Two new coaches were announced in the Northwest Division today, with NBA veteran coach Flip Saunders selecting himself to lead the Wolves, and well-traveled NBA assistant Quin Snyder coming aboard for the Jazz. Here’s the latest from the division:
- Snyder is expected to pursue Ettore Messina as an assistant for the Jazz bench, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein tweets that hiring Messina would be a great addition for Utah. Messina, who is parting ways with CSKA Moscow this summer, has drawn speculation as a potential head coaching candidate for other teams, and was once a candidate for Utah‘s vacancy.
- Two Jazz players expressed their support of Snyder’s hiring to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Derrick Favors told Jones he can’t wait to start working with Snyder, and John Lucas III said he has loved the coach’s uptempo system since playing against Snyder’s Mizzou teams as a player for Oklahoma State (Twitter links).
- Gorgui Dieng expressed his support for Saunders as the new Wolves coach to Andy Greder of St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I know he is very tough and is always looking for improvement,” Dieng said, “so I think we are very excited to have him as a head coach.” Greder writes that Saunders worked out with Dieng during his rookie season despite having a front office role.
- Bruce Ely of The Oregonian asks if Robin Lopez is the Blazers‘ solution at center or if they should still explore other options. Lopez led Portland in rebounding 26 times last season and hit double digits in boards 33 times. The Blazers hold a $5.34MM team option on the 26-year-old.
Zach Links contributed to this post.