Johnnie Bryant

Jazz Notes: Quinn, Griffin, Young, Gobert, Can, More

The Jazz have requested permission to interview three more assistant coaches from around the NBA as they seek a replacement for Quin Snyder, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). According to Wojnarowski, the team is also planning to meet with Heat assistant Chris Quinn, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, and Suns assistant Kevin Young.

Griffin and Young were previously identified by The Athletic as head coaching candidates on Utah’s preliminary list, but this is the first time we’ve heard Quinn linked to the club. Quinn, Griffin, and Young will join eight other candidates who are reportedly expected to interview with the Jazz, bringing the total count to 11 — and that number could continue to grow.

The full list of Utah’s reported candidates can be found at our head coaching search tracker.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Based on his conversations with people around the NBA, Ian Begley of SNY.tv (video link) gets the sense that Snyder’s exit from Utah will impact Rudy Gobert‘s future with the Jazz more than Donovan Mitchell‘s, making it more likely that Gobert is moved. Multiple recent reports have suggested that the Jazz are open to discussing Gobert, but have shut down trade inquiries on Mitchell.
  • In a story for SNY.tv, Begley stresses that the support for Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant within the Jazz organization goes beyond Mitchell. Bryant, a candidate for Utah’s head coaching job, is known to be close with Mitchell, but built plenty of other strong relationships during his time as a Jazz assistant from 2014-20.
  • Jazz assistant Erdem Can has reached an agreement to join Turkish club Türk Telekom, according to a report from Ugur Ozan Sulak of Socrates (Twitter link). Can was an assistant with Fenerbahçe from 2012-21 before joining Snyder’s staff for the ’21/22 season. He reportedly received a two-year deal from Türk Telekom, with an NBA out after year one.
  • Koby McEwen (Weber State), Noah Kirkwood (Harvard), Au’Diese Toney (Arkansas), and Amadou Sow (UC-Santa Barbara) are among the prospects who participated in a pre-draft workout with the Jazz on Tuesday, tweets Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. As previously reported, Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn and BYU’s Alex Barcello also took part in that session.

Latest On Jazz’s Head Coaching Search

The Jazz have been given the green light to talk to several well-regarded current assistant coaches about their head coaching vacancy, per Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Several of the names Woj and MacMahon mention had been floated as possibilities in reports earlier this week, but Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla joins an expanding list of assistant coaches under consideration by Jazz brass.

As Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets, Mazzulla worked as an assistant coach under both Brad Stevens and now Ime Udoka in Boston, and has assumed a more significant role while on Udoka’s bench this season. Mazzulla interviewed for the head coaching position with Boston in 2021 after Stevens moved into a front office role with the franchise and will get an opportunity to meet with the Jazz this spring.

Woj and MacMahon indicate that Utah is also set to interview current Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, who served on the staff of departed head coach Quin Snyder, along with former Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, Celtics assistant Will Hardy, and Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee. These five candidates had been included on the team’s preliminary list.

Suns assistant coach Kevin Young and Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin were previously cited as possible candidates, but they weren’t mentioned in today’s ESPN report.

The other key piece of new information from Wojnarowski and MacMahon is that the coaching search is anticipated to expand further to include both assistants and recent NBA head coaches. According to ESPN’s duo, the team will cast a wide net and move gradually in its search.

In eight seasons with Snyder at the helm, Utah never advanced beyond the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. This year, the Jazz finished with a 49-33 regular season record and lost 4-2 in the first round to the Mavericks.

Fischer’s Latest: Gobert, Jazz, Bulls, P. Williams, Snyder, Spurs

Confirming a pair of earlier reports, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report states that the Jazz haven’t entertained inquiries on Donovan Mitchell, but have been willing to engage in talks involving Rudy Gobert, with the Bulls among the potential suitors for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

According to Fischer, a Bulls offer for Gobert would – as expected – start with center Nikola Vucevic. The “popular package” discussed by various league executives would also include Patrick Williams, according to Fischer, who notes that the Jazz have long been seeking a wing defender like the former No. 4 overall pick.

However, as Fischer writes, the Bulls weren’t interested in discussing Williams during in-season trade talks for Jerami Grant, so it remains to be seen how open they’d be to including him in an offer for Gobert. If Williams is off the table, adding Coby White and Javonte Green would work from a salary-matching perspective, Fischer observes, but presumably the Jazz would be seeking a more substantial return for one of their two All-Stars.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Jazz offered Quin Snyder a variety of contract structures in an effort to keep him in Utah, but those offers were rebuffed, with Snyder deciding it was time to move on. The expectation in league circles is that Snyder – who is highly regarded by Spurs CEO R.C. Buford – would be the leading candidate for the coaching job in San Antonio when Gregg Popovich steps down, says Fischer.
  • The Jazz are still working on their list of head coaching targets and will begin to formally reach out to candidates in the coming days, according to Fischer. One of the names included in the team’s preliminary list of candidates was Terry Stotts, who has the same representation as Snyder and spent several weeks around the Jazz in 2021/22, Fischer notes.
  • While there’s some skepticism around the NBA about how much Jazz CEO Danny Ainge will cater to Donovan Mitchell, Ainge isn’t viewed as someone who “scours the market of the NBA’s up-and-coming head coaches,” Fischer writes. In other words, if Mitchell and team owner Ryan Smith both want to bring in former Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant as Snyder’s replacement, Ainge likely wouldn’t stand in the way, sources tell Fischer.

