A well-connected figure in the NBA suggested that San Antonio Spurs assistant Will Hardy’s name is being tossed around for the OKC Thunder coaching vacancy.
Free agency isn’t going to be as much of a big deal in this offseason as it’s been in years past. Instead, the free-agent coaching market is the center of attention with five remaining vacancies and a plethora of deserving candidates getting their due diligence. Amongst them is San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Will Hardy, who has worked his way up in the organization for a decade.
This is according to ESPN insider Brian Windhorst, who went on The Jump and suggested that many people believe there are great things to come from Hardy’s coaching career.
Hardy moved up to a more prominent role on the San Antonio Spurs’ bench last offseason and is already having his name tossed around in head coaching discussions. During his tenure with the organization, Hardy’s worn many hats. He’s been a head coach in the Spurs’ Summer League circuit, worked at various levels as a video coordinator and got his start as a basketball operations intern in 2010.
Needless to say Hardy knows the culture of the San Antonio Spurs organization. He put in the time to rise in the ranks and his name is ringing throughout NBA front offices everywhere because of it. With this in mind, it’s not a matter of “if” Hardy gets a chance to run an NBA team — It’s a matter of “when.”
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The same should be said of assistant Becky Hammon, who many believe is the anticipated successor to head coach Gregg Popovich. Hammon and Hardy were both linked to the Indiana Pacers’ head coaching vacancy after interviewing with the team earlier in the month. Hammon is the more seasoned coach of the two with the basketball IQ of a Hall of Fame point guard from her playing days with the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars of the WNBA.
On one hand, it’d be surprising to see Hardy jump the ladder and get hired by an NBA franchise to lead the show. He’s not nearly as experienced at being an NBA coach as Hammon is despite playing a pivotal role in the organization over the years. However, Hammon has a glass wall to break through en route to becoming the first woman to hold the position of head coach in one of the United States’ four major sports organizations.
Regardless, Oklahoma City is one of the more intriguing positions in the coaching market. After nearly upsetting their trade partner from the previous offseason, the Houston Rockets, in the first round, there’s no telling what’s next for this team. General manager Sam Presti racked up a haul of first-round draft picks that any GM would salivate over and he may gather even more in a potential Chris Paul trade this offseason.
OKC needs a head coach who can bring a breath of fresh air, help establish a strong locker room culture and prepare for the changing tides of an organization retooling on the fly.
There’s no reason why Hardy wouldn’t be up for the challenge.