Donovan Mitchell Says He Wants to Play for Jazz; 'It Hurts' to Be Asked About Future

Adam WellsApril 29, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 28: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz looks on during Round 1 Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks on April 28, 2022 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

After another disappointing playoff loss, Donovan Mitchell's future with the Utah Jazz is going to be a major topic of discussion this offseason. 

Speaking to reporters after Thursday's 98-96 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6, which knocked the Jazz out of the playoffs in the first round, Mitchell was asked by Sarah Todd of the Deseret News if he wants to remain in Utah. 

"Yes...this hurts Sarah, I'm not gonna lie. But yeah, I do," Mitchell said.

Mitchell has three more guaranteed seasons remaining on the five-year, $163 million contract he signed in November 2020. He averaged 25.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game in 67 starts this season. 

This marks the third time in Mitchell's five seasons that the Jazz have lost their first-round playoff series. The franchise hasn't advanced past the second round since the 2006-07 season. 

Much has been made of the dynamic between Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Tony Jones of The Athletic published a story in April 2020 that had a source saying their relationship "doesn't appear salvageable."

Mitchell told reporters almost a year later that the story helped bring the two players together. 

"It brought out a level of determination in both of us that we never had," he said. "I never had a controversy like that. Here we were, the two pillars of the team, and we had to go to the playoffs in two months. It brought out a different level of tenacity in both of us."

Despite those comments, there remained rumblings that something has been off between the Jazz's two franchise pillars. 

ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective Podcast (h/t RealGM.com) in February that Mitchell and Gobert were "under each other's skin" with all kinds of "subtweeting and passive aggressive stuff going on."

The Jazz were a season-high 18 games over .500 on Jan. 6 (28-10) but went 21-23 over the final 44 games to fall to No. 5 in the Western Conference. Their defense allowed 109.3 points per game after the All-Star break, compared to 106.9 points per game before the break. 

Whatever Utah's front office decides to do this offseason, it would seem unlikely the roster as presently constructed is back in 2022-23 after another early postseason exit.