- Will Hardy will become just the sixth head coach for the Jazz since they moved from New Orleans to Salt Lake City in 1979, as relayed by Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune. Hardy spent last season as an assistant under Ime Udoka with the Eastern Conference champion Celtics. Before that, he spent more than a decade with Gregg Popovich and the Spurs.
- For the record, the other five Utah coaches since 1979: Tom Nissalke, Frank Layden, Jerry Sloan, Tyrone Corbin and Quin Snyder, who stepped down after eight seasons.
- Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin were the other finalists for the current vacancy, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Each of the candidates met with Jazz owner Ryan Smith in Utah recently, Wojnarowski added.
- It is unclear whether Jensen will return, but even if not, he stands to be coaching somewhere again next season. He’s been linked to several other vacancies over the past few seasons, including those of the Lakers and Cavaliers.
- The Lakers are continuing to “privately” seek Russell Westbrook trades, per Kyle Goon of the LA Daily News, but again realize there may be no takers before the season. As we relayed here, Westbrook is picking up the $47.1 million option on his contract.
- Westbrook’s contract alone takes up about 32 percent of the Lakers’ salary cap, per Goon. With free agency looming at the end of the week, LA will have just the “taxpayer midlevel exception (about $6.3 million) and minimum contracts to fill out the roster,” Goon wrote.
- While the Lakers will have to get creative, they should still explore the market for an available center, wrote Alex Regla of SB Nation. Free-agent targets that might make sense, per Regla: Isaiah Hartenstein (Clippers), Mo Bamba (Magic) and Thomas Bryant (Wizards).
“It’s going to be scary,” he said, via Sirius XM NBA Radio.
Daniels’ specialty is said to be defense, making the No. 8 overall pick out of the G League a natural fit under coach Willie Green, and presumably giving him time to grow offensively.
“Any NBA team you go to, you have to earn your spot no matter what. They have a great team here,” Daniels said, per Terry Kimble of SI.com. “They have scorers. They have Zion coming back. I feel like I can fit so many different roles. I can be a playmaker … there are so many different roles I can play on a team. My game is rapidly improving and I’m a winner. I going to do whatever it takes to help us win.”
- Both Daniels and second-round pick E.J. Liddell are expected to play for the Pelicans’ summer league team in Las Vegas early next month. Since Daniels replaced Tony Snell for New Orleans’ final roster spot, Liddell may have to take a two-way contract, per Chris Dodson of SI.com.
- Daniels, Liddell and the rest of the summer squad will square off against the Trail Blazers in the summer opener, pitting Daniels against fellow lottery pick Shaedon Sharpe, drafted No. 7 overall.