Dennis Lindsey

Jazz Rumors: Lindsey, Snyder, Azubuike, Wade, Ainge, Battier

Dennis Lindsey‘s transition from his executive VP of basketball operations position with the Jazz into an advisory role was framed as Lindsey’s call, but it was more of an ownership decision, according to Andy Larsen and Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

As Larsen and Walden explain in an in-depth story, new Jazz owner Ryan Smith is making some changes to the front office — director of pro player personnel David Fredman was also told this week that his contract isn’t being renewed.

One factor in the decision to reassign Lindsey was a “long-running disconnect” between the executive and head coach Quin Snyder, per the Tribune’s report. According to Larsen and Walden, Lindsey and Snyder had numerous disagreements both on and off the court, including not seeing eye to eye on rotation and roster decisions. Snyder – along with many members of the front office – were frustrated by the selection of Udoka Azubuike in the first round of the 2020 draft, per Larsen and Walden.

Given Utah’s success during the 2020/21 season, Lindsey and Snyder were on better terms during the last year, but several people in the organization still felt that this week’s announcement reflected a feud being settled. “Quin won,” one source told The Tribune.

Here’s more on the Jazz’s front office shakeup:

  • While Lindsey is now an advisor in the Jazz’s front office, there’s an expectation that he’ll seek a job with another team, according to Larsen and Walden.
  • Dwyane Wade has “added his voice” to front office discussions, but isn’t taking a day-to-day role in basketball and roster decisions, per Larsen and Walden.
  • If former Celtics executive Danny Ainge joins the Jazz, it will likely be in an advisory role, says Tony Jones of The Athletic.
  • Jones, Larsen, and Walden all say more front office additions are expected. Multiple reporters, including Jones, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald suggest that Wade’s former teammate Shane Battier is one candidate to join the basketball operations department. Battier worked in the Heat’s front office from 2017-21, but recently left that position and is now just a consultant for Miami.

Jazz EVP Lindsey Transitioning To Advisory Role; Zanik To Run Basketball Ops

Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey is transitioning to an advisory role with the franchise, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Although Lindsey has been the head of basketball operations in Utah in recent years, general manager Justin Zanik has run day-to-day operations in the front office since 2019 and he’ll continue to do so going forward, sources tell ESPN. Head coach Quin Snyder will also continue to have a “significant organizational voice,” says Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

New Jazz owner Ryan Smith is expected to take the opportunity to evaluate the basketball operations department to “see where it can be strengthened,” Woj adds (via Twitter). Tony Jones of The Athletic (all Twitter links) also suggests that more front office changes are on the way, with former Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge among those who could be in the mix to join the Jazz. Ainge was linked to Utah immediately after word broke that he was stepping down from his job in Boston.

However, Wojnarowski stresses that Smith and Zanik have worked well together, and Jones says the plan is for Zanik to head up the basketball operations department going forward. If Ainge comes aboard, it won’t be to lead the front office, according to Jones. It’s unclear if Ainge would be interested in a role where he’s not making the final decisions.

Lindsey, confirming his move to an advisory position, shared a statement with Wojnarowski:

“In recent years, I have had conversations with the Miller family and then Ryan Smith when he came on board about moving into an advisory role. This is an appropriate time to make the transition with the organization on such solid footing. … I look forward to making contributions to the Jazz in a different way, while enjoying more time with my wife Becky and our four children.”

Suns GM James Jones Named Executive Of The Year

Suns team owner Robert Sarver announced ahead of Phoenix’s first Western Conference Finals game in 11 years that general manager James Jones has won the NBA’s Executive of the Year award for the 2020/21 season, Gina Mizell of Suns.com tweets.

The award is voted on by NBA execs rather than by media members. Jones received nine first-place votes and 65 overall points, narrowly beating out Jazz executive VP Dennis Lindsey, who earned nine first-place votes and 61 points, per a press release. Nets GM Sean Marks placed third with 51 points.

“I want to thank Robert for this opportunity,” Jones said to a raucous Phoenix home crowd, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic (video link). “All I can say is ‘Go Suns, let’s win.'”

A 14-year NBA pro as a 6’8″ wing out of Miami, Jones won three titles with the Heat and Cavaliers. He first joined the Suns as the club’s vice president of basketball operations in 2017, before being promoted to interim GM in October 2018, and finally to full-fledged GM in 2019.