Jazz Rumors: Mitchell, Gobert, Bogdanovic, Coaching Search

The Jazz are expected to be aggressive on the trade market this offseason, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic, who hears from sources that the club has no plans to pivot to a rebuild following Quin Snyder‘s departure and continues to view itself as a perennial playoff team working toward title contention.

Marc Berman of The New York Post cites league sources who believe that Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will eventually request a trade, but Berman acknowledges those sources don’t necessarily expect it to happen this offseason. Multiple teams have called Utah to inquire about Mitchell’s availability, sources tell Jones, but the Jazz have responded with a “firm no” and have made it clear they intend to build around the three-time All-Star.

[RELATED: Donovan Mitchell Reportedly “Unsettled” Following Snyder’s Departure]

While the Jazz apparently have no intention of moving Mitchell, virtually anyone else on the roster could probably be had in the right deal, Jones writes. Sources tell The Athletic that All-Star center Rudy Gobert and forward Bojan Bogdanovic are two players who have drawn “significant” interest from potential suitors.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Utah wants its next head coach to “command buy-in and respect” from the players, including Mitchell, according to Jones. Most of the candidates on the Jazz’s preliminary list are highly regarded for their player development skills and defensive acumen, Jones adds.
  • In Jones’ view, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin is one head coaching candidate to keep an eye on, since he was a finalist in Utah’s previous coaching search that led to the hiring of Snyder. Former Jazz assistant and current Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant is also worth watching due to his close relationship with Mitchell and his ability to develop talent, says Jones.
  • Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune takes a deeper dive into ESPN’s report on Mitchell being “unsettled” and “unnerved” by Snyder’s exit, explaining why he believes the Jazz star is trying to send a message to the organization with the leak.

Jazz To Consider Stotts, Jensen, Others For Coaching Job

The Jazz have identified some initial candidates for the team’s vacant head coaching job, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Former Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, Celtics assistant Will Hardy, Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin will all be considered for the position.

In addition, the Jazz are also expected to consider Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Suns assistant Kevin Young, per Charania and The Athletic’s Tony Jones (Twitter link).

Charania mentioned those coaches are among the initial list of candidates, so more names may be added in the coming days. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported (via Twitter), Utah is immediately launching a head coaching search in wake of Quin Snyder‘s decision to step down.

The Jazz are coming off a 49-33 season. The team lost in six games to the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, ending an inconsistent campaign. Despite making the playoffs six straight years, the team hasn’t been able to advance past the second round.

Utah is one of two teams that currently don’t have a head coach. The other is the Hornets, who are reportedly nearing a decision on their search.

Knicks Notes: McBride, Grimes, Draft, Mitchell, Hunt

Quentin Grimes absorbed most of Miles McBride‘s minutes after Grimes returned from a knee injury on Friday. However, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau will still try to find ways to play the rookie second-rounder despite having a more crowded backcourt, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

“I love what ‘Deuce’ has done. We’ll try to figure out how to work that out,” Thibodeau said of McBride. “He’ll probably be going back and forth. He’s done a really good job. We’ll see how this unfolds.’’

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Thibodeau is focused on his team but he’s finding some time to watch prospects in the NCAA Tournament, Berman adds in the same story. “I’ll get an opportunity to watch a little bit here, little bit there,’’ Thibodeau said. “Then, when the season’s over, I’ll go back and dig in a lot deeper. It’s an exciting time of year.”
  • There are some intriguing connections between Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell and the Knicks. Mitchell was previously represented by Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose, while New York assistant Johnnie Bryant was one of Mitchell’s favorite coaches in Utah, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News notes. If Mitchell comes to a point where he wants out of Utah or the Jazz are willing to trade him, Berman speculates the package would have to include RJ Barrett and multiple first-rounders.
  • Feron Hunt‘s two-way contract is a two-year deal, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Hunt signed the contract on Friday. Hunt had 16 points and eight rebounds playing for the G League’s Westchester Knicks on Sunday.

Knicks Expected To Retain Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau is expected to remain the Knicks’ head coach beyond this season, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reports.

There has been rampant speculation regarding Thibodeau’s status during the team’s disappointing season.

There’s been some internal support to move on from Thibodeau and owner James Dolan had granted the front office permission to decide whether he remains the head coach, according to Fischer’s sources.

However, president of basketball operations Leon Rose has no plans to make a change — Fischer notes that Rose and Thibodeau been trusted allies since the hiring process in 2020. The Knicks interviewed 11 candidates before picking the former Bulls and Timberwolves head coach.

Thibodeau has three years left on his five-year contract.

Reports surfaced last month that Knicks exec William Wesley blamed the team’s ills on the head coach. However, Thibodeau has maintained a good relationship with Dolan, speaking with the owner following each game and often visiting the owner’s box.

