Kevin Young

Will Hardy A Leading Candidate For Jazz Coaching Job

The Jazz view Celtics assistant Will Hardy as a leading candidate for the team’s vacant head coaching job, according to Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake City Tribune. Larsen notes that Utah’s decision-makers reportedly favor a young candidate to replace Quin Snyder.

Snyder left the Jazz earlier this month after an eight-year stint. Utah has interviewed roughly 15 candidates for the position, searching for the right replacement to guide the team back into contention.

Hardy started his NBA career with the Spurs as a video intern in 2010. He was the team’s video coordinator from 2013 to 2015, then became an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich. He was hired by the Celtics when former Spurs assistant Ime Udoka took that head coaching job last year.

In addition to Hardy, the Jazz are also strongly considering Suns assistant Kevin Young, according to Larsen. The 40-year-old was an assistant coach with the Sixers from 2017-20, then was hired by current Suns head coach Monty Williams. Before that, he served as an assistant at Utah Valley University and coached in the G League.

Marc Stein previously identified Hardy and Young as two candidates who impressed the Jazz during the first round of interviews.

Stein’s Latest: Clifford, Hornets, Pistons, Jazz, More

As the Hornets resume their head coaching search following Kenny Atkinson‘s decision to back out of an agreement with the team, Marc Stein suggests in his latest Substack column that a surprising name may be on Charlotte’s radar.

According to Stein, there’s some “serious mounting buzz” that Steve Clifford, who coached the Hornets from 2013-18, has emerged as a candidate to replace James Borrego. Charlotte is reportedly in the market for a candidate with previous head coaching experience and is certainly familiar with Clifford. He took the club to the postseason in 2014 and 2016 — those are the Hornets’ only playoff appearances since 2010.

Mike D’Antoni, who was said to be meeting with Hornets owner Michael Jordan this week, was a finalist during the initial search appears to still be in contention for the job. There have been conflicting reports on whether Terry Stotts was also a finalist before the team reached a deal with Atkinson — Stein writes that D’Antoni was the “only other known finalist” at that point.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Confirming that the Pistons are expected to pursue Suns RFA center Deandre Ayton, Stein says Ayton would embrace the idea of teaming up with Cade Cunningham in Detroit. Stein adds that Miles Bridges and Collin Sexton are believed to be ahead of Jalen Brunson on the Pistons’ list of other potential free agent targets. Both Bridges and Sexton will be restricted free agents, while Brunson will be unrestricted.
  • There’s an increasing belief in coaching circles that Jazz CEO Danny Ainge would like to hire an up-and-coming first-time head coach to replace Quin Snyder, according to Stein, who identifies Celtics assistant Will Hardy and Suns assistant Kevin Young as candidates who have impressed Utah so far.
  • After writing on Wednesday that the Sixers would be the favorites to sign P.J. Tucker if the forward leaves the Heat, Stein says today that Philadelphia’s impending pursuit of Tucker has the “strong backing” of star center Joel Embiid.
  • In addition to OG Anunoby, the Trail Blazers maintain interest in Thunder swingman Luguentz Dort, says Stein. Portland’s interest in Dort was previously reported. Portland’s No. 7 overall pick could be in play as the team seeks an upgrade on the wing.

Jazz Notes: Quinn, Griffin, Young, Gobert, Can, More

The Jazz have requested permission to interview three more assistant coaches from around the NBA as they seek a replacement for Quin Snyder, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). According to Wojnarowski, the team is also planning to meet with Heat assistant Chris Quinn, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, and Suns assistant Kevin Young.

Griffin and Young were previously identified by The Athletic as head coaching candidates on Utah’s preliminary list, but this is the first time we’ve heard Quinn linked to the club. Quinn, Griffin, and Young will join eight other candidates who are reportedly expected to interview with the Jazz, bringing the total count to 11 — and that number could continue to grow.

The full list of Utah’s reported candidates can be found at our head coaching search tracker.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Based on his conversations with people around the NBA, Ian Begley of SNY.tv (video link) gets the sense that Snyder’s exit from Utah will impact Rudy Gobert‘s future with the Jazz more than Donovan Mitchell‘s, making it more likely that Gobert is moved. Multiple recent reports have suggested that the Jazz are open to discussing Gobert, but have shut down trade inquiries on Mitchell.
  • In a story for SNY.tv, Begley stresses that the support for Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant within the Jazz organization goes beyond Mitchell. Bryant, a candidate for Utah’s head coaching job, is known to be close with Mitchell, but built plenty of other strong relationships during his time as a Jazz assistant from 2014-20.
  • Jazz assistant Erdem Can has reached an agreement to join Turkish club Türk Telekom, according to a report from Ugur Ozan Sulak of Socrates (Twitter link). Can was an assistant with Fenerbahçe from 2012-21 before joining Snyder’s staff for the ’21/22 season. He reportedly received a two-year deal from Türk Telekom, with an NBA out after year one.
  • Koby McEwen (Weber State), Noah Kirkwood (Harvard), Au’Diese Toney (Arkansas), and Amadou Sow (UC-Santa Barbara) are among the prospects who participated in a pre-draft workout with the Jazz on Tuesday, tweets Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. As previously reported, Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn and BYU’s Alex Barcello also took part in that session.

