Former BYU placekicker turned House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Jason Chaffetz is resigning from his Congressional post at the end of the month amid criticism that he’s approached investigations into President Donald Trump’s administration less voraciously than he did Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. So, what does that have to do with basketball?
More than you might think, actually.
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge’s son Tanner is one of three Republicans on the primary ballot for the Congressional seat that will be left vacant by Chaffetz in Utah’s third district. A lawyer and businessman, the younger Ainge is running his campaign on a platform of fiscal conservatism, “traditional values” and, of course, keeping free-agent NBA All-Star forward Gordon Hayward in Utah.
That’s right. In a move that flies in the face of all his father stands for, at least as far as basketball is concerned (and, really, what doesn’t basketball concern, since ball is life), Tanner officially endorsed Hayward re-signing with the Jazz during an appearance on KSL Newsradio’s “The Doug Wright Show”:
“Unfortunately, I’m not sure I have a lot of influence there,” he said, “and ultimately Gordon is going to make the decision. I hope he stays.”
Imagine that — a politician so loyal to his constituents that he will turn his back on his own father’s basketball wishes. You see, with max contract cap space, an up-and-coming roster that reached the Eastern Conference finals and the Butler product’s former coach on the bench, the elder Ainge’s Celtics are expected to be Utah’s biggest challenger in the race for Hayward’s services this summer.
Yet, Tanner is a man of principle, opposing any attempts by his father — a BYU legend turned Celtics lifer — to snatch one of Utah’s greatest resources right out from under his son’s nose. The ball is now in Danny’s court, and Boston’s president of basketball operations could derail Tanner’s candidacy by luring Utah’s best playmaker to Massachusetts and thus coercing voters to curse the Ainge name.
Or something like that. Via the Deseret News:
Would Utah voters really hold it against the younger Ainge if Hayward bolts for Boston?
“I have no idea,” Ainge said.
Because losing Hayward would be the biggest political blunder in Utah since that time Chaffetz grandstanded on national TV over rescinding his endorsement of Donald Trump in October 2016, when the “Access Hollywood” tapes were released, only to endorse Trump again two weeks later. Or the time Chaffetz told the American public not to worry about rising healthcare costs under the American Health Care Act of 2017, because they could just not buy a phone to make up the difference.
Either that, or Tanner Ainge offered politically safe responses to questions about an NBA free agent, and Utah voters will cast their ballots based on his virtue as a politician, not on whether his dad signs a professional basketball player from Indiana who works in Utah. There’s always that option, too.
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