Knicks’ Johnnie Bryant a strong candidate to replace Quin Snyder in Utah

Johnnie Bryant, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks are in danger of losing another key member of Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff.

Knicks’ associate head coach Johnnie Bryant should be a strong candidate for the Utah Jazz coaching vacancy following the departure of Quin Snyder.

Bryant has emerged as one of the initial candidates, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.



Joining Bryant in a long list of initial candidates are Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy, Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Phoenix Suns assistant Kevin Young.

Bryant has one significant advantage — his strong bond with Jazz top star Donovan Mitchell — among all candidates.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Mitchell was “surprised and disappointed” after Snyder stepped down. A move to hire Bryant should calm down the volatile situation in Utah, where Mitchell is reportedly described as “unsettled, unnerved and wondering what it means for the franchise’s future.”

Mitchell wields significant influence in the organization and could steer Bryant to become their next head coach. Both Mitchell and Bryant are represented by Creative Artists Agency.

Bryant, who started his NBA coaching career in Utah as a player development coach, has been credited for Mitchell’s rise as Utah’s No. 1 option.

The former University of Utah guard joined the Jazz organization in 2012 as a player development assistant after the team’s former head coach Tyrone Corbin was impressed with his work on the Millsap brothers — Paul and Elijah — and his son Tyrell Corbin.

Bryant rose through the ranks and stayed behind after Snyder replaced Corbin. He worked with Gordon Hayward and, later on, Mitchell before the Knicks gave him his biggest break — to become an associate head coach with Thibodeau.

Mitchell posted a heartfelt congratulatory message when Bryant left the Jazz for the Knicks.

 

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In New York, Bryant has been working closely with guard Immanuel Quickley and wing RJ Barrett.

Bryant is one of the three members of Thibodeau’s coaching staff who has no prior working relationship with the veteran head coach. The other two — Mike Woodson and Kenny Payne — have all left, accepting head coaching jobs in college.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo