Quin Snyder

Southeast Notes: Clifford, Hornets’ Coaching Search, Bogdanovic, Magic

At a press conference this afternoon, Steve Clifford explained his decision to step down as head coach of the Hornets at the end of the season, write Roderick Boone and Shane Connuck of The Charlotte Observer. Clifford admitted that the team’s lack of success over the past two years, much of which can be attributed to a short-handed roster, played a major role. Charlotte is 45-112 since Clifford returned to the team last summer.

“I’ll just get right to it,” the 62-year-old coach told reporters. “There’s a certain energy level that you need to have a chance to coach effectively in this league. For me, the last couple of years with the losing had been a factor in it. But as we have been meeting and discussing things, I’m just not comfortable that I can — that I’m ready right now to — give the players what they need from a head coach in order to play well every night.”

Clifford is expected to move into a front office job, although the details of that position haven’t been finalized. He also coached the team from 2013-18 and has the most wins in franchise history. Executive vice president Jeff Peterson believes he’ll be an important addition to the management team.

“I think Cliff will become that person who (players) can go to and confide in at times,” Peterson said. “He always shoots it straight, regardless of who you are. You may not like it at the moment, but the players respect that. Having that familiar face and voice — still within the organization — is going to be very valuable.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • In a separate story, Boone evaluates five prominent candidates as the Hornets begin the search for their next head coach. In addition to Celtics assistant Charles Lee and Heat assistant Chris Quinn, who were mentioned earlier, Boone looks at Nuggets assistant David Adelman, Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney and Nets assistant Will Weaver.
  • Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic had a heated exchange with coach Quin Snyder late in Monday’s game with Chicago that was audible on the Bulls’ broadcast, but they both dismissed the incident afterward and said their relationship is fine, per Lauren Williams of the Journal-Constitution. “We are doing this almost every other minute or we are verbally fighting all the time, which is normal,” Bogdanovic said. “That means we both care and everyone cares.”
  • The Magic continue to rely on defense as they fight for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, notes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando posted a 103.1 defensive rating during its just-completed eight-game homestand, which was the best in the league during that time. The Magic limited opponents to 99.4 PPG over those eight games.

Hawks Notes: Snyder, Johnson, Gueye, Griffin, Young

Hawks head coach Quin Snyder received a rousing ovation and a video tribute as he returned to Utah Friday night, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. It was Snyder’s first time back at the Delta Center since parting ways with the Jazz following the 2021/22 season, and fans were eager to celebrate the success he had during his eight years as head coach.

“There were so many people here in Utah that me and my family came across that touched our lives,” Snyder said. “Those relationships are timeless for me, even if I’m not here. I have so much gratitude for the people that I worked here with and for, particularly Ryan Smith and Justin Zanik and Danny Ainge. So to come back here to Utah and be reminded of that brings a lot of emotion. But life is about change, and it’s about adapting, and we all have to do these things at some point.”

Jones notes that Snyder had to build a winning team from scratch after he took over the Jazz in 2014, and he’s still early in that process with Atlanta. The Hawks are holding onto the East’s final play-in spot at 29-37 in Snyder’s first full season, but they aren’t nearly where he wants them to be.

“I think we know that we have a lot of work to do, but that’s what makes it fun,” Snyder said. “The most important thing for us is to make sure that we improve each day and that we are doing the right things. We have to make sure that we have the right habits and then work from there.”

There’s more on the Hawks:

  • Jalen Johnson, who returned Friday after missing three games with a sprained right ankle, is one of the few NBA players who spends the All-Star break training rather than relaxing, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. While most of the league is on vacation, Johnson undergoes an intense three-day workout in Los Angeles. “It lets you know how unsatisfied he is,” said his trainer, Chris Johnson. “He’s a starter now, he’s getting everything he wants, and he’s still unsatisfied. He has this desire to be the best version of himself. … Jalen Johnson is the next superstar in the making.”
  • Rookie big man Mouhamed Gueye suffered an ulnar collateral ligament sprain to his right elbow/forearm area in a G League game this week, the Hawks announced (via Twitter). Gueye will undergo rehabilitation in Atlanta and will be reevaluated in seven-to-10 days.
  • Second-year wing AJ Griffin has missed four straight G League games because of pain in his lower right leg and ankle, the team tweeted. He will be examined by the Hawks’ medical staff next week.
  • Michael Cunningham of The Journal-Constitution (subscription required) argues that Trae Young should try to return from hand surgery if the Hawks are still in strong position for the play-in tournament when he’s healed, but that’s not a guarantee considering their recent performance. Young’s timeline has him set to be reevaluated in about a week.

