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Jazz Rumors: Johnnie Bryant, Will Hardy, More Cleared to Interview for HC Position

Erin WalshJune 7, 2022

PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 24: Associate Head Coach Johnnie Bryant of the New York Knicks looks on in the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on January 24, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. 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. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz head coaching search appears to have officially begun.

The Jazz have received permission to interview New York Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, Boston Celtics assistants Will Hardy and Joe Mazzulla and Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Utah will also interview current assistant Alex Jensen and former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, Wojnarowski added.

Bryant has no head coaching experience but has served as New York's associate head coach since 2020. Utah's interest in him comes as little surprise as he served as an assistant for the Jazz from 2014 to '20.

The 36-year-old built relationships with many current Jazz players during his time with the franchise, including Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Wojnarowski previously reported Mitchell was "unsettled, unnerved and wondering what it means for the franchise's future" following the departure of Quin Snyder.

Bryant "is a known favorite" of Mitchell, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. Perhaps bringing him in could entice the veteran guard to remain in Utah.

Utah's interest in both Celtics assistants—Hardy and Mazzulla—also isn't surprising as Danny Ainge is now the team's CEO after serving as Boston's executive director of basketball operations from 2003 to '21.

That said, Hardy joined the Celtics coaching staff this past season, teaming up with Ime Udoka. Mazzulla has served as an assistant for the Celtics since 2019 and previously served as an assistant for the team's G League affiliate in 2016-17.

Lee, meanwhile, has also never served as a head coach and has been an assistant for the Bucks since 2018. He was also an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks from 2014 to '18.

As for Stotts, he has 13 years of head coaching experience with the Trail Blazers, Bucks and Hawks. However, his teams have struggled to make deep playoff runs, having advanced past the second round just once.

Snyder stepped down as head coach of the Jazz on Sunday after eight seasons. He went 372-264 and led the team to the playoffs in each of the last six seasons. Ainge told reporters after it was announced that the franchise "desperately wanted him to stay."