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When the Utah Jazz hired Danny Ainge to be the CEO of Jazz basketball, a newly created title and position, the power structure wasn’t made entirely clear. General manager Justin Zanik has maintained his position and the Jazz have not hired a president of basketball operations after the departure of Dennis Lindsey.
Jazz owner Ryan Smith said that Zanik would handle day-to-day stuff while Ainge would have his hands on different parts of the organization and be involved in more big picture things, which is just another way of saying not much at all about how decisions would be made.
But in the last few weeks, we’ve gotten a small glimpse that could tell us more about how things are being run.
Ainge had not spoken with local reporters since being hired until Quin Snyder’s farewell press conference on Monday. That day, Ainge sat at the dais with Smith and Snyder, and questions about the search for a new coach were answered by Ainge.
Zanik, although present on Monday, was not fielding questions, even though Zanik has been the person that the Jazz have put out in front of the microphone whenever there has been anything regarding players (trades, contracts, midseason questions).
That doesn’t necessarily mean Zanik has final say when it comes to player personnel decisions, only that he is the one that speaks for the team on those matters.
But having Ainge be the person speaking on the coaching search and sitting with Smith as they spoke about a future coach does paint a picture that Ainge will be in charge of that decision and have more of a senior role in key decisions.
The Jazz have remained noncommittal when it comes to talking about any sort of hierarchy within the front office, instead leaning on the message that decisions are made collaboratively.
But when it comes time to lay blame or hand out praise, there is always a single person that emerges as a leader, and recent events have suggested that Ainge is higher up in the food chain.
New with the Jazz
This week on ‘Unsalvageable’
Check out “Unsalvageable: A Utah Jazz Podcast,” hosted by Deseret News Utah Jazz beat reporter Sarah Todd and lifelong Jazz fan Greg Foster (no, not that Greg Foster).
This week the crew is back after a long hiatus and they discuss departure of Quin Snyder and how the Utah Jazz got to this point.
The podcast has moved to a new feed so remember to follow or subscribe by searching for “Unsalvageable” through your podcast provider.
New episodes come out every week. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you stream podcasts.
Stat of the week
The Boston Celtics have a 2-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. That lead has come with a +17 rebound advantage, largely coming in the Celtics’ Game 3 win in which Boston won the battle of the boards 47-31 overall and 15-6 on the offensive glass.
From the archives
This week in Jazz history
On June 8, 1979, the New Orleans Jazz moved to Salt Lake City, thus becoming the Utah Jazz.
How to pass the time in the offseason
Now that the Jazz season has come to an end, it means that I have some time to catch up on the things that I love but don’t have enough time for during the NBA season. Here I’ll suggest my latest way to pass the offseason time and also take your suggestions.
It’s hot and getting hotter this weekend so get into some water! I, like many others, do not have a pool but that’s not keeping me from catching some rays and taking a dip.
There are numerous lakes, creeks and other fresh water holes around the area but even if you can’t make a trek out to one of those, you might have a friend that has a pool or that lives at an apartment building with a pool and there’s no shame in asking to join in on the summer fun.
Don’t have those options? Get a cheap kiddy pool and a bag of ice. Want an even cheaper option? As my mother would say, “Go outside and spray yourself down with the hose.”
- Quin Snyder walked away, leaving plenty of questions left to answer (Salt Lake Tribune)
- Every person the Jazz are reportedly interviewing for the head coach job (Deseret News)
- Makur Maker hoping his stint in the NBL will make his NBA dreams a reality (Deseret News)
- Former BYU standout Alex Barcello keeping it real as he eyes pro career (Deseret News)
Around the league
LeBron James expresses interest in owning NBA team in Las Vegas.
A look at Al Horford’s journey to his first NBA Finals appearance.
Previewing Celtics vs. Warriors Game 4.
Up next: NBA Finals
June 10 | 7 p.m. | Game 4 | Golden State Warriors @ Boston Celtics | ABC
June 13 | 7 p.m. | Game 5 | Boston Celtics @ Golden State Warriors | ABC
June 16 | 7 p.m. | Game 6, if necessary | Golden State Warriors @ Boston Celtics | ABC
June 19 | 6 p.m. | Game 7, if necessary | Boston Celtics @ Golden State Warriors | ABC