Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge and his son, Tanner Ainge, live in different states and support different NBA teams. In today’s hectic offseason environment, the discrepancy was bound to come into play at some point, and on Thursday, it finally did.
Tanner Ainge is running for the U.S. representative seat from Utah’s 3rd district, a seat that was recently vacated by Jason Chaffetz. Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward is a free agent, and many have the Celtics pegged as his most likely landing spot considering his relationship with Boston coach Brad Stevens from their days together at Butler.
A Hayward exodus to Boston could cause problems for the younger Ainge, who will face a tough Republican primary in August, so he decided to take things into his own hands.
Instead of giving an emotional pitch, Tanner Ainge appealed to Hayward on policy by tagging him in an article that warns of Massachusetts “millionaire’s tax.”
Hayward has made more than $US40 million in his NBA career and is expected to make significantly more than that on his next contract. From an accounting perspective, Utah appears to be the right choice.
But Danny Ainge hasn’t relented. Reports that the Celtics have their designs on Hayward continue to roll in, and Hayward, for his part, reportedly told Jazz management that he will be testing free agency.
That said, Danny Ainge isn’t distraught over his son’s support for the Jazz.
“Tanner’s got five kids, a couple little boys, and some days I see them wearing Isaiah Thomas T-shirts, some days I see them wearing Gordon Hayward jerseys, and some days it’s Dante Exum jerseys,” he said to Boston 98.5’s Toucher and Rich last week. “They’re big Jazz fans, and they live in that neck of the woods. I get all that.”
Hayward is in high demand thanks to his terrific performance last season. He averaged 21.9 points per game to lead the Jazz to a 51-31 record, their best campaign in seven years.
Tanner Ainge, meanwhile, will likely pay the price if his father manages to successfully recruit Utah’s top player. He recently remarked that he’s “not sure I have a lot of influence there,” but don’t expect his GOP opponents, Provo mayor John Curtis and former state legislator Chris Herrod, to pull any punches on the issue.