The award is well-deserved this season, as Jones helped orchestrate several key moves that elevated the promising young Suns into legitimate title contenders.

Jones hired head coach Monty Williams in the summer of 2019, helping lay the groundwork for the club’s turnaround from an extended lottery purgatory. The Suns just barely missed the NBA playoffs in the 2019/20 season, finishing with a 34-39 record and the No. 10 seed in the West during the Orlando restart “bubble”

Jones, 40, acquired 11-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul in a November 2020 trade with the Thunder ahead of the season, and signed savvy two-way forward Jae Crowder, hot off a Finals appearance as the Heat’s starting power forward, to a team-friendly three-year, $29.3MM deal in free agency. During the season, Jones also traded for athletic wing Torrey Craig to shore up the club’s bench depth.

This season, the Suns finished with a 51-21 record, good for the No. 2 seed in the crowded Western Conference. With the Jazz eliminated from contention, Phoenix will now enjoy home court advantage for the rest of the playoffs.

Led by Paul, homegrown superstar Devin Booker, plus promising third-year talents Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton (both of whom Jones had a say in selecting as VP of basketball operations), the Suns are facing the Clippers today in the first game of a best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series. Paul is currently in COVID-19 protocols, but expected to be available later in the series.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jazz Notes: Lindsey, Conley, Ingles, Niang

In the wake of Friday’s season-ending loss to the Clippers, Jazz executive VP of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey promises to be “brutally honest” about the steps the team needs to take to reach the next level, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Speaking today at a media session, Lindsey said the organization has the ability to be “honest with ourselves” and will examine why it did and didn’t have opportunities to make a longer playoff run.

Utah posted the league’s best regular season record at 52-20 and coasted past Memphis in five games in the first round. The Jazz beat L.A. in the first two games of the conference semifinals, but then dropped four straight.

“The blueprint of trying to go from good to great is hard and complicated, but that’s what we strive for,” general manager Justin Zanik told reporters. “… You have to have some good fortune, too. For the large part of six to seven months, we were healthy. It caught up to us.” (Twitter link)

There’s more on the Jazz:

  • Lindsey said the organization appreciates Mike Conley‘s return to the court Friday after missing the first five games of the series with a strained right hamstring (Twitter link). He added that the team never puts pressure on anyone to try to play through injuries. Conley estimated he was about 50-60% for Friday’s game and said he had difficulty moving (Twitter link). He will be a free agent this summer and expressed an interest in returning to Utah, according to John Coon of The Associated Press.“(This is) actually my first time being a real free agent, so it will be interesting,” Conley said. “But I did love it here. We’ll see what happens.”
  • Entering the final year of his contract, Joe Ingles could be a trade chip for the Jazz to improve their perimeter defense, Coon adds. Ingles, who is preparing to represent Australia in the Olympics, doesn’t believe the team has to make major changes. “I don’t think we need to blow the whole roster up and start from scratch,” he said. “But maybe a few key pieces.” (Twitter link)
  • Forward Georges Niang will also be a free agent this summer, and like Conley, he said he would like to remain with the Jazz. (Twitter link). “My heart is in Utah, they helped me be a man,” he said. “I’ll be a free agent for the first time, so we’ll see what happens.”

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Jazz, Diallo, Wolves

After an up-and-down start to the season, the Nuggets have played some of their best basketball as of late, winning six of their last seven games and rising to the No. 5 seed in the West. With the trade deadline around the corner, the team will likely consider ways to upgrade its roster and cement its status as a contender, but JaMychal Green said on Monday night that he doesn’t believe a trade is necessary.

“We have everything we need,” the Nuggets forward said, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link).

Asked if he agreed with Green’s assessment, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray replied, I’d be crazy if I didn’t. I believe every year we have everything we need. That’s just how I think, that’s just how we play, that’s just how we believe in each other” (Twitter link via Singer).

