Quin Snyder

Northwest Notes: Green, Timberwolves, Lore, Snyder

JaMychal Green drew interest from a number of teams during free agency, Mike Singer of The Denver Post reports. Green caught the attention of the Timberwolves, Pelicans, Sixers, Spurs and Bucks. Minnesota even considered a possible sign-and-trade for the veteran forward, who opted to re-sign with the Nuggets on a two-year, $17MM deal.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves had some level of interest in all of the forwards involved in the unofficial three-team trade among the Bulls, Cavaliers and Trail Blazers, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. They had early interest this summer in restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen, who’s headed to Cleveland in the sign-and-trade, but Chicago didn’t seriously engage them in trade discussions, Wolfson adds. Minnesota had strong interest last year in Larry Nance Jr., who’s going to Portland, and Derrick Jones Jr., who’s joining the Bulls.
  • Marc Lore, who along with former baseball star Alex Rodriguez has assumed 20% of the Timberwolves franchise with plans to eventually become the controlling owners, believes he can sell top free agents on coming to Minnesota, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. “When players or people say, ‘Hey, it’s a small market, we’re never going to get any of the big free agents,’ — well, if they share a similar set of values maybe they will (come),” Lore said. “If you really stand for something, and they’re passionate about the same values, then they’re like, ‘No, I’ve seen it. I’ve heard about it. I want to be a part of that.'”
  • Jazz coach Quin Snyder isn’t likely to tinker too much with his lineups and rotations this coming season, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News speculates. Snyder isn’t the type of coach who does a lot of experimentation but he will play to the strengths of his personnel and there are some new faces, so that will require some flexibility, Todd adds.

Jazz Rumors: Lindsey, Snyder, Azubuike, Wade, Ainge, Battier

Dennis Lindsey‘s transition from his executive VP of basketball operations position with the Jazz into an advisory role was framed as Lindsey’s call, but it was more of an ownership decision, according to Andy Larsen and Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

As Larsen and Walden explain in an in-depth story, new Jazz owner Ryan Smith is making some changes to the front office — director of pro player personnel David Fredman was also told this week that his contract isn’t being renewed.

One factor in the decision to reassign Lindsey was a “long-running disconnect” between the executive and head coach Quin Snyder, per the Tribune’s report. According to Larsen and Walden, Lindsey and Snyder had numerous disagreements both on and off the court, including not seeing eye to eye on rotation and roster decisions. Snyder – along with many members of the front office – were frustrated by the selection of Udoka Azubuike in the first round of the 2020 draft, per Larsen and Walden.

Given Utah’s success during the 2020/21 season, Lindsey and Snyder were on better terms during the last year, but several people in the organization still felt that this week’s announcement reflected a feud being settled. “Quin won,” one source told The Tribune.

Here’s more on the Jazz’s front office shakeup:

  • While Lindsey is now an advisor in the Jazz’s front office, there’s an expectation that he’ll seek a job with another team, according to Larsen and Walden.
  • Dwyane Wade has “added his voice” to front office discussions, but isn’t taking a day-to-day role in basketball and roster decisions, per Larsen and Walden.
  • If former Celtics executive Danny Ainge joins the Jazz, it will likely be in an advisory role, says Tony Jones of The Athletic.
  • Jones, Larsen, and Walden all say more front office additions are expected. Multiple reporters, including Jones, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald suggest that Wade’s former teammate Shane Battier is one candidate to join the basketball operations department. Battier worked in the Heat’s front office from 2017-21, but recently left that position and is now just a consultant for Miami.

Jazz EVP Lindsey Transitioning To Advisory Role; Zanik To Run Basketball Ops

Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey is transitioning to an advisory role with the franchise, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Although Lindsey has been the head of basketball operations in Utah in recent years, general manager Justin Zanik has run day-to-day operations in the front office since 2019 and he’ll continue to do so going forward, sources tell ESPN. Head coach Quin Snyder will also continue to have a “significant organizational voice,” says Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

New Jazz owner Ryan Smith is expected to take the opportunity to evaluate the basketball operations department to “see where it can be strengthened,” Woj adds (via Twitter). Tony Jones of The Athletic (all Twitter links) also suggests that more front office changes are on the way, with former Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge among those who could be in the mix to join the Jazz. Ainge was linked to Utah immediately after word broke that he was stepping down from his job in Boston.

