Report: Gobert, Mitchell Relationship ‘Doesn’t Appear Salvageable’
Apr 10, 2020, 11:13 AM | Updated: 11:01 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell’s relationship troubles continue to plague the Utah Jazz organization according to an article from The Athletic. “It doesn’t appear salvageable,” an unnamed source reportedly told the publisher in an article detailing the NBA’s preparation for and reaction to the coronavirus pandemic that has sidelined professional sports across the world.
In light of both Gobert and Mitchell testing positive, the article reported that the Jazz guard “remains reluctant to fix what might have been broken.”
To date, neither player has spoken at length about their feelings towards one another.
In a conversation with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, Mitchell gave his most comprehensive statement on the matter.
“To be honest with you, Robin, it took a while, for me to kinda cool off,” Mitchell said, “I read what he said and I heard what he said. You know, I’m glad he’s doing ok. I’m glad I’m doing well.”
EXCLUSIVE: “I think that’s the scariest part about this virus is that you may seem fine.” @NBA star @spidadmitchell speaks out for the first time from isolation since being diagnosed with COVID-19, despite being “asymptomatic.” https://t.co/i9rZzYvW4s pic.twitter.com/wZJBteQjtV
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 16, 2020
In an Instagram post, Gobert apologized for his careless approach to the dangers of the illness.
“I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis… mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment,” Gobert’s post stated. “The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse.”
View this post on Instagram
I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus . I am under great care and will fully recover. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love.
At face value, the two appeared to be handling the public relations aspect of their reportedly troubled relationship amicably. However, neither player has directly addressed the health of their relationship, nor does it seem as though the two have spoken.
Mitchell denied a request to speak to The Athletic for the article and despite having granted several interview requests, he’s yet to squash any problems the two might be having publicly.
Whether the two can remedy their situation may be determined by how quickly the team can return to the floor. Following the two players’ positive tests for the coronavirus, Gobert flew to his Salt Lake City residence while Mitchell flew to see his mother in New York.
With the NBA prohibiting teams from gathering during the league’s suspension, a face-to-face interaction between the players hasn’t been possible. How the players will react to one another on the floor may go a long way towards determining the future of the organization.
If the team can’t reconvene before the offseason, the Jazz may find themselves in a precarious situation.
Both All-Star players are eligible to receive max contract extensions this summer. Mitchell signing a rookie extension with the team should be considered a forgone conclusion. How the Jazz view Gobert’s future with the team remains a much more difficult question, regardless of his relationship with his backcourt teammate.
Because Rudy Gobert won defensive player of the year last year and was named to an All-NBA team this year, he joins Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker as qualifying for the supermax. Gobert can sign a supermax extension next summer.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 23, 2019
Gobert is eligible for a supermax contract extension that could pay the center nearly $250 million over five years, beginning in the summer of 2021. While Gobert is inarguably one of the league’s premier big men, few players in the NBA have demonstrated an ability to return equal value on a contract of that size.
If Gobert’s relationship with Mitchell remains problematic, an early extension for the French center seems even more unlikely.
Meanwhile, Jazz guard Joe Ingles has expressed confidence that the team’s chemistry will rebound once the team retakes the floor.
Ingles went as far as to make fun of the unnamed sources on Twitter after the article from The Athletic was published.
When asked if the Jazz roster was angry at Gobert, Ingles responded in jest.
“Pissed I can’t go to his house for a free meal right now!” Ingles joked, “He [sic] got a great chef!”
Pissed I can’t go to his house for a free meal right now! He got a great chef! https://t.co/CLSYqeeKcH
— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) April 10, 2020
Regardless of when the league returns, the Jazz top priority will be to mend the relationship between Gobert and Mitchell. The All-Star teammates could remedy the situation in private before retaking the floor, but the damage done in the relationship will likely loom large over the organization regardless of when the team retakes the floor.
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