Danny Ainge’s tenure as president of basketball operations with the Celtics ended when he resigned from the post in June, but with him now landing a different front office role with the Utah Jazz, it prompts the question why he couldn’t have done so in Boston.
Ainge was hired as Utah’s CEO and alternate governor Wednesday after serving more than two decades with the Celtics as president of basketball operations. Of note, Wyc Grousbeck serves as Boston’s managing partner, governor and CEO while H. Irving Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and Robert Epstein all serve in some sort of managing partner and alternate governor roles.
“I think that’s a good question. That’s been asked before,” Ainge said, per CLNS Media. “But, you know, I just needed a break. And right now Boston has moved on.”
Ainge further noted how his successor and president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, assistant general manager (and his son) Austin Ainge, along with vice president of basketball operations Mike Zarren provide the organization with stability.
“They (Celtics) have three capable people in Brad Stevens, Austin Ainge and Mike Zarren that can run the organization by themselves,” Ainge added. “Very capable people that have great experience in the business. I just felt that the organization was in great hands moving forward.”
Ainge said a few times how he “needed a break” from Boston, and the role itself. The 62-year-old credited the COVID-19 pandemic for making the job less fun and expressed how he needed to take a step back from the 18-hour days his old job required.
Ainge did, however, speak highly of his time with the Celtics.
“Like I said, I loved my time in Boston, I loved the people I worked with,” Ainge said. “And ownership was great, and my staff was great. That had nothing to do with it.”