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Jazz All-Star Relationship Impacted After Coronavirus Controversy

A report from The Athletic suggests Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is reluctant to fix his relationship with fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert following the team’s COVID-19 debacle.

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NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been said about Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert’s mishandling of his illness in the days leading up to his positive coronavirus test that occurred just before the indefinite suspension of the NBA’s 2019-20 season.

In a report from The Athletic, it was revealed that Gobert’s actions have seriously impacted his relationship with fellow NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell—a bond that needs to survive if the Jazz have any hopes of claiming its first NBA title once the COVID-19 cloud dissipates.

While no one can know how each player individually contracted the disease, it appears Mitchell continues to be frustrated with how Gobert handled his illness.

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.

According to The Athletic, the Jazz organization, in particular coach Quin Snyder, had been proactive in educating players about the virus, meeting as early as February 25 to discuss the nature of the illness.

However, when encouraged by teammates to get tested for the COVID-19 on March 10, Gobert refused and said he was fine to play. He infamously and intentionally touched media microphones at a post-shootaround press conference the following day.

Leading up to Gobert’s experience with flu-like symptoms in the lead up to a positive test, the reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year had spent time with family that was visiting from France.

There is no proof that Gobert’s inaction to get tested resulted in Mitchell’s own positive test, but The Athletic’s article did offer insight on the duo’s interactions.

In the two travel days leading into Utah’s game at Oklahoma City, Gobert and Mitchell shared space on a regular basis, sitting near each other on buses and the team plane, according to sources.

You can read the full story from Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Tony Jones at The Athletic.