Utah Jazz: What would Utah coaching look like for Danny Aing

The last time Danny Inge was named head coach was in 2013, when he hired Brad Stevens to coach the Boston Celtics. Prior to that, his last appointment was in 2004 when Doc Rivers was tasked with leading the Celtics.

The point is, it’s been a while.

When Ainge hired both Rivers and Stevens, he was heavily involved in exploration, was part of the broadcast team, spent a lot of time on the road, and was in the game, so to speak. Now, as the CEO of the Utah Jazz Basketball Company, looking for a head coach will have a different look.

“I’m in a position where I didn’t look to the same extent as these coaches,” Ainge said Monday, bidding farewell to Quinn Snyder. “There are a lot of names I know, and I’m familiar with in the coaching world, but this will be much different than the previous two (named) and probably more inclusive.”

Jazz owner Ryan Smith added that the team is in no hurry. There is no need to make a quick decision because Jazz wants to be confident that they are making the right decision.

Ainge echoed that sentiment when he spoke with David Locke on the jazz “Take Note” podcast on Wednesday, noting that assistant coach Alex Jensen, a candidate for the head coaching position, will take on off-season coaching duties while looking to fill the head coaching vacancy.

“We have a lot of employees on contract and they have an opportunity to do more,” Ainge said. “Alex will run our summer league and he will do all the training for that and I think we are in really good shape now. I think we can take our time and do it right.”

As for the type of coach jazz is looking for, this isn’t easy to spot. The Jazz are said to cast an extensive network that includes former NBA coaches and coaches who have worked with the Jazz in their joint capacity, as well as NBA assistant coaches from across the league.

In short, the Jazz team is looking for someone who pays attention to detail but is also able to respect the locker room. The Jazz team will need someone who can manage the characters and build a coaching staff that is on the same page and eager to improve.

“Especially at the NBA level, where there is a lot of money and there is a lot of vanity and big dreams … It’s complicated and you also have to be able to manage the chaos,” Ainge said. “Everyone wants a machine that runs beautifully but my experience in the NBA tells me that most of the great players and most of the great teams I’ve been to are mostly a mess. … You run a lot of chaos and sometimes you have to focus on some chaos instead of Just basketball.”

The Jazz team didn’t limit their research in terms of years of experience, age group or coaches with specialized knowledge areas, but Ainge said player input would be an important factor in the process.

While there is already familiarity with the players and Jensen, as well as candidate Jonny Bryant — a former jazz assistant close to Donovan Mitchell and now the New York Knicks assistant — Ainge said familiarity and level of relationship were important, not the only motivating factor for engaging players.

“You have to sell them for what you do, whatever — if you’re doing a deal they might not like, you have to be able to sell the reason you are doing it,” he said. “This is just to get them in the right frame of mind so that they can give this change a chance to succeed. But, I think the players are partners in that thing as well.”

Although Snyder resigned from his position only on Sunday, the search for a new coach is underway. The jazz band reached out to multiple bands asking for permission to interview potential candidates, and the rumor mill has already started to spin with who is leading the group.

The only certainty now is that the upcoming Jazz season will look a lot different than many previous seasons.

Former Utah Jazz coach Quinn Snyder, left, and Utah Jazz Basketball CEO Danny Aing, as Jazz owner Ryan Smith, hear about Snyder’s resignation during a press conference at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, 6 June, 2022.

Kristen Murphy, Deseret News

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