As first reported by Marc Stein, NBA reporter in March, Quin Snyder has yet to agree to a contract extension with the Jazz. At the time, I spoke to Snyder about these reports. The longtime head coach has expressed annoyance that such rumors are circulating – but hasn’t said he wants to stay at Utah long term.
This week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon reported that negotiations between Snyder and the Jazz are expected to “continue”, but the sides did not agree due to “philosophical issues”. Additionally, MacMahon, on the Hoop Collective podcast, said it was his “educated speculation that Quin Snyder would probably end up leaving.”
Snyder’s contract status
Snyder still has one more year on his contract, keeping him under contract for the 2022-23 season. Additionally, he has an option on his contract to continue through the 2023-24 season. So it’s just a contract extension negotiation – except that the extension talks have dragged on well beyond their usual schedule.
As mentioned by MacMahon, Snyder could also opt out of the final year of his contract, leaving the Jazz to find a new coach for the upcoming season. Plus, the Jazz could even trade Snyder to another team, should that team want to give up assets for the NBA’s fourth-longest-serving starting coach.
Considering the source
Stein covered the NBA at ESPN, then the New York Times — his resume and reporting are excellent. Wojnarowski is the go-to for NBA deals, and MacMahon is also a well-respected journalist.
No doubt it raised a bit of confusion when ESPN ran its story this week with little new information beyond what had already been reported in a story that other outlets ran for months. But given ESPN’s position as “the world’s leader in sports,” any new story from them will create a new cycle of conversation.
And with the relationships that Wojnarowski and MacMahon have, that makes sense in this case. Wojnarowski is exceptionally close to Justin Zanik and enjoys a good relationship with much of the Jazz front office – most NBA teams have a preference between ESPN’s Woj and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, and the Jazz usually choose to divulge their news through the first when possible.
But Woj also has a strong relationship with Quin Snyder’s agent, Warren LeGarie, and probably wouldn’t want to post a story that jeopardized that relationship either.
So I think it’s fair to put the tea leaves together: those relationships might just be one of the reasons why ESPN waited so long on this story – they didn’t want to upend either side’s relationship. , instead hoping for a mutually beneficial resolution. Considering that, the fact that Woj and ESPN published an article this week is remarkable, as the situation has reached a crisis point.
A key possibility is that one of the parties involved wanted an ESPN story there, in order to try to shove negotiations, or try to induce a changed offer or position. MacMahon noted that the Jazz made an offer that “would place him among the highest paid coaches in the NBA.”
Frankly, it could have come from both sides: Either the Jazz want Snyder to make a decision quicker so they can continue their offseason, or Snyder and LeGarie want the Jazz to make a stronger offer, or they want to move on somewhat. those “philosophical problems”.
What are these philosophical issues? Well, the very future of the team. Snyder knows this is a pivotal offseason – do Zanik and CEO Danny Ainge want to rebuild and start over on their own vision? Do they hope to re-equip, exchange one of their stars, while remaining competitive? Or do they want to “roll it back”, as they say, and give this core another chance despite feeling refreshed?
There also need to be conversations about Snyder’s role in the team’s front office. Right now, Snyder has a voice in what the team does with player acquisition, though he’s never admitted it publicly. Does he want to contractually insist on this voice? He’s had total control over his coaching staff in recent years, will that continue? What role will front office executives have in determining tactics, rotations, training schedules or even movie shows? Given the disagreements that have taken place between Snyder and Jazz management in these areas in the past, it would make sense for them to reach a formal agreement on the matter moving forward.
The other possibility is that the negotiations are so stuck that ESPN can no longer afford to ignore the story. Frankly, the fact that we’ve gone this far in history isn’t a good sign that these talks will end with a happy signing from Snyder at the end of the day – it’s just extremely rare for contract negotiations to coaching are also public or this extended into an off-season.
Given that, and given Snyder’s public reluctance to tie his future to Utah, I think I have to agree with MacMahon’s assumption that “Quin Snyder will probably leave eventually.” . All parties involved are giving way to the status quo, so a deal could certainly still materialize, but contract negotiations with positive results rarely make so much noise.
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