's Mike Monroe reports that, "According to a well-connected NBA source familiar with the Jazz’ search for a successor to head coach Ty Corbin, Spurs assistant Jim Boylen is at the top of Utah general manager Dennis Lindsey’s list of potential replacements."

On the one hand, there's nothing unconventional about pursuing an experienced assistant who—like Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey—has ties to the Spurs organization. On the other, though, you sort of expect to hear some big names from the college ranks pop up, younger coaches who could grow alongside Utah's rebuilding roster. Think Brad Stevens' arrival last summer in Boston.'s Marc Stein has other reasons to potentially question Boylen's eventual hiring:

Boylen's rough stint as the University of Utah's coach from 2007 to 2011 complicates his candidacy with the Jazz, since hiring him would almost certainly generate a lukewarm response from the local die-hards. Lindsey is secure enough in his beliefs to hire Boylen anyway if he and fellow Jazz officials decide that Boylen is the wisest choice, but you would also expect the very thorough Lindsey to have other options in mind. 

And apparently he does.

According to Stein, the Jazz are also looking into crossing the Atlantic divide. He cites, "NBA coaching sources [who] say that the Jazz will take a legit look at Italian legend Ettore Messina."

Messina would be an intriguing pick for Utah.
Messina would be an intriguing pick for Utah.Darko Vojinovic

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported last summer that the Atlanta Hawks were considering Messina. He noted that, "Messina spent the 2011-'12 season as a part of Mike Brown's coaching staff with the Los Angeles Lakers. With uncertainty over Brown's future, Messina left the NBA to take a $1 million-plus a year job with CSKA Moscow. Messina brought Lakers assistant Quin Snyder to CSKA with him as an assistant coach."

In 2011, the New York Times' Mitja Viola wrote that, "Players and coaches who have worked with him remember his strong and hard personality. From his point of view, the final result always comes first, and that requires discipline through the entire organization."

Those tendencies could be a problem according to Stein: "Messina detractors say he's far too demanding, far too intense from the first day of training camp and far too desirous of control to succeed in an NBA environment."

The Jazz are clearly relying on Lindsey's connections and willingness to think a little outside the box. After finishing last in the Western Conference with a 25-57 record, the organization is looking for a fresh start—and a fresh face to lead the way.

Utah will be especially interested in a coach who can generate a little offense. The team ranked 29th in points scored during the 2013-14 campaign, so finding a way to pick up the tempo may be chief among the next coach's objectives.

Player development will also be of primary interest. Utah has a young roster including Trey Burke (21), Derrick Favors (22) and Gordon Hayward (24). Getting those guys to the next level will help turn around the franchise's fortunes just as readily as any outside talent it could bring in.