Trade Rumors: Warriors, D. Murray, Hayward, Lowry, Knicks

No one will be entirely off the table for the Warriors at the trade deadline except for Stephen Curry, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who said on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that Andrew Wiggins, Chris Paul, and maybe even Klay Thompson are among the players who figure to come up in discussions in the next 10 days.

However, the Warriors are high on youngsters like Jonathan Kuminga and Brandin Podziemski, notes Charania, so those players are very unlikely trade candidates.

Additionally, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said on Monday (Twitter video link) that she doesn’t expect the Warriors to make any trades affecting their core unless Curry is “on board with that idea.” Thompson and Draymond Green are certainly part of that core, and it seems reasonable to assume Wiggins is in that group as well, given that he’s under contract for three more years and played a key role in Golden State’s 2022 championship.

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • Hawks guard Dejounte Murray is considered a strong candidate to be moved at next Thursday’s trade deadline, but at least one notable member of the organization doesn’t want to see him go anywhere. Sources tell Marc Stein (Substack link) that head coach Quin Snyder has lobbied the Hawks to hang onto Murray, who is under contract for four seasons beyond this one.
  • While the Hornets will certainly explore trading Gordon Hayward and Kyle Lowry, two veterans on pricey expiring contracts, both players are considered potential buyout candidates if Charlotte can’t find a deadline deal it likes. However, according to Stein, Hayward is “far less likely” than Lowry to seek a buyout if they’re still in Charlotte after February 8. If the Hornets were to retain Hayward through the end of the season, he would retain his full Bird rights and they’d have the option of re-signing him or signing-and-trading him in the summer. Stein also confirms that the Sixers would have interest in Lowry if he’s bought out, as previously reported.
  • While the initial reports on Julius Randle‘s shoulder injury are relatively positive, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst notes that shoulder issues can bother players for “months” and have a tendency to reoccur. As Adam Zagoria of NJ.com relays, Windhorst argued during a TV segment that the Knicks should consider making a move on the trade market to help offset the loss of Randle.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link) passes along an interesting stat about movable first-round draft picks, noting that just 11 teams control 75% of the first-rounders that can be traded.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Hagans, Jazz, Snyder

Damian Lillard is staying focused on business as he waits to learn where he’ll be reporting to training camp in six weeks, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. It’s been nearly two months since Lillard asked the Trail Blazers for a trade, preferably to Miami, but the market has remained quiet throughout the summer.

“Mentally, I’m strong,” Lillard said Friday at his Formula Zero elite basketball camp in Phoenix. “I think the last year and some change in my life overall, it’s not even just sports, it’s been a tough time, but right now, I’m in a strong place. Anytime I can come be in this environment. Like I said, it’s a lot of my loved ones that are here doing what we do at this camp, pouring into people, that brings me joy. That’s something that lifts me up so to be here is helpful.”

Lillard is coming off his best statistical year, averaging 32.2 PPG in 58 games before being shut down late in the season. He’s devoted much of the summer to traveling and family time, but he’s also preparing to help the Blazers, Heat or any other team he winds up with.

“I’ve had a great summer of training,” Lillard said. “I do a lot of things now to pour into myself and lift myself up and it’s been really helpful. So I would say I’m in a very strong place. My process has been the same going into the season that it’s been any other time except I’m just getting better as a man. I think that really helps me as far as my career goes. Anytime I can be improving myself as a man, it’s going to be positive for me.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Ashton Hagansagreement with the Trail Blazers will be an Exhibit 10 deal, tweets Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report. Haynes reported on Friday that the 24-year-old point guard is expected to join Portland for training camp.
  • The Jazz may not have a set rotation at point guard until well into the season, suggests Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Kris Dunn, Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker and Keyonte George will all compete for time at the position, and Jordan Clarkson and Ochai Agbaji may run the offense occasionally as well. Todd suggests that Dunn may be the favorite to start if he plays as well as he did last season, but the trade market could factor into playing time decisions.
  • In a separate story, Todd looks at highlights of the Jazz schedule, including Hawks head coach Quin Snyder returning to Utah for the first time on March 15.

