Danny Ainge: Jazz Plan to Build 'Championship Team' After Mitchell, Gobert Trades

Adam WellsSeptember 9, 2022

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Utah Jazz CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge believes the organization is putting itself in position to compete for championships after trading away Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.

Speaking to reporters after the Mitchell trade was officially announced, Ainge said the Jazz "have a plan in place to help us assemble the championship team our fans deserve" following their two major moves.

"It will take time to craft our roster," he added. "We all understand the work ahead and are committed to our vision."

The Jazz certainly have plenty of future draft capital to build out their roster for years to come.

Trading Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves brought back four future first-round draft picks and a pick swap, as well as 2022 first-rounder Walker Kessler, to Utah.

The surprise move that sent Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers got the Jazz three unprotected first-round picks, two pick swaps and young players in Collin Sexton and Ochai Agbaji. They also received Lauri Markkanen in the deal.

As things stand, the Jazz could have up to 16 first-round draft picks between 2023 and 2029 if all of them convey. They look to have placed themselves firmly in the mix to get the No. 1 overall pick next year in what's widely considered a loaded class, led by French sensation Victor Wembanyama.

The Jazz led by Mitchell and Gobert were incredibly successful during the regular season. They made the playoffs in each of their four seasons together, including being the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a 52-20 record in 2020-21.

Postseason success was more difficult to come by. The Jazz only won playoff series during that four-year run, beating the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round in 2021.

Rather than try to run things back for one more year, Ainge and the front office decided to pivot with a plan designed to build around young players and the draft with the hope of becoming a Western Conference powerhouse in the near future.


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