“… Unfortunately, people in my community don’t get this opportunity, and I do not take it lightly to have this opportunity. To make real change, this is where you have to be — at the top — and Ryan knows that. I’m thankful for him, and I know too that I bring a lot to this partnership outside of just my basketball knowledge and skills.”
Three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade has purchased an ownership stake in the Utah Jazz, joining majority owner and governor Ryan Smith with plans to take an active role in the franchise and region.
Wade, an eight-time All-NBA player with the Miami Heat, is the latest of several Hall of Fame-level players with NBA ownership stakes, including Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks), Shaquille O'Neal (Sacramento Kings) and Charlotte Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan. Magic Johnson previously had a 4% stake in the Los Angeles Lakers.
"This goes way beyond the dream I had to just play basketball in the NBA," Wade told ESPN. "I've seen Shaq do it in Sacramento. I've seen Grant Hill do it in Atlanta. I've seen Jordan do it in Charlotte. If this partnership is going to be anything like my relationship is with Ryan, there are going to be a lot of things that I'll want to be involved in."
Wade, 39, met Smith on a San Clemente, California, golf course shortly after his playing retirement in 2019, and they became fast friends. Wade wanted to understand about Smith's tech empire, including his company Qualtrics, and called him a "mentor." Smith, 42, raised the idea of Wade joining the ownership group upon completing a $1.66 billion purchase of the Jazz in October. The NBA has a bylaw that ownership stakes can be no less than 1% of the team, but Wade's financial investment in the franchise is not immediately clear.
"Dwyane has had a chance to be part of so many different [ownership] groups if he wanted that," Smith told ESPN. "We've basically been in discussion from the time we closed on the team on how we can get this done. Like I run my tech business, you want the brightest people around. "There is a broad picture here. It's much more than just basketball. This league is the biggest platform that there is, and we ran toward that. This isn't a league where we came in saying, 'Hey, this has gone somewhere we're not comfortable with.' This is actually what we signed up for. We're the newest ownership group. We're the youngest. Dwyane's a perfect fit. "It wasn't like we wanted more partners; that wasn't what we were trying to do. I want to work with Dwyane on and off the court, on the business side, and so do our partners -- because of who he is as a human being and what he's accomplished. Those are the kinds of people you want around."
"The respect I that I have for that [Heat] organization will not go anywhere, the love that I have for the [Heat] fans -- that goes nowhere," Wade told ESPN. "But this is about the next phase of my life as an investor, a businessman, an entrepreneur. For me, this is an opportunity to grow."
"We're not running away from the racial and social and LGBTQ conversations," Wade told ESPN. "I'm committed to doing the work. I talk about the LGBTQ community, which everyone knows is important to me. My daughter is part of that community. "I don't look at this as only a Utah Jazz relationship. I look at this as a relationship that's multifaceted -- business, basketball, me being able to bring Ryan into my world just as he's bringing me into his world."
Wade has had a strong relationship to Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, who has regularly been compared to Wade since his arrival in the NBA. "I call him 2.0," Wade told ESPN. "If there's a player similar to me, it's Donovan Mitchell." Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Mitchell had spent time shadowing Wade in South Florida. "He wanted to ride in the car with me, go to the gym and shoot and really wanted to pick my brain," Wade said. "He's on that short list of people who call me and talk for hours. We've got a big brother-little brother relationship."
Said Smith: "Every city in every state is looking at leaders in their community to help. Whether it's Minnesota, New York or L.A., what we do is something that can be leveraged to drive the culture of an entire [region]. That's the work Dwyane and our group are talking about. We're in a world where basketball is uniting this state when everything else in the world is trying to divide us. If we can take that platform and do good and lead and right change for the future, we can look back and say, 'Wow, that's what legacy is about.'"
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA’s joint probe with the Utah Jazz’s independent, outside counsel could not corroborate allegations made by former player Elijah Millsap that Jazz executive Dennis Lindsey made an inflammatory comment in an April 2015 exit meeting, sources tell ESPN.
Tim Reynolds: The NBA announces that an investigation into Elijah Millsap’s claims regarding his Utah Jazz exit interview did not establish that the alleged comment was made. pic.twitter.com/YiM6d7OwL7
Andy Larsen: Ryan Smith, on if he'll meddle with bball ops: "I'm not going to go in and chime in to what the basketball side of the house is really doing. I'm just here to help. I truly believe that we hire the best and we let them roll, then augment them with anything they need help with."
Tony Jones: The Jazz won't immediate search for a replacement for Walt Perrin, League Sources tell The Athletic. They will divide his responsibility up in house
The Bulls hope to have the first part of the hiring process finalized sooner than later, sources said, particularly since the new hire will be granted authority to build out the front office's infrastructure. Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik interviewed for the position on Monday.