Southeast Notes: Kuzma, Beal, Oladipo, Snyder, Hornets

As the Bradley Beal trade rumors percolate, Ian Begley of SNY.tv says some people within the Wizards organization “voiced concerns” last season about the fit between Beal and forward Kyle Kuzma. While Begley acknowledges that the team has revamped its front office and may view things differently now, it appears increasingly unlikely that Beal and Kuzma will play together next season, with one on the trade block and one headed for free agency.

Meanwhile, David Aldridge and Josh Robbins of The Athletic weighed in on the latest Beal trade rumors, taking a closer look at the Wizards’ talks with the Suns and Heat. According to The Athletic’s duo, Washington would have interest in acquiring Tyler Herro in a deal with Miami, but the Heat are instead offering Duncan Robinson (along with Kyle Lowry and multiple first-round picks).

Despite rumors indicating that Chris Paul – and not Deandre Ayton – would need to be included in the Suns’ offer for Beal in order to satisfy all parties, Aldridge and Robbins suggest that Ayton could still be the centerpiece of Phoenix’s offer.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Heat guard Victor Oladipo is accusing his business manager of taking money from his bank accounts to buy a condo in Florida and a strip club in New York City, per Justin Rohrlich of The Daily Beast. Oladipo has filed suit in New York against James B. Henderson for stealing at least $1.3MM. Oladipo filed a separate lawsuit last year in Florida’s Orange County Circuit Court.
  • While some observers believed that Quin Snyder wouldn’t have joined the Hawks unless he was given ultimate control of the roster, he adamantly denies that’s the case, according to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. “The only role (general manager) Landry (Fields) and (assistant GM) Kyle (Korver) and I talked about when I agreed to come to Atlanta is me coaching the team,” Snyder said. “That’s what I like and it’s also what I’m passionate about. Any speculation about me having a more significant role than providing input on personnel decisions is just not accurate. I have total confidence in Landry and his group to make those decisions. As I see it, my job is to maximize the potential of the personnel, whatever the personnel is. That’s where my focus lies. That speculation is erroneous.”
  • A number of draft experts expect the Hornets to select Brandon Miller at No. 2 in next Thursday’s draft, but Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer makes a case for Scoot Henderson to be the pick. The guard’s stock has been on the rise as of late, Boone writes, with rumors circulating that teams want to trade up for Henderson, not Miller.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Hawks Officially Announce Quin Snyder’s Coaching Staff

The Hawks have issued a press release confirming several new additions to Quin Snyder‘s coaching staff, most of which have been previously reported.

Those additions are as follows:

  • Igor Kokoskov, the former head coach of the Suns and most recently a Nets assistant.
  • Ekpe Udoh, a former NBA center who played for Snyder in Utah from 2017-19 and recently retired as a player.
  • Bryan Bailey, who worked as an assistant on Snyder’s staff in Utah.
  • Mike Brey, the longtime head coach at Notre Dame.
  • Brittni Donaldson, a former assistant with the Raptors and Pistons.
  • Antonio Lang, a Cavaliers assistant who worked under Snyder in Utah from 2014-19.
  • Sanjay Lumpkin, a former Jazz player development coach.

The Hawks are also bringing back Steven Klei and Jeff Watkinson, two more former Jazz assistants who joined Snyder’s staff in March.

Additionally, Reggis Onwukamuche – a former College Park Skyhawks player and Jazz video room staffer – is joining the team as a player development coach, while Bryan George – formerly an assistant coach for ASVEL in France – has also been formally added to the player development staff in a video coordinator role.

