Jazz's Rudy Gobert Says Relationship with Donovan Mitchell 'Isn't Perfect'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 3, 2020

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) talks with guard Donovan Mitchell, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Duane Burleson/Associated Press

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has addressed the status of his relationship with teammate Donovan Mitchell as the team continues preparations for the NBA season restart in Orlando, Florida.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Gobert acknowledged his bond with Mitchell "isn't perfect...but as long as we respect one another, share the same goals and do what's best for the team, that's what matters."

Gobert's comments come after Mitchell told reporters Thursday their relationship was "good" as they get ready to play together for the first time since the season was suspended March 11.

"Right now we're good. We're going out there ready to hoop," Mitchell said. "And I think the biggest thing that kind of sucked was that it took away from the guys on the team, took away from what the guys on the team were trying to do."

Gobert was the first NBA player known to test positive for COVID-19 on March 11 when games were suspended. Earlier that same week, he touched all of the microphones set up at a press conference in an apparent joke about the precautions that were being taken because of the virus.

Mitchell was also diagnosed with the coronavirus as part of the same round of testing. Both players were cleared of the virus March 27, but there was reportedly serious damage done to their relationship.

One source told The Athletic's Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Tony Jones the relationship between the two players "doesn't appear salvageable."

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Gobert said Friday:

"Obviously, when you have the whole world judging you or threatening you or sending you a lot of negative energy and stuff like that, it's something that I would say is not easy as a human being. But, at the same time, people are just judging you on the perception they have and the perception you get from sometimes it can be one picture, one video or one interview, one action. So, people don't really know you."

Gobert and Mitchell are both under contract through next season with Mitchell eligible to receive a qualifying offer for the 2020-21 season. Gobert will earn $25.8 million in the final season of a four-year extension he signed in 2016.

The Jazz head into the restart as the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference with a 41-23 record. Their first game back will be against the New Orleans Pelicans on July 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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