Johnnie Bryant Rumors
But most importantly, the Utah Jazz need a head coach. Sources say to expect movement in that search soon, perhaps as soon as this week, and a final list has yet to be officially determined by the front office. Still, names are forging their way to the top of the list. Johnnie Bryant, Will Hardy and Adrian Griffin have had multiple interviews. That’s not to say they are the leaders in this search. But, they have, among others, gone through multiple interviews in the current process.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: The Jazz received permission to interview several assistant coaches for head job, including Johnnie Bryant (Knicks), Will Hardy (Celtics), Charles Lee (Bucks), and Joe Mazzulla (Celtics). Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Terry Stotts will interview too.
New York Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant—who played collegiately at the University of Utah from 2005-08 and developed a close relationship with Mitchell during the second half of Bryant’s stint as a Jazz player development coach from 2012-20—is considered to be a leading candidate for the position.
There are questions around the league about whether Jazz CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge will be amenable to catering to Mitchell and his representation. But if Mitchell and Jazz chairman Ryan Smith are aligned on Bryant, or any other candidate, league sources with knowledge of the situation don’t expect Ainge to stand in the way. Ainge is not known to be someone who scours the market of the NBA’s up-and-coming head coaches.
There have likewise been rumbles for months emanating from Salt Lake City that Jazz minority owner Dwyane Wade could push the team to consider Lakers assistant coach David Fizdale for the post after Wade’s years in Miami alongside Fizdale when he worked as an assistant under Erik Spoelstra. Knicks assistant coach Johnnie Bryant, meanwhile, is a known favorite of Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, but Ainge’s appetite for putting Mitchell’s interests first is in question after Utah catered heavily to Mitchell (trading for his childhood friend Eric Paschall and revamping the athletic training staff to Mitchell’s specifications) before Ainge’s hiring on Dec. 15.