Danny Ainge opens up about leaving Boston, joining Jazz


Danny Ainge is ready to begin a new chapter in his NBA career.

The former Boston Celtics president of basketball operations officially joined the Utah Jazz front office on Wednesday as their alternate governor and CEO. He had spent the last few months away from the game after stepping down from his role with the C's and being replaced by Brad Stevens.

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Ainge spoke about his new job with the Jazz shortly after the news was announced.

“I’ve taken six or seven months off, and I’ve gotten a good break,” Ainge said during a press conference Wednesday. “I feel like I’m energized and ready to come back and get back to work. This is a different role, a unique role, getting the opportunity to work with ownership and work with [head coach] Quin [Snyder] and [GM] Justin [Zanik] and what they’re doing. I’m anxious to get back and get to work.”

The 62-year-old, who also played eight seasons for the Celtics, simply needed a change of scenery.

“I needed a break from Boston,” Ainge said. “And by the way, my 26 years in Boston were an amazing experience. I’ll always be grateful. One of the greatest things I’ve learned in this business was the relationships you build. Championship rings are our goals, and that’s what you really build a bond when you are trying to work for a championship. But the things I really cherish over those 26 years are the relationships that I developed. Those will always be there."


As for whether a similar role would have been possible in Boston, Ainge says both sides decided it was time to go in a new direction.

“Right now, Boston has moved on; they have three capable people in Brad Stevens and Austin Ainge and Mike Zarren who could run the organization by themselves," he said. "Very capable people that have great experience in the business. I just thought the organization was in great hands moving forward.”

Ainge took to Twitter to express his excitement about starting anew with Utah.

Ainge joins the Jazz front office at an ideal time as Utah currently sits in third place (19-7) in the Western Conference. While he won't have as much of a say in the team's roster construction, there's little doubt he'll have a significant influence on the franchise behind the scenes.