Jazz Rumors: Knicks Assistant Johnnie Bryant 'a Known Favorite' of Donovan Mitchell

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 6, 2022

Orlando, FL - AUGUST 3: Johnnie Bryant coaches Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on August 3, 2020 at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Longtime Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder resigned on Sunday, and in the immediate aftermath ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that star guard Donovan Mitchell was "unsettled, unnerved and wondering what it means for the franchise's future."

That called into question whether Mitchell was unhappy in Utah and would potentially seek a change of scenery this summer. The Jazz, of course, could always involve Mitchell in the process to hire the next head coach in an effort to keep him happy.

If they go that route, NBA writer Marc Stein reported on Monday that one name to keep an eye on is New York Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant:

"Bryant, meanwhile, is a known favorite of Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, but [CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge's] appetite for putting Mitchell's interests first is in question after Utah catered heavily to Mitchell (trading for his childhood friend Eric Paschall and revamping the athletic training staff to Mitchell's specifications) before Ainge's hiring on Dec. 15. Mitchell has three guaranteed seasons left on his contract before a $37.1 million player option in 2025-26."

Snyder's departure brings with it a number of questions around the Jazz, from whether there are deeper internal problems in the team to if the Jazz, led by Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, have simply reached their natural ceiling and require more sweeping changes to be a true title contender.

Snyder, for his part, said he simply felt like he wasn't the right man to steer the ship going forward.

"At the core, and what drives me every day is our players and their passion for the game, their desire to constantly work to improve and their dedication to the team and the Jazz. I strongly feel they need a new voice to continue to evolve," Snyder said in the statement announcing his decision to step down. "That's it. No philosophical differences, no other reason. After eight years, I just feel it is time to move onward. I needed to take time to detach after the season and make sure this was the right decision."

Utah Jazz @utahjazz

372 wins, the second-most wins in team history and an indelible mark on Utah. <br><br>Thank you, Coach. <a href="https://t.co/CHcDLOAIpO">pic.twitter.com/CHcDLOAIpO</a>

Per Woj, "Mitchell considered Snyder a significant part of his reasoning for committing to a five-year maximum contract extension in 2020, and Snyder's decision to step away on Sunday has left Mitchell 'surprised and disappointed,' sources told ESPN."

Bryant, 36, served as an assistant on Snyder's staff between the 2014-15 and 2019-20 seasons, before making the move to the Knicks ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. He spent three seasons with Mitchell in Utah, and that familiarity could play a factor in Bryant's potential candidacy.

Charania reported Sunday that Bryant was one of the initial candidates, along with Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, Boston Celtics assistant coach Will Hardy and Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin.

Marc Berman of the New York Post added that former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel "also could command a look" for the Jazz.