Steve Starks, chief executive officer of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, announced today the appointment of Jim Olson, a 25-year veteran of the organization, as president of the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment (LHMSE), effective October 7. Olson, who has been the executive vice president for LHMSE and president of Vivint Smart Home Arena, will oversee the day-to-day business operations of the Utah Jazz. As president of LHMSE, Olson will also provide strategic leadership for properties such as Megaplex Theatres, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake Bees baseball team, Salt Lake City Stars NBA G League team, Jazz Gaming NBA 2K team, The Zone Sports Network and the Tour of Utah professional cycling race.
Eric Woodyard: Justin Zanik on pressure of filling role as Jazz GM: “It’s not about me. This is about the organization and the group and we have a very collaborative process here that involves all aspects of the organization when we have decisions that come up.”
Andy Larsen: Quin Snyder comment on new roles for Dennis Lindsey and Justin Zanik: “I greatly appreciate working with Dennis and Justin and our entire basketball operations department. Having continuity with good people is certainly a positive and look forward to our continued work together.”
“We are excited for these promotions as they further enable Dennis to provide executive leadership and overall strategic vision for Jazz basketball operations and give Justin the opportunity for greater impact on our organization. As one of the brightest young executives in the league, Justin will be responsible for the day-to-day operations. Their leadership allows us to work collectively toward our championship goals,” said Steve Starks, president of the Utah Jazz.
In moves that will reshape the front office of one of the Western Conference's perennial playoff franchises, the Utah Jazz are promoting general manager Dennis Lindsey to executive vice president of basketball operations and assistant GM Justin Zanik to GM, league sources told ESPN.
Lindsey, the Jazz's general manager since 2012, will take on a broader, strategic and leadership role and Zanik will become responsible for the day-to-day duties of running basketball operations, league sources said. A formal announcement is expected as soon as Friday, league sources said.
Eric Walden: Ricky Rubio, on the drama of the trade deadline: "Do I like it? No. I hate it. … The team, sometimes, upstairs, they don't feel like the chemistry matters, and sometimes it matters more than anything."
He was also suspended for the first five games after testing positive for marijuana. Sefolosha said he used it for pain management, but also doesn’t run from the fact that he was wrong. When news of the suspension surfaced last spring, Sefolosha had a conversation with Lindsey. The contents of that talk have been kept private, but sources say the Jazz showed a level of understanding to what Sefolosha was enduring at the time. “It’s definitely not something I want to endorse in any kind of way,” Sefolosha said. “I know that I had to own up to it. There were no excuses. I know I have young fans and I know that it’s a terrible thing for young people to do. I did what I did, and I have to deal with the consequences.”
Kyle Goon: Dennis Lindsey on the Jazz bringing everybody back: "The team really grabbed the heart of the city. We wanted to honor that as much as anything."
In 10 months, Mitchell’s life has taken a 180-degree turn. For those following, his rise has become legendary as the subject of many profiles starting with a pre-draft workout at the Jazz practice facility last summer. “As you look back at it and say, 'OK, you had an inkling of what he could do but we’re all surprised what he did,'” said Walt Perrin, Utah’s vice president of player personnel.
Tony Jones: Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey to the Salt Lake Tribune on Kokoskov: We are so happy for Igor and his family. Igor is a man of integrity who has worked very hard at his craft. A good coach is immensely valuable in this business
The 25-year-old is thrilled that Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey didn’t choose to go the rebuilding route. They landed rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell in a draft-night trade with Denver, made key free agent signings and trades, continued to focus on player development, and now find themselves looking as dangerous as any team around. “Just try to teach players how to make winning plays, not only good basketball plays but winning plays,” Gobert said in explaining coach Quin Snyder’s system. “Teach every single one to help the team win games. A lot of teams are very good doing skill work, strength work. But if you want to win, you have to teach a player how to win. That's why I don't believe in tanking, all that stuff. I believe you learn how to win by winning. You don't learn how to win by losing on purpose to get a 19-year-old who you've never seen."
“We thought that Gordon Hayward would be back, and so when we introduced (Mitchell) to the team, we felt like he could be a little bit like George Hill, maybe a little like Dwyane Wade,” Dennis Lindsey explained. “And if all of our free agents stayed, then maybe his first season looks a little bit more like George Hill’s did in San Antonio when we took George (during Lindsey’s time there). But again, opportunity presented itself. Instead of trying to make him go through all the rookie rituals that traditionalists would put him through, let’s just embrace where he’s at and have him get better on the fly. We had a few thumbnails during the summer that (showed) maybe he could handle a few more possessions than we originally anticipated.”
