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Jazz manual acknowledges that the title window has been closed; off-season about the opening of a new

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Danny Ainge, left, and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, speak about Ainge’s new role as CEO of Utah Jazz Basketball, in charge of all basketball decisions, at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.
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Danny Ainge (left) and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith talk about Ainge’s new role as Utah Jazz Basketball CEO in charge of all basketball decisions at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. (Laura Seitz ) , Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

Salt Lake City – Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge was pretty straight forward.

“This season hasn’t been a lot of fun,” he said Saturday before Utah’s first game in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Nobody argues there; Utah’s 2021-22 season has been a very disappointing one. The Jazz went from being the best-performing team in the league to a team that was bursting at the seams. It was tiring to watch, and Ainge admitted that it was no better to deal with it.

“The draft was not very fun. Free will was not very fun. You overpaid your tax, there are no draft picks, and our team is losing in the first round. We weren’t having fun,” Ainge said. . “We want it to be fun for our fans and for our players, but lately we just haven’t had the flexibility to do anything.”

Flexibility was one of the main reasons the team moved Rudy Gobert mainly to future assets. With this move, Ainge and co suddenly got a treasure chest of rough assets and can now easily get rid of their salary to go after free agents in the future. Did Jazz get better after the Gobert trade? Not now. But at least there is an opportunity to have some fun again.

However, this path is yet to be determined. Will the Jazz now focus on building around Donovan Mitchell? Can they keep destroying it all? Here’s what Ainge and GM Justin Zanik had to say about the present and future of jazz on Saturday.

Are new deals coming up?

Zanik: “We are still in free agency and in the off-season, so we are going to take every opportunity. We still have a couple of open spots in the roster and obviously the Summer League score and any other opportunities that come up to continue doing our best to balance and improve the roster. But we’re happy with a lot of the guys that come from Minnesota, and I think they can all contribute in some way. So we’ll see how it goes, but it’s like we’re in the middle of it right now.”

Why did the Jazz trade Gobert?

Zanik: “Look, some of these opportunities are complex, but given Minnesota’s profit margins and motivation, we all had to come together and decide, ‘Hey, this is what we need to do for the organization.

Do you agree that with this group the championship window has closed? Can the Jazz be competitive this season?

Ainge: “I agree with that… We talked a lot about these things. But we will be able to talk more when we get our team together and put together a final roster, and we can answer more on the second part of your question. honestly I do not know”.

Zanik: “The team failed, we failed, so we need to recalibrate and try to open the next window. And hopefully it’s a long window.”

What does this deal mean for Donovan Mitchell?

Zanik: “I think this is a great opportunity for him. Obviously he has a high character, a very motivated player who wants to be great. We will continue to give them the resources to do so and make it happen. He is a determined young man.”

Mitchell untouchable?

Zanik: “I’m not trying to be cryptic or anything, but Donovan is on our list and he’s a very, very important part of what we’re trying to do. Everything is evolving in the NBA. So I couldn’t sit back. here and say that someone (untouchable). We’re trying to build a championship team, but we have no intention (of trading him).”

What was the contact with Mitchell this offseason?

Zanik: “Donovan is very supportive of everything we do. He had a previous relationship with Team USA coach (Will) Hardy. keep them up to date and we will continue to do so.”

Do you plan to use the mid-range elimination this year?

Ainge: “I mean, we would definitely do it. If this player, as we thought, was going to change something, we would use him.

What gives you more flexibility?

Zanik: “It allows you to have many very interesting conversations with teams calling just because of your flexibility. So you have the opportunity to talk about different concepts or deals, both now and over the next five or six years. And our goal is to keep adding major players and building a base that has a chance to be competitive and win a title in the future. So these assets allow you to achieve this in a variety of ways, whether you choose to or transfer these pickaxes to other players.”

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Ryan Miller has covered Utah Jazz for KSL.com since 2018.

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