Fotis Katsikaras is the most recent Utah Jazz assistant to take on another job elsewhere. Will Quin Snyder add new faces to his staff?
Whether you’re a fan of the team or not, there’s no denying that the Utah Jazz are moving up in the world.
After three straight playoff appearances, two series wins and two DPOY trophies for Rudy Gobert and a Spida in a pear tree, the team is expected to take things to a new level next season with the addition of point-man Mike Conley from the Grizz. Jazz brass has promised to stay on the offensive, too, when free agency begins on June 30.
That said, there’s at least one clear con amid the plethora of pros where sustained success on the hardwood is concerned. Namely, the poaching of top-notch assistant coaches, and the Jazz are experiencing that in a major way right now.
Last week, Antonio Lang was the first domino to fall. The longtime developmental specialist, who moved to the front bench last season and has been a key guy behind the scenes for Derrick Favors and other Jazz bigs, will join John Beilein’s staff with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Then, on Wednesday, Encestando reported that Fotis Katsikaris has left the team to become the head coach of CB Gran Canaria of La Liga ACB and EuroLeague. Katsikaris became the first-ever Greek native to become an NBA assistant coach when he joined the Jazz last summer.
So, I’m no math whiz, but that looks like two substantial departures from head coach Quin Snyder’s staff in the last month, which leads on to wonder — will Snyder shake things up a bit by bringing some fresh faces into the fold?
If he does elect to do so, one thing is certain: Igor Kokoskov won’t be one of them.
Snyder’s former top assistant, who left the team in favor of a one-year stint as the headman in the Valley of the Sun, may have been a popular choice to re-join the Jazz, but he just took a job as part of Luke Walton’s staff in Sacramento.
Another sentimental favorite — one that may or may not have any basis in reality — is Jeff Hornacek. The Jazz legend was rumored as a potential target of Frank Vogel and the LA Lakers earlier this month, but nothing has happened on that front as of yet.
If I had to guess, I’d wager Snyder goes with an up-and-comer if he does decide to add to his staff. I’d also wager that replacing those who left may not be a given, either. The Jazz continue to have a deep bench with Alex Jensen, Johnnie Bryant, Mike Wells and Zach Guthrie.
One thing is for sure, though: as was the case with Coach Igor, the aforementioned departures will be felt, particularly in the case of Lang.