The success of the 2021-22 Boston Celtics was not lost on the rest of the NBA.
On the heels of a 2022 playoff run that came just two wins shy of an NBA championship, Ime Udoka and the Celtics could be set to lose at least one assistant this summer, with both Will Hardy and Joe Mazzulla among those slated for a second interview with the Utah Jazz for their head coaching vacancy.
The update on Utah’s search came courtesy of The Athletic’s Shams Charania, and after both Hardy and Mazzulla had interviewed with the Jazz earlier this month.
Hardy, who serves as Udoka’s top assistant, just wrapped up his first season with the Celtics after spending the previous 10 seasons with the Spurs as a member of Gregg Popovich’s staff.
Mazzulla, meanwhile, has been with the Celtics since 2019, and was a holdover from Brad Stevens’ staff. Mazzulla had the backing of the C’s players upon that coaching change last year, too, as they actually went to Udoka and informed him that they wanted him to remain part of the staff even with Udoka replacing Stevens and building his own staff.
“I love Joe,” Jayson Tatum said during the 2022 NBA Finals. “You could tell how passionate (he is) about the guys and his craft. He’s gotten so much more knowledgeable, more detailed, just vocal. More comfortable in his role as a coach. You’ve seen a growth from his first year. He’s helped me out tremendously as a player and as a person. I can’t say enough good things about Joe. Everybody appreciates him, what he brings to this team. I’m glad that we have him.”
And the Jazz, of course, are now run by ex-Celtics president Danny Ainge.
The good news for the Celtics’ chances of keeping their staff together for another season is that Ainge’s list is a looooooong one, with 15 candidates expected to get second interviews.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.