What’s Relationship Like Between Donovan Mitchell, Will Hardy?

Jul 13, 2022, 1:01 PM | Updated: 1:04 pm
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell at the FIBA 2019 Games (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – New Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy appeared on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast Wednesday and discussed his relationship with All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell has been the source of much speculation over the last year, including a recent report from Wojnarowski stating the Jazz were openly listening to trade offers surrounding the 25-year-old star.

But, if Mitchell is back with the team next season, he and Hardy already have a well-developed relationship. The two current faces of the team spent time together with Team USA during the 2019 FIBA Tournament and built a close working relationship.

“Those USA Basketball experiences are so unique because you get really big blocks of time with guys,” Hardy told Wojnarowski. “You’re out of the country and you’re in this little cocoon. It’s just the travel party and there’s really nowhere to go, so we got to spend a lot of time together.”

Team USA finished seventh in the 2019 FIBA Tournament, but the extended summer of basketball gave Hardy extra time to get to know Mitchell.

“I would take Donovan the film after every game and put it on his laptop, he always wanted to watch the film,” Hardy remembered. “So I would end up while the game was loading on his laptop, we would just sit in his room and chat. Sometimes it was about the game and sometimes it was and it was about life or a TV show or whatever.”

Hardy, 34, was hired by the Jazz on June 28, just three weeks after former head coach Quin Snyder stepped away from his position.

Shortly after Hardy was hired, the Jazz sent franchise cornerstone Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a blockbuster trade, which put Mitchell’s future on the team further in doubt.

The Jazz could hold onto Mitchell and attempt to rebuild around him on the fly or send him to another team and acquire future assets for Hardy to develop on a team starting over from the ground up.

Regardless of Mitchell’s future with the Jazz, it won’t be negatively impacted by their decision to hire Hardy to lead the franchise.

“I never thought that this would be the situation that our relationship would be in where I’m the head coach of a team that he’s on,” Hardy admitted. “But I think we started at such a good point because when our relationship started, we weren’t trying to get anything from each other, it was very normal and natural.”

You can listen to the full conversation between Hardy and Wojnarowksi here.

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What’s Relationship Like Between Donovan Mitchell, Will Hardy?