Dwyane Wade

And-Ones: Top Under-25 Players, Wade, EuroLeague, More

Fifteen NBA executives polled by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype unanimously picked Mavericks star Luka Doncic as the NBA player under 25 years old whom they’d most want to build a team around. While Doncic’s selection comes as no surprise, there are some interesting picks further down Scotto’s list, which was derived from asking those 15 NBA execs to name the five players under 25 they’d most want to build around.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant ranked second and third, with Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley following them at No. 4. Former first overall picks Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves) and Zion Williamson (Pelicans) came in at Nos. 5 and 6, with last season’s Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes (Raptors) rounding out the top seven. You can check out Scotto’s full story to see the other seven rising stars who received votes.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • After spending three years in an analyst role with the network, Dwyane Wade won’t return to TNT for the 2022/23 NBA season, reports Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. According to Marchand, TNT made an offer to retain Wade, but he decided to leave his position to focus on other business ventures.
  • Euroleague Basketball has appointed Dejan Bodiroga as its new president and Marshall Glickman as acting CEO, per a press release. They’ll replace Jordi Bertomeu, who served as president and CEO for 22 years and was a co-founder of Euroleague Basketball, which operates and oversees the EuroLeague and EuroCup, two of the world’s biggest non-NBA basketball leagues.
  • Former NBA star Baron Davis and ex-NBPA executive director Michele Roberts are among the backers of the new Fan Controlled Hoops league, which is scheduled to launch in February of 2023, as Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic outlines. The league, which will follow in the footsteps of Fan Controlled Football, will feature 4-on-4 games played on an LED floor, with fans getting the opportunity to illuminate parts of the court to create zones where players get extra points when they score.

Heat Notes: Green, Butler, Wade, Game 7, Lowry

The Heat used Draymond Green‘s recent NBA Finals prediction as motivation to beat the Celtics on Friday and force a Game 7, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes. Green predicted his Warriors would face the Celtics after Golden State advanced this week, prompting several Heat players to respond.

“Draymond broke the code,” veteran Udonis Haslem said. “You ain’t supposed to say some s–t like that. That’s disrespectful. He know better than that.”

Heat forward P.J. Tucker also felt as if Green crossed a line with his comments.

“I don’t know what part of the game is that,” Tucker told Haynes. “A player picking a team before they’re out. That’s crazy, bro.”

Miami could advance to play Golden State in the Finals by defeating Boston on Sunday. The team is dealing with an array of injuries, but was led by Jimmy Butler‘s 47-point performance to win Game 6 on the road.

Here are some other notes from Miami:

  • The Heat also received motivation from Dwyane Wade, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN, who details how Butler used that motivation en route to his dominant Game 6. “He was telling me that I could do this,” Butler told ESPN, referring to how Wade called him before the game. “Knee a little banged up, but nobody cares. Go out there, continue to build your legacy. It meant the world to me, so I appreciate you D-Wade.” In addition to his 47 points, Butler also finished with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals in 46 minutes.
  • Following the Heat’s Game 6 win, Butler expressed immediate confidence about the team’s chances in Game 7, as relayed by Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). “We knew we were going to win this one. And we’re going to win the next one too.”
  • Kyle Lowry‘s key performance in Game 6 seemingly came out of nowhere, Joe Vardon writes as part of a story for The Athletic. Lowry has been dealing with a hamstring strain for over a month, but he managed to record 18 points and 10 assists to keep the Heat’s season alive. “I’m never going to make an excuse,” Lowry said. “I played bad before. I have an opportunity to redeem myself. I got great guys in the locker room, great guys on our team, great organization, great people in my life who support me no matter what it is, ups, downs. They always say, ‘Just do you.’ Tonight was one of the chances that I think Coach said it, a legacy game.”

Jazz Notes: Wade, Gobert, Mitchell, Butler

As a part of the Jazz‘s ownership group, Dwyane Wade views it as one of his responsibilities to improve the experience for players and to narrow the “disconnect” between the people in the locker room and the people running the team, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic writes.

