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New Jazz GM says fans deserve competitive team

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) is all smiles as he back-pedals up the court after nailing a three pointer during the Utah Jazz versus Denver Nuggets NBA game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — New Utah Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik is excited about the upcoming NBA season — and what the season will bring to the fans.

In his new position as general manager, Zanik has been the force behind the trades that have changed the Jazz’s roster.

Zanik told guest hosts Kirk Jowers and Ben Wilson on the Dave and Dujanovic Show that’s because the fans deserve a competitive team — something he says owner Gail Miller has allowed and expected them to do.

“[The fans] deserve for us to be able to build a competitive team and hopefully, with the things that we can predict and a little luck along the way… we have a lot of work to do, but … we’re ready to make our mark,” Zanik said.

The Jazz have had an incredibly busy off-season, bringing veteran point guard Mike Conley to Utah from the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade, as well as Bojan Bogdanovic, Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay in free agency.

Zanik says those trades came after the team felt that it was time for a change and that they may have reached a ceiling with the current group.

“Getting to know what our team has been like over the last three years, which is highly competitive, playoff competitive, high character, we also knew that we’d probably reached a little bit of a ceiling with the current group,” he said.

That, along with several opportunities Zanik said presented themselves this post-season, led to the changes in the roster, changes that might take a while for the team to adjust to but that other players are looking forward to.

“We have a great city great fans, great ownership support.

“We have a code and a playing style that players enjoy playing. Coach Snyder’s very popular around the league as far as the way in racks and connects with players and try to maximize their ability. So all of those things come in a very nice package. And so when we had some opportunities this summer, frankly, it was an easy sell. And it’s been an easy sell for the last three or four years as well,” Zanik told KSL on Tuesday.

That’s one of the things that Georges Niang said he was excited about when he heard he was getting picked up by the Jazz.

“The Jazz has a good reputation of player development around the whole league. And everybody knows that.

“[This] city is amazing, you know, the fan support that we get is just, it’s incredible. I mean, we’re the only show in town and people make that clear. They appreciate our efforts and appreciate the work that we put in and be that the players that we are. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,”  Niang said.

You can hear the rest of the conversation with Zanik and Niang on the Dave and Dujanovic podcast below.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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