Quin Snyder

Dwane Casey Chosen Coach Of Year

Dwane Casey was named the league’s Coach of the Year at the NBA’s second annual awards show.

This continues the awkwardness of Casey getting a top coaching award for his efforts with a franchise that fired him after the playoffs. He was let go by the Raptors after they were swept by the Cavaliers. His peers at the National Basketball Coaches Association also named him their Coach of the Year days before he fired.

He was named the Pistons’ new head coach earlier this month.

The Jazz’s Quin Snyder and Celtics’ Brad Stevens were the other finalists. The Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni earned the honor the previous season.

Finalists For NBA Awards Announced

The top three finalists for each of this year’s NBA awards are being released on tonight’s TNT pre-game show. The trophies will be presented June 25 at the league’s official awards show.

Here’s an ongoing list that we will update as the candidates are announced, along with links to our staff’s picks for each honor:

Rookie of the Year

Hoops Rumors Analysis: ROY

Most Improved Player

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MIP

Sixth Man of the Year

Hoops Rumors Analysis: Sixth Man

Coach of the Year

  • Dwane Casey (Raptors)
  • Quin Snyder (Jazz)
  • Brad Stevens (Celtics)

Hoops Rumors Analysis: COY

Defensive Player of the Year

Hoops Rumors Analysis: DPOY

Most Valuable Player

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MVP

Northwest Notes: Anthony, Presti, Crawford, Snyder

Carmelo Anthony joined the Thunder last September as both a star in decline and a valuable piece for a team hoping to contend for a championship. A disappointing regular season and early postseason exit later, Anthony’s future in Oklahoma City is murky and he lacks self-awareness of his own decline, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes.

“I think everybody knows that I’ve sacrificed kind of damned near everything … sacrificed my game for the sake of the team and was willing to sacrifice anything and everything in order for this situation to work out,” Anthony said at his end of season media session. “So it’s something I really have to think about, if I really want to … finish out my career as this type of player, knowing that I have so much left in the tank and I bring so much to the game of basketball.”

The reality is, Anthony shot a career-worst 40.4% from the field, averaged below 20.0 PPG for the first time in his career, and was a virtual non-factor in the playoffs. Anthony also vocalized that he will not take a bench role next season. With declining skills paired with the belief he is still elite, Anthony could be suiting up for a new team next season if he agrees to a buyout or declines his $28MM option.

Check out more Northwest Division notes below:

  • In a separate column, Tramel writes about Anthony’s time with the Thunder, suggesting that – despite a few notable contributions – it’s likely over for him in Oklahoma City.
  • Erik Horne of The Oklahoman examined four pressing questions that Thunder general manager Sam Presti will have to address this offseason. Among those is Anthony’s future, Billy Donovan‘s coaching, Paul George‘s future in Oklahoma City, and how much better Russell Westbrook can be.
  • Brad Rock of The Deseret News writes that Jazz coach Quin Snyder is further cementing his case as one of the NBA’s smartest coaches as Utah spars with the Rockets in the second round of the playoffs.
  • Michael Rand of the Star Tribune writes that Jamal Crawford opting out of his deal with the Timberwolves was likely the best-case scenario for both sides. The 38-year-old, Rand writes, is neither an efficient player or a defensively strong one. Conversely, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune ponders whether Crawford opting out signals trouble for Minnesota’s efforts to attract solid bench options.
  • While the Timberwolves ended a 13-year postseason drought this season, things were not all that great behind the scenes, per Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). Minnesota reached the playoffs, has several star players, and revenue is up from previous seasons but that hasn’t helped matters. “There should be a ton to celebrate, right? Just on the surface. You look at those things. But I’m telling you, there is so much angst, and I’m telling you, disconnect behind the scenes,” Wolfson said.
  • Sean Deveney of Sporting News previewed the Timberwolves‘ offseason, which will include decisions on current players and possible free agents.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Westbrook, Hood, Nelson

In a conversation with The New York Times’ Marc Stein, Carmelo Anthony explained that his decision not to waive his no-trade clause for the Trail Blazers was rooted in logistics, not basketball, reports John Canzano of The The Oregonian/OregonLive.

“We had a fair bit of discussion about Portland…,” Stein said of his talk with Anthony. “… He did say that it meant a lot to him how badly those guys wanted him. I think it really was the distance (that caused him to not be interested). I don’t think it was about Portland, the place… I don’t think it was about Portland, I think it was about family… presumably his wife and son are going to stay in New York for the bulk of the year. He was in constant contact with (Damian) Lillard and (C.J.) McCollum.”

