Rift Still Exists Between Jazz Stars Mitchell, Gobert

In the wake of his positive test for COVID-19 last month, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was said to be frustrated with teammate Rudy Gobert. The All-Star center, who had tested positive for the coronavirus a day earlier, had reportedly shown a cavalier attitude toward teammates and their belongings in the locker room before finding out he was affected by COVID-19.

While both of Utah’s stars have now been cleared of the coronavirus for approximately two weeks, sources tell Shams Charania, Sam Amick, and Tony Jones of The Athletic that the Mitchell/Gobert relationship remains tense.

According to The Athletic’s report, the Jazz have begun to work on repairing that relationship, but Mitchell has been reluctant to mend fences, with one source with knowledge of the situation going so far as to say that the relationship “doesn’t appear salvageable.”

The Jazz remain hopeful that things will improve over time, a stance that teammate Joe Ingles also took when he recently spoke to The Athletic.

“I’m confident our team is going to be totally fine,” Ingles said. “I heard Donovan’s response (on Good Morning America), or whatever it was, to that question, and a part of that is on Donovan and Rudy to sort out if he’s frustrated with him or whatever. But I have no doubt when we go back to training, or when our season starts again, our team is going to be what we have been and what we are. … I’m confident our team will be completely fine. The chemistry will be fine.”

According to Charania, Amick, and Jones, the Jazz have attempted to impart to Mitchell that there’s no way of knowing whether he contracted the virus from Gobert or vice versa — or whether the two players got it from separate sources.

However, The Athletic’s report notes that Utah management and the club’s coaching staff were ahead of the curve in educating Jazz players about the virus, discussing it for the first time in a team meeting on February 25, several days before the NBA sent out its first league-wide memo about the subject. As such, it makes sense that Mitchell would be frustrated by Gobert continuing to downplay the issue on March 9, the day the big man jokingly touched several reporters’ microphones during a media session.

As The Athletic’s reporters point out, with no end to the NBA’s hiatus in sight, there should still be plenty of time for Mitchell and Gobert to sort things out before they take the court together.

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