Ex-C's president Danny Ainge is working his magic in Utah


Danny Ainge continues to live up to his "Trader Danny" nickname in Utah.

The former Boston Celtics president of basketball operations has set the Utah Jazz up for a bright future with an impressive collection of assets. On Wednesday, he added to that collection by acquiring a lightly-protected first-round pick in a three-way trade with the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Ainge and the Jazz now have 15 unprotected or lightly-protected first-round picks through 2029. They also have more than $60 million in potential salary cap space.

  • 2023 first-round pick --- own
  • 2023 first-round pick --- from HOU, BKN or PHI*
  • 2023 first-round pick --- from MIN (unprotected)
  • 2025 first-round pick --- own
  • 2025 first-round pick --- from MIN (unprotected)
  • 2025 first-round pick --- from CLE (unprotected)
  • 2026 first-round pick --- own (swap with MIN**)
  • 2027 first-round pick --- own
  • 2027 first-round pick --- from MIN (unprotected)
  • 2027 first-round pick --- from CLE (unprotected)
  • 2027 first-round pick --- from LAL (protected 1-4)
  • 2028 first-round pick --- own
  • 2029 first-round pick --- own
  • 2029 first-round pick --- from MIN (unprotected)
  • 2029 first-round pick --- from CLE (unprotected)

Making the feat even more impressive is the Jazz are still competitive while stocking up on first-rounders. With a solid young core of Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kesslier, Collin Sexton and Ochai Agbajiy, they're currently 27-28 and 10th in the Western Conference standings.

It's a familiar sight for C's fans who witnessed Ainge work his magic during his 18 years in Boston's front office. His ability to stockpile picks is a big reason the Celtics have become a powerhouse in the NBA. He's responsible for stars Jayson Tatum (second overall pick in 2017 NBA Draft) and Jaylen Brown (third overall pick in 2016) both ending up in Boston.

Ainge became CEO and alternate governor of the Jazz before the 2021 season. His former head coach in Boston, Brad Stevens, replaced him as Celtics president.