  • The NBA announced on Monday that it has concluded its investigation into Elijah Millsap‘s allegations that Jazz executive Dennis Lindsey made a racially insensitive comment during a 2015 exit meeting and found no evidence to support the claim, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league interviewed Lindsey, GM Justin Zanik, and head coach Quin Snyder – all of whom were present at the meeting – as well as Millsap and agent Daniel Hazan. Lindsey, Zanik, and Snyder all denied the statement was made, while Hazan said Millsap hadn’t made him aware of it during his two season with the Jazz, per Wojnarowski.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who played college ball with Hamidou Diallo at Kentucky, admitted it was tough to see his Thunder teammate traded to Detroit, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. “It sucks. A guy that’s super close that I love playing around, love being around,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “But it is what it is. It’s the NBA. It’s a business. The front office, it’s not my job, it’s their job. They make decisions like that and they felt like it was best for the team and for Hami. My job’s to go play basketball.”
  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune considers how much stock to put into the trade rumors linking the Timberwolves to John Collins.

Northwest Notes: Finch, Horford, Jerome, Lindsey

Taking over in midstream puts new Timberwolves coach Chris Finch in a difficult spot, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Not only does he have to forge relationships with his players on the fly, Finch doesn’t have two of his best players available. Malik Beasley is serving a 12-game, league-imposed suspension and D’Angelo Russell is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury. The fact that the front office passed over assistant David Vanterpool to hire Finch away from the Raptors adds to the awkwardness of the situation.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Thunder big man Al Horford is well aware that he could be dealt again to a contender, as he told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Horford’s contract runs through the 2022/23 season, though the final year is only partially guaranteed. “I think anything is possible,” Horford said of getting moved again. “But I’m not going to dwell on [any trade talk] too much.” Oklahoma City is in no hurry to deal Horford and sees value in keeping the veteran around, Mannix adds.
  • The Thunder recalled guard Ty Jerome from the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue, according to a team press release. Oklahoma City needed more depth in the backcourt due to a groin injury that will keep Hamidou Diallo sidelined through the weekend, coach Mark Daigneault said, per The Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto (Twitter link). Jerome, a 2019 first-rounder, made an immediate impact, contributing nine points and seven assists in 22 minutes during the team’s victory over Atlanta on Friday.
  • Former Jazz forward Elijah Millsap has expressed doubt about an NBA investigation concerning his allegation that executive Dennis Lindsey made a racially-charged comment to him during an end-of-season meeting in 2015, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports. Millsap said Friday that he has not yet heard from any investigators and wonders if it will be carried out fairly. “I don’t feel he is a racist, but I do know what he said to me,” Millsap said. The investigation will include the sharing of detailed notes taken in the April 2015 meeting that was attended by Millsap and three Jazz officials, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Lindsey has denied the allegation.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, E. Millsap, Lindsey, More

The Jazz have been the NBA’s most dominant team so far in 2020/21, and they added another impressive win to their résumé on Wednesday, blowing out the Lakers by a margin of 114-89 to bump their record to 26-6.

Utah has become a “hyperefficient machine that shows no signs of slowing down,” according to Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer, who explores how three-point shooting at every position except center, along with Rudy Gobert‘s ability to anchor the defense, has driven the club’s success this season. As Tjarks point out, the Jazz lead the NBA with 42.6 three-point attempts per game, and are making 39.9% of them, third-best in the league.

While the Jazz have been terrific during the first half, they’ll still need to prove they’re capable of knocking off the likes of the Lakers and Clippers in the postseason. Markieff Morris made that point following Wednesday’s game, vowing that things would be more competitive once the Lakers get healthier and the stakes are higher.

“We see the Jazz, we know they beat our a– tonight,” Morris said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “But in the playoffs it’s a different story.”

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • One longtime Western Conference scout who wasn’t sold on the Jazz entering the season has become a believer, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN details. “I thought Utah needed another star, but I’ve changed on that,” said the scout, who compared this iteration of the Jazz to the Pistons’ 2004 championship team.
  • Having already been named an All-Star reserve, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell revealed on Wednesday that he’ll also be participating in the 3-point contest. “I’ve been begging Joe (Ingles) to get in it,” Mitchell said, according to Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com. “But you know he’s old. He’s gonna sit in his rocking chair, or something, with the kids.”
  • After former Jazz swingman Elijah Millsap accused Jazz president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey of using bigoted language during his 2015 exit interview, Lindsey – who was Utah’s GM at the time – categorically denied the allegation. Sarah Todd of The Deseret News has the details.

