Jazz’s Ainge Going “Big Game Hunting” This Summer

The Jazz failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season. CEO Danny Ainge will look for difference-makers this offseason to change their fortunes, according to Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune.

“We’re ready to go big game hunting,” Ainge told reporters on Tuesday, adding that the Jazz will ideally trade for an All-Star level player in the prime of his career.

We’re not really interested in dinosaurs,” he said. “We’re interested in like, good six or seven years guys, those are good players. I’m not saying that we wouldn’t go get some veteran players for a short-term fix while we take buy us some time. But that’s not as likely.”

Naturally, acquiring one of those players is easier said than done. There aren’t many of them and they’re rarely available in trade discussions. However, Ainge said he almost landed that type of player last offseason.

“We felt like we were close (on a trade) once in this process that would have changed the dynamic of our team immediately,” Ainge said. “But that hasn’t happened.”

Larsen speculates that player was Jrue Holiday before he was dealt to Boston.

What Ainge doesn’t want is to go into training camp with a roster relying heavily on rookies and second-year players, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. Utah currently has three of the top 32 picks in this year’s draft. The Jazz had three first-round picks last June.

“If we start all over, then we’re three years, possibly four years from being anywhere. We feel like we’re closer than that, and we have a chance. We’re going all in this summer,” Ainge said. “When I say ‘all in,’ that doesn’t mean that we’re going to throw all our chips in, like championship or bust. I’m saying our mindset is that we’re doing everything only to try to win. That’s our only objective … and if we don’t land anything, we don’t make any deals, we don’t land anything, then our direction could change.”

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