Wade acknowledged that his input into basketball operations decisions is fairly limited for the time being, but he hopes to eventually take on a larger role as he gets more comfortable in his position in the front office.

“My name is probably bigger than the piece I have,” Wade told The Athletic. “As I’m trying to learn this space, I’ll hopefully one day be more involved. But right now I’m sitting back and I’m learning from (general manager) Justin Zanik, I’m learning from (CEO) Danny Ainge, and (team owner) Ryan (Smith) is as well.

“I don’t want that responsibility of trading a guy or signing a guy. That’s not my role. I don’t want anybody thinking that’s my role. My role is to give my perspective if asked. If I feel like, ‘Hey, what are we doing on this and that, these are the players that I see, that I like.’ And things about these players. Just conversations that anybody would have. But I don’t make the decisions. I’m not the decision-maker.”

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • All-Star center Rudy Gobert thought the referees in Monday’s game in Dallas let the Mavericks‘ bench get away with comments that crossed a line, as Sarah Todd of The Deseret News relays. “There were a lot of things being said that wouldn’t be said outside of a basketball court,” Gobert said. “A lot of things that I would never say. I’m not perfect but I don’t say things to guys on the court that I wouldn’t say to their face outside the locker room.” The Jazz and Mavs will play again in Dallas later this month, and could face each other in the postseason — they currently hold the fourth and fifth spots in the West.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic, in considering the Jazz’s long-term future, envisions the team eventually moving Donovan Mitchell to the point guard role on a full-time basis. If and when Mitchell assumes that role, Utah would probably want to complement him with a secondary creator and with a couple long, athletic wings who can shoot, Jones suggests. Mike Conley, the team’s current point guard, is under contract for two more seasons beyond this one, though his 2023/24 salary isn’t fully guaranteed.
  • A Louisiana native, Jazz rookie Jared Butler got his first opportunity to play an NBA game in New Orleans last Friday night, logging seven minutes of mop-up time in Utah’s blowout loss to the Pelicans. Speaking to local media, Butler discussed the challenges he has faced this season during a transition period. “This year has been interesting, because it’s brand-new for me,” Butler said, per Rod Walker of NOLA.com. “The coolest thing is I get to learn right now. That’s been a change of pace for me going from playing 30 minutes a night in college to just sitting and learning. So that’s been an adjustment. But there’s also just been the adjustment to the NBA lifestyle.”

Jazz Notes: Player Development, Conley, Niang, Wade

The Jazz‘s player development track record is getting hard to ignore, according to Ben Dowsett of FiveThirtyEight.com, who points not to stars like Donovan Mitchell or Rudy Gobert, but to veterans like Joe Ingles, Jordan Clarkson, and – most recently – Royce O’Neale.

Dowsett contends that the mid-career leaps those players have made in Utah are in large part due to head coach Quin Snyder‘s developmental program. For his part, Snyder is reluctant to take credit, suggesting that the players themselves are the ones responsible for their positive strides.

“It’s a credit to the players,” Snyder said. “Sometimes you can be content, especially if you’re successful in this league and have established yourself, to do what you do, so to speak.”

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • After Mike Conley missed several key games in last season’s playoffs due to a hamstring injury, the Jazz are doing all they can in 2021/22 to make sure he’s fully healthy for the postseason, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. That includes limiting Conley’s minutes and sitting him in certain back-to-back sets, which the veteran guard is still getting used to. “I think the plan is going to pay dividends at the end,” Conley said. “I don’t like sitting games at all. I definitely prefer to play. But if it’s going to give me a better chance at health in the long run, I’m all for it. Especially if it’s going to help the team.”
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Jones explores how Georges Niang, who returned to Utah on Tuesday as a member of the Sixers, developed into a reliable NBA player with the Jazz, noting that Niang still holds the franchise in high regard. “Being in Utah, it took me from a young man to an adult,” he said. “I can’t be thankful enough to the Jazz organization, and I had four great years in Utah.”
  • McKay Coppins of The Deseret News takes an in-depth look at the impact new team owner Ryan Smith has had on the Jazz and the greater aspirations he has for the state of Utah.
  • In a Q&A with Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Dwyane Wade spoke about being a part-owner of the Jazz and said that his role with the franchise will be “forever evolving” as he learns more about the business side of basketball.