However, Wojnarowski stresses that Smith and Zanik have worked well together, and Jones says the plan is for Zanik to head up the basketball operations department going forward. If Ainge comes aboard, it won’t be to lead the front office, according to Jones. It’s unclear if Ainge would be interested in a role where he’s not making the final decisions.

Lindsey, confirming his move to an advisory position, shared a statement with Wojnarowski:

“In recent years, I have had conversations with the Miller family and then Ryan Smith when he came on board about moving into an advisory role. This is an appropriate time to make the transition with the organization on such solid footing. … I look forward to making contributions to the Jazz in a different way, while enjoying more time with my wife Becky and our four children.”

Tom Thibodeau Named Coach Of The Year

Tom Thibodeau has been named Coach of the Year, according to a league press release.

Thibodeau guided the Knicks to their first postseason appearance since the 2012/13 season. The Knicks finished the regular season with a 41-31 record, ending a string of seven consecutive losing seasons. They were 21-45 last season and 17-65 in 2018/19.

It’s the second Coach of the Year award for Thibodeau, who also earned the honor in the 2010/11 season with the Bulls in his first season as a head coach.  No one had previously won the award in his first season with two different franchises.

Suns coach Monty Williams actually received more first-place votes (45) than Thibodeau (43). However, Thibodeau earned 351 total points while Williams had 340 points.  The 11-point difference between the first- and second-place finishers was the smallest margin since the voting format was introduced in the 2002/03 season.

The Jazz‘s Quin Snyder finished third with 161 points (10 first-place votes). Four other coaches received votes — Doc Rivers (Sixers), Nate McMillan (Hawks), Steve Nash (Nets), and Michael Malone (Nuggets).

Thibodeau is the first Knicks coach since Pat Riley (1992/93) to win the award.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Snyder, Fan Incidents

In limited minutes, Jazz All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell looked like his old self Thursday night, his first game back since spraining his right ankle on April 16, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Mitchell scored 25 points in 26 minutes of game action.

The 24-year-old’s return to the floor helped galvanize the Jazz. Utah ultimately beat the Grizzlies 141-129 to knot their first-round series at 1-1.

“I felt better than I anticipated, and as a whole, I think the biggest thing as a team is we did a lot of good things tonight … so it made my job easier,” Mitchell said of his return to the Jazz. “I didn’t have to come in and just do everything. I was able to find my spots and attack. And kind of just do what I do. And my teammates made it really easy for me.” 

There’s more out of Utah:

  • Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune examines the circuitous journey Jazz head coach Quin Snyder undertook before landing in Utah. Snyder had stints with the now-Austin Spurs of the G League (then the Austin Toros of the D League), the Sixers, the Lakers, CSKA Moscow, and the Hawks. He began his journey from the college ranks to the pros in a cross-country adventure in a 2002 Volkswagen Eurovan, after his seven-year tenure as the men’s basketball head coach for Missouri ended in 2006. “I was in North Carolina living by myself, I had a great black Lab, and I was trying to figure out, kind of, ‘What next?’ And, the (next) question is, ‘Where?’ And ‘What?’” Snyder said. “And I came to the conclusion that, really, it was like, ‘Anywhere,’ because it really didn’t matter at that point. And it was a little bit of ‘Anything.’ I wasn’t sure I wanted to coach again.”
  • During the Jazz’s Game 2 victory over the Grizzlies, Vivint Arena security ejected three fans for unruly verbal behavior directed toward the parents of star Memphis point guard Ja Morant, writes Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The team has banned the individuals from Utah’s home arena indefinitely.
  • A Utah judge has rejected a $100MM lawsuit filed by two other Jazz fans against Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook and the Jazz, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The fans, who claimed defamation and infliction of emotional stress in their suit, had also been banned indefinitely for comments and taunts directed towards Westbrook, then with the Thunder, in a March 2019 Jazz game.

