NBA Rumor: Utah Jazz Sale

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But Pope, who is entering his second season as the Cougars’ head coach next month, did not have to Google Smith’s name to learn more about him. Pope and his wife, Lee Anne, are close friends with the Smiths and live in the same neighborhood in Orem. “I do know Ryan and Ashley and, I mean, come on, how blessed are we in the state of Utah to have this legendary family like the Millers being stewards over this program, and then have Ryan and Ashley Smith take over the deal?” Pope said Thursday in his weekly press briefing with reporters who cover BYU basketball. “I mean, they are going to blow it up to epic proportions, and they are going to represent the state in such an extraordinary way.”

So who is the new owner of the Utah Jazz? Here are the high points: Smith is young (42), loves basketball, and has signaled a strong commitment to social justice, particularly racial justice issues. And of course, he’s very wealthy. Prior Jazz owner Miller was born in Salt Lake City and built a business empire starting with car dealerships, then expanding to a television station and movie theaters before purchasing the Jazz in 1985. The price tag was reportedly $22 million for 100% of the Jazz. Miller died in 2009 and passed control of the Jazz to his family.

“He put me in charge. He told me, ‘You’re going to be the trustee. You’ve got the institutional knowledge. You do what you think is best.’ He had faith in my judgment and ability to make decisions and take care of things.” After a thorough and open discussion with the family management group — which consists of her five children and grandson — she says they agreed the time was right to sell the team. “We all had to come to the conclusion on our own,” said Miller. “Some were slower to come to the party. In the end we all saw the wisdom in this decision, which opens an asset we can do so much more with.”

Eben Novy-Williams. Where does the @utahjazz sale price rank alongside other recent @NBA deals? @LevAkabas breaks it down here Given that this is a pandemic, and Salt Lake isn’t LA, NYC or Houston, I’d say that’s a pretty darn good number for the NBA #SportsBiz

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May 17, 2021 | 7:55 pm EDT Update