The Miller family has agreed to sell the Utah Jazz to Qualtrics founder, Ryan Smith.
The deal is reportedly around $1.6 billion and involves the Jazz home arena, Vivint Arena. It’s awaiting approval from the NBA board of governors.
Smith isn’t an unfamiliar face in Utah. He is a lifelong Utah resident and is a fan of the Jazz. His software company Qualtrics assisted in creating the Jazz’s “5 For the Fight” jersey patch, which helped raise $25 million for cancer research.
In the ESPN story, reporter Adrian Wojnarowski states the Jazz have a .592 win percentage since the 1989-1999 season; it‘s second only behind the San Antonio Spurs. They’ve also won nine division titles and two Western Conference championships.
Multiple eras have passed in Utah: from the Stockton and Malone duo to Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer to Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Gail and Larry Miller acquired the Jazz in the mid-1980s when the team’s financial hardships almost forced the Jazz to relocate. They were able to help bring the Jazz to a respectable level and have been a competitive team throughout the past three-and-a-half decades.
Larry Miller passed away in 2009, leaving his wife Gail Miller with ownership.
The Jazz are in a dilemma at the moment. Rudy Gobert is up for the supermax extension. Smith and new ownership will have to determine if paying him that sum of money is a worthy investment. Without a doubt, Gobert is an impactful player on the defensive end. However, on offense he’s a role player.
The Jazz might be better off acquiring more scoring to go with Donovan Mitchell.
Even then, the Jazz might not have enough to overcome the loaded western conference. Keep an eye on the direction the franchise is heading this offseason.