Former Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge, who now serves as the CEO of the Jazz front office, made a name for himself–specifically, the nickname being ‘Trader Danny‘–with the Cs by being a cut-throat front office leader who gets what he wants in negotiations. Always.
Well, from the sounds of it, it appears he’s taken all of those negotiating talents to Salt Lake City to run the Jazz the same way. Apparently, Ainge didn’t trade Donovan Mitchell to the Miami Heat because of a lifelong grudge with Pat Riley.
The history started between the two in the 1980s. Riley was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and Ainge was still playing for the Boston Celtics and climaxed during a game between a Riley-coached New York Knicks and a Phoenix Suns squad featuring Ainge when the two teams got into a wild pull-apart brawl.
While addressing Dan Greenberg’s remark that ‘Pat Riley knows Danny Ainge still hates him like poison,’ NBC Sports Boston’s Max Lederman all but confirmed as much and added that Riley wasn’t exactly looking to give Ainge premium value for Mitchell:
Former Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge fleeced the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves
What’s incredible about the job former Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge did is that he turned two one-dimensional stars (that certainly deliver in their one dimension) into Malik Beasley, Leandro Bolmaro, No. 22 2022 NBA Draft pick Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, No. 14 2022 NBA Draft pick Ochai Agbaji, Talen Horton-Tucker, Stanley Johnson, seven future first round picks, and three future first round pick swaps.
Within that group are win-now vets like Beasley and Markkanen that could be flipped into more draft capital and several building blocks for the team to craft a game-plan around moving forward.
Ainge did the best he could given the Jazz brain trust’s lack of confidence in the Rudy Gobert-Donovan Mitchell duo and the team’s apparent need to move on from what had become a volatile situation during the COVID-19 pandemic when the two publicly feuded.