Amick: What’s Quin Snyder’s next move? Still in Utah’s advantage, Jazz coach will evaluate all his options

This isn’t about Quin Snyder sitting on the hot seat.

Eight years into his tenure as head coach of the Utah Jazz, and with one more guaranteed season on his contract in addition to a coach’s option for the 2023-24 season, the 55-year-old remains highly regarded by everyone from sophomore year. owner Ryan Smith to freshman basketball CEO Danny Ainge to general manager Justin Zanik. The Jazz’s loss to Dallas in Game 6 of their first-round matchup on Thursday doesn’t change that, and sources say ownership and management don’t see Snyder as part of the problem.

So why have we been talking about his possible departure from Utah for so many months now? Because it is Snyder who must now decide how he feels about this Jazz experience and the prospect of continuing on this challenging road.

Sources say that all season Snyder wasn’t sure what his future as a coach might be, and his plan was to see how things ended and reassess his own view of everything from there. In terms of what could come next, it seems almost every scenario is on the table.

He could be back at the Jazz, pursue a coaching job elsewhere or maybe take a season off to re-energize and spend the time with his family that is so hard to find these days. In terms of a possible extension, sources say there were no discussions about a new deal during the season.

As is almost always the case with these kinds of decisions, a number of nuanced factors come into play.

There’s the obvious basketball component, where the Jazz’s inability to live up to their own title-competitive expectations takes its cumulative toll on everyone involved. For all the continued success Utah has had, with six consecutive playoff appearances and more regular season wins than all but Milwaukee and Toronto in that period, it failed to reach a conference final and fell in the first round. three of the past four seasons .

That kind of pain in the playoffs costs everyone involved, especially the coach who is widely known for his relentless and exhaustive approach to his craft. Add to that the changing room dynamics that have been at the center of things for so long, the discussion of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert and whether they will ever really fit together, and Snyder finds himself managing one of the more sensitive situations in the league for quite some time now. some time.

Looking ahead, it’s safe to assume Snyder would be eager to see what the jazz landscape could look like at the start of next season, both on and off the pitch. What’s the plan here? Is Gobert still anchoring their defense, or will he be traded this summer? Is Mitchell still on board as the centerpiece of the franchise, or could he make his way through trade despite having three guaranteed seasons left on his deal?

Who is really in charge when it comes to roster, and where does Snyder’s voice fit when it comes to the type of team the Jazz will continue to build? After all, you could argue that Snyder has more sweating power on this program than anyone else.

It’s been less than five months since Smith hired Ainge to work with general manager Justin Zanik and 10 months since longtime Jazz director Dennis Lindsey resigned. Sources say Ainge and Snyder have worked well together so far, but it’s clear there’s still a getting to know you section here that continues to evolve.

In his 18 years as head of the Celtics front office, Ainge always took the kind of hands-on approach to team building that required a healthy partnership with the coach. Zanik, meanwhile, is widely known for having a very good relationship with Snyder. Ditto for Snyder and Smith.

Snyder’s view of the position itself is likely to come into play as well. It would be one thing if Snyder saw himself as the modern Jazz version of Jerry Sloan, the legendary late coach who spent 23 seasons on this seat. But those who know Snyder best, who saw him occupy five jobs in five cities and two countries (the United States and Russia) from 2007 to 2014 after his seven years as head coach in Missouri, say this has never been the vision. he has had for this job.

To hear Snyder reflect on this season on Thursday night was to make one wonder what might be coming for one of the league’s most respected coaches.

“I’m incredibly proud of this team and the way we competed tonight,” Snyder said during his press conference. “The result speaks for itself, but it was a pleasure to coach this group.”

Was the choice to move past time some sort of sign of his retirement, or just an acknowledgment that “this group” could be broken up in the coming months? Snyder himself may not be sure yet.

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(Photo: Rob Gray / USA Today)

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