"The Book of Mormon". Danny Ainge is heading home to Utah, to serve as alt-governor and CEO of Jazz.
Last week, driving past Wesley, Massachusetts, I had a sudden thought about Danny Ainge. I knew his house was on the market and wasn't sure if he was retired or not. I joked and said, "I am surprised he isn't back in Utah yet." Well, a week later and that joke became a reality.
Ryan Smith, the Jazz Owner, has a a longtime friendship with Danny Ainge. He was a legendary player at BYU, known for clinching the Sweet Sixteen win over Notre Dame in the 1981 tournament. He won the Wooden Award his senior year, as well as being honored as an All-American, a two-time First Team Academic All-American, the WAC Player of the Year and a four-time All-WAC selection. He concluded his college career having scored in double figures in 112 consecutive games, an NCAA record at that time.
Danny Ainge had a formidable playing and coaching career, but is known for his work as the Celtics GM, guiding the team to acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to claim the 2008 NBA Championship. Ainge stepped down as Celtics GM after last season, but now returns with the Jazz to oversee basketball operations and work closely with GM Justin Zanik.
This move was bound to happen. After the Celtics shakeup, he has been linked to the Jazz for almost a year.
This is just one paragraph in the entirety of the Jazz's chapter of the 21st century. It must be an exciting time as a Utah fan. Ryan Smith, the billionaire co-founder of Qualtrics purchased the team last October from the Miller family. This past April, Dwyane Wade bought into the team in minority ownership stake in the team and was expected to have hands-on involvement in team operations. Last season, the Jazz sent three players to the All-Star competition (Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Mike Conley), which was the first time since 1989 (John Stockton, Karl Malone, and Mark Eaton) that three Jazz were selected as All-Stars. They've made the playoff every year since 2017, and this seems to be a great move to help them make the championship push.