Rudy Gobert Says Donovan Mitchell Relationship Is 'Great' Amid Report of Issues

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2020

Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell (45) and Rudy Gobert talk during a time out in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Salt Lake City. The Houston Rockets defeated the Utah Jazz 120-110. (AP Photo/Kim Raff)
Kim Raff/Associated Press

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert told B/R's Taylor Rooks that his relationship with teammate Donovan Mitchell is "great" on Sunday:

That follows Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Tony Jones of The Athletic reporting that the relationship between the pair was on thin ice due to Gobert's flippant attitude toward the COVID-19 pandemic before both players were diagnosed with the coronavirus:   

"The Jazz have already begun working on the Mitchell-Gobert relationship, but sources say Mitchell remains reluctant to fix what might have been broken.

"'It doesn't appear salvageable,' one source with knowledge of the situation said.

"There is hope that the relationship will improve over time, and the fact that there could potentially be a lot of time to sort things out could work in Utah's favor."

Before Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, he sarcastically touched a number of the media's microphones during a March 9 press conference, per The Athletic's report, ostensibly mocking the precautionary measures recommended to the public.

They also reported that teammates noticed Gobert coughing and showing signs of illness in the locker room several days before he was diagnosed with the coronavirus and recommended he get tested. Gobert initially resisted before meeting with trainers and getting tested.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in March that Jazz players felt Gobert had been "careless" in making contact with them and their belongings:

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Mitchell, who tested positive shortly after Gobert, wasn't shy about his displeasure with the situation, telling Good Morning America it took him "a while ... to cool off."

Repairing the relationship between Gobert and Mitchell is a top priority for the Jazz. Those two players are the foundation of the contending Jazz, who were 41-23 before the NBA went on hiatus, leaving them fourth in the Western Conference. 

Gobert, 27, is the centerpiece of the team's defense, averaging 15.1 points, 13.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. Mitchell, 23, is Utah's go-to scorer, posting 24.2 points per game. The duo is one of the best inside-outside combinations in basketball, and any issues off the court threaten to derail a roster that has been built to make a run in the postseason.