Danny Ainge is returning to the NBA.
UPDATE (Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. ET): The Jazz have made the move official.
“I have known and respected Ryan and Ashley Smith for many years. What they are doing here in Utah is amazing and I am excited to be a part of their vision for the Jazz and Smith Entertainment Group as a whole,” Ainge said in a team press release. “Joining the Jazz was a natural and perfect fit for me, as my roots in Utah are deep and strong. This is a team that has a tremendous foundation of players and people, and Justin and Quin are doing an amazing job. I am excited to collaborate with them, be a resource, and share the perspective I have as we work together to bring our fans the success that they deserve.”
--End of Update--
The former Boston Celtics president of basketball operations is joining the Utah Jazz, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday. Ainge's role with the Jazz will be alternate governor and CEO.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix offered a solid take on why the Jazz job is a good one for Ainge:
The move comes less than a year after Ainge left the Celtics. Ainge stepped down as C's president of basketball operations over the summer and was replaced by then-head coach Brad Stevens.
He spent nearly two decades leading the Celtics front office after returning to Boston in 2003. Ainge won the Executive of the Year award in 2008, the same season he built the Celtics' 17th championship roster.
The Jazz are one of the league's best teams. They finished atop the Western Conference standings last season and currently sit in third place at 19-7.
Playoff success has eluded the Jazz, though. They haven't reached the conference finals since 2006-07, and they haven't been to the NBA Finals since losing to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Ainge helped return to the Celtics to championship form. The Jazz are hoping he can bring them to that level for the first time.