Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Gobert, 2023 ASG, Hernangomez

The Jazz have made the playoffs in each of the four years since Donovan Mitchell entered the NBA and are on track to do so again in 2022. However, Mitchell has yet to make it beyond the second round of the postseason and is feeling more urgency to make a deeper run this spring, as he tells Tony Jones of The Athletic.

“I think I’m really at a point now where we’ve made the second round, and we want more,” Mitchell said. “We crave it. I watched Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp in the Super Bowl; they just found ways to win. So, for me, that’s the biggest thing. The ultimate goal is for us to be the last team standing. That’s the sign of the ultimate winner.”

In addition to voicing his desire for the Jazz to “take another leap,” Mitchell once again brushed off the notion that there’s any tension between him and teammate Rudy Gobert, echoing comments he made to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports earlier this month.

“I’m at a point now where it’s the NBA, this is what it is,” Mitchell told Jones. “People are going to write things. If I have to respond every five minutes to a story, then I’m taking away from my teammates, and I’m taking away from my happiness. I love this team, and we want to find a way to win as a group. I’m focused on my team. As long as my teammates and my coaches know my intentions, then that’s what it is. But I’m not going to allow articles to deter me from my main goal. I love this group. So, let’s find a way to do it.”

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Rudy Gobert, who watched 19-year veteran LeBron James hit the game-winning shot against his team in Sunday’s All-Star Game, said he’d love to be able to replicate LeBron’s longevity, as Sarah Todd of The Deseret News writes. “I’m taking great care of myself, just to trying to see how far I can go,” said Gobert, who is in his ninth season. “Whenever I feel like I either can’t play anymore or I lose that competitive edge, then I’ll probably stop it, but for sure I would love to play for 19 years.”
  • In the wake of 2022 All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune looks ahead to the 2023 event, which will be hosted by the Jazz, and considers what it will mean for the Salt Lake City market. It’s the first time the All-Star Game will be played in Utah since 1993.
  • Juan Hernangomez, acquired by the Jazz at the trade deadline, is under contract through 2022/23, but his salary for next season is non-guaranteed, so he’ll likely become a free agent this summer, if not sooner. As Antigoni Zachari of Eurohoops relays, Hernangomez would like to finish this season in the NBA and could remain stateside beyond that, but he’s also expected to draw significant interest from teams in Spain, including Barcelona, according to international reports. Hernangomez played in his home country for Estudiantes for two seasons from 2014-16 before entering the NBA.
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