May 17, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
The Utah Jazz parted ways with head coach Tyrone Corbin after three and a half seasons, and with young talent in place and a rebuilding culture on the rise, Utah is a team that needs to make the right choice in hiring Corbin’s replacement.
The league seems to be trending toward young, first-time coaches rather then installing retreads, so in this way, Earl Watson — who has played 13 seasons, three of the last four of which were spent in Utah — might be a fine choice.
And he’s not being shy about angling for the position.
Earl Watson of the Portland Trail Blazers has a strong desire to become the next head coach of the Utah Jazz and would relish the opportunity to interview for the position, league sources associated with the guard informed CSNNW.com.
Watson, 34, played three seasons as a member of the Jazz and immediately became an organization and fan favorite. He is viewed by numerous NBA executives as one of the few current players capable of making a smooth transition into the NBA coaching profession shortly following retirement.
The soon-to-be coach admitted during Friday’s exit interviews that the Utah job attracts him, and he already has the endorsement of Utah’s electric wing stud.
“I’m definitely pulling for Earl to get the job,” Jazz forward Gordon Hayward told CSNNW.com via phone Friday morning. “He’s a great guy and has a great basketball mind. If he did become our coach and I got to play under him, it would be great because I know how hard he’ll work and prepare us. He’s a true professional and I think no matter where he ends up, he’ll be a great head coach in the NBA.”
Not only does Watson have Hayward’s support — which is important, considering Hayward is a restricted free agent this summer and is likely to be retained on a long-term, high-dollar deal — but he also may be able to get Hubie Brown to join him on his staff, at least on a part-time basis.
It’s impossible to know whether or not Watson would make a good head coach. But given his extensive time spent as a player and his recent understanding of the Jazz organization, if Utah wants to give a first-time head coach a shot, there are worse decisions the franchise can make than going with someone who has Watson’s breadth of experience.
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