With the news that Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is stepping down, a list of names has popped up as possible candidates for replacements and one of them is fan-favorite New York Knicks assistant coach Johnnie Bryant.
The former University of Utah standout was an assistant with the Jazz from 2014 to 2020 until he joined the Knicks. He has been the associate head coach with the Knicks since his hiring, and he has won over the favor of fans. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports he is one of the names being considered by the Jazz.
With coach Tom Thibodeau, just one year removed from being named Coach of the Year, entrenched in New York, Bryant doesn’t seem to have much upward mobility ahead of him.
The good news for Knicks fans is there are several other potential coaches the Jazz will be looking at.
Knicks May Lose Fan Favorite
Charania reports Alex Jensen, Terry Stotts, Will Hardy and Adrian Griffin have all been named as initial candidates outside of Bryant.
In a follow-up tweet, Charania also names two additional names in Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Phoenix Suns assistant Kevin Young.
Losing Bryant would be a blow to Knicks as he could’ve actually been a help in getting Donovan Mitchell to leave Utah and come to New York. The two have a lot of familiarities and if he ends up coaching the Jazz, Mitchell might become a lock to stay.
Bryant isn’t a lock to go as the interview process could end up being a lengthy one because the Jazz are perennial players contenders that are looking to get over the hump and compete for a championship. With Rudy Gobert and Mitchell on the roster, the makings of a good core are there.
Lots of Changes
The Knicks have made some changes to their coaching staff following a disappointing season where they missed the playoffs.
Perhaps the most notable change is the hiring of Jalen Brunson’s father Rick as an assistant. The elder Brunson is a favorite of Thibodeau, but that won’t stop fans from reading more into it as a way for the Knicks to land the younger Brunson.
The standout Dallas Mavericks guard is due for a big contract this offseason after his breakout postseason. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t think he’ll be going anywhere, but anything can happen in the offseason.
“We can pay him more than anybody, you know, and I think he wants to stay and that’s most important,” he said. “[Jason Kidd] has a big part to play in that. You know, I think [Brunson] blossomed as a player as much as anybody on this squad.”
Brunson isn’t the only free agent target the team has, but he’s certainly one of the biggest ones available. Mitchell remains on the table, but it’s not clear how likely an acquisition of that magnitude is at the moment. The offseason hasn’t truly started yet, so the Knicks might still have something big up their sleeves.