Once the coronavirus pandemic has passed and the NBA is ready to restart its season, the Utah Jazz will have one more significant hurdle to cross before games get underway. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell’s relationship has taken a major hit as a result of the coronavirus.
While things looked rough a few weeks ago, both Gobert and Mitchell are reportedly “ready to put [the feud] behind them.”
Jazz executive VP Dennis Lindsey on Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell: "They're ready to put this behind them, move forward, act professionally. ... We're very pleased with the collective makeup of our group, Donovan and Rudy in particular. We look forward to moving forward."— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 5, 2020
The issue stems from both players testing positive for the coronavirus. On March 11, Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus. The NBA indefinitely postponed the remainder of the season as a result of Gobert’s positive test. The following day, Mitchell, Gobert’s teammate, tested positive for the coronavirus.
While it’s unclear which player gave the virus to the other, Gobert’s attitude regarding the coronavirus is at the center of the feud. In the days leading up to Gobert’s positive test, he made light of the virus, touching reporters’ microphones after a news conference. That attitude extended to the locker room, where Gobert reportedly jokingly touched players and their belongings before he tested positive.
Considering Mitchell’s positive test, Gobert’s actions didn’t sit right with Mitchell. A month after Gobert’s positive test, a report emerged suggesting his relationship with Mitchell wasn’t salvageable. The two spoke a few days later, and Gobert said things were getting better.
The Jazz will have to hope Gobert and Mitchell can put the issue behind them. At 41-23, the Jazz were in the thick of the postseason hunt before the season was suspended. If the team has championship aspirations, Gobert and Mitchell will have to put the issue aside to focus on winning it all.
If they can’t do that, don’t expect them to remain teammates for long.
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