Ainge, Zanik, Smith Share Thoughts On Mitchell Trade

Sep 8, 2022, 4:32 PM
Lauri Markkanen defended by Donovan Mitchell (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – One week after the Utah Jazz agreed to trade Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Danny Ainge, Justin Zanik, and Ryan Smith shared their thoughts on the blockbuster deal.

The NBA approved the trade on Saturday, but the Jazz didn’t make the move official until Thursday.

In return for Mitchell, the Jazz are acquiring veterans Collin Sexton and Lauri Markkanen, rookie Ochai Agbaji, three future first-round draft picks, and two pick swaps.

“The Jazz had so many great moments with Donovan over the past five years as he developed into a perennial All-Star,” Smith said in a release from the team. “But just as important was the lasting impact he made in Utah. He is an amazing human and touched the lives of so many through his engagement in the community. Our entire organization wishes him every success in his future. Once a Jazzman, always a Jazzman.”

Mitchell was acquired by the Jazz on draft night in 2017 and quickly developed into one of the prolific scorers in team history. The guard led the team in scoring each of his five seasons in Utah and never missed the playoffs.

“It was clear that in order to optimize our opportunity to create a team that could truly contend and establish sustained success, we needed to transition our roster,” Ainge said in the release.

“In trading Rudy and now Donovan, it was a rare opportunity to maximize our ability to get quality talent and picks to best position us moving forward. We have a plan in place to help us assemble the championship team our fans deserve. It will take time to craft our roster. We all understand the work ahead and are committed to our vision.”

The Mitchell trade came on the heels of a deal that sent Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in early July. For the Jazz, it was a rapid shakeup to a roster that finished with the best record in the NBA during the 2020-21 season.

However, with a slew of new players and draft capital, Ainge and Zanik can transition to a rebuilding phase featuring the young roster.

“Ochai, Lauri and Collin are exciting young players, and we’re thrilled to add them to our roster,” Zanik said. “We believe that they fit the Jazz culture and hard-nosed, competitive brand of basketball we’ve built here in Utah. They give us versatility and athleticism on both ends of the floor as we grow toward the future. We look forward to our fans getting to know them.”

Mitchell spent five seasons with the Jazz. He appeared in 345 games with 337 starts, averaging 23.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per contest, while shooting 44 percent from the field and 36 percent from the three-point line.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Ben Anderson

Jazz Show Room For Growth In Preseason Opener

The new-look Utah Jazz showed plenty of room for growth in their preseason-opening loss to the Toronto Raptors where they fell 114-82. 
1 day ago
Ben Anderson

Markkanen Shines, Jazz Fall To Raptors In Preseason Debut

The Utah Jazz hung with the Toronto Raptors for the opening 24 minutes of their preseason debut, but struggled in the second half and were blown out 114-82.
1 day ago
Carlos Boozer - Utah Jazz...
Kyle Ireland

Former Jazz All-Star Attends Preseason Opener Against Raptors

Former Utah Jazz star Carlos Boozer attended the team's preseason-opening game against the Toronto Raptors.
1 day ago
Kyle Ireland

Jazz Forward Markkanen Makes Fading Shot For First Preseason Points

Former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen scored the first points in the preseason contest between the Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors.
1 day ago
Collin Sexton - Cavaliers...
Ben Anderson

Sexton Comes Off Bench, Immediately Makes Highlight Play For Jazz

In a surprising move, Collin Sexton was not in the starting lineup in his first preseason game with the Jazz when they faced the Raptors.
1 day ago
Ben Anderson

Mystery Surrounds Jazz, Raptors Preseason Opener

The Utah Jazz open their preseason on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors and have more questions than answers on what to expect. 
3 days ago
Ainge, Zanik, Smith Share Thoughts On Mitchell Trade