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Was Quinn Snyder’s exit from the Utah Jazz a precursor to the exit of one of its star players?
Jazz has been one of the most active bands during early business talks in recent weeks, with the most notable being the All-Star Center and three-time Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Sources said Utah has not received overtures from rival teams to steal All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, but the Jazz front office has involved various teams in Joubert’s discussions.
Ovarian report described previously Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors interest in the Joubert acquisition. as such Kevin O’Connor from The Ringer First reported, Chicago has also emerged as a potential business destination for Joubert, sources told B/R.
Any deal that landed Joubert with the Bulls almost certainly would involve Nikola Vucevich, the two-time Chicago All-Star acquired from the Orlando Magic before the 2021 trade deadline. Vucevic’s contract will expire at the end of the 2022-23 season, and with Zach LaVine appointed to agency Profitable free, Bulls brass has been studying its options in the position since the February trade deadline, sources said.
Vucevic-for-Gobert seems to make more sense for Chicago, in the Bulls’ efforts to fortify a defensive attack around LaVine. And while Vucevic is generally considered a net passive on the defensive, the popular package mentioned by league executives at Vucevic and second-year striker Patrick Williams will offer the outer perimeter defender Jazz has long been said to have coveted.
It is not yet clear Chicago’s willingness to part with Williams. The bulls were fiercely resistant to including Williams in preliminary talks with the Detroit Pistons to acquire Jerami Grant before the trade deadline, sources told B/R. The addition of Coby White, whose value the bulls had previously discovered in the commercial market, and Javonte Green would make money working to match Gobert’s huge contract.
For jazz to move Joubert, any comeback would have to be geared toward reshaping Utah to progress further into the postseason. By accounts, the jazz leadership has no intention of rebuilding or pivoting from a period in which they have performed playoffs in each of the past six seasons.
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After months of speculation about Snyder’s future, he resigned from his coaching duties on Sunday.
Two sources familiar with Snyder’s thinking said his departure was the result of nothing more than his desire to go in a different direction and a step away from basketball for the foreseeable future. There were no ultimatums from either side, nor demands on how the slate should be formed. Sources said the jazz band made multiple performances for various structures to extend Snyder’s tenure, but were consistently turned down.
There is an expectation in league circles that as San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich inevitably moves away from his position as coach, Snyder will be the leading candidate to replace the legendary captain. Sneijder is said to be held in high esteem by Spurs chief executive RC Buford.
This was a summer of staff changes for jazz. Snyder’s news came after Utah assistant coach Serge Oliva left to become one of three new assistant general managers at the Portland Trail Blazers. Another jazz assistant, former New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps, has been repeatedly mentioned by league personnel as a potential addition to Tim Connelly’s front office at the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The initial list of targets to replace Snyder contains only one candidate with previous major coaching experience: Terry Stotts, a former Blazers player. Stotts has a strong relationship with Snyder, the same acting, and has spent several weeks around jazz this season. Sources said Utah officials are still compiling the list of interviewees, and will begin formal communication with the candidates in the coming days.
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New York Knicks assistant coach Jonny Bryant, who played collectively for the University of Utah from 2005 to 2008 and developed a close relationship with Mitchell during the second half of Bryant’s tenure as a Jazz Player Development coach from 2012-20. Leading candidate for this position. Utah didn’t make any bones About appeasing Mitchell’s interestsfrom trading with his childhood friend Eric Paschal to changing the team’s medical staff and bringing in Mitchell’s mentor Dwyane Wade as a minority royal.
Bryant’s hiring would be consistent with the franchise’s recent behavior to build around its superstar guard, especially since talk has increased among the NBA’s personnel about Mitchell’s ability to seek a deal before the end of his contract.
There are questions around the league about whether Jazz Basketball Operations CEO Danny Ainge will be able to meet and represent Mitchell’s needs. But if Mitchell and Jazz chief Ryan Smith is allied with Bryant, or any other candidate, league sources with knowledge of the situation don’t expect Ainge to stand in his way. Ainge is not known to be the one researching the market for up-and-coming NBA coaches.
Jake Fisher covers the NBA for Bleacher Report and is author From Built to Lose: How the NBA Age of Tanks Changed the League Forever.