Snyder replaced Nate McMillan as the Hawks’ head coach midway through the 2022/23 season, so ’23/24 will be his first full year on the team’s bench. As such, it’s no surprise that he was given the opportunity to revamp his staff and replace several of McMillan’s old assistants this spring.

Hawks Notes: Fields, Collins, Snyder, Offseason

In his end-of-season media availability following the Hawks‘ first-round loss to Boston, general manager Landry Fields acknowledged that the fit between Trae Young and Dejounte Murray wasn’t always smooth in 2022/23. However, he said he was pleased with their progress under Quin Snyder, who replaced Nate McMillan as head coach in late February.

I was on record by saying at first, it’s to be expected that it might look a little clunky,” Fields said, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You’re asking two primary ball-handlers to now share a backcourt with each other, but two very talented play-making ball-handlers. And it’s had its ups. It’s had its downs, to be honest.

“I think that we’ve all seen that where it looks a little clunky. But there’s also times where it’s been beautiful to watch. They play for each other. … And so, it’s still working in a complementary sense. But I think we got a great taste of it in the last month here. I think Quin has been able to figure out a great way for those two to coexist in a way that is going to enhance our group, but Trae Young and Dejounte Murray is your backcourt. That’s a fun backcourt.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Within the same piece from Williams, Fields was noncommittal about John Collins‘ future with the team, but that doesn’t mean Atlanta doesn’t value him. Collins has been featured in trade rumors for multiple seasons. “I think it’s the same that I’ve spoken about in the past – John’s name, it comes up a lot. He’s a good player. It should. A lot of teams value him, and we have a lot of value in him,” Fields said.
  • At his own press conference, Snyder said he was “grateful” that the players have embraced his coaching philosophies, Williams writes in a subscriber-only story for The Atlanta Journal-Consitutuion. When asked if he was proud of how the team competed in its six-game series against the Celtics, Snyder said it’s going to take time for the group to “learn how to win together,” especially at the highest level. “You can’t skip steps,” Snyder said as part of a larger quote. “You just can’t. And you may have success in a certain context at a certain time. But that may not always reflect where you are. So I would say it’s great that we competed. That’s a good step, feeling like you belong. But we’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s no question about that.
  • In another story (subscriber link), Williams writes that multiple players praised Snyder’s individualized approach to coaching at their own media exit interviews. “The focus that they have on the development, especially for the young guys, like, every team doesn’t have what we call, like, the ‘breakfast club,’” said guard Donovan Williams, who is on a two-way contract. “So the guys that really don’t do a lot of minutes in the game, we come in before everybody we worked out before games. We play five-on-five with the coaches, like every team doesn’t do that.”
  • Addressing the defense and payroll will likely be the top offseason priorities for the Hawks, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who provides his offseason guide for Atlanta (Insider link). The Hawks are projected to be a taxpaying team for the first time under owner Tony Ressler, and trading Collins to shed salary would take them out of the tax, Marks notes.

Trae Young Eager To Continue Working With Quin Snyder

Trae Young has faith in head coach Quin Snyder and that makes it very unlikely the Hawks would be willing to deal their star guard, as Jeff Schultz of The Athletic details.

Young praised Snyder after Atlanta was eliminated from the postseason by the Celtics on Thursday night.

“I mean, Quin is the future,” Young said. “I believe with him here this city is going to win a championship.”

Snyder took the Hawks job in late February after the organization parting ways with Nate McMillan. Young’s clashes with his previous head coach were part of the reason for the in-season change.

Atlanta finished the regular season with a .500 record under the former Jazz coach. The Hawks defeated Miami in the play-in tournament, then took the Celtics to six games, including a Game 5 win in Boston. Young hit the decisive 3-pointer in that contest.

Young, who has four years remaining on his max extension, averaged 29.2 points and 10.2 assists in the series.

“We could’ve not even have made the playoffs,” Young said. “It could’ve been worse. We have to focus on the future now. We can’t worry about the past and all that went on throughout the season, all the nonsense and stuff. In moments we showed what we can do with Quin as our coach.”

Snyder plans to spent time during the offseason with Young in preparation for his first full season as the franchise’s head coach.