Northwest Notes: Melo, Jazz, Booth, Thunder

Trail Blazers small forward Carmelo Anthony is looking forward to a return to his original small forward position now that the team’s starting power forward Zach Collins has returned to health, per Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com.

“I’m actually very comfortable at that, I’ve been doing that my whole life,” Anthony said during a Zoom conversation yesterday. “Over the last couple years is where I started moving, transitioning toward playing the four more. You’ve got teams going small, so that was to my advantage as well.”

Anthony, a 10-time All-Star with the Nuggets and Knicks, has averaged 15.3 PPG (while shooting 37.1% from long range and 84.3% from the charity stripe), 6.3 RPG and 1.6 APG for the Blazers. The 36-year-old was inked to the club as an injury replacement for Collins in November. Portland’s 29-37 record slots the team in as the No. 9 seed in the West.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz touched down in the NBA’s Orlando restart campus last night. Team general manager Justin Zanik indicated in a Zoom conversation today between himself, executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey and reporters that the club has not experienced any positive coronavirus tests since mandatory team testing began last month,  according to Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. Zanik traveled with the team to Orlando, while Lindsey stayed in Utah.
  • New Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth is contemplating innovative approaches to remote scouting during the current pandemic, according to Alex Labidou of Nuggets.com“All we’re trying to do is look for where inefficiencies are, where you can get value,” Booth said. “Even though as the years go on and as people get more and more interested in [scouting in] Europe and they are putting more resources into it, it’s still a landscape where you can find a gem.”
  • Sixteen of 17 Thunder players are traveling to Orlando for the NBA’s Orlando season restart, as Brandon Rahbar of Daily Thunder details. In case you missed it, forward Isaiah Roby had surgery on his right plantar fascia and will miss the rest of the 2019/20 season.

Northwest Notes: Hood, Millsap, Zanik, Jazz

An MRI on Trail Blazers guard Rodney Hood‘s left knee showed no structural damage and he’ll be listed as day-to-day for the Western Conference Finals, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Hood suffered a bone bruise when he ran into a pick set by the Nuggets’ Torrey Craig during Portland’s Game 7 victory on Sunday. Hood, who enters unrestricted free agency this summer, was a major factor off the bench in the series against the Nuggets. He averaged 14.7 PPG in the conference semifinals.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran forward Paul Millsap is intent on helping a team win a championship, whether it’s the Nuggets or another contending franchise, as he told Mike Singer of the Denver Post. The team holds a $30MM option on Millsap’s contract for next season. “We’ve proved everybody wrong,” the 34-year-old Millsap said. “For me, not really trying to prove everybody wrong, but prove to myself that I can do it my way and still win. I can do it with whoever I want to do it with. It ain’t got to be the Golden State Warriors of the Lakers or whatever. I can help a young, talented team reach that goal.”
  • New Jazz GM Justin Zanik believes that continuity within the organization will get it to the next level, as he told Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. Zanik was promoted from assistant GM last week. “We have a very experienced front office and we know what we need to do,” he said, “so however we get that done, we’re going to do it together and continue to just keep pushing forward with the Jazz to keep us on this championship-competitive path.”
  • Zanik’s promotion, as well as the elevation of Dennis Lindsey to executive VP of basketball operations, doesn’t mean big changes are on the way, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune writes.

Jazz Rework Front Office, Promote Lindsey, Zanik

1:50pm: The Jazz have officially confirmed Lindsey’s and Zanik’s promotions.

1:36pm: The Jazz are making some changes to their front office structure, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that longtime general manager Dennis Lindsey will be promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations. An official announcement is expected from the team as soon as Friday.

With Lindsey vacating the general manager job, assistant GM Justin Zanik will be elevated to that position, per Wojnarowski.

While Lindsey had already been the team’s de facto head of basketball operations, it’s becoming increasingly common for NBA teams to assign a title besides general manager to that top executive. Zanik, Utah’s new GM, will now be responsible for day-to-day duties and running basketball operations, while Lindsey will assume a “broader, strategic and leadership role,” sources tell Woj.

Based on Wojnarowski’s report, it’s not clear if the Jazz will add any new executives to the front office or promote anyone to fill Zanik’s assistant GM role. However, the promotions may help Utah keep its management group in place going forward — Zanik has been considered for other top front office jobs around the NBA before, but might be less inclined to leave the Jazz after being promoted to GM.