Donovan Mitchell: Contract ‘A Relief’, Wants Championship In Utah

Nov 27, 2020, 9:50 AM | Updated: 11:36 am
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz...
Donovan Mitchell handles the ball for the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz officially announced the contract extension for Donovan Mitchell. Though the Jazz didn’t offer specifics on the financial implications, the deal is reportedly worth the maximum five years and $195 million allowed.

While Mitchell said he felt blessed to receive the deal, he admitted that completing the extension was a weight off of his shoulders.

“I will say it’s a stress relief,” Mitchell said. “I’ll tell you that. It’s something that [I] definitely can sit back and breathe.”

The Jazz guard has been destined for a max contract extension since early in his rookie season when he exploded into the league. Mitchell led the Jazz to the playoffs while averaging more than 20 points per game, earned All-Rookie honors, and was runner up for Rookie of the Year.

“There have obviously been talks about it since my rookie year, and my second year, and even last year,” Mitchell said of his contract. “But at the end of the day, as long as you put the work in you, you reap the benefits from it, and this is just another example of that.”

The All-Star guard’s contract is worth $195 million, though only $163 million of it is guaranteed. Mitchell can get the added bonus by qualifying for an All-NBA team during the length of the contract. Despite the enormous financial benefit, Mitchell said earning All-NBA honors is not his top priority on the court.

“It’s a goal that I’ve set for myself, don’t get me wrong,” Mitchell said. “But at the end of the day, when you’re winning everything else falls into place.”

Jazz Brass Excited About Mitchell’s Contract

In the team’s official announcement of Mitchell’s extension, both vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey and head coach Quin Snyder expressed their excitement regarding the deal.

“We are thrilled to be able to ensure that a person and a player like Donovan Mitchell will be with the Jazz organization for the long term,” Lindsey said. “His work ethic, passion and commitment to winning are all qualities that encapsulate Jazz basketball and ever since he arrived in Utah, Donovan has deepened those values for our team. We look forward to helping him continue to grow and continue to make a positive impact in our community.”

Drafting Mitchell remains one of Lindsey’s greatest successes since taking over the Jazz front office in 2012. The guard has helped lead the franchise to the postseason in each of the first three seasons during his NBA career.

“Donovan has a genuine selflessness that helps define our goals as a team, he is also as competitive of a player that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching,“ Snyder said. “On a personal level he has the unique ability to positively impact all of the people he touches, not just in Utah, but in all of his communities. I couldn’t be more excited to take the next steps with Donovan as we continue to strive to achieve our goals.”

Mitchell spoke fondly of his opportunity to give back to his community as a result of his life in the NBA. Now, with a significant fortune coming his way, he hopes to see his impact grow.

“I’m in a position now where I can do things on a higher level,” Mitchell said. “As far as giving to kids going into colleges who can’t afford it, giving back to schools, giving back to kids who can’t even afford groceries or different things. I think that’s really what my focus is — take care of my family to start but also take care of others.”

Ready for Next Season

With the extension behind him, and the offseason quickly coming to an end, Mitchell has his eye on returning to the court with the Jazz. But before the team begins the season, the Jazz guard said his health and the health of his teammates is the top priority.

“It’s a quick turnaround,” Mitchell said of the Jazz three-month offseason. “But as hard as you work, you have to make sure all of us were taking care of our bodies. Make sure we’re staying safe, make sure we’re doing things that don’t deter us from the ultimate goal.”

Mitchell was the second NBA player to publically test positive for COVID-19, just one day after All-Star teammate Rudy Gobert was confirmed to have contracted the virus.

“It’s obviously a short season, there’s more back to backs,” Mitchell said. “There are so many different things that play into it. We’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go.”

The 82 game season has been shortened to just 72 games and will be played between December 22 and July. The season length allows NBA teams to hit their game quota to satisfy their massive television contracts, while also wrapping up before the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

With his contract signed, and the Jazz team’s roster nearing completion, Mitchell is ready to improve upon the early successes in his career.

“We need to find a way to get over that hump in the first round find a way to push and get to a championship,” Mitchell said. “That’s really on the forefront of my brain.”

The Jazz will begin individual workouts at the team’s practice facility later this week before opening training camp during the first week of December.

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