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:

Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks

I just spoke to Rudy Gobert, says he and Donovan Mitchell didn’t speak much in the beginning but they spoke a couple days ago. Reiterates their relationship is great and they’re focused on winning championships together.

Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks

Snippet from the conversation with Rudy Gobert addressing media speculation about his relationship with Donovan Mitchell: https://t.co/jQ8KaPEnZs

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

Sources: Both players had issues with one another stemming from the developments of the COVID-19 positive results that they ultimately recovered from. There’s more work to be done, but the chat is a good sign they’re working on turning the page. https://t.co/7q0LzjskEs

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:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell ESPN. Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive.

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."

Good Morning America @GMA

EXCLUSIVE: “I think that’s the scariest part about this virus is that you may seem fine.” @NBA star @spidadmitchell speaks out for the first time from isolation since being diagnosed with COVID-19, despite being “asymptomatic.” https://t.co/i9rZzYvW4s https://t.co/wZJBteQjtV

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. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.