A close friendship with Jazz owner Ryan Smith could potentially result in a front office role for Danny Ainge, according to Henry Abbott of True Hoop.
Ainge stepped down as Celtics president of basketball operations Wednesday. Head coach Brad Stevens has been hired as Ainge’s replacement.
Chris Mannix of SI.com also linked Ainge with the Jazz, reporting that it is viewed around the league as a “potential next step.”
As Abbott noted, both Ainge and Smith hail from Eugene, Ore., and attended BYU. Smith purchased the majority share of the Jazz prior to the season.
Meanwhile, Ainge told reporters his only plans for the immediate future are helping Stevens adjust to his new role.
“I don’t know what my future holds,” Ainge said. “I don’t have any plans. My goal is to get Brad up to speed on the draft as our whole staff will be able to help in all of that and try to make this transition and put the Celtics in as good a place as we can be. I’ll think about the future somewhere in the future.”
Dennis Lindsey currently serves as Utah’s executive vice-president of basketball operations, and given that the Jazz finished with the league’s best record, Lindsey’s job is undoubtedly secure.
Former NBA star Dwyane Wade is minority owner of the Jazz.
Ainge, 64, held his position with the Celtics since 2003 and was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2008, the last time the franchise won a championship.
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