Finalists For Major 2020/21 NBA Awards Announced

During a TNT broadcast ahead of tonight’s Wizards-Pacers play-in matchup, the finalists for six big end-of-season 2020/21 awards were announced. Here is the full list, as voted on by reporters.

NBA Most Valuable Player:

NBA Defensive Player of the Year:

NBA Rookie of the Year:

NBA Most Improved Player:

NBA Sixth Man of the Year:

NBA Coach of the Year:

  • Quin Snyder (Jazz)
  • Tom Thibodeau (Knicks)
  • Monty Williams (Suns)

Some of these current contenders are familiar with the hardware they’re up for again. Curry is a two-time MVP, having won the award previously in 2015 and 2016. Gobert and Green have both previously won Defensive Player of the Year awards — Green in 2017 and Gobert in 2018 and 2019. Thibodeau was voted Coach of the Year a decade ago while with the Bulls.

The winners for the awards will be announced during the 2020/21 NBA playoffs.

Monty Williams Wins Coaches Association Award

Suns head coach Monty Williams has won the 2020/21 Michael H. Goldberg award, as voted on by the National Basketball Coaches Association, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

This award, introduced in 2017 and named after longtime NBCA executive director Michael H. Goldberg, is voted on by the NBA’s 30 head coaches, none of whom can vote for himself. However, it isn’t the NBA’s official Coach of the Year award, which is voted on by media members and is represented by the Red Auerbach Trophy. The winner of that award will be announced later in the year.

Williams earned the Coaches Association’s award after leading the Suns to a 51-21 record, good for second in the NBA. The club had the league’s sixth-ranked defense and seventh-ranked offense, Wojnarowski notes.

The Suns, who were 19-63 in 2018/19, became just the fifth team in NBA history to improve by at least 15 games in back-to-back seasons, per Woj. Williams accomplished that feat in his first two years in Phoenix despite dealing with pandemic-shortened seasons, making the feat even more impressive.

According to Wojnarowski, Scott Brooks (Wizards), Michael Malone (Nuggets), Nate McMillan (Hawks), Doc Rivers (Sixers), Quin Snyder (Jazz), and Tom Thibodeau (Knicks) were among the other coaches who received votes.

The previous winners of this award are as follows:

  • 2020: Mike Budenholzer and Billy Donovan
  • 2019: Mike Budenholzer
  • 2018: Dwane Casey
  • 2017: Mike D’Antoni and Erik Spoelstra

Community Shootaround: Western All-Stars

Voting for the NBA’s All-Star starters has now closed, and the league will reveal on TNT on Thursday night the 10 players who have been named starters for this year’s game, with an announcement on the All-Star reserves to follow next Tuesday.

Before that happens, we want to get your take on which 24 players deserve to make this year’s All-Star Game, starting today in the Western Conference.

This year’s Western Conference All-Stars, who will be represented by Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN, have six clear frontrunners for the five starting spots.

Lakers star LeBron James, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard are the odds-on favorites to claim the three frontcourt openings, while Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic will vie for the two backcourt spots.

While it remains to be seen which five players will earn starting spots, it’s safe to say that all six will safely make the team. That leaves six other spots up for grabs.

The general consensus among Marc Stein of The New York Times, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Josh Robbins of The Athletic – all of whom made their picks this week – is that four of those spots will be claimed by Anthony Davis, Paul George, and the Jazz duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, which would make sense, given those players’ importance to the top three clubs in the conference.

After that, there’s little consensus. Stein and Robbins have Jazz guard Mike Conley nabbing one of the last two spots, while Stein and O’Connor each penciled in Suns guard Chris Paul. O’Connor also has Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander making his team, while Robbins opted for Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan.

Suns guard Devin Booker, Pelicans forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, Rockets big man Christian Wood, and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant all merited consideration and/or honorable mention from Stein, O’Connor, and Robbins. Beyond that, it’s hard to find legitimate candidates whose cases haven’t been hurt by injuries or COVID-19, as is the case for Blazers guard CJ McCollum, among others.

Following the format of four guards, six frontcourt players, and two wild cards, my picks would be Curry, Doncic, LeBron, Jokic, and Kawhi in the starting lineup, with Lillard, Mitchell, Davis, George, Gobert, Paul, and DeRozan on the bench. If Davis remains sidelined through the All-Star break due to his calf injury, picking a frontcourt player to replace him would be tricky, but for now I’d lean toward Williamson.

