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August 5, 2021

Dennis Lindsey to move to advisory role in Jazz organization

Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey speaks during a press conference about Danté Exum, Derrick Favors and Raul Neto re-signing with the Utah Jazz at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 6, 2018. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz will have a new head decision maker.

Dennis Lindsey, who has led Utah’s front office since 2012, will move into an advisory role in the franchise, the team announced Sunday.

Justin Zanik, who has served as general manager under Lindsey since 2019, will run the day-to-day operations.

“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,” Lindsey said in a statement. “This is an appropriate time to make the transition with the organization on such solid footing.”

Under Lindsey, the Jazz began a long rebuilding process that ended with the league’s best record last season with three All-Stars leading the way in Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley.

He acquired Mitchell and Gobert in draft day trades with Denver, and brought Conley to the Jazz via a trade with Memphis. He finished second in executive of the year voting this season. Lindsey hired Quin Snyder as head coach in 2014.

“I greatly appreciate that Dennis believed in me and gave me the opportunity to be the head coach of the Utah Jazz. He was extremely committed to my success, our players’ success and he built a roster that continually put us in position to grow and to contend,” Snyder said in a statement. “I am and will remain grateful for the time spent working with him.”

Lindsey said he was proud of the progress the team has made in his time with the organization and feels they have built “sustaining infrastructure around the team,” mentioning the use of performance analytics, upgraded facilities and the local presence with the Salt Lake City Summer League.

“I greatly value the many individuals that I have worked with and the players who have been a part of the Jazz during my tenure,” he said. “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.”

Zanik originally joined the Jazz as assistant general manager in 2013, staying there before moving on to Milwaukee for the 2016-17 season. He then returned to the Utah front office the next season. While he’s had the GM title since 2019, this will be the first time that Zanik will be the top decision maker for a team.

“Dennis Lindsey has had an incredible impact on the organization, and we are grateful for his dedication to the Utah Jazz,” Jazz owner Ryan Smith said. “We look forward to his contributions as an advisor to the Jazz and to Justin Zanik’s ongoing leadership as general manager. As an organization, we are committed to continuing our pursuit of excellence and will relentlessly work to achieve sustainable success and win championships.”

A team source told KSL.com that while Zanik is expected to lead the front office there could be further moves made in the organization this offseason. That includes the possibility of former BYU Cougar and Boston Celtic executive Danny Ainge joining the organization.

Change was something the front office anticipated heading into an offseason with a new owner.

“As he gets his footing, it’s only natural that a few of his preferences and inclinations will move us operating in certain ways,” Lindsey said the day after the Jazz were eliminated from the postseason.

The offseason revealed Lindsey’s preferences as well: to step back and spend some time with his family.

And with that, a new era of Jazz basketball begins.

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