Doug Robinson: G.M. Dennis Lindsey making his mark on the Utah Jazz

Published: Saturday, July 6 2013 4:50 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz General manager Dennis Lindsey answers a question as head coach Tyrone Corbin and he talk June 27 about their first round draft pick Trey Burke at the Jazz practice facility.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Dennis Lindsey’s wife has left him again. She packed up the kids and left town a month ago.

It’s the family’s summer routine. When the NBA draft/free agent season comes, they go. Every June, Becky and the four children leave their husband and father behind for six weeks while he focuses on the NBA business at hand.

“Even though I’m home, they know I disappear mentally,” says Lindsey, the Utah Jazz's general manager of 11 months. “They know that Dad is a worthless, non-contributing member of the family during that time.”

It’s a frantic time for an NBA general manager and even more so for one who is beginning a rebuilding project. On a recent afternoon, Lindsey, wearing a yellow Baylor polo shirt and shorts, could be found eating a sandwich and chips at his desk while staring at the computer screen. No time for a proper lunch break.

“These are great jobs,” he says. “You love basketball and you love to compete and compete with people you love. It’s an intoxicating job, but very selfish. I had a friend in the business tell me every day is Wednesday. There are no weekends, no holidays.”

Lindsey is quickly making his mark on the franchise, especially in the last 10 days. He has helped lead an almost unprecedented flurry of wheeling and dealing for the Jazz.

Lindsey recently completed his first draft in Utah — a draft that received rave reviews from all quarters. Two days later free agency began. Lindsey and the Jazz entered what was arguably their most challenging off-season ever, with seven unrestricted free agents (more than half of last season’s roster) — Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Mo Williams, DeMarre Carroll, Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson and Randy Foye.

If that weren’t enough to keep him busy, Lindsey made another bold move Friday by trading for the Golden State Warriors’ Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush, plus first-round picks in 2014 and 2017 and several second-round picks. What’s in it for the Warriors? Second-round 2012 Jazz pick Kevin Murphy, cap space and the shedding of minor contributors whose contracts come due in a year. The draft picks — especially in the deep 2014 draft — are the real prize of course.

Meanwhile, Lindsey will soon turn his attention to the Summer League season, which begins Sunday in Orlando.

So: Lunch at his desk.

“I feel good that the Miller family (Jazz owners) really committed to bringing me in here sooner,” he says. “Several teams hired management people weeks before decisions like this (the draft, free agency) are made. It shows the power of forethought. The timing of my hire here and my relationship with (predecessor and team vice president Kevin O’Connor) and how it’s evolved — if either one had been different it would have been very difficult to have the level of confidence collectively to make (personnel) decisions.”

The Jazz’s draft was aggressive, bold and, yes, confident. They traded two first-round picks to move up to No. 9 so they could select point guard Trey Burke; they sent their 46th pick and cash to the Denver Nuggets to obtain the 27th pick, which they used on French center Rudy Gobert; and they sent a future second-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks to obtain the 47th pick, which they used to pick Brazilian point guard Raul Neto.

The draft had Lindsey’s fingerprints all over it, but don’t tell him that. He shuns individual credit and not just because it’s the Jazz Way; he believes it. To drive home his point, he paints a collaborative picture when discussing the draft.

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