It appears that the Utah Jazz‘s All-Star shooting guard, Donovan Mitchell, intends to stay with the team for the next several years, as suggested by a new report.
Quoting a story from The Athletic‘s Tony Jones, Bleacher Report wrote that Mitchell “genuinely loves” playing in Utah and is expected to “sign a max contract extension at some point before next season.” This development comes over one month after the 23-year-old was named to his first All-Star Game and close to two weeks after he became the second NBA player — following his Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert — to test positive for the coronavirus.
As recalled by Bleacher Report, Mitchell proved to be a steal for the Jazz, who selected the former Louisville Cardinals star with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact as a rookie, as he averaged 20.5 points per game in the 2017-18 season and finished right behind Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons in the 2018 Rookie of the Year voting.
Before the NBA suspended the 2019-2020 season due to coronavirus concerns, Mitchell was averaging 24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game as he and Gobert led the Jazz to a 41-23 record — good for fourth place in the Western Conference. Bleacher Report noted that Utah was living up to expectations in 2019-2020 as their two young core players were joined this season by veteran guards Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic.
“Signing Mitchell, a restricted free agent after the 2020-21 season, long term would be an ideal way to help solidify the Jazz as contenders in the Western Conference for years to come,” the outlet added.
DONOVAN MITCHELL SHAKES THE DEFENDER THEN TAKES OFF!
— SLC Dunk (@slcdunk) March 3, 2020
Despite the good chance Mitchell will soon be signing a lucrative contract to remain with the Jazz for the foreseeable future, it was also noted that there was allegedly some friction between him and Gobert, due to how the latter didn’t seem to take his coronavirus diagnosis seriously. According to Sports Illustrated, Mitchell was “extremely frustrated” with the French big man in the aftermath of his own COVID-19 diagnosis, with the publication’s sources adding that the guard’s response to Gobert’s apology for his actions could “make or break their relationship” once the 2019-2020 season resumes.
Extending Mitchell’s contract is just one of the ways the Jazz could improve their chances of becoming a top contender for the Western Conference championship in the coming seasons. As previously reported by The Blitz News, one suggested offseason trade scenario would have Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward returning to the Jazz, with the team theoretically shipping Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale, and Ed Davis to Boston to re-acquire him.