Duke basketball alum could be candidate to coach Lakers

Duke basketball (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images) /

A Duke basketball name is popping up in the NBA rumor mill.

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, a former Duke basketball point guard (1985-89) who later served on Mike Krzyzewski’s staff across most of the 1990s, is experiencing what comes with repeated winning campaigns.

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Last week, the 55-year-old’s name came up in chatter, sparked by NBA insider Marc Stein, regarding a potential successor to San Antonio Spurs head coach and all-time wins leader Gregg Popovich, who is now 73 and seemingly near retirement. Worth noting here, Snyder’s pro coaching career began with a successful stint as the head honcho of San Antonio’s NBA G League affiliate.

Then this week, as many in the Jazz media have noted, Stein reported hearing in NBA circles that Snyder is a probable candidate to coach the Los Angeles Lakers should they part ways with Frank Vogel. With a roster featuring LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers reside at No. 9 in the Western Conference with a notably disappointing 31-41 record.

Meanwhile, Snyder’s seasoned Jazz bunch is No. 4 in the West at 45-27 overall.

Why the Duke basketball product may have to stay put

It’s important to point out that Quin Snyder remains under contract with Utah beyond this season, meaning the franchise wouldn’t have to allow him to leave for another team. Keep in mind the Seattle native sports a 58.8 winning percentage across eight seasons as an NBA head coach, all with the Jazz, and that Utah has clinched its sixth consecutive postseason appearance.

On the other hand, the Jazz’s lackluster playoff performances have fueled frustration in Salt Lake City.

After all, two years in a row now, Utah has suffered an early exit after owning a two-game lead in a series. Last season, as the No. 1 seed and with the league’s best regular-season record, the Jazz dropped four straight to the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals after winning the first two games.

Whatever happens the rest of the way this go-round, though, one would think Quin Snyder will still be a head coach somewhere in the NBA next season.

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