Tyrone Corbin out as Utah Jazz coach

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The Utah Jazz will soon have their fourth coach since 1982.

In a break from an astonishing bout of continuity, the Jazz will not renew Tyrone Corbin’s contract.

After taking over for Jerry Sloan during the 2010-11 season, Corbin went 112-146 as Utah’s coach. Under his watch, the Jazz made the playoffs in 2011-12 and then had another winning record in 2012-13 (43-39). But they didn’t win a postseason game, and this year, they went 25-57 for their worst record since 1981-82.

That season, Frank Layden became head coach, a position he held into the 1988-89 season. Then, he gave way to Sloan, who coached 23 years.

In the end, Corbin – not distinguishing himself from many – couldn’t succeed in replacing the legend.

Jazz team release:

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has elected not to offer head coach Tyrone Corbin a new contract. As a result, a search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

“I would like to thank Ty and his staff for all of their hard work, dedication and professionalism over the last three-plus seasons,” said Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey. “This has not been an easy decision, but after a thorough review process, we as an organization feel that this is the best decision for our franchise moving forward.”

“The decision to make impactful changes in our organization is never taken lightly,” said Greg Miller, CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. “Ty has always represented the Jazz franchise in a first-class manner both on the court and in the community. He did a wonderful job of building relationships with the players and encouraged their growth throughout the season. We wish Ty, Dante and their family nothing but the very best for their future.”

“Ty represented himself and the Utah Jazz organization with great class and dignity, and he and his family have been an important part of our team and community for many years,” said Jazz President Randy Rigby. “I want to thank them for their numerous contributions to this franchise and wish them well in the future. They will always remain a part of the Jazz family.”

If Corbin wants to become an assistant coach somewhere, he should have opportunities. He proved himself in that role on Sloan’s staff, and he kept a sinking team professional. That deserves a certain role in this league, but probably not the one Corbin just lost. Even though this dismissal Utah season was more due to a designed rebuild (call it tanking if you wish) than anything Corbin did, he just gave little indication he possessed the aptitude for being a successful head coach.

Money is always a factor, but Utah presents a compelling roster situation for potential replacements . The Jazz have a lineup full of promising young players – Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Plus, they’ll have a juicy lottery pick in the upcoming draft and the No. 23 pick from Golden State.

The Jazz might not be ready to contend for a playoff berth next season, but they offer a quality destination for a budding assistant coach or college coach who might need a season to grow on the job. By 2015-16, this team should be a factor in the postseason race, and today’s decision is a step in the right direction.

Damian Lillard dismisses playoff expectations as pressure, says it insults regular people

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The Portland Trail Blazers have had a disappointing season thus far. The team is just 34-38 before their game with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, and they’re battling it out for the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs with the Denver Nuggets.

This comes as after expectations rose greatly following the 2015-16 campaign which saw the Blazers finish 44-38, good enough for the No. 5 spot in the West.

Portland has looked better after trading Mason Plumlee to Denver in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic, but it might be too little too late. Meanwhile, team leader Damian Lillard isn’t bowing to the idea that last season’s good fortune raised the bar so much that it put undue pressure on his team.

Speaking with Sporting News, Lillard said he thinks the idea is really more about pressure vs. challenges.

Via SN:

Pressure, nah. Fam, this is just playing ball. Pressure is the homeless man, who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from. Pressure is the single mom, who is trying to scuffle and pay her rent. We get paid a lot of money to play a game. Don’t get me wrong — there are challenges. But to call it pressure is almost an insult to regular people.

Look at the Wizards, they were kind of on the same wave as us. Didn’t even make the playoffs while we did. Now this year they’re the second-best team in the East. The adversity made them better. It can make us better, too. What I come from and my background made me who I am. As comfortable as I am with the good times, I’m also comfortable in adversity. Yeah, I might feel some type of way when somebody comes for me or says my name. But when it’s all said and done, it ain’t gonna rock me.

This is interesting to hear an NBA player say out loud. One, because I’m not sure I entirely believe it. You can have pressure without it having to be something that threatens your overall wellbeing.

Then again, maybe we’re arguing linguistics here. There’s definitely a different emotion from, say, trying to make sure you make rent and aren’t evicted to the street vs. trying to make the NBA playoffs. If one emotion is being defined as pressure, it makes sense to call the other a challenge.

It’s also interesting to hear an NBA player speak in those kinds of terms. There are a few guys around the league who seem to be relatively grounded and give out quotes like this from time-to-time. The absurdity of the NBA — playing games, making millions, and having folks worship you — would easily bend reality for most of us.

In any case, the challenge of making the playoffs for Portland is not going to be an easy one to overcome. Going into Sunday’s matchup with the Lakers, the Trail Blazers are a game behind Denver for the final spot.

Portland will face Denver on Tuesday, March 28 in perhaps their most important game of the season.

Kobe Bryant’s “Musecage” is like if Sesame Street had an NBA film room (VIDEO)

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Kobe Bryant’s video “Musecage” aired on ESPN on Sunday, and it’s one of the craziest things I’ve watched on an NBA broadcast. That includes watching Kobe’s own alley-oop to Shaquille O’Neal in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals.

Someone on Twitter called it a “drug-fueled Muppet nightmare” but that’s selling short how remarkable the video was. In it, Kobe delivered a message about finding motivation as a young basketball player alongside a talking “Lil’ Mamba” puppet.

But here’s where it gets good: this video was made true to Kobe’s own person. Despite the happy, glockenspiel-laden background music with puppet accompaniment, Kobe’s message in “Musecage” was to use the dark part of your psyche as motivation to conquer your enemies.

I’m dead serious.


It doesn’t get any more Kobe than that.

The first video ends with Kobe’s advice to Lil’ Mamba, who goes off to become strong by using the dark musings as his fuel. Meanwhile, the second video talks about — and I’m not kidding — tactics James Harden and Russell Westbrook use to defeat their opponents in the pick-and-roll.

It’s like if Sesame Street was also a film room session.

Needless to say, all 10 minutes of Musecage are incredible. I don’t mean that in any sarcastic way, either. Bryant has been working on his Canvas series for a while, and his message shines true to the person we’ve known for the last two decades.

Use your happy feelings to push yourself? No! Use self-doubt as a motivator to Jawface your way through to six championship rings.

He debuted the original episode on Christmas Day, and it too had a kid-friendly feel.

I literally cannot wait for the next edition in this series.

Mark Cuban on Blake Griffin’s fall vs. JJ Barea: “We sent flowers to his family, condolences”

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The Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers got into a bit of a scuffle the other night during their game. Clippers big man Blake Griffn and Mavericks PG JJ Barea tussled, with Barea earning a Flagrant 2 and an ejection for putting his hands on Griffin’s neck and pushing him to the ground.

It really was a sight to see, whether Griffin flopped or not.

Meanwhile, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was asked about the incident and responded with some heavy sarcasm that feels par for the course.

Via Twitter:

Griffin does have a bit of a reputation for acting and flopping, and Barea is hilariously undersized compared to him. Then again, the throat is a vulnerable area. Who knows if the fall was real or fake?

I’m just glad Cuban has a sense of humor about it.

Watch Derrick Rose leave Patty Mills standing still with eurostep, huge dunk

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New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose still has some explosivity left in his legs. Against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night, the former MVP left Spurs guard Patty Mills standing still on a thunderous dunk.

The play came in the fourth quarter with Rose on the break and Mills the only Spurs player defending the basket. Rose had a full head of steam, and it appeared Mills was going to for the charge call.

Rose then craftily eurostepped his way around Mills, leading to the jam.

San Antonio beat New York, 106-98.