After 18 years running the Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge stepped away as the Celtics president of basketball operations, turning that job over to Brad Stevens.
However, Danny Ainge may not be retired “retired.”
Ainge said in a press conference announcing the change in Boston he didn’t know what was next for him; however, multiple reports link him to the Utah Jazz. From Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
As Danny Ainge moves on from Boston, a possible landing spot, in some capacity: The Utah Jazz. As rumors of Ainge's exit rippled through the NBA in recent months, a role with the Jazz has been seen as a potential next step.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) June 2, 2021
Ainge played his college ball at BYU and reportedly is close to new Jazz owner Ryan Smith (both were born in Eugene, Oregon, and both went to BYU).
Utah has an excellent front office in place, led by Dennis Lindsey — he put together the roster with the best record in the NBA this season and are title contenders. There is no reason the Jazz should be making changes. Also, there are also new owners and a new ownership style in Utah, maybe that changes the dynamic.
There would be a couple of possibilities if Ainge were to come to Utah. One is that Lindsey moves on to another franchise to run its organization, and Ainge steps into Lindsey’s role. The other is Ainge takes on more of a Jerry West-style consultant role advising new owner Smith and having a voice in the Jazz front office, but not the final say.
Either way, don’t be surprised if that comes together down the line (likely not soon, but eventually). It’s something to watch.