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Jazz's Offseason Moves Show Exec Danny Ainge isn't Catering to Any One Player

These moves weren't made to placate Donovan Mitchell.

With the Utah Jazz in the midst of a personnel makeover this 2022 offseason, there's a pattern developing that many didn't see coming, including me. Jazz executive Danny Ainge doesn't cater to anyone, and that's refreshing. 

For NBA teams, it's been bad for business to give too much control to divas such as Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Lebron James, and Kyrie Irving.

Ainge has had first-hand experience of what this can do to a locker room. In 2017, Ainge traded for Irving which ended in an ugly divorce after a short two-year stint. Irving performed on the court averaging 24 points a game, but rumors of chemistry problems and a fractured locker room contributed to him leaving in 2019.

It felt like the Jazz were going to go down that same road with All-Star Donovon Mitchell. It doesn't feel that way anymore.

The first case in point is the hiring of Utah's new head coach Will Hardy. When the vacancy opened up, Johnnie Bryant was the clear favorite to land his first head coaching gig. 

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Ainge surprised everybody by hiring the coach he thought was the best fit for the team, rather than taking the candidate that had the best connection with Mitchell.

Then Ainge parted ways with Mitchell's childhood friend Eric Paschall. Here's a player that has proved that he's good enough to make an NBA roster, but who are we kidding? Paschall was brought in because of his connection to Mitchell, and to think anything different would be naive.

What about Royce O'Neale? It's no secret that O’Neale and Mitchell have had an off-court bond since they both entered the league as rookies in 2017. That friendship will now be a long-distance one as O'Neale was traded to the New Jersey Nets for a first-round draft pick.

When it comes to NBA divas, I would never put Mitchell in the same conversation as Irving, and whether these moves end up working out remains to be seen.

But from the outside looking in, it looks like Ainge has learned from mistakes that he's made in the past, and for Jazz Nation, that's an exciting thing to see.


Follow Patrick on Twitter @pbyrnesNBA.