Quin Snyder has resigned as head coach of the Utah Jazz after eight years. The former Austin Spurs skipper was reportedly offered an extension by Utah’s front office, which desperately wanted him to stay, but he decided to sever ties with the franchise in which he won 372 games.
With Gregg Popovich’s future as an NBA coach still up in the air, any viable name with a link to the franchise will immediately be pointed at as a potential successor, but in Snyder’s case, there might be more than just a tenuous past connection to the Spurs fueling speculation.
The rumors about Snyder being next in line as head coach in San Antonio go all the way back to March, when he was still leading a title hopeful. Marc Stein noted in his Substack($) that the Spurs were seeing Snyder as a suitable replacement, saying, “More and more, I hear Snyder’s name as a potential Pop successor that the Spurs would naturally relish.”
Utah makes it official and says Quin Snyder is leaving his post as Jazz coach.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 5, 2022
Snyder is widely expected to take a season off and then become one of the NBA’s most coveted coach candidates … and, as we’ve been writing since March, potentially Pop’s successor in San Antonio. https://t.co/Z15OvEhWzP
The report made sense. Snyder has ties to the franchise from his time in Austin, is relatively young for an NBA coach at 55 years old, has experience building a young team and elevating it to contender status, and shares some core tenets with Pop’s basketball philosophy.
The Jazz played what has been described as “advantage basketball” to mask their lack of multiple elite shot creators. It involved a lot of ball and player movement that slowly built up to an open look instead of having a more stationary and star-oriented offense. On defense, Snyder’s teams relied on a dominant big man who stayed close to the paint to encourage mid-range jumpers and prevent corner threes. In the past he used two bigs together, but he modernized his approach to slot in a combo forward at the four — Bojan Bogdanovic, who the Spurs were reportedly interested in at one point — to provide more spacing. It should all sound familiar to Spurs fans.
While the fit on the court should be seamless, the biggest questions surrounding Snyder come in his management of the locker room. The reported issues between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are a concern. The two stars have not had a smooth relationship for years now, and while both seem to be hard to manage, Snyder didn’t really figure out how to fix the rift. He also seemed to rely a little too heavily on veterans like Joe Ingles as culture setters and saw his team underperform in the playoffs, getting largely obliterated in the second round — when they made it that far. Like every candidate, he’s not perfect.
Even if Snyder was the Spurs’ preferred successor, the transition would likely not happen this year. Snyder has said that he has no plans other than to spend Halloween with his daughter, implying that he won’t coach this upcoming season. Even if he wanted to, the Jazz could simply block him from doing so, because he still has a year left on his contract. If Pop decides to retire this offseason, it probably wouldn’t be viable to hand the reins to an interim and wait for Snyder. If Pop decides to finish his current contract but lets the front office know that he won’t sign an extension, however, the timing would be perfect. The succession plan could be in place and Snyder could take on some kind of front office role to re-familiarize himself with the franchise before taking over, making the transition smoother.
Of course, this is all speculation at this point. It’s still too early to really figure out how things will play out, since there still hasn’t been any confirmation about Popovich’s plans. Additionally, Snyder should be a sought-after candidate for any openings, and he might not reciprocate the Spurs’ reported interest. It would be premature to assume he’ll soon roam the home team’s sidelines of the AT&T Center.
It would also be naive to dismiss the possibility outright. Snyder’s resignation from the Jazz doesn’t really mean he will be Pop’s successor, but the rumors, the fit and the timing all suggest that he’s probably on the list. He seems to be on the Spurs’ radar, so fans should keep his name in mind as well going forward.