The Utah Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. A once-promising season that became derailed by infighting and various drama ultimately ended with a whimper.
Now the big question is: what happens next?
It is something of an open secret at this juncture that Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert dislike each other.
What is a bit less clear, however, is what led to this relationship pushing past the point of no return.
ESPN NBA insider Tim MacMahon provided some clarity on that this week. Apparently, Mitchell and his inner circle never forgot some negative comments Gobert made about the Jazz guard in relation to Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker.
“We know that when the playoffs come, we’re not just going to flip a switch and all of the sudden communicate, all of the sudden be able to stay in front of our man, all of the sudden be able to rebound,” Gobert said at the time.
“When I watch some of these other teams like the Suns or the Warriors, for example, those guys are a step ahead of us in terms of winning habits. I feel like they take every game personally. You can tell Devin Booker is playing his ass off defensively.”
That really rubbed Mitchell the wrong way.
“The mention of Booker was a record-scratch moment for Mitchell, his inner circle and many with the Jazz, who immediately recognized how that reference would be received,” MacMahon reported. “Whether it was intended — Gobert insists it wasn’t — bringing up Booker was widely perceived as a thinly veiled shot at Mitchell.”
At this point, it feels like one of either Mitchell or Gobert needs to go in order for the Jazz to regain some semblance of normalcy. This current arrangement is clearly unsustainable.
There are two teams with very real interest in acquiring Gobert over the offseason. One squad, in particular, has also been closely following Mitchell.
Jalen Rose kept it real.https://t.co/ZaMAKVGiBf
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 29, 2022
Change appears to be on the horizon.
How will the Jazz ultimately look in 2022-23? Time will tell.
A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.