Jazz Notes: Gobert, Ingles, Mitchell, Whiteside, Butler, Wade

Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Pacers center Myles Turner engaged in a skirmish during Thursday’s game in Utah, briefly wrestling with one another after getting tangled up following a Gobert drive (video link).

As Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune details, the incident resulted in ejections for Gobert and Turner, as well as for Joe Ingles and Donovan Mitchell. Ingles was ejected for shoving referee Ed Malloy while trying to break up the fight; Mitchell was said to be “acting as an instigator and escalating the situation.” It’s unclear if any players will face suspensions as a result of the incident, but fines, at least, seem likely.

After the game, Mitchell and Gobert were focused more on the way the game was being officiated than concerns about forthcoming penalties. Gobert said referees are “allowing guys to do way too much s–t” this season and Mitchell agreed.

“It’s really at a point now, especially tonight, where the referees are allowing things to get out of hand,” Mitchell said, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “Both teams, we’re competitors and we’ll play through contact and talk s–t and do whatever. But at some point it’s continuing to build and you can sense that.”

Here’s more out of Utah:

  • Hassan Whiteside has been a great fit so far as the Jazz’s second-string center, Todd writes for The Deseret News. According to Todd, the veteran big man – who has been accused in the past of looking to pad his own stats – has embraced the team-first philosophy in Utah. “It’s so cool how close this team is, I haven’t been on a team that’s this close,” Whiteside said. “A lot of people say, ‘Hey we’re close team, hey we do this together.’ Nah. This is really like a close-knit group. It’s great. I love it.”
  • Rookie guard Jared Butler can expect to bounce back and forth between the NBA and the G League this season, as Todd outlines in a separate story for The Deseret News. The veteran-heavy Jazz won’t be making it a top priority to develop their young prospects at the NBA level, so Butler, Udoka Azubuike, and Elijah Hughes could all see reps for the Salt Lake City Stars when they’re not part of Utah’s rotation, says general manager Justin Zanik.
  • Dwyane Wade‘s position as a part-owner of the Jazz hasn’t diminished his Heat fandom, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Wade said he still “loves” his old team and would be rooting for them to win a championship if the Jazz don’t. “Miami, from a personal standpoint, I would love to see them win it all,” he said. “But I also would love to see us win it all. So, for me, it’s a win-win.”

2021/22 NBA G League Draft Results

The NBA G League held its draft for the 2021/22 season on Saturday afternoon.

The 28 G League teams affiliated with NBA teams participated in the event, with the G League Ignite and Mexico City Capitanes sitting it out. The Ignite and Capitanes will be taking part in the NBAGL’s Showcase Cup this fall, but won’t be part of the 36-game regular season that tips off in late December.

The first player selected in today’s draft was former St. John’s point guard Shamorie Ponds, who was picked by the Delaware Blue Coats, the Sixers‘ G League affiliate. Ponds has a little NBA experience, having appeared in four games as a rookie in 2019/20 while on a two-way contract with Toronto.

Among the other notable picks were Nate Darling by the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario at No. 5 and LiAngelo Ball by the Greensboro Swarm at No. 14. Last week, the Clippers and Hornets signed and waived Darling and Ball, respectively, in an effort to secure their affiliate rights, but were unable to get those rights for procedural reasons. The two teams had to use the draft to make sure they landed those players.

The Knicks also signed and waived veteran guard Brandon Knight during the preseason and were unable to get his affiliate rights due to a procedural issue. However, Westchester passed on Knight with the No. 4 overall pick today, and the Heat‘s affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, snatched him up at No. 6. We’ll see if Knight is no longer in the Knicks’ plans or if the Skyforce intend to trade his rights to Westchester.

Lance Stephenson to the Grand Rapids Gold (Nuggets) at No. 13 and Dwyane Wade‘s son Zaire Wade to the Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz) at No. 10 were a couple of the other notable picks that played out as expected.

