Utah Jazz swingman Joe Ingles recently gave his thoughts on social media and in an interview on the closeness of the team, and the reported beef between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
It was reported early on that Jazz players were frustrated with Gobert for his “carelessness” of touching teammates belongings in the locker room.
Then there was the Instagram post by Donovan Mitchell exhorting people to “behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them”, and no mention of Rudy whatsoever.
Then while playing video games, Royce O’Neale was asked by a fan whether or not Rudy was being irresponsible. His response wasn’t very reassuring at all, and he sounded as if he was clearly holding words back.
He finally stammered out “……. ask Donovan”. Given that the two teammates are tight and considered best friends on the team, it’s safe to say that Royce would be the one to know how Donovan is feeling at the moment.
Then finally, our fears were confirmed when Mitchell was interviewed on Good Morning America. Robin Roberts directly asked him if he’d spoken to Rudy since the NBA season was suspended, and Mitchell in his response admitted it took him some time to cool off since the incident.
But he never answered the question on if he had spoken to Rudy in those following days, confirming the speculation going around that there indeed was a rift between the two All-Star teammates.
Believe it or not, it’s already been two weeks since the circus in Oklahoma City went down, with the postponement of the game and then the suspension of the NBA season. Since then I think everyone’s had enough time to fully take in the reality of our lives in this COVID-19 pandemic.
Though it didn’t originate from the mouths of Gobert or Mitchell themselves, there is some good news on the front on the two star players’ relationship. And that good news came from no other than Joe Ingles.
You can read the full article on The Athletic (subscription required), but in there Ingles gave some insight to Sam Amick on the state of the Jazz team chemistry. To paraphrase what he said, it was basically that he believes the team will be fine once basketball resumes.
That attitude coming from Ingles doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. He’s always been a good teammate both on and off the court, and someone that everyone can get along with. There’s no personal ego of his on whether he starts or comes off the bench, and he’s done his share of both this season.
This is mostly speculation, but from what he says it sounds like everyone of the players is cool with each other and the only wrinkle that needs to be ironed out is Mitchell and Gobert. With plenty of time to take it easy and hunker down in our quarantined houses, the hope is that Mitchell and Gobert will work it out.
There’s been no shortages of Jazz beefs in the team’s 41 year history in Salt Lake City. Trey Lyles certainly voiced his disdain for Jazz coach Quin Snyder after he was traded to Denver.
Raja Bell was upset when coach Ty Corbin removed him from the starting lineup which ultimately led to his waiving. Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan had their spat that had both of them gone from the team within a two week span.
And of course, perhaps the biggest one of all was between Hall of Famer Karl Malone and Jazz owner Larry H. Miller. During the 1997 Training Camp, Karl was outspoken on some of his teammates showing up to camp out of shape and overweight, and was upset that Miller didn’t back him up on those comments.
They had a 45 minute closed door meeting, just the two of them, and continued their relationship Miller described like “father and son”.
Then during the 2003-04 season, the one which Malone left the Jazz to chase a ring with the Los Angeles Lakers, the beef continued. Miller went as far to say “I don’t need Karl in my life“, and was ready to build a bronze statue for John Stockton and leave Malone out in the cold.
But as we all know, they made up for their differences. They were on good terms when Larry passed away in 2009, and the bronze statue for Malone was built after all.
My hope is that by the time basketball is back sometime in 2020 that this Mitchell and Gobert beef will be a long distant memory. The two of them should be so anxious to get back on the basketball court and hopefully all will be right with the world again.
If things don’t get better, both of their contracts expire at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, assuming neither one signs an extension this fall. Mitchell could be moved in a sign and trade deal through restricted free agency (similar to how Malcolm Brogdon was moved last summer), or Rudy Gobert could be the biggest blockbuster name on the market.