The Jazz have disappointed in the playoffs in recent years. Their stars, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, don’t get along. They could keep their roster together and hope a new manager will fix their issues.
That responsibility, it is rumored, will fall to Celtics assistant Will Hardy.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
A five-year contract is unusually long for a rookie head coach. While it’s unclear how much of the contract is guaranteed, Utah is definitely projecting its faith in Hardy with this deal.
Hardy came through Spurs and then joined former San Antonio assistant Ime Udoka’s side with the Celtics last season. Long considered a potential successor to Gregg Popovich, Hardy showed he could operate in multiple environments as he helped Boston reach the NBA Finals.
The Jazz, however, want to tap into this Spurs identity. Despite attempts to keep him as head coach, Utah just lost Quin Snyder, another member of Popovich’s coaching tree. Considering Danny Ainge’s presence at the top of Jazz’s front office, Hardy’s ties to the Celtics might have also helped.
Hardy’s main task will be to win over Mitchell, who has shown signs of discontent. Utah builds around the young guard and wants to appease them.
Winning obviously helps. For this, Hardy must imagine a defense that is more resistant to the playoffs (with or without Gobert). Maintaining the Jazz’s high-level sophisticated attack would also be nice, although there is room for compromises that prioritize defense.
Hardy can succeed in this role. Given his age and Utah’s corporate culture, maybe a long time.
But the Jazz does not leave him much leeway to learn on the job.
Utah, as telegraphed, is also hiring the former Grizzlies and Knicks head coach in its front office.
Jazz Making Celtics assistant Will Hardy, 34, the youngest head coach in the NBA, originally appeared on NBCSports.com