Report: Jazz making Celtics assistant Will Hardy, 34, NBA’s youngest head coach
The Jazz have disappointed in the playoffs the last few years. Their stars, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, don’t get along. They might keep their roster together and hope a new coach will fix their problems.
That responsibility, as rumored, will reportedly fall on Celtics assistant Will Hardy.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
A five-year contract is unusually long for a first-time head coach. Though it’s unclear how much of the contract is guaranteed, Utah is definitely projecting faith in Hardy with this deal.
Hardy came up through the Spurs then joined former San Antonio assistant Ime Udoka’s staff with the Celtics last season. Long considered a potential Gregg Popovich successor, Hardy showed he could operate in multiple environments by helping Boston reach the NBA Finals.
The Jazz want to tap into that Spurs identity, though. Despite attempts to keep him as head coach, Utah just lost Quin Snyder, another member of Popovich’s coaching tree. Given Danny Ainge’s presence atop the Jazz front office, Hardy’s Celtics ties might’ve helped, too.
Winning obviously helps. To that end, Hardy must devise a defense that holds up better in the playoffs (with or without Gobert). Maintaining the Jazz’s sophisticatedly high-level offense would also be nice, though there is room for tradeoffs that prioritize defense.
Hardy can succeed in this role. Given his age and Utah’s organizational culture, maybe for a long time.
But the Jazz don’t afford him much leeway to learn on the job.
Utah, as telegraphed, is also hiring former Grizzlies and Knicks head coach to its front-office.
The Jazz are making a hire to the front office too: David Fizdale has agreed to become an associate GM, sources tell ESPN. After 18 seasons as an NBA head and assistant coach, Fizdale will move into management and work closely with GM Justin Zanik and CEO Danny Ainge with Jazz.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2022