Report: Knicks Hiring Johnnie Bryant as Associate Head Coach
As first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, the New York Knicks will be hiring Johnnie Bryant as the team's associate head coach under head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Bryant is currently an assistant coach with the Utah Jazz, who are currently competing in the playoffs in Orlando, and has been there as an assistant since the 2015 season. Bryant had his own sports academy - the Bryant Sports Academy - at which he would train players, but left once he was offered a job by Utah to join their development staff in 2012. Bryant has worked closely with stars such as Damian Lillard, Gordon Hayward, and Donovan Mitchell, the latter of which has now been brought up several times in connection with the team's latest hire. Mitchell spoke on some of his work with Bryant in this piece by Tony Jones of The Athletic.
Bryant is known for his player development and getting the most out of his players, as well as simply being a good basketball coach. Those looking for Donovan Mitchell-related rumors in connection with this hire might not find any, at least not yet, but those who want the Knicks to pursue good coaches regardless of their connections to star players can rest assured that Bryant's resume is more than sufficient to make him a quality hire - with his connections to a potential Rose target like Mitchell being a 'bonus'.
The article linked in the above tweet by DailyKnicks is by Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune, and lays out the details of why the Jazz trust the 34 year old coach to develop their star players, starting with stories from Bryant's childhood that help explain the kind of coach he is today. Goon wrote in the article that Mitchell told him he hadn't met someone who watched as much film as him until he met Johnnie Bryant, and that he often receives "a handful of daily texts from Bryant of film clips with accompanying notes."
"But there’s something beyond the results that lingers, too. Bryant is personable, relatable. He’ll push players in workouts then become their confidante in the locker room."
Johnnie Bryant will be joining Tom Thibodeau's coaching staff along with other assistants rumored to be doing the same, such as Mike Woodson and Kenny Payne. The terms of Bryant's deals have not yet been disclosed, but it isn't uncommon to see coaching staff members receive deals of equal length to the head coach; Tom Thibodeau's deal was reported to be five years in length.