Here are the full 2021/22 G League draft results:


Round One:

  1. Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers): Shamorie Ponds
  2. College Park Skyhawks (Hawks): Tyler Hagedorn
  3. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers): Gabe York
  4. Westchester Knicks (Knicks): Justin Turner
  5. Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers): Nate Darling
  6. Sioux Falls Skyforce (Heat): Brandon Knight
  7. Texas Legends (Mavericks): Eddie Stansberry
  8. Motor City Cruise (Pistons): Jaylen Johnson
  9. Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves): Michael Gbinije
  10. Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz): Zaire Wade
  11. Texas Legends (Mavericks): Loudon Love
  12. Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors): Alan Griffin
  13. Grand Rapids Gold (Nuggets): Lance Stephenson
  14. Greensboro Swarm (Hornets): LiAngelo Ball
  15. Lakeland Magic (Magic): TJ Haws
  16. Cleveland Charge (Cavaliers): B.J. Taylor
  17. Windy City Bulls (Bulls): Scottie Lindsey
  18. Maine Celtics (Celtics): Isaiah Ross
  19. Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves): Ruot Monyyong
  20. Lakeland Magic (Magic): Marlon Stewart
  21. Stockton Kings (Kings): Joe Young
  22. Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves): Samir Doughty
  23. Greensboro Swarm (Hornets): Chudier Bile
  24. Capital City Go-Go (Wizards): Rodney Pryor
  25. Windy City Bulls (Bulls): Tim Bond
  26. Greensboro Swarm (Hornets): Tyree White
  27. Cleveland Charge (Cavaliers): Montell McRae
  28. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets): Cullen Russo

Round Two:

  1. Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies): Karim Mane
  2. College Park Skyhawks (Hawks): Kalob Ledoux
  3. Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies): Gerard Tarin
  4. Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers): Barra Njie
  5. Raptors 905 (Raptors): Tahj Eaddy
  6. Grand Rapids Gold (Nuggets): Trevon Duval
  7. Lakeland Magic (Magic): Gary Chivichyan
  8. Motor City Cruise (Pistons): Ryan Daly
  9. Wisconsin Herd (Bucks): Keaton Wallace
  10. Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz): Pedro Bradshaw
  11. Austin Spurs (Spurs): Alexis Wangmene
  12. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers): Ian DuBose
  13. Sioux Falls Skyforce (Heat): Mike Smith
  14. Lakeland Magic (Magic): Jaire Grayer
  15. Raptors 905 (Raptors): Blake Francis
  16. Cleveland Charge (Cavaliers): Jack Pagenkopf
  17. Lakeland Magic (Magic): Devonte Patterson
  18. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers): Jordan Allen
  19. Birmingham Squadron (Pelicans): Devearl Ramsey
  20. Long Island Nets (Nets): Chris Walker
  21. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets): Eric Demers
  22. Birmingham Squadron (Pelicans): Derrick Griffin
  23. Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors): JaQuan Lyle
  24. Capital City Go-Go (Wizards): Jachai Taylor
  25. Westchester Knicks (Knicks): Lydell Elmore
  26. Greensboro Swarm (Hornets): Ikenna Ndugba
  27. Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder): Tevin King
  28. Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers): Kammeon Holsey

Round Three:

  1. South Bay Lakers (Lakers): Elijah Cain
  2. College Park Skyhawks (Hawks): Landon Taliaferro
  3. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers): Will Vorhees
  4. Westchester Knicks (Knicks): Asante Gist
  5. Stockton Kings (Kings): Princepal Singh
  6. Grand Rapids Gold (Nuggets): Trevor John
  7. Raptors 905 (Raptors): Tristan Jarrett
  8. Motor City Cruise (Pistons): Devon Baulkman
  9. Wisconsin Herd (Bucks): Jaylen Bland
  10. Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz): J.C. Show
  11. Austin Spurs (Spurs): No pick
  12. Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies): No pick
  13. Sioux Falls Skyforce (Heat): Joel Ntambwe
  14. Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers): No pick
  15. Texas Legends (Mavericks): Lamonte Bearden
  16. Stockton Kings (Kings): No pick
  17. Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers): No pick
  18. Maine Celtics (Celtics): Lindsey Drew
  19. Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves): Artur Labinowicz
  20. Long Island Nets (Nets): Jaylen Fisher
  21. Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers): Randy Onwuasor
  22. Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves): Seth Allen
  23. Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors): Jovan Mooring
  24. Capital City Go-Go (Wizards): Jermaine Haley
  25. Windy City Bulls (Bulls): Kerwin Roach
  26. Greensboro Swarm (Hornets): Isaiah Blackmon
  27. Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder): Marlon Taylor
  28. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets): Jimond Ivey

