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Jazz hire Celtics assistant Will Hardy as new head coach

It didn’t take long for Danny Ainge to steal from the Celtics.

2022 NBA Finals - Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Utah Jazz are hiring Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy as their new head coach, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Hardy was listed as an initial candidate for the position at the start of June, and now, he’s in line to be the franchise’s next head coach. Charania reported that former Celtics GM Danny Ainge, who is now Utah’s CEO, conducted a thorough search before offering Hardy the job:

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.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Hardy’s deal with the Jazz will be for five years.

At 34 years old, Hardy will be the youngest coach in the NBA, but he comes from a very well-respected background. He joined the San Antonio Spurs in 2010 as a video coordinator before being named an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich in 2016. Hardy then followed Ime Udoka to Boston as his top assistant.

Udoka’s coaching tree will now begin, as Hardy was hired after just one year as a lead assistant with the Celtics. Under Udoka, Hardy helped lead the Celtics to the NBA Finals thanks to a top-notch defense that ranked first in the league.

Losing Hardy will undoubtedly be a huge blow to Udoka’s staff, but considering their long history together, it should also create an inner rivalry each year when Boston takes on Utah.