As the Utah Jazz embark on an offseason that’s sure to bring about changes, one question at the forefront of everyone’s mind is who will be coaching the team next season?
For months there have been rumblings about other teams that could be interested in Jazz coach Quin Snyder’s services. But sources say those rumblings have not come about because of any plans from Jazz ownership or the front office to part ways with Snyder. By all accounts, Snyder will be the coach of the Jazz next season if he chooses to be.
“I don’t know how I can make it any more clear,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said Friday, the day after the Jazz’s first-round playoff exit. “Quin Snyder is one of the best coaches in the NBA. There is no other partner that I would rather have as a coach, a leader of our players and a partner in the front office, than Quin Snyder.”
So, rather than wondering whether Snyder will be fired or asked to walk away, it seems that his future with the Jazz will be up to him. Rumors that have popped up about other teams potentially being interested in Snyder as a coaching candidate are based on the idea that Snyder could be looking for a change.
What Snyder might want moving forward remains a bit of a mystery, but a mystery that can be somewhat understood.
Snyder has been at the helm of the Jazz for eight years, making it to the playoffs in each of the last six seasons, but never advancing past the second round. He has been a part of a rebuild that has developed talent internally to create a perennial playoff team and finished the 2020-21 season as a Coach of the Year candidate.
But the 2021-22 season came with higher expectations and more pressure than any other year. With those expectations and the added pressure, the Jazz experienced their most turbulent season, where questions about locker room fractures were at the center of everything they did.
Snyder found himself fielding questions about and trying to shoot down rumors that relationships on his team had become untenable, all while managing a team that was underachieving.
With eyes on the future, Snyder will likely want to know what the road ahead would look like for him before deciding to agree to any sort of extension or continued deal with the Jazz. Will the Jazz continue to try to build around Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell? Will the Jazz be trading away one of their dual faces of the franchise and look to build around just one of the two? Are they heading toward a total rebuild?
“I’m incredibly proud of this team,” Snyder said Thursday night after the Jazz’s Game 6 loss to the Mavericks. “It’s been a pleasure of coaching this group.”
That’s the kind of quote that could be seen as a general goodbye or a goodbye to a team that is likely to be split up. But it could also just be Snyder’s genuine pride in being able to do what he loves and his way of expressing himself. He’s spoken in past tense at the end of previous seasons so it’s not like his choice of words is anything outwardly alarming.
Another component to consider is the players’ confidence in Snyder as a coach, or rather which players still have confidence in Snyder.
“I love Quin,” Mitchell said. “He’s a guy that gave me an opportunity when I first got here — entrusted in me, believed in me. ... And you know, we’re not like a big-market team that gets talked about every day but there is talk. And I think he’s done a phenomenal job of continuing to lead us and improve and I love him.”
While that sounds like a pretty ringing endorsement, there was a bit of a different vibe when Gobert was asked about his feelings on Snyder moving forward.
“I’ve loved my time with Quin,” Gobert said. “There’s always going to be talk about a lot of things, especially when you have a disappointing ending like we did this season. Once again, there are a lot of things that are out of our control. What I can control is how I can be better and come back better and the rest is whatever the front office (decides). It’s out of my control.”
The players who end up remaining with the Jazz will certainly have some amount of say in who the coach will be, but the person that will have the most control over that decision will be Snyder himself.