NBA Live News: Will Hardy, an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics, has accepted an offer to coach the Utah Jazz.
Hardy and the Jazz are nearing an agreement on a five-year contract that will make the former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach the NBA’s youngest coach.
The agreement between Hardy and the Jazz was first reported by ESPN and The Athletic on Tuesday. The 34-year-old will take over for Quin Snyder, who decided to leave the Jazz earlier this month after eight seasons and will be the Vivint Arena’s first head coach.
Hardy played one season in Boston, where he helped the Celtics reach the NBA Finals. He spent the previous 11 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, beginning as a basketball operations intern, progressing to the video room, and eventually becoming an assistant under all-time wins leader and five-time NBA champion Gregg Popovich.
Hardy also aided Popovich during the United States’ appearances in the 2019 Basketball World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Hardy moved to Boston to work for another former Spurs assistant, Ime Udoka, who led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season as head coach.
Given the success of the Popovich coaching tree in the NBA, it’s no surprise the Jazz chose Hardy.
Consider the current NBA and WNBA coaches who have played for, worked for, or coached under Popovich in some capacity.
Golden State’s Steve Kerr just won his fourth championship as a coach, defeating Udoka, Hardy, and the Celtics in that series, and his ninth overall. Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer led the Bucks to the NBA championship in 2021. Monty Williams led the Phoenix Suns to the NBA’s best record this season and to the finals last year. This season, Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins led the Grizzlies to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Doc Rivers of Philadelphia won an NBA championship, Mike Brown of Sacramento reached the NBA Finals in his second season as a head coach in Cleveland, and Becky Hammon of the Las Vegas Aces is off to the best start in the WNBA in her first season.
Those who learn from Popovich clearly know how to win.
And Hardy has been labelled as a can’t-miss coach for quite some time.
“It’s always just been about being selfless,” Hardy said while appearing at a Rising Coaches seminar last year. “Coach Pop says all the time: ‘Get over yourself. It ain’t about you.'”
Utah was the only team in the NBA with a coaching vacancy, and they became the fourth team to hire since the regular season ended. Sacramento hired Brown, the Los Angeles Lakers hired Darvin Ham, Charlotte brought back Steve Clifford for a second stint, and now the Jazz are handing over their team to Hardy, who is 34 years old and younger than some NBA players.
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