Teams will fill out their rosters with affiliate players, returning-rights players, tryout players, and players who are assigned to the G League from the NBA roster (including those on two-way contracts).

G League training camps open on Monday, with the Showcase Cup tournament tipping off on November 5.

Western Notes: Wade, Jazz, Kings, Winslow, Suns, Thunder

Dwyane Wade‘s son Zaire Wade is signing an NBA G League contract and is expected to land with the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s NBAGL affiliate, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Dwyane is, of course, a part-owner of the Jazz.

The Jazz could secure Zaire’s G League rights for Salt Lake City by signing him to an Exhibit 10 contract and making him an affiliate player. But if the team doesn’t go that route and the younger Wade signs a general G League contract, the Stars would likely select him in the NBAGL draft on October 23.

Here’s more from around the West:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic liked the Kings‘ offseason on the whole, but questioned the team’s decision to trade Delon Wright for Tristan Thompson, then sign Alex Len and retain Damian Jones. All three big men figure to be backups, with Richaun Holmes starting at the five.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, who said on Monday that he has been impressed by Justise Winslow‘s passing ability, confirmed that he views the former lottery pick as an option at point guard, per Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “I know he played a little point guard in Miami and with our point guard situation, with Jason (Preston) going down, he’ll be playing a little backup point,” Lue said. “He been playing the four, he’s been playing the five. … so we just gotta keep learning the plays, different positions and I think he’s gonna be really good for us.”
  • While it may be a matter of semantics, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) stresses that extension discussions between the Suns and Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges are ongoing, not stalled. In other words, one or both of Ayton and Bridges could still end up signing a new contract before the October 18 deadline, even if no agreement is imminent yet.
  • The Thunder continue to experiment with different lineups, according to Nick Gallo of OKCThunder.com, who notes that the team used 35 different five-man units in its first two preseason games. “With the lineups, the way that we try to look at it is that every player has their own individual style of play, and the lineups are just a merging of those things,” head coach Mark Daigneault said.

Jazz Rumors: Lindsey, Snyder, Azubuike, Wade, Ainge, Battier

Dennis Lindsey‘s transition from his executive VP of basketball operations position with the Jazz into an advisory role was framed as Lindsey’s call, but it was more of an ownership decision, according to Andy Larsen and Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

As Larsen and Walden explain in an in-depth story, new Jazz owner Ryan Smith is making some changes to the front office — director of pro player personnel David Fredman was also told this week that his contract isn’t being renewed.

One factor in the decision to reassign Lindsey was a “long-running disconnect” between the executive and head coach Quin Snyder, per the Tribune’s report. According to Larsen and Walden, Lindsey and Snyder had numerous disagreements both on and off the court, including not seeing eye to eye on rotation and roster decisions. Snyder – along with many members of the front office – were frustrated by the selection of Udoka Azubuike in the first round of the 2020 draft, per Larsen and Walden.

Given Utah’s success during the 2020/21 season, Lindsey and Snyder were on better terms during the last year, but several people in the organization still felt that this week’s announcement reflected a feud being settled. “Quin won,” one source told The Tribune.