“He and I have talked about this summer and connecting and getting better,” Snyder said. “Trae’s gifted and he can get better, he wants to get better and I’m going to try to help him get better.”

Southeast Notes: Brey, Hawks, Murray, Herro, Magic

Mike Brey, the longtime head coach at Notre Dame, will be joining Quin Snyder‘s Hawks coaching staff for the 2023/24 season, sources tell Tom Noie of The South Bend Tribune. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has since confirmed the news.

Noie’s report suggests Brey will be an assistant coach for the Hawks, though Wojnarowski says his specific role hasn’t yet been finalized and won’t be until sometime after Atlanta’s season ends.

Brey coached the Fighting Irish from 2000-23, stepping down from his position earlier this year. He previously served as an assistant coach at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski from 1987-95. Snyder played his college ball for the Blue Devils from 1985-89, so his relationship with Brey dates back approximately three-and-a-half decades.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Hawks hope to re-sign Dejounte Murray when he reaches free agency in 2024 — a quick playoff exit this spring won’t do them any favors from a recruiting perspective, writes Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. Murray brushed off comments about his contract situation, but agreed with the suggestion that money wouldn’t be the most important factor in his decision. “Winning,” Murray said. “Winning. That’s it. Winning. That’s it. Winning.”
  • Speaking on Tuesday to reporters, including Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter links), Heat sharpshooter Tyler Herro said that he’ll undergo surgery on his broken right hand this Friday. Herro added that, based on his recovery timeline, he has been told the earliest he could potentially return would be for the NBA Finals. While Miami won Game 1 of its series with Milwaukee, the Heat are an extreme long shot to make that sort of playoff run.
  • The Magic finished six games out of a play-in spot this season and 11 games back of the No. 6 seed in the East, but they’ll be “very upset” if they’re not a playoff team next season, according to guard Markelle Fultz. Many of Fultz’s teammates agree with that sentiment, as Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “Guys don’t like to look at it as, ‘We got to make the playoffs,’ or ‘We got to win a (title)’ to be successful,” Wendell Carter Jr. said. “But we’re at a pretty good point where we can say that now. Guys want to win now. That comes with winning — making it to the playoffs.”

Southeast Notes: Young, Lowry, Jovic, Ball

Trae Young addressed a report that the Hawks might listen to offers for him in the offseason, saying he had more urgent matters to attend to — namely, Tuesday’s play-in game against Miami, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.

“Especially as the player in the moment, you can’t look at what’s gonna come on next year,” the Hawks’ star guard said. “After the game, if the game doesn’t go your way tonight, what’s gonna happen? Like, you can’t focus on things like that. That messes up your head and then you’re not ready to play so, me, I’m not worried about that. I’m gonna let my game play. After the season, whatever happens, happens.”

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link), Young has developed a “solid” relationship with coach Quin Snyder but the Hawks “are continuing to monitor (his) day-to-day commitment and his habits on a day-to-day basis, on the floor and off the floor.” Atlanta’s front office wants to see if Young will become a better leader and Charania expects Young’s agent, Rich Paul, to have conversations with management this offseason about his future.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat guard Kyle Lowry, who will be entering the final season of his three-year contract in 2023/24, isn’t sure if he’ll require left knee surgery this offseason, according to Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “I don’t know,” Lowry said. “We’ll get to that point when it’s there.” He has been limited to 55 games this season due primarily to left knee pain.
  • Heat rookie Nikola Jovic missed 37 games this season due to back issues and he told Chiang that he’s been battling back pain since last summer. “It’s something that started during the summer league,” Jovic said. “That’s when I first felt it. Then just through the season, it was hurting more and more. At one point, I just couldn’t play anymore. The back injury was bothering me even off the court. So I just couldn’t deal with it anymore.”
  • LaMelo Ball, who missed 46 games this season due to ankle ailments, said he’s happy with the Hornets, according to Steve Reed of The Associated Press“I love it here,” he said. “I can’t really tell the future. We’ll just see how it goes and go from there.” However, he doesn’t want to be on a lottery-bound team much longer. “The main thing is winning. Life if better when you win,” he said. Ball is eligible for an extension this offseason.