While Rose is reclusive, rarely speaking to the media, Thibodeau has emerged as the team’s official spokesperson. That has helped his cause, Fischer adds.

There’s also no obvious veteran choice in the market to replace Thibodeau and the front office isn’t convinced associate head coach Johnnie Bryant would be a better option. Another current assistant, Kenny Payne, is a candidate to leave New York for Louisville’s head coaching job.

Atlantic Notes: KD, Bryant, Raptors, Lowry

Nets All-Star Kevin Durant did not travel with Brooklyn for the club’s three-game road trip, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN. Head coach Steve Nash shed some light on the team’s decision to keep Durant home. The two-time Finals MVP has been unavailable for the club since February 12 with a left hamstring strain.

“We just felt like it didn’t benefit him to travel across the country while he is trying to get that critical last part of his rehab done,” Nash said of the Nets’ star forward. “If this was the playoffs, there’s a chance he’d be back very soon, but there’s no point in taking a big risk with him when the most important thing is to get him back for the remainder of the season.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant, a former Utes player and Jazz assistant coach, is still in the hunt to become the new University of Utah head coach, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.
  • The Raptors made some significant changes at the trade deadline, but they didn’t move the player everyone was perhaps most expecting to be dealt. Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes stock of where Toronto stands in terms of its draft assets and salary cap space going forward.
  • The Sixers opted not to trade for point guard Kyle Lowry, an unrestricted free agent this summer, apparently due to an ample asking price from the Raptors, as Rich Hoffman and Derek Bodner of The Athletic detail. The Raptors reportedly wanted a package centered around young players Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey, two future first-round draft picks, with veterans Danny Green and Mike Scott added to match Lowry’s incoming salary in a move.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Nets, Knicks, Raptors

If the Celtics are unable to come back from a 3-1 deficit to knock off the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, they may not be able to help looking back on a pair of 50-50 outcomes from past drafts that didn’t go in their favor.

As Sam Amick of The Athletic details, the first of those draft-day coin flips came in 2011, when the Celtics owned the 27th overall pick and had narrowed down their choice to JaJuan Johnson or Jimmy Butler. Boston selected Johnson, allowing Butler to fall to Chicago at No. 30. Today, Johnson is eight years removed from playing in his last NBA game, while Butler is on the verge of eliminating the C’s from the postseason (albeit after changing teams three times).

Meanwhile, Game 4 star Tyler Herro, who established a new career high on Wednesday with 37 points, was selected by the Heat in the 2019 draft at No. 13, one pick ahead of the Celtics at No. 14. Those draft slots were as a result of a three-team tiebreaker for the Nos. 12-14 selections, after Charlotte, Miami, and Sacramento all finished the season with identical records. The Hornets won the tiebreaker and claimed the No. 12 pick, while the Heat got No. 13. The C’s, who owned the Kings’ pick, ended up at No. 14.

As A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes, there was a “collective moan” among the Celtics’ brass after the Heat selected Herro at No. 13 a year ago, since the C’s had their eye on the Kentucky sharpshooter. They would have had a shot to draft him if they’d had better luck in that draft tiebreaker.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post questions whether the Nets really need to make a trade for a third star, suggesting that the missing piece for the roster may instead be a tough wing defender who could be signed using the mid-level exception. Lewis points to veteran forward Andre Roberson as one possibility, assuming he’s fully healthy.
  • David Nurse, a life/skills coach for a number of NBA players, believes that the Knicks will benefit from new assistant coach Johnnie Bryant‘s player development abilities, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv relays. “He focuses on the details and the specifics for each player,” Nurse said on Begley’s podcast, The Putback. “Player development gets thrown out there as a buzzword, like culture. No one really knows what it means. Most (people think of it as) being just rebounding for players, shooting spot shots. But that’s not player development. Johnnie realizes it’s about the details with helping these players that he works with, focusing on their strengths.”
  • Blake Murphy and Eric Koreen of The Athletic explore a few Raptors offseason topics, including how much the team’s initial offer to free agent guard Fred VanVleet should be worth, while Doug Smith of The Toronto Star says that president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster will earn their money during this offseason of uncertainty.

New York Notes: Mitchell, J. Bryant, Nash, Draft

The recent news that the Jazz will likely extend All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell with a five-year maximum contract takes him off the table as a Knicks trade target this offseason, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

Bondy notes that there had been hope that Mitchell’s connection to new Knicks team president Leon Rose (he is represented by Rose’s former agency, CAA) might make the prospect of Mitchell demanding a trade to Madison Square Garden palatable. Mitchell played his AAU basketball in New York City.

There’s more out of the Empire State:

  • At least one Jazz personnel member will be joining the Knicks for 2020/21. Former Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant, who will be the associate head coach under new Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, officially signed his contract with the team following Utah’s elimination from the playoffs, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).
  • New Nets head coach Steve Nash will have his hands full with a litany of challenges and a loaded, win-now roster, per Steve Aschburner of NBA.com.
  • The Knicks will have a variety of intriguing prospects to choose from with the No. 8 pick in the NBA draft, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Vorkunov appraises both the high-upside prospects and the low-risk options that should still be on the board by the time New York drafts.