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Jazz Execs Danny Ainge & Justin Zanik Presser: What we Learned

The Utah Jazz brain trust spilled the beans on the impetus for this tumultuous offseason.

On Monday, Utah Jazz executives Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik held a press conference to discuss the current status of the franchise. The Utah brain trust covered a wide range of topics, and provided some clarity on what direction the Jazz are headed this coming season.

Let's get to some of the key takeaways of the day.

Ainge dished out the details on the chemistry of last year's team and what he learned from presiding over the Jazz in 2021-22, while also justifying the extreme direction he steered this team in the offseason. 

"I wasn't sure what to expect when I got here," Ainge said. "What I saw was some players who didn't believe in each other... Maybe I thought they were just waiting for the playoffs, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt... [It] as unanimous this was the direction we needed to go."

Ainge was asked about his thoughts on the upcoming draft class in 2023.

“I think it's better than last year's draft," Ainge said. "I think '24 might be even better than '23."

Ainge revealed details on the reports of the locker room tension on last year's Jazz squad. 

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“They liked each other more than was reported, but I am not sure there was a belief," Ainge said. 

For his part, Zanik squashed the rumors that the Jazz took a lesser offer in the Donovan Mitchell trade.

"It was the best offer," Zanik said. "To get a good return, you have to give up something, as well."

Ainge and Zanik were very candid with their answers, and after hearing them give more insight into what transpired, one has to wonder whether Mitchell was on the trade block right out of the gates. Ainge seemed motivated to detach himself from players that were brought in before he came on board.

Expect players like Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, and Jordan Clarkson to be traded at some point this season as the Jazz try to establish a new culture heading into the 2022-23 season and beyond. 

Follow Patrick on Twitter @pbyrnesNBA.

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