Was Quin Snyder’s exit from the Utah Jazz a precursor to an exit by one in every of their star gamers?
The Jazz have been one of many extra lively groups throughout early offseason commerce conversations in latest weeks, most notably that includes All-Star middle and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Utah has not entertained rival groups’ overtures to steal away All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, sources mentioned, however the Jazz entrance workplace has engaged varied groups in Gobert discussions.
Bleacher Report previously illustrated the Atlanta Hawks’ and Toronto Raptors’ curiosity in buying Gobert. As Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer first talked about, Chicago has additionally emerged as a possible commerce vacation spot for Gobert, sources informed B/R.
Any deal that lands Gobert with the Bulls would nearly actually embody Nikola Vucevic, the two-time All-Star middle Chicago obtained from the Orlando Magic prior to the 2021 commerce deadline. Vucevic’s contract will expire on the finish of the 2022-23 season, and with Zach LaVine set for a profitable free company, Bulls brass has been contemplating their choices at middle since February’s commerce deadline, sources mentioned.
Vucevic-for-Gobert appears to make extra sense for Chicago, within the Bulls’ efforts to fortify a defensive assault round LaVine. And whereas Vucevic is usually thought of a web unfavorable on the defensive finish, the favored package deal that is been talked about by league executives of Vucevic and second-year ahead Patrick Williams would introduce the perimeter defender the Jazz have lengthy been mentioned to covet.
Chicago’s willingness to half with Williams stays to be seen. The Bulls have been strongly resistant to together with Williams in preliminary conversations with the Detroit Pistons to purchase Jerami Grant earlier than the commerce deadline, sources informed B/R. Adding Coby White, whose worth the Bulls beforehand explored on the commerce market, and Javonte Green would make the cash work to match Gobert’s hefty contract.
For the Jazz to transfer Gobert, any return would have to be geared towards reshaping Utah to advance additional within the postseason. By accounts, Jazz management has no intention of rebuilding or pivoting from a interval by which they’ve made the playoffs in every of the final six seasons.
What’s Next for Jazz in Head Coaching Search?
After months of hypothesis about Snyder’s future, he stepped down from his head teaching duties Sunday.
Two sources with data of Snyder’s pondering mentioned his departure was a results of nothing greater than his wanting to go in a distinct route and take a step away from basketball for the foreseeable future. There have been no ultimatums from both aspect, no calls for on how to form the roster. The Jazz made a number of gives of varied buildings to lengthen Snyder’s tenure, sources mentioned, however have been constantly rebuffed.
There is an expectation in league circles that at any time when San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich inevitably steps away from his personal head teaching publish, Snyder would be the main candidate to substitute the fabled chief. Snyder is alleged to be held in excessive regard by Spurs CEO R.C. Buford.
This has been a summer time of staffing adjustments for the Jazz. The Snyder information got here after Utah assistant coach Sergi Oliva departed to turn out to be one in every of three new assistant basic managers for the Portland Trail Blazers. Another Jazz assistant, former New Orleans Pelicans basic supervisor Dell Demps, has been repeatedly talked about by league personnel as a possible addition to Tim Connelly’s Minnesota Timberwolves entrance workplace.
The preliminary checklist of targets to substitute Snyder solely options one candidate with earlier head teaching expertise: Terry Stotts, the previous Blazers play-caller. Stotts has a robust relationship with Snyder, and the identical illustration, and spent a number of weeks across the Jazz this season. Utah officers are nonetheless compiling their checklist of interviewees, sources mentioned, and can start formal outreach to candidates within the coming days.
New York Knicks affiliate head coach Johnnie Bryant—who performed collegiately on the University of Utah from 2005-08 and developed a detailed relationship with Mitchell through the second half of Bryant’s stint as a Jazz participant growth coach from 2012-20—is taken into account to be a number one candidate for the place. Utah has made no bones about placating Mitchell’s interests, from buying and selling for his childhood pal Eric Paschall to altering the crew’s medical workers and bringing on Mitchell mentor Dwyane Wade as a minority possession determine.
Hiring Bryant can be in line with the franchise’s latest habits of constructing round its celebrity guard, particularly as discuss has elevated amongst NBA personnel about Mitchell’s potential to request a commerce earlier than the tip of his contract.
There are questions across the league about whether or not Jazz CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge might be amenable to catering to Mitchell and his illustration. But if Mitchell and Jazz chairman Ryan Smith are aligned on Bryant, or some other candidate, league sources with data of the state of affairs do not count on Ainge to stand in the best way. Ainge will not be recognized to be somebody who scours the market of the NBA’s up-and-coming head coaches.
Jake Fischer covers the NBA for Bleacher Report and is the author of Built to Lose: How the NBA’s Tanking Era Changed the League Forever.