Celtics assistant Will Hardy has agreed to become the next head coach of the Utah Jazz, according to a league source. ESPN reported that it will be a five-year deal.
Hardy, 34, spent one season on Boston’s staff after being hired by Ime Udoka, who worked with him in San Antonio. The Williams College graduate was an assistant on the Spurs staff for six seasons under Gregg Popovich.
Hardy also was an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, helping guide a roster that included Celtics Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart.
“I’m happy for him, and I know speaking for me and the team, we’re all happy for him,” Smart said. “Will comes in every day and puts the work in and he’s really there. He’s really invested and devoted to his craft and bettering himself. So I think he’s going to be really good there. I’m excited for him and I know we all are here.”
Hardy was hired after Danny Ainge left his role as president of basketball operations with the Celtics last summer. But in December, Ainge was hired as CEO and alternate governor of the Jazz, and has now helped them pluck Boston’s top assistant.
“We all know Danny,” Smart said. “Danny’s really good at his job and a really smart guy. He sees a guy that’s been on winning teams and knows what it takes and has been around those guys and had enough time to sit back and take notes. So, good job.”
Udoka said last week that both Hardy and assistant coach Joe Mazzulla remained in consideration for Utah’s top job. He said that if one of them departed, he hoped to fill the void by promoting from within.
“What we do have on our coaching staff is a lot of young, talented guys that are obviously getting some accolades and earning these opportunities,” Udoka said. “We are pushing forward with that. We love to see them get opportunities the same way I did as a first-time head coach.”