Speaking to reporters on Monday, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell confirmed that he was shocked by the team’s decision to hold him out of Game 1 when he thought he’d be playing, as Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune writes.
“I was frustrated and upset,” said Mitchell, who has missed over a month with a right ankle sprain. “I was ready to go. I was ready to go.”
s tell Tony Jones and Sam Amick of The Athletic that Mitchell had hoped to make his return late in the regular season and was already irritated by the delay, so Sunday’s decision only exacerbated his frustration. The Jazz, who didn’t want to risk a re-aggravation of the injury, felt that holding him out for one more game – resulting in three extra days of rest – was the best move for Mitchell’s health and safety, per Jones and Amick.
Having been cleared to play in Game 2, Mitchell said on Monday that he’s ready to move past the situation, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Still, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his latest Hoop Collective podcast that some damage has been done to the relationship between the Jazz and their All-Star guard.
“Is it damaged to the point where it can’t be repaired? I’m not saying that,” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “Is it something that they’ll get past and he’ll just move on and it will just be a blip on the radar screen? Maybe. Maybe they’re in The Finals in two months and who cares? Maybe they win the next four games and it’s totally forgotten. But right now, Donovan is hurting. He’s really hurting the way this happened.”
As the Jazz look to even the series in Game 2 on Wednesday, Mitchell said there have been no discussions yet about him facing a minutes limit in his first game since April 16. The 24-year-old said he wants to be smart, but added that he’s prepared to play all 48 minutes if necessary, tweets Jones.
Here’s more from around the Western Conference:
- It remains unclear whether Gregg Popovich will decide to continue coaching the Spurs in 2021/22, writes Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News. As Finger details, the longtime Spurs coach said last week that there would be “a lot of time” to figure out what’s next, so it could still be weeks or months before the team makes an announcement.
- The Stockton Kings, in search of a new head coach, are interviewing candidates from Sacramento’s coaching staff , per Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento (Twitter link). Bobby Jackson, Lindsey Harding, and Jonah Herscu are receiving consideration to coach the Kings’ G League team, sources tell Cunningham.
- Former NBA wing Corey Brewer, who joined the Pelicans as a player development coach last fall, wrote for BasketballNews.com about transitioning from playing to coaching and what he learned in his first year in the new role. Brewer also shared some thoughts on several of New Orleans’ young players.