Jazz CEO Danny Ainge and his front office underwent an extensive coaching search process that included former head coaches, top assistants, G League coaches and former players. Will Hardy — the top assistant on Ime Udoka’s Boston staff — emerged as the strong frontrunner.
The hire eliminates former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts from contention in yet another NBA head coaching vacancy. Stotts had been linked as a candidate for the Utah job after Quin Snyder stepped down from the position in early June. He had also been in the running for every vacant head coaching position in the NBA this offseason, but so far has come up empty-handed.
With no other head coaching positions vacant in the NBA, it appears unlikely Stotts — who last coached the Blazers during the 2020-21 season — will serve as a head coach in the 2022-23 season.
The Jazz went 49-33 during the 2021-22 season, but fell in six games to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. Snyder held the position for eight seasons, posting a 372-264 record and six consecutive playoff appearances, but Utah never advanced past the second round.
Hardy is coming off an NBA Finals appearance as an assistant coach of the Celtics. Before joining the Celtics staff this past season, he spent years as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs. If the deal is finalized, Hardy will be come the youngest head coach in the NBA at 34 years old.
UPDATE: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting Utah is also making a front office move, hiring David Fizdale as an associate general manager.
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.
During 18 years of NBA coaching experience, Fizdale most notably had head coaching stints in Memphis (2016-2017) and New York (2018-2019). He spent the 2021-22 season as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, but was let go this offseason by new head coach Darvin Ham.