Quin Snyder resigning as the big boss in Utah sparked a tsunami of takes in Knicksville that had been frothing for sweet release since the first Salt Lake City smoke suggested Snyder may not return — i.e., that Donovan Mitchell would now push his way to New York. And if Mitchell’s were to name his price, and that price was the head of Tom Thibodeau and a newly named Johnnie Bryant as New York’s head coach? Many fans would be fine with such an arrangement.
Instead it looks like a Mitchell & Bryant battery is more likely to happen in the state that just banned half the hard seltzer on its grocery shelves. Bryant is a known and respected figure in Utah; he was a player development specialist for two years with the Jazz before becoming an assistant coach on Snyder’s staff. Mitchell is known to have a “strong” relationship with Mitchell — I mean, duh; they did work for the same company for two years. Some fans may worry minus-ing Bryant is a bridge too far as far as a Knick brain drain.
Both Mike Woodson (Indiana) and Kenny Payne (Louisville) were hired along with Bryant by
Worldwide Wes Leon Rose as Tom Thibodeau’s vanguard. Bryant’s departure would mean a clean sweep of departures. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel something about that. If New York hired good people, people good enough that other companies then hire them for themselves, then Bryant leaving would be another feather in the organization’s cap since Thibs’ arrival.
On the other hand — and I have absolutely zero sources to back this up — don’t you kinda get the feeling that the Knicks should maybe bump Bryant’s salary up to keep him here? If he’s highly regarded enough that a franchise like Utah, who know him well, are strongly considering bringing him onboard, maybe that’s not someone you oughta let go. Pop quiz, hotshot: who you think more NBA players wanna work with? Bryant? Or Thibs?
History suggests the Knicks are going to fire Thibodeau sometime next season. It’s his third at the helm. The last Knicks’ coach to enter a third full season as head coach, much less a fourth, was Mike D’Antoni; before that, Jeff Van Gundy. JVG is also on a shortlist alongside Woodson and Stu Jackson as the last three Knick assistants to take over as head coach on a full-time basis. Each of those three won a playoff series in New York. In that same time frame when bigger names were preferred — Pat Riley; Don Nelson; Lenny Wilklins; Larry Brown; MDA — only Riley won a playoff series in New York.
Whaddya think? Do you care? Comment below, comrades.