And-Ones: Coaching Candidates, Kirkwood, Garuba, Embiid

Suns assistant Kevin Young, Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Celtics assistant Will Hardy, Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic, Heat assistants Chris Quinn and Malik Allen, and Warriors assistants Mike Brown and Kenny Atkinson are among the assistants around the NBA who are viewed as potential head coaching candidates by league insiders, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz (Insider-only link).

A number of the names on Arnovitz’s list have been linked to one or more of the NBA’s three current head coaching openings. Ham and Brown, for instance, all believed to be under consideration by all three of the Hornets, Lakers, and Kings.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Harvard senior guard Noah Kirkwood, who declared for the 2022 NBA draft as an early entrant, has decided to remain in the draft and go pro rather than using his final year of college eligibility, according to agent Ronnie Zeidel (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports).
  • Rockets forward/center Usman Garuba said in an interview with Spanish outlet AS.com that he’s committed to representing Spain at this year’s EuroBasket competition, as Eurohoops relays.
  • In an intriguing bit of international basketball news, an RMC Sport report indicates that Sixers center Joel Embiid is exploring the possibility of obtaining French citizenship and representing France in future international events. Embiid was born in Cameroon, but has family from France and has never suited up for the Cameroonian national team.

Suns Sign Emanuel Terry; Monty Williams In Protocols

2:25pm: The Suns have officially signed Terry, the team announced in a press release. His 10-day contract will run through January 5.


12:14pm: The Suns are set to sign forward Emanuel Terry to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Terry, 25, has played for a handful of international and G League teams since going undrafted out of Lincoln Memorial in 2018. He also got into three NBA games as a rookie back in 2018/19 — two for Phoenix and one for Miami.

This season, Terry has been playing in the G League for the Stockton Kings, averaging 11.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 1.0 BPG in 10 games (25.5 MPG) for Sacramento’s G League affiliate. He also represented Team USA last month in the first two qualifying games for the 2023 World Cup.

For most of the month, Phoenix had avoided the league-wide COVID-19 outbreak that left a number of teams around the NBA shorthanded. However, the Suns placed Jae Crowder and Elfrid Payton in the health and safety protocols on Sunday, making them eligible to sign up to two replacement players via hardship exceptions.

The Suns have also temporarily lost their head coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Monty Williams has entered the protocols. Williams will miss Monday’s game vs. Memphis and figures to be sidelined into the new year if he has registered a confirmed positive test. Assistant coach Kevin Young will likely take over as acting head coach in Williams’ absence, tweets Wojnarowski.

COVID-19 Updates: Ujiri, Brooks, Young

Raptors president Masai Ujiri has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a team press release.

Ujiri believes he contracted the virus during a “Giants of Africa” meeting.

“On Sunday, Giants of Africa held our first in-person event since 2019,” Ujiri said in a statement. “It was organized in compliance with all current public health guidance – everyone who attended had to show proof of vaccination, and to wear masks when not eating or drinking. Unfortunately, after the gala, we learned of positive COVID-19 tests among our guests – and even though I am fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot, I also subsequently tested positive.

“I am now at home, observing the safety protocols by self-isolating for 10 days, monitoring for symptoms and undergoing testing, and I encourage everyone who attended to please do the same. We don’t want to live in fear of this virus, but COVID is a persistent enemy. Together, we’ll defeat it.”

Several others around the league have tested positive over the last 24 hours. Here’s a roundup:

  • Grizzlies swingman Dillon Brooks missed the team’s game against the Lakers after entering the league’s health and safety protocols, the team’s PR department tweets. Brooks scored 15 points against Dallas on Wednesday before he was ejected. He’s averaging 17.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 2.8 APG.
  • Suns assistant Kevin Young has yet to return to the club after being placed under protocols, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. Young has missed the last four games.
  • As we detailed earlier on Thursday, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle has tested positive, Derrick Jones Jr. became the fifth Bulls player to enter protocols, and the Hornets will still be missing a handful of players on Friday due to protocols.

Pacific Notes: James, Batum, Young, Iguodala

Lakers superstar LeBron James returned to action on Friday after clearing health and safety protocols and felt the process was “handled poorly,” Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. James entered protocols on Tuesday, missing a game, then was cleared on Thursday after a series of negative tests.

