UTAH JAZZ

Pat McAfee Presses Ryan Smith On Jazz Rebuild

Nov 8, 2023, 2:01 PM | Updated: 2:03 pm

Former NFL player and host Pat McAfee...

Former NFL player and host Pat McAfee (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith appeared on ESPN’s Pat McAfee Show and was pressed about the team’s current rebuild.

McAfee, a former NFL punter asked Smith about the rebuilding process and how Jazz fans have responded.

After a surprising 35-47, the Jazz are off to a rocky 2-6 start and appear to be further behind in their rebuild than previously thought.

Pat McAfee Asks Ryan Smith About Jazz Rebuild

Smith discussed several topics during his stop on the Pat McAfee show including playing pickleball with NFL legend JJ Watt, bringing an NHL team to Utah, and how fans responded after initiating the Jazz rebuild.

Related: Ryan Smith Talks NHL Expansion With Pat McAfee

“You and your wife buy the team three years ago, All-Star game coming to town, and you decide to trade away the two biggest stars and say ‘Hey, we’re going to rebuild this whole thing. I assume at the time was frowned upon by Jazz fans?”

To Smith’s credit, he didn’t dance around the topic, and instead answered it head-on.

“It’s probably not the ideal start you want to do when you draw it up when you’re coming and you say ‘Hey, we’re in the middle of something,” Smith admitted.

In acquiring Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic, the Jazz attempted to build a true contender in the West, but quickly found themselves falling short of expectations, with few assets left to improve the roster.

“We were at the tail end of that with Donovan [Mitchell] and Rudy [Gobert] and everything, and we had a chance where it felt like we needed to retool a bit,” Smith said. “We had a couple of teams offering some pretty big packages coming off where it would have set us up to try to open up another championship window. We got together with Danny [Ainge] and Justin [Zanik] and said ‘Hey, this is a really good opportunity and so we are going to do it.'”

Though the team’s slow start this season has led to some frustration among loyalists, Smith applauded Jazz fans for their dedication to the team.

Related: Pat McAfee Attends Jazz Win Over Clippers

“Our fans are incredible,” Smith said. “The Utah fans are absolutely incredible. I think we have 251 straight sellouts, the Jazz are really the pinnacle that brings everyone together in Utah.”

The Jazz will look to continue their sellout streak next Tuesday when the team returns from a four-game midwestern road swing.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Pat McAfee Presses Ryan Smith On Jazz Rebuild