Report: Celtics' Will Hardy 'Closing In' on Contract to Become New Jazz Head Coach

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 28, 2022

MIAMI, FL - MAY 29: Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics talks to Assistant Coach Will Hardy of the Boston Celtics before Game 7 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals on May 29, 2022 at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Utah Jazz are reportedly closing in on a deal to hire Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy as their next head coach, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Charania noted that Hardy emerged as a front-runner for the position after Jazz CEO Danny Ainge led an extensive search that "included former head coaches, top assistants, G League coaches and former players."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the sides are working on a five-year deal.

Hardy replaces Quin Snyder, who stepped down after eight seasons.

Utah is coming off a 49-33 season that ended with a first-round playoff loss to the Dallas Mavericks. It was a disappointing result for a team that started 27-10 before floundering down the stretch with a 22-23 record.

The year prior, Utah rolled to first in the Western Conference standings with a 52-20 record but fell to the No. 4 seed Los Angeles Clippers in the conference semifinals.

The pieces are in place for Utah to bounce back and make a deep playoff run. Donovan Mitchell will be just 26 years old when the season starts, and he's already made three All-Star teams. The talented ex-Louisville shooting guard averaged 25.9 points last season.

Center Rudy Gobert remains one of the best defensive players in the game. He's a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and a six-time member of the All-Defensive First Team.

The Jazz also sport good depth in the backcourt and on the wings with Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic. They helped Utah earn the No. 1 most efficient offense in the NBA last year, per Basketball Reference.

More work needs to be done to the roster, but the pieces are there for improvement.

It'll be Hardy's job to get it done, and he has the resume and background that could foreshadow great success in Salt Lake City.

He played at Williams College and graduated in 2010. He joined the San Antonio Spurs out of college and worked as a basketball operations intern (2010) and assistant video coordinator (2011). He became the Spurs' video coordinator and worked in that capacity until 2015.

He also worked as the head coach of Spurs NBA Summer League teams from 2015 to 2018 and served as an assistant under Gregg Popovich until 2021 before moving to Boston and working on Ime Udoka's staff.