Here’s more on the Jazz’s front office shakeup:

  • While Lindsey is now an advisor in the Jazz’s front office, there’s an expectation that he’ll seek a job with another team, according to Larsen and Walden.
  • Dwyane Wade has “added his voice” to front office discussions, but isn’t taking a day-to-day role in basketball and roster decisions, per Larsen and Walden.
  • If former Celtics executive Danny Ainge joins the Jazz, it will likely be in an advisory role, says Tony Jones of The Athletic.
  • Jones, Larsen, and Walden all say more front office additions are expected. Multiple reporters, including Jones, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald suggest that Wade’s former teammate Shane Battier is one candidate to join the basketball operations department. Battier worked in the Heat’s front office from 2017-21, but recently left that position and is now just a consultant for Miami.

Jazz Notes: Conley, Mitchell, Gobert, Arena Capacity

Jazz guard Mike Conley exited game five of Utah’s series against the Grizzlies due to right hamstring soreness after playing just 12 minutes. But despite being frustrated by the setback, he feels confident he’ll be back in round two, whether against the Clippers or Mavericks, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News.

It’s playoffs, so my mindset is I’ll be ready to play,” Conley said. “We’re gonna just see what happens in next few days and be smart about how we approach it going into this next series.”

Conley bounced back from a rocky first season in Utah, in which he was dealing with a similar hamstring ailment, and had averaged 20 points and over 10 assists per game in the first four games of the series. With at least four days between the end of the Grizzlies series and the start of round two, the Jazz can afford to be cautious.

The veteran point guard was scheduled to undergo an MRI this morning, per Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • When Donovan Mitchell went down with an ankle injury on April 16, he channeled his frustration by diving back into preparing for the playoffs in the same way he did during the Orlando bubble from last year, reports ESPN’s Jackie McMullan. One person who was crucial to his preparations for this year’s playoffs was new minority owner Dwyane Wade, who has served as a mentor figure for Mitchell for years. “You are trying to attack from so many different angles, but you can attack it from one angle if you are patient,” Wade counseled.
  • Rudy Gobert sits down with Shams Charania of Stadium to discuss being a number one seed, championship expectations, and playing with Mitchell. “Every year we had to earn, and earn, and earn the respect as a team, and earn every single win, and you know, we’re still going to have to earn this championship and you know, the story will be amazing,” Gobert said.
  • The Jazz announced Thursday morning that they’ll be increasing attendance at Vivint Arena to its full 18,306 person capacity for round two of the playoffs, the largest NBA crowd of any game this season, writes Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. The arena will limit some lower bowl attendance around the team benches, but will make up for it with increased standing room only capacity. Masks will still be mandatory.

Donovan Mitchell Angry At Jazz For Sitting Him In Game 1

As we detailed in a pair of earlier stories, the Jazz made the decision to hold Donovan Mitchell out of Game 1 of the team’s series vs. Memphis on Sunday, despite the fact that the All-Star guard believed he was ready to return from his ankle sprain.

Head coach Quin Snyder acknowledged to reporters before the game that Mitchell didn’t love the decision, but it sounds like Snyder may have been understating the 24-year-old’s feelings on the matter. Sources tell Brian Windhorst and Tim MacMahon of ESPN that Mitchell was “incensed” by the decision and that it “deepened (his) tensions” with the team.

According to Windhorst and MacMahon, after Mitchell made slow progress during the early stages of his recovery, he began to work with his personal training staff – rather than Jazz trainers – on his rehab. Of course, it was the team’s training staff that made the call to hold him out on Sunday, after all signs had pointed toward him returning. ESPN’s duo notes that Utah has a history of being cautious with player injuries.

Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune suggests (via Twitter) that a power struggle of sorts seems to be taking place between the two training staffs – Mitchell’s and the team’s – over who makes the decisions on his recovery and availability.

Some “easing of frustrations” may need to take place this week behind the scenes, according to Windhorst and MacMahon, who say that new Jazz minority stakeholder Dwyane Wade could play a part in that process. Mitchell and Wade are close, and Wade has plenty of personal experience with managing injuries during the postseason.

While the Jazz and Mitchell don’t appear to be in a good spot in the short term, particularly since Utah lost Game 1, it’s unlikely to impact the guard’s long-term future with the franchise. Mitchell was originally on track to become a restricted free agent this summer, but signed a five-year extension last offseason that will keep him under contract with the Jazz through at least 2024/25.