New Knicks point guard Trey Burke, back in Utah where he was a celebrated 2013 lottery pick who didn’t pan out, said the Jazz drafting Dante Exum before his second NBA season ruined his psyche. Back at the arena in which he played his first three seasons, Burke reflected on his years in Utah. “Young Trey Burke was not all the way focused on basketball,’’ Burke said before the Knicks beat the Jazz 117-115. “Distractions going on in my life as a young player. “At the same time, I do feel I did a great job my rookie season. Second year, they drafted another point guard [Exum] — which kind of messed with my mind. It played with me a little bit. That’s where it went wrong. My rookie season the coach [Tyrone Corbin] gets fired. Going into the second year, it’s a whole new coaching staff to get used to. Sometimes it don’t work out.’’
Rudy Gobert: [When Gordon Hayward announced he was going to the Boston Celtics], I know it was hard for [Jazz general manager] Dennis Lindsey, because when he announced it, the biggest free agents were already gone. I know Danilo Gallinari signed the day before in LA, so it was frustrating... So we just said okay. We were here because of defense, so let's try and become an even better defensive team.
Jonathan Rinehart, a 12-year veteran of the Utah Jazz staff and most recently the vice president of communications, was named today as the team president of the Salt Lake City Stars, the NBA G League affiliate of the Jazz, announced Don Stirling, executive vice president of Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment. “As the Stars begin their second season in Salt Lake City, we are pleased to have Jonathan in a management role due to his extensive experience in the NBA and knowledge about the business and basketball sides of a franchise,” said Stirling. “This is a great opportunity in his taking the leadership reins for one of our growing properties that has a direct impact on the Jazz.”
Tony Jones: The Jazz have a verbal agreement to re-hire Justin Zanik in a front office role and to hire David Morway, sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune
Steve Kyler: Regarding Jazz news on front office - David Morway has been with the Jazz since well before the draft combine. Great hire.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Justin Zanik and David Morway are joining the Utah Jazz as top front office executives under GM Dennis Lindsey, league sources tell ESPN.
“What we’re going to face in the next series – what we just faced – these are major tests for us,” Lindsey told The Vertical. “I’m really happy for our fans. It’s a basketball state. Our arena – the way it’s built, the way our fans fill it – it’s really second to none. “Our team is fairly new to each other, but our fans like our guys. In a lot of ways, it’s Quin’s vision of the ball moving. It’s a team that’s easy for our fans to like. Our fans are sophisticated and judgmental. And I say that in a good way, because of the Karl [Malone] and John [Stockton] years. They want tough, smart, unselfish basketball. Quin’s put his twist on it – he’s delivered on those things.”
The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has promoted Richard Smith to executive director of international scouting and Bart Taylor to Jazz director of scouting/Salt Lake City Stars vice president of basketball operations. Additionally, the team announced the hiring of Nixon Dorvilien as director of rehabilitation. Per team policy, terms of the agreements were not announced
With the departure of assistant general manager Justin Zanik, who was hired late last month as the GM-in-waiting in Milwaukee, the Jazz are weighing options and plotting their course for replacing one of their top executives. Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said this weekend he has yet to speak directly with any candidates, nor is there a firm timeline in place for filling the vacancy, but the Jazz's front office boss does have some candidates in mind.
"We're not currently talking to anybody right now," Lindsey said. "But I am spending part of my day in diligence. I do know several candidates. I have worked with them, done deals with them. If we were to do something quick it would probably be based upon experience and familiarity. If we're looking at some of the younger talent out there, that may be more of a process." Lindsey said the Jazz could potentially get by without hiring a replacement for Zanik. The team did not have an assistant general manager before Zanik was hired almost three years ago, and Lindsey said he trusts the experience of front-office veterans Walt Perrin, Kevin O'Connor, David Fredman and Richard Smith.
July 3, 2022 | 7:04 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: Frank Ntilikina’s $2 million contract for next season becomes guaranteed tomorrow and the Mavericks’ intention, league sources say, is indeed to retain the former Knicks lottery pick. More NBA from me: marcstein.Substack.com
ClutchPoints: “Brooklyn wants a massive group of draft picks back, first-round picks, pick swaps, and they also want an All-Star level player.” @wojespn on what the Brooklyn Nets want in return for Kevin Durant
July 3, 2022 | 6:31 pm EDT Update
July 3, 2022 | 5:04 pm EDT Update
Kevin Durant’s quest to find a new home as he waits for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets could take him to a place he knows very well. Appearing on ESPN Radio, Marc J. Spears of Andscape called the Golden State Warriors a team to “keep an eye on” for Durant. Spears later took to Twitter to give more context to his report. Spears noted the Warriors “could” potentially offer the best package for both sides, with a deal involving Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman.