Celtics

Celtics assistant Will Hardy reportedly a leading candidate for Jazz coaching vacancy

Hardy joined the Celtics' staff in 2021 when Ime Udoka became the team's head coach.

Will Hardy's been viewed as one of the top assistants in the league. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Danny Ainge could be looking to his old home to fill the head coaching vacancy in Utah.

Celtics assistant Will Hardy is a “leading candidate” to become the next head coach of the Jazz, The Salt Lake Tribune’s Andy Larsen reported Saturday. The Jazz and Ainge, who joined Utah earlier in 2022 as its Alternate Governor and CEO, are looking to hire a younger assistant coach to replace Quin Snyder, according to Larsen.

Hardy, who’s 34, would certainly fit that mold. After playing college basketball at Williams College, Hardy joined the Spurs’ organization in 2010, where now-Celtics coach Ime Udoka was a player at the time. Both Hardy and Udoka eventually joined the Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s coaching staff in later years, working together on the bench through 2019.

Advertisement:

Udoka, who left the Spurs in 2019 to be an assistant with the 76ers, tabbed Hardy to be one of his lead assistant coaches when he became the Celtics’ head coach in 2021.

Hardy is one of at least 15 candidates that have reportedly interviewed for the Jazz’s head coaching position. Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla has also interviewed for the job.

While Hardy and Ainge have both worked for the Celtics, neither crossed paths during their time in Boston. Ainge resigned as the team’s president of basketball operation in June 2021, which began the process of Udoka’s hiring as head coach of the team because Brad Stevens replaced Ainge.

Ainge’s reported approach in how he’s looking to find the next coach of the Jazz is different than the two times he hired a head coach in Boston. In 2004, Ainge hired Doc Rivers – a former player who already had multiple years of head coaching experience. In 2013, Ainge hired Stevens, who had several successful seasons as a head coach at Butler but never coached in the NBA.

Suns assistant Kevin Young is another highly considered candidate for the Jazz’s coaching vacancy, according to Larsen.

If Hardy, or Mazzulla for that matter, leaves Boston for Utah, Udoka told reporters Friday that he’d promote from within to replace the departing coach.

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com