Utah Jazz: Dennis Lindsey, Kevin O'Connor to team in expanded Jazz brain trust
Kevin O'Connor to remain as executive vice president of basketball operations
Ravell Call, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Kevin O'Connor isn't going anywhere, but the Utah Jazz have a new general manager.
The organization introduced Dennis Lindsey of the San Antonio Spurs as the team's new GM on Tuesday while also announcing that O'Connor will maintain his role as executive vice president of basketball operations.
The moves expand the Jazz's basketball brain trust, which also includes Richard Smith (director of basketball operations), Walt Perrin (vice president of player personnel), David Fredman (head scout), Rich Shuebrooks (executive director of global and pro scouting) and Jefferson Sweeney (video coordinator).
As for their roles, O'Connor will continue to oversee the Jazz from an executive position, and Lindsey will be the go-to guy who deals with the daily grind, the ins and outs, and working with agents, players and potential trade partners around the league to build the team.
The Jazz consider it a win-win situation to keep O'Connor in the family while adding another bright basketball talent from championship organizations (Spurs and Rockets).
"The addition of Dennis to the Jazz front office staff further demonstrates the Miller family's commitment to this franchise," Jazz president Randy Rigby said. "He will be a key element of our basketball operations staff that we already believe is the best in the league."
O'Connor said the idea of relinquishing his GM role has been in the works for a couple of years, and he believes the Jazz struck gold with Lindsey.
The new GM spent the past five seasons with the Spurs as the assistant general manager after cutting his teeth for 11 years in Houston, where he worked his way up from video coordinator to director of player personnel.
"I've got a new playmate," O'Connor said with a smile, adding that he eagerly anticipates engaging in basketball banter and working with Lindsey in analyzing the franchise's future.
Jazz CEO Greg Miller welcomed Lindsey to the organization during the press conference, saying he's both "thrilled" and "honored" to have the Texas native in the Utah fold. The Jazz received permission from San Antonio about three weeks ago to pursue the right hand man of Spurs GM R.C. Buford.
"I view your arrival here as an almost tangible step in our march to a championship," Miller said.
Lindsey was excited to make the move to the Beehive State and into the Jazz organization because he believes it's a good personal and professional fit for him and his Texas-rooted family of six.
"Look," he said, "the culture here, what the program stands for, I can identify with. ... It wasn't a difficult decision at all."
Lindsey jokingly warned fans that he might use a lot of rodeo references in interviews because of his Texas background.
Lindsey was sold on making the move from a franchise with four championships after hearing how Greg Miller answered his question about how he decided to hire Tyrone Corbin as Jerry Sloan's successor.
According to Lindsey, Miller's response was: "Ty's poise through rough waters, his calmness, his character really stood out."
"I knew at that moment," Lindsey said, ".... I had to do whatever it took to get the job."
O'Connor was willing to continue working as GM if the Jazz couldn't find a suitable replacement, but he considers Lindsey a "high-character individual" and a "proven talent evaluator." The longtime Jazz executive, who was the second-longest tenured general manager in the NBA until Tuesday, was sold on Lindsey when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told him San Antonio ownership would hire him to be GM in the hypothetical case they bought a new team.
"Kevin is just a jewel," Lindsey said. "He handled this with humility and concern for the organization."
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