Here’s more news from the Northwest:

  • The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook scored only six points on 2-of-11 shooting to go along with seven turnovers in Saturday night’s 96-87 loss to the Utah Jazz.  As reported by ESPN’s Royce Young, Westbrook appears to still be adjusting and adapting to the acquisitions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony; however, Westbrook insists that this season is no different than any other. “It’s the same thing [as last season],” Westbrook said. “Basketball’s been the same for years. It’s still the same game. Obviously different players, but the game still tells you what to do. If you need to score, you score, if not, you don’t. It’s very simple.”
  • Despite not playing Saturday night against Oklahoma City as the result of a calf injury, Rodney Hood of the Jazz is primed to make his return to the court sooner than originally feared, as reported by Jody Genessy of The Deseret News.  Despite the initial concern after Hood had to be helped off the court by teammates, Jazz coach Quin Snyder was apparently never too worried. “I’ve kind of conditioned myself to not jump to conclusions about those things one way or the other,” Snyder said when asked about being relieved the injury wasn’t worse. “Sometimes when they don’t look as bad, you kind of feel like, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad,’ and then it ends up to be worse.”
  • Jameer Nelson tweeted out a thank you to the City of Denver and the Nuggets early Friday morning after being released by the team on Wednesday. The Nuggets would have been on the hook for the entirety of Nelson’s $4.74MM salary if he had remained on the free agent market. However, as noted by Bobby Marks of ESPN, Denver will have the right to set-off approximately $470K at season’s end as a result of Nelson signing a pro-rated minimum salary contract with the Pelicans on Saturday.

Jazz Possible Frontrunners For Teodosic

The Jazz could be the frontrunners to land the services of international free agent Milos Teodosic, Jody Genessey of the Deseret News writes. A Serbian publication recently declared as much and Genessey suggests that the point guard’s ties to head coach Quin Snyder could help facilitate a deal.

As we wrote about last week, Teodosic is said to be seeking a three-year contract worth between $25MM and $30MM. That’s a considerable raise over what he would likely receive from his current CSKA Moscow squad in Russia.

In addition to the fact that Snyder was CSKA Moscow’s assistant coach in 2012/13, the Jazz boast another connection in current assistant coach Igor Kokoskov, a native of Teodosic’s Serbia.

Finally, Genessey notes that of the three teams previously linked to Teodosic by ESPN – Utah, Brooklyn and Sacramento – the Nets have since traded for a point guard in D’Angelo Russell. Similarly, it’s worth noting that the Kings drafted point guard De’Aaron Fox fifth overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

Northwest Notes: Hayward, Jazz, OKC, Gibson

Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward has earned a max contract, according to Randy Hollis of The Deseret News. Hollis admits that he had been wrong about Hayward and hopes that Hayward elects to return to the Jazz in free agency in a fascinating piece that touts the budding star’s basketball brilliance.

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Northwest…

  • Alec Burks has had a difficult past few years as a result of injury, but he’s poised for a comeback, reports Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News. “It’s frustrating,” Burke said to Sorensen. “My (latest) injury was way more serious than I thought. But I’m a soldier and I learned a lot about my body and the game of basketball during the time out.”
  • While Trey Lyles suffered through a disappointing sophomore campaign, Jazz coach Quin Snyder is certainly not giving up on his forward, per Randy Hollis of The Deseret News. “I think, for Trey, like a lot of young players, it’s more about him taking stock and looking at the year, figuring out he can use it to improve,” Snyder said. “Sometimes you have to go through some things like that in order to get a good gauge on where you are. I expect Trey to have a terrific summer and look forward to him leveraging some of that adversity to make himself a better player.”
  • Taj Gibson would love to return to the Thunder, but he will have many suitors, writes Erik Horne of NewsOK.com. Horne’s piece discusses Gibson’s success in Oklahoma City after being traded from Chicago and names the power forward as likely the team’s best option in free agency.
  • Although the Thunder are locked into the 21st overall pick in the draft, Tuesday night’s lottery may very well have implications for the team, as the draft ordering could affect which players are available on the trade market, writes Brett Dawson of NewsOK.com.
  • Marcus Smart, who played his college ball at Oklahoma State, would fit in very well with the Thunder, writes Berry Tramel of NewsOK.com. Smart remains under contract with Boston for one more year.

Northwest Notes: Eighth Seed, Denver’s Defense, Towns

Jazz coach Quin Snyder is receiving contributions from seldom-used players Jeff Withey and Raul Neto, Jody Genessy of Deseret News writes.

“To be honest, we’ve been in these situations a lot, so there are different guys each night,” Snyder said. “When you have the right spirit, the game rewards you and that’s what happened with those two guys tonight. It’s easy to say, ‘Stay ready,’ and we say that stuff as coaches, but it’s hard to do. For those guys to literally be ready and contribute like they did, it was pretty good.”

