Rumors have floated around the league this postseason of teams -- specifically the Lakers and Warriors -- wanting to speak with Tom Thibodeau about their respective head coach openings. And while those rumors have had little substance to them and nothing, at least publicly, ever came from those requests, the Bulls have given permission to the Utah Jazz to speak with assistant Adrian Griffin, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Utah Jazz have been granted permission to interview Chicago Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin for head coaching job, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 14, 2014
The Jazz did not offer an extension to Tyrone Corbin, who coached the team the last three-plus seasons after Jerry West abruptly stepped down in 2011. According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Jazz are expected to cast a wide net during their search, reaching out potentially to 20 candidates, including Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton and former Bulls assistant Jim Boylen, currently with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Jazz likely will meet with Griffin at this week's pre-draft combine in Chicago. Utah struggled to a 25-57 record this past season in the wake of losing both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to free agency. They do, however, have a solid young core in Derrick Favors, Trey Burke and Enes Kanter, and Gordon Hayward will be a restricted free agent this summer but the Jazz will have the cap space to retain him if they choose to match any offer from another team. The Jazz are tied for the fourth best odds in the NBA lottery, which will be held May 20, so they should be able to add another important piece to their roster.
According to a report from USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, Griffin is also considered the top candidate for the Cleveland Cavaliers' head coaching vacancy, which opened up Monday afternoon when the team fired Mike Brown. Brown, who was on his second stint with the Cavaliers, spent just one season in Cleveland, going 33-49 and finishing 10th in a weak Eastern Conference.
Griffin, 39, played nine seasons in the NBA from 1999 to 2008. After he was released by the Bucks in 2008 he was hired by head coach Scott Skiles as an assistant. He coached in Milwaukee for two seasons before taking on an assistant role with Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls.
Last year Griffin interviewed for the Philadelphia 76ers' head coach opening, and another Bulls assistant, Ed Pinckney, interviewed with the Memphis Grizzlies a year ago. CSN's Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam wrote last month that both Pinckney and Griffin could land head coaching gigs in the near future, and it seems as though Griffin's may be closer to sooner rather than later.
Griffin has coached the Bulls' Summer League teams in Las Vegas in years' past.