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Rudy Gobert Says He Wants to See Donovan Mitchell Happy and Successful

Adam WellsDecember 29, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: Donovan Mitchell #45 and Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz looks on during the game against the LA Clippers on March 29, 2022 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. 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 Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Despite longstanding rumors they didn't see eye-to-eye as teammates, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are at least willing to be cordial when speaking about each other in public.

Speaking to Tania Ganguli of the New York Times, Gobert wished Mitchell well while addressing the difficult times both players had at the end of their time with the Utah Jazz:

"I think it was a tough situation for me, just like it was a tough situation for him. After that, we came back to have a lot of success as a team. As of today, Donovan is someone that I want to see him happy. I want to see him succeed. I want him and his family to be great. Things happen, and sometimes people can do things to you that can hurt you. A lot of times it's out of fear, you know. So you just have to grow through that and see past that."

In an interview with Andscape's Marc J. Spears from Dec. 19, Mitchell acknowledged he and Gobert "didn't see eye-to-eye" when it comes to basketball.

"We wanted to both win, but we wanted to do it two different ways. It didn't work," Mitchell explained. "But as far as him and I go as people, I don't hate him, and he doesn't hate me. I wouldn't say we're the best of friends, but we're not at the point where it's like, I can't stand him."

There have been rumblings dating back to 2020 that Gobert and Mitchell were at odds. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in March 2020 that Jazz players were privately upset with how "careless" Gobert was in the locker room with touching his teammates and their belongings in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mitchell, who tested positive for the virus at the time, told JJ Redick on The Old Man and The Three podcast in October he was "angry" with Gobert.

"I would say out of all of the media reports that have ever come out about me, Rudy and the team, that was probably the most accurate," he added.

Midway through last season, ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Tim MacMahon addressed rising tensions between Utah's All-Star duo.

"Gobert and Mitchell have been at each other's...I don't know if I can say at each other's throats," Windhorst said, adding it was the "most underplayed story in the league."

MacMahon responded, "It's back to being passively aggressively awkward."

The Jazz had tremendous success in the regular season with Mitchell and Gobert as their two best players. They made the playoffs in each of their five seasons together, including an NBA-best 52-20 record in 2020-21.

Postseason success was far more elusive for the Jazz. They only advanced out of the first round twice and never made it beyond the Western Conference semifinals.

After a first-round loss to the Dallas Mavericks ended their 2021-22 season, the Jazz broke up their roster by trading Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Things have worked out for the Jazz, who are still hovering around the play-in mix with a 19-18 record. Mitchell has the Cavs as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 22-13 record.

Gobert and the Timberwolves are still trying to figure things out. They have lost four straight games and have fallen to 11th in the Western Conference at 16-19 overall.