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Jazz hire former Celtics president Danny Ainge as CEO

New Jazz CEO Danny Ainge at Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 22: Former Celtics player Danny Ainge waves before the Celtics home opener against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden on October 22, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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The current NBA franchises with the highest all-time win percentages:

  • San Antonio Spurs (61%): 5 championships
  • Los Angeles Lakers (59%): 17 championships
  • Boston Celtics (59%): 17 championships
  • Utah Jazz (55%): 0 championships

The Jazz – who are in the midst of yet another strong regular season and trying to end their title drought – are turning to an executive with proven championship experience: former Celtics president Danny Ainge.

Jazz release:
Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), the operating company which owns the Utah Jazz, Vivint Arena and other Utah-centric business ventures, today announced the appointment of Danny Ainge as CEO of Utah Jazz Basketball. Ainge will also represent SEG as an Alternate Governor for the Utah Jazz on the NBA’s Board of Governors.

“We have big aspirations for Smith Entertainment Group and the Utah Jazz. Danny is one of the best basketball minds in the world and he’s also passionate about this state and our community,” said Ryan Smith, owner of the Utah Jazz and SEG. “We believe in adding the best talent to all facets of our organization and are lucky to have Danny’s acumen and experience. The Jazz are in great hands with the incredible leadership of General Manager Justin Zanik and Head Coach Quin Snyder. We couldn’t be more excited to bring Danny on board to work alongside Justin, Quin and me. Danny will help make our organization stronger in pursuit of our collective goal--winning an NBA title.”

“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,” said Danny Ainge, newly appointed CEO of Utah Jazz Basketball. “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.”

Ainge, who played at BYU, had been linked to the Jazz basically since
resigning from the Celtics in June. He takes over a front office ripe with strife under Dennis Lindsey and has had a power vacuum since Lindsey’s own June resignation. Justin Zanik had been in charge and will apparently now work under Ainge.

Utah has a formidable top two locked in with Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell and has done well to build the supporting cast. Jazz owner Ryan Smith has shown a willingness to spend.

It’s now on Ainge – who built Boston’s 2008 title team – to determine how to advance the franchise, especially in the playoffs.