The Utah Jazz are stumbling into the playoffs with a lot of off-the-court baggage.
For a team as talented as they are, the Jazz evoke little in the way of fear from their opponents.
Because it’s the worst kept secret in the NBA that their two biggest stars, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, hate each other. So much so, in fact, that Mitchell on average only passes to Gobert twice per game.
This week, Gobert opened up about his ongoing rift with Mitchell.
Rudy Gobert spoke to @malika_andrews about his relationship with Donovan Mitchell:
“There’s always going to be noise. … People are looking for anything they can find to just try and divide us. … We both have the same goal to win a championship here.” pic.twitter.com/865ZlTmPps
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 7, 2022
“There’s always going to be noise. There’s a lot of teams, a lot people that would love for us to break apart,” Gobert said.
“They would love to get a Rudy Gobert or Donovan Mitchell in their team. … We both know that it’s something that’s not going to stop. We’ve got to mute that noise, and we both have the same goal to win a championship here.
“For us, the point is that supporting each other is the key, and be there for one another. It’s never going to be perfect. There is no team in the NBA where it’s perfect. It’s the NBA. When we share the same goal and we support each other, that’s huge.”
Gobert can obviously put whatever spin he wants on the situation, but everybody knows what’s what between him and Mitchell.
Paulina Gretzky just stole the show at the Masters. https://t.co/SA9gAXW2HC
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 8, 2022
There’s a reason the Jazz almost moved him ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline.
For better or worse, there will be no mending of fences here. Either Gobert will inevitably get dealt soon, or Mitchell will. But the odds of them being a long-term duo are slim to none.
Who will the Jazz ultimately choose to build around this summer? Time will tell.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.