Sports

Help Wanted: Utah Jazz prepare for first round of head coaching interviews

SALT LAKE CITY — With the recent departure of former head coach Quin Synder, the Utah Jazz have begun their search for his replacement. As the team now looks to transition into a new era after nearly a decade with Snyder, several names have emerged as candidates for the position.

Over the last few days, the Jazz have received permission to interview Johnnie Bryant (Knicks), Will Hardy (Celtics), Charles Lee (Bucks), Joe Mazzulla (Celtics), Frank Vogel, Chris Quinn (Heat), Adrian Griffin (Toronto), Kevin Young (Phoenix) Lamar Skeeter (Jazz), Alex Jensen (Jazz) and former Portland head coach Terry Stotts.

While certainly a long list, perhaps the most intriguing candidates of the group are guys like Bryant, Jensen, Stotts and Vogel. In regards to Bryant and Jensen, the two both served as assistants beneath Snyder during his eight-year run with Utah, which certainly bodes well in terms of familiarity with the roster, scheme, and culture of the organization. Jensen is still currently listed as an assistant with the Jazz while Bryant served as an assistant from 2014-2020 before becoming an associate head coach with the New York Knicks for the last few seasons.

As for Vogel and Stotts, both are currently unemployed as Vogel was just recently fired by the Los Angeles Lakers and Stotts was let go by the Portland Trailblazers a season ago. Despite having recently broken ties with two highly respected Western Conference organizations, the two possess arguably the most experience. Notably, while nothing has been rumored, Stotts relationship with Damian Lillard may have some worth as the Jazz are currently seeking to revamp their roster, and adding the all-star point guard’s beloved former head coach couldn’t hurt if they were to pursue bringing him in.

Overall, the Jazz are in no particular rush to hire a head coach. With the organization on the cusp of a new chapter and rumors circulating about what their roster might look like next season, it’s critical they make the right decision.

“There’s a lot of names I know I’m familiar with in the coaching world,” Utah Jazz executive Danny Ainge told KSL Sports, “but this will be much different than the two previous ones. Probably more thorough.”

“We’re going to take our time,” Ryan Smith added. “Got to get it right.”

Time will tell who replaces Synder, but for now, management appears to be headed in the right direction with their selection process. As fans continue to adjust to seeing Ainge in the front office, it is important to note that he was pivotal in the construction of the current Boston Celtics roster, which finds itself tied 1-1 in the NBA finals. Whether or not Ainge can recreate that in Utah is yet to be seen.

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