The Jazz have won seven of their last 10, enjoying a successful 2016/17 campaign despite occasional injuries to George Hill, Derrick Favors, and Gordon Hayward.

“It’s tough because you never know when your name will be called, so you have to be ready,” Withey said. “On days off, I’m always in the gym running, trying to stay in shape, get shots up and stuff. It’s tough mentally also. It’s part of the business. It’s part of the job.”

More from the Northwest…

  • The Nuggets still hold the eighth seed of the Western Conference, but the team’s defense must improve to sustain a playoff run, Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post writes. Denver’s opponent field goal percentage ranks 28th in the league since the All-Star break, Kosmider writes, and 24th in defensive rating. Coach Michael Malone is well-aware of the problem. “You go back to the start of the regular season, and we were playing good defense the first 10, close to 15 games. Obviously, the wheels have fallen off,” Malone said. Interestingly, Darrell Arthur was hesitant to blame his teammates for the defensive shortcomings: “We’re still learning. We’ve got a young team. It takes a while to go from a mediocre team to a good team to a great team. We’re trying to be great. We’re right there around good, but not so consistent.”
  • Karl-Anthony Towns has taken charge of the “desperate” TimberwolvesJon Krawczynski of the Associated Press writes. Towns has been the key to Minnesota’s recent playoff push; winning seven of their last 10, climbing to within two games of the eighth seed. Following tonight’s crucial win over the Warriors, hopes are high for the young Wolves. “Desperation makes you do a lot of things you couldn’t normally do,” Towns said. “Being so close to the playoffs, I have a lot of desperation trying to play the best that I can so I can try to help us get to the playoffs and get that eighth spot.”
  • Tom Thibodeau praised his team’s defensive improvements, saying they’ve taken a “quantum leap” in the right direction. “We’re not where we need to be, but when you look at the past couple of years and where we are now, (the point differential) says we’ve made a big jump,” Thibodeau told AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today. “I believe we’re down to 13th now in points allowed (on the season), so that’s a quantum leap, and it’s still not where it needs to be, and we have to understand that.”

Western Notes: Exum, Wroten, Rubio, Bjelica

Jazz coach Quin Snyder isn’t sure how much Dante Exum will be able to contribute after missing an entire season with a torn ACL, writes Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. Exum, who averaged 4.8 points and 2.4 assists as a rookie in 2014/15, was cleared for full-contact basketball activity last month. He decided not to join the Australian team for the Olympics and will concentrate on getting ready for training camp. “I think that’s an injury that he’ll be back from, but it’s not a simple thing,” Snyder said. “… We don’t really have a specific timetable on that as far as where he is, but I know he’s missed playing. He loves to play and I think this will be an opportunity for him to start doing that again and I know he’s excited and we’re excited for him.” Exum will face competition for playing time from George Hill, who was acquired in a trade from the Pacers last month, and Shelvin Mack, who became the team’s starting point guard late in the season after joining the team in a deal with the Hawks.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Point guard Tony Wroten could agree to return to the Grizzlies, tweets international journalist David Pick. Memphis waived Wroten on Tuesday, but Pick hears that a reunion is still possible. It was the second trip to the waiver wire this summer for Wroten, who was cut loose by the Knicks after the Derrick Rose deal.
  • Trade rumors involving Ricky Rubio have been simmering since the Timberwolves drafted Kris Dunn, but owner Glen Taylor expects the team to hold on to the Spanish point guard, relays Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune“I don’t see that as a likely possibility,” Taylor said of a deal. “I just think the coach, everybody, likes Ricky. I think we want him to come in and improve on his shooting. But his other things, he plays defense, he gets assists, he helps the others get better. He has some wonderful qualities. I think the coach wants to bring an assistant coach to help Ricky on his shooting and I think that’s where we’re going to start out and go and we’ll see how good Kris Dunn is.” Rubio has spent his entire five-year NBA career in Minnesota and is under contract through 2018/19.
  • Wolves power forward Nemanja Bjelica will have to miss the Olympics as he rehabs an injury to his right foot, according to Eurohoops. Doctors say the Serbian star needs at least three more weeks to heal before trying to play again. Opening ceremonies for the games in Rio de Janeiro are August 5th.

Jazz Sign Quin Snyder To Extension

Nelson Chenault / USA TODAY Sports Images

Nelson Chenault / USA TODAY Sports Images

12:50pm: The Jazz had already picked up Snyder’s option, so he wouldn’t have been a lame-duck without the extension, a member of the front office told Spencer Checketts of KZNS-AM (See all of the Twitter links right here). Jazz president Steve Starks, rather than Lindsey, negotiated the extension, with Lindsey preferring not to let contract talks affect his working relationship with the coach, as Checketts also heard.

