Danny Ainge: Jazz Changes Result of Seeing Players That Didn’t Believe In Each Other

It’s been a total team makeover for the Jazz. Out are Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. In are the likes of Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker and Lauri Markkanen.Danny Ainge

All of it is something Jazz CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge felt needed to be done. The Jazz needed to start over. So that’s what Ainge and GM Justin Zanik have decided to do.

“What I saw during the season was a group of players that really didn’t believe in each other,” Ainge told reporters, via Eic Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Ainge joined the Jazz in December after years with the Celtics. He once purged Boston’s roster too, before landing the likes of Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, teaming them with Paul Pierce.

He said in a statement last week the changes are all part of a long-term plan for the Jazz — and he knew it was needed after witnessing their first-round playoff exit.

“When we got to the playoffs, I thought, well, this is a team that’s had some disappointing playoffs and maybe they’re just waiting for the playoffs,” Ainge said, via Walden. “And so I gave them that benefit of the doubt. But it was clear the team did not perform well in the playoffs again.”

So after dealing Gobert to the Timberwolves, they sent Mitchell to the Cavs. This after extensive Mitchell talks with the Knicks.

“It was the best offer,” Zanik said of the deal with Cleveland, via Walden. “I think for them, they saw an opportunity to add to their team and open up a window with Donovan and a young group, I think they are going to be very good. And, you know, to get a good return, you have to give up something good as well. They certainly gave up a lot.”

Now, the Jazz are admittedly looking for deals centered on their other veterans — Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson. So the housecleaning isn’t likely finished.

“Those conversations continue to evolve, we’ve continued to be in touch with them directly and their representation,” Zanik said. “Obviously there’s been a lot of change this summer, so it’s natural for us to have those conversations.”

Along with the changes to the roster, the Jazz have undergone a major coaching change, as Quin Snyder was replaced with ex-Celtics assistant Will Hardy after Snyder’s decision to step aside.

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