What do you think? Which 12 Western Conference players would be on your All-Star squad for the 2020/21 season?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in!

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Porter Jr., Clarkson, Prigioni

Adding a new starter to the Nuggets lineup via a trade is an unlikely scenario, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. Continuity has been one of Denver’s strength and a big trade would force the team to make the pieces fit at a time when other contenders are finding their footing, Kosmider continues. Playing Michael Porter Jr. remains a priority for the organization, Kosmider adds, and in a way he can be considered that major new addition.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Porter got his first start on Sunday due to injuries and thrived, posting 19 points and six rebounds. Porter has already seen action at shooting guard and both forward spots and is learning the plays from all three positions, Christopher Dempsey of the team’s website notes. “It’s tough, but that’s what the great players do,” Porter said. “LeBron (James) knows where everybody on the court is supposed to be at all times, offensively and defensively. So, that’s where I want to be.”
  • Jazz coach Quin Snyder had inquired about and expressed interest in obtaining Jordan Clarkson during the offseason, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune relays. Snyder was intrigued by Clarkson’s shot-making and playmaking despite the guard’s  penchant for freelancing out of the system, Walden adds. Clarkson was acquired from Cleveland a week ago in the first NBA trade since mid-July.
  • Assistant coach and former NBA player Pablo Prigioni has made his mark with Timberwolves players due to his frenetic style, as Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. “He takes Red Bull out there or something,” guard Jeff Teague told Hine. “He’s always up and at it, running around. He can run all day, doesn’t get tired. … He’s crazy.”

Western Notes: Crowder, Lakers, Holiday, Bates-Diop

Former Jazz forward Jae Crowder took time this week to discuss his time with the team, detailing the close friendships he made and the impact head coach Quin Snyder had on him.

Crowder, who was acquired by the Grizzlies last July, also discussed Memphis’ slow start to the 2019/20 season in an interview with Aaron Falk of Jazz.com.

“We’ve come out on the losing end, so obviously we’re not where we want to be but we’re figuring it out,” Crowder said. “We’re competing at a high level and trying to do what it takes to win games. At this level, with a young team, it’s just hard to win games. We’re learning from our losses and wins and trying to build every day.”

The Jazz traded for Crowder in February of 2018, giving the 29-year-old roughly one-and-a-half seasons with the franchise. He averaged 11.9 points in 80 games for the team last season, quickly gaining respect from the fans and confidence from the coaching staff.

“He just gave me a mindset that added on to fueling my fire,” Crowder said of Snyder. “To always compete at a high level and always embrace wherever you’re at in life. He gave me a role on that team and I’m appreciative of him. I’ve told him that personally. I appreciate him believing in me, believing in my effort and coaching me the way that he coached me.”

There’s more from the Western Conference today:

  • The Lakers tied a team record on Friday for the best start in franchise history, extending their current record to 17-2. The team recorded their 10th straight win with a victory over Washington, led by the likes of Anthony Davis (26 points, 13 rebounds) and LeBron James (23 points, 11 assists). “Obviously, this is a historic franchise; they have done so many great things,” Davis said, as relayed by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. “To be a part of a franchise like this is definitely amazing. I just want to leave my mark here and just keep it going. Obviously, our goal is to add another banner here. It’s something we feel like we can do, and if we do that, to be a part of that would be nothing but great.”
  • Andre Iguodala, one of the league’s all-time great defenders, has tabbed Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday as the best defensive player in the NBA today. “Best defender in the league… @Jrue_Holiday11”, Iguodala wrote on social media. Holiday is consistently mentioned as one of the toughest defenders in the NBA, with the 29-year-old making the All-Defensive Second Team in 2019 and All-Defensive First Team in 2018.
  • Timberwolves forward Keita Bates-Diop is slowly but surely forcing his way into the team’s rotation, Chris Hine writes for the Star Tribune. Bates-Diop, 23, was drafted 48th overall in 2018 by the Wolves after spending four seasons at Ohio State. He’s averaged 8.9 points in seven games (17.9 MPG) this season.