“Our relationship with Quin, and this extension, reflect our shared passion for building a championship team,” Starks said in the team statement. “With long-term contracts now in place for Quin, Dennis and other key front office personnel, we are well-positioned for the future.” 

It doesn’t appear as though the extension includes any option years, Genessy adds (on Twitter).

12:37pm: The extension runs through the 2020/21 season, as Jody Genessy of The Deseret News hears (Twitter link).

11:19am: The Jazz have signed coach Quin Snyder to an extension, the team announced. Next season had reportedly been the final guaranteed year of the contract he signed when Utah hired him in 2014. It’s unclear how many seasons the extension covers, though the team refers to it as a long-term arrangement.

“With this contract extension, we are declaring our confidence in Coach Snyder’s ability to continue to develop the Utah Jazz into a championship team,” owner Gail Miller said in the team’s statement. “The Miller family recognizes the significant progress made under his leadership and we are excited about the direction we are headed.”

Snyder, 49, has helped the Jazz make strides in their rebuilding effort, inheriting a team that went 25-57 in 2013/14 and winning 38 and 40 games the past two seasons, respectively. The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently pointed to the way that Snyder increases Utah’s appeal as a free agent destination through his ability to get the most out of players and inflate their market value. Rudy Gobert is perhaps the most prominent example, as the 27th pick in the 2013 draft has gone from playing 9.6 minutes per game as a rookie to a contender for a max extension when he becomes eligible to sign one this summer.

“We have continued to take significant steps as a team under Quin’s direction,” GM Dennis Lindsey said in the statement. “His work ethic, basketball intelligence and ability to connect with and develop our players make him the ideal head coach of the Jazz.” 

Still, the Jazz haven’t landed any marquee free agent from elsewhere and have so far constructed their roster primarily through the draft and trades, including the swap involving Enes Kanter in February 2015 that opened playing time for Gobert. Expectations for this season were high for the Jazz after they went 19-10 following the Kanter trade, but the torn ACL that Dante Exum suffered this past summer dampened hopes and helped keep Utah from the postseason this spring. The Jazz nonetheless came close, and it wasn’t until the final night of the regular season that they were eliminated from contention for a playoff spot. The inability for Snyder to coax more out of Trey Burke loomed large. Burke, the ninth pick from the 2013 draft, was the logical choice to replace Exum as a starter this season, but the former Michigan player didn’t make a single start as Snyder instead favored wing-heavy lineups.

Regardless, the Jazz have shown enough progress for the front office to deem Snyder worthy of continued job security. The position is his first as an NBA head coach. He previously served as an assistant to Mike Budenholzer on the Hawks for one season and as an assistant to Ettore Messina on CSKA Moscow the year before that. Budenholzer was a longtime Spurs assistant and Messina is currently on San Antonio’s staff, giving Snyder multiple connections to the Gregg Popovich tree. Lindsey came to the team after five seasons with the Spurs.

Eastern Notes: Durant, Brooks, Clifford

The Celtics believe they’ll get a meeting with Kevin Durant this summer, but they understand they won’t have any realistic shot at him if they don’t secure a commitment to acquire another star first, The Vertical’s Chris Mannix writes. Boston is on the fringes of the race for the former MVP who’s poised to hit free agency this summer, though the belief has been widespread that come July the Celtics will end up on Durant’s radar, at least, as Mannix has previously reported.

See more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Scott Brooks had already decided he wanted the Wizards job if it were to be offered to him when team executives Ernie Grunfeld and Tommy Sheppard flew to California to recruit him in what turned out to be a 10-hour meeting, writes Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post“I got everything I wanted, and I wasn’t looking for anything else,” said Brooks, whom the Wizards officially hired this week. “This is where I wanted to be.”
  • The identity of the coach means little in free agent recruiting, but muted though it may be, the presence of Steve Clifford has a positive impact on the way players view the Hornets, observes Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Clifford, like Terry Stotts of the Trail Blazers and Quin Snyder of the Jazz, makes a small-market team attractive through his ability to get the most out of players and increase their market value, Wojnarowski writes. The Hornets signed Clifford in November to an extension that ties him to Charlotte through at least the 2018/19 season.
  • T.J. McConnell‘s contract with the Sixers is non-guaranteed for next year, and he wound up seeing less than 20 minutes per game after a revelatory start to the season, but he was a bright spot and has a fan in coach Brett Brown, notes Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly“The thing that I respect most about him is that he epitomizes that quality that I think might be the No. 1 thing that we need: day-to-day guys, people that you know what you’re getting,” Brown said. “He’s steady, he’s stable, he’s personality, he’s tough, he brings that edge to a game, to a practice, to a locker room. I just respect him. That’s just how he’s wired.”