The Utah Jazz are closing in on hiring Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy as their next head coach, per Shams Charania. The Jazz are looking to replace Quin Snyder, who stepped down as head coach after Utah was eliminated from the 2022 playoffs. Snyder had spent the past eight seasons with the Jazz. Hardy had a lengthy stop as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs before joining the Celtics after Ime Udoka was hired as head coach.
The Gregg Popovich coaching tree runs pretty deep. The tree includes multiple championship-winning coaches, including Steve Kerr, Mike Budenholzer and Doc Rivers. Plus big names like Mike Brown and Monty Williams. Hardy is the latest Spurs assistant to join the head coaching ranks in the NBA.
As for the job, Hardy is an interesting hire. The Jazz have been to the playoffs in six straight seasons, failing to advance past the second round in each. The Western Conference is a gauntlet but the Jazz have had teams you think would have had a shot to contend. Snyder could never get them over the hump despite having two perennial All-Stars in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert for most of his tenure. That’s the weird part about hiring Hardy: he has no previous head coaching experience.
Unless the Jazz make some drastic changes to the roster, this is what they’ll be looking at for 2022-23. Mitchell and Gobert are both signed to long-term max contracts. Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson, Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gay are all signed at least through 2023. So basically unless Utah looks to trade Mitchell or Gobert, the team will have the same core for at least a season or two.
You’d think a more veteran head coach instead of the 34-year-old Hardy, who will become the youngest head coach in the NBA. That’s a lot of pressure for his first job in a basketball town in Salt Lake City.