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O’Connor: Danny Ainge Might Have Interest in Blazers

In the wake of changes in the Celtics front office, Kevin O’Connor suggests Danny Ainge might by open to an Oregon return.

Portland Trail Blazers v Washington Bullets

Today Danny Ainge resigned his post as the Executive Director of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics. Fresh on the heels of that news, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has suggested the Portland Trail Blazers as a logical next stop for the storied exec.

Discussing the news on the The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo podcast, O’Connor speculated that the Blazers and Utah Jazz might be future options for Ainge, who spent the past 18 years running the Celtics.

He clarified that an Ainge move to Portland would be contingent on Portland’s current President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey’s future with the Blazers. He did not state that Olshey’s job was in jeopardy.

The direct quotes from O’Connor from the podcast:

“He has interest in Utah, it’s just that Utah won’t hire him.

“And that there’d also be some interest in Portland if Neil Olshey were to move on from that franchise and we’ll see what happens there with the rest of that Blazers, Nuggets series.”

“But, you know, Ainge is from Portland, maybe that could be another opportunity for him but either way there’s no guarantees here that he gets a job immediately.”

In the next breath, fellow analyst Jackie MacMullen added concerns about Ainge’s age and recent health concerns.

Ainge was born and raised in Eugene before spending two years backing up Clyde Drexler on the successful 1990-91 and 1991-92 Blazers’ squads.

Ainge’s notable achievements during his Boston tenure include trading five players to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett in 2007, a move which set the Celtics on their way to an NBA title. Ainge also traded Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets for salary filler, three first round picks and a pick swap in 2013. He drafted both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the latter via a 2017 draft day deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

You can listen to the discussion here six minutes in.