The Lakers’ head coaching search appears to have lost another top target. After seeing Nick Nurse reaffirm his commitment to Toronto — and general manager Masai Ujiri brush aside the Lakers — it appears as those Quin Snyder is doing the same with the Jazz.
Snyder’s future with the franchise has been murky, especially after another disappointing loss in the first round of the playoffs this season. Those looking for reasons to think Snyder could leave pointed to his postgame comments, in which he spoke in past tense on numerous occasions, as a sign that he was leaving.
On Monday, Snyder cleared the air during his exit interview — delayed by hip surgery — on many things and indicated that his future, should it be his choice, would be in Utah, as reported by Sarah Todd of The Desert News.
“First of all I want to say — and I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again — my family has loved it here. And don’t judge my tense when I speak,” he said with a smile before continuing. “My family loves it here. How’s that? Whether it’s school, the community, Salt Lake the city, the experience has been, and continues to be, a great one.”
The Lakers are reportedly taking their coaching search slowly to see if Snyder (or Doc Rivers) will become available, and there are still some factors that could make Snyder gettable, despite these comments. For one, he’s been the one at the helm of multiple playoff collapses for Utah. In an offseason where it seems like much could change in the Jazz, moving on from Snyder feels like a legitimate possibility.
A report from Sam Amick of The Athletic indicates that Snyder has one guaranteed year left on his deal with a coach’s option for 2023-24, making it a potentially costly venture to part ways with him this summer. Snyder himself, though, would not confirm those details on Monday.
“I’m privileged to coach this group of players and I’m reminded of that consistently throughout the year. We’re all not perfect, but I’m grateful for that and I really like our players,” he said. “Beyond that, I think I’d continue to maintain that I’m not going to discuss my contractual situation publicly. That’s just not something that I want to do or am comfortable doing.”
Theoretically, the Lakers and Jazz could work out a trade of sorts to acquire Snyder, who would likely command a smaller package of draft picks than someone like Nurse, who has a larger contract and has won a title. But the Lakers don’t have much in the way of draft capital to use, leaving that opportunity nearly as unlikely as the Nurse one.
If Snyder is off the board, that further limits the possibilities for the Lakers in their coaching search. Snyder and Nurse were two of the more experienced head coach options that were linked to the team, and neither of them look likely to come to Los Angeles this summer.
Now, outside of a potential retread option like Rivers (if he becomes available), Terry Stotts or Mark Jackson, the team will likely be targeting a new head coach, for better or for worse. That only further adds further intrigue to the coaching search that will be the first domino to fall in what projects as a pivotal offseason for the Lakers.