“Usually when you have a positive test, they’ll test you right away to make sure,” James said. “There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was straight to isolation and you’ve been put into protocol. That’s the part that kind of angered me. I had to figure out a way to get home from Sacramento by myself. They wouldn’t allow anyone to travel with me, no security, no anything, when I traveled back from Sacramento. And then I had to put my kids in isolation for the time being, the people in my household in isolation for the time being, so it was just a big-time inconvenience.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Nicolas Batum missed his seventh consecutive game on Friday and the Clippers have suffered without his defensive versatility, according to Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. The Clippers had the league’s second-best defensive rating before losing Batum, who has remained in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Their defensive rating has sagged dramatically since he tested positive. “He’s very valuable to what we do,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. Batum re-signed with the Clippers in August on a two-year deal.
  • Suns lead assistant Kevin Young didn’t travel with the team for the showdown with Golden State because he’s in the health and safety protocols, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. Young, who has missed three games after testing positive for COVID-19, became Phoenix’s associate head coach under Monty Williams after Willie Green departed to become head coach of the Pelicans.
  • Warriors veteran forward Andre Iguodala participated in pregame warmups on Friday but isn’t expected to return until next week, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. If he doesn’t play against San Antonio on Saturday, he’ll have missed nine straight missed games due to right knee swelling.

Suns Notes: Jack, Payne, Nader, Shamet

The Suns announced some coaching changes this week, stating in a press release that Kevin Young has been promoted to associate head coach and Bryan Gates and Steve Scalzi have officially joined Monty Williams‘ staff.

Perhaps the most notable name included in the announcement was that of Jarrett Jack, a longtime NBA guard who has been hired as an assistant in Phoenix. The 37-year-old, who spent 13 seasons in the NBA, hasn’t been in the league since he appeared in 62 games for the Knicks in 2017/18.

However, Jack spent last season on the G League Ignite, acting as a mentor to the young prospects on the developmental squad, including eventual lottery picks Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. After serving as something of an informal coach on the Ignite, Jack will officially take on that role in Phoenix under Williams, whom he played for in Portland (2005-08) and New Orleans (2010-12) early in his career.

Here’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Cameron Payne‘s three-year, $19MM contract with the Suns is partially guaranteed in its final year, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac, who tweets that the point guard is only assured of $2MM of his $6.5MM salary in 2023/24.
  • Abdel Nader‘s two-year deal with the Suns includes a team option on year two, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • The Suns ended up not making any picks on draft night after attaching the No. 29 pick to Jevon Carter in a trade with Brooklyn. However, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details, the player Phoenix acquired in that trade – Landry Shamet – has a more versatile offensive game than Carter and should immediately step into a regular rotation role.

Scotto’s Latest: Beverley, Mann, L. Williams, Wizards

Veteran guard Patrick Beverley is open to signing a contract extension with the Clippers, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast alongside Yossi Gozlan.

Beverley, who will earn $14.3MM in the final year of his current contract in 2021/22, loves playing in Los Angeles with the Clippers, according to Scotto, who says the former Arkansas standout is a “big fan” of team owner Steve Ballmer. The team will have to determine this offseason how it plans to handle the point guard position, including Beverley’s and Rajon Rondo‘s expiring contracts.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Terance Mann is another key Clippers guard who is eligible for an extension this summer, but Scotto doesn’t believe they’ve had those discussions yet. Scotto gets the sense that Mann would only seriously consider an extension if the club offered the maximum allowable contract (approximately $56MM over four years).
  • Veteran guard Lou Williams is believed to be seeking a multiyear deal of either two or three years, says Scotto. Williams has interest in re-signing with the Hawks, and comments from GM Travis Schlenk at season’s end suggest that interest is mutual, Scotto adds.
  • Before beginning their second round of interviews, the Wizards met with Suns assistant Kevin Young about their head coaching vacancy, according to Scotto, who suggests Young is a name to watch for future coaching openings.

Assistant Coach Kevin Young Leaves Sixers For Suns

3:11pm: The Suns have officially announced the hiring of Young as an assistant coach.


2:39pm: Sixers assistant Kevin Young won’t remain on Philadelphia’s staff under Doc Rivers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Young has agreed to join Monty Williams‘ coaching staff with the Suns.

Young, who began his career as a G League coach, was promoted from the Delaware 87ers to Brett Brown‘s staff in 2016. He received another promotion to the front of the bench two years later, and then interviewed for Philadelphia’s head coaching job following Brown’s ouster this year.

Wojnarowski reported last week that Young made a “strong impression” on the 76ers during that head coaching interview, but with Rivers putting together his own staff, Young won’t be returning to Philadelphia for the 2020/21 season.

In Phoenix, Young will reunite with Williams – who served as a Sixers assistant during the 2018/19 season – and should fill the hole on the coaching staff created by Darko Rajakovic‘s departure last month.