The Utah Jazz are in the spotlight, and for reasons that won’t excite fans. The questions regarding the teams future aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, though.
While the world attempts to remain calm throughout this pandemic, Utah Jazz fans have been left with the difficult task of both remaining calm and remaining optimistic about the future of their franchise.
Prior to the NBA suspending the 2019-20 season, the Utah Jazz had 41 wins and were trending towards a top-four seed in the Western Conference. Expectations were high, and though frustrating at some point, the season was going well.
Then, Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to be diagnosed with novel coronavirus. Donovan Mitchell tested positive shortly after, and Utah suddenly had a major problem on their hand — repairing the relationship between the star duo.
It was at this point when the questions started coming for the Utah Jazz. Is the relationship repairable? Even if it is, can they co-exist in the future? Do you trade Rudy Gobert? Do you trade Donovan Mitchell?
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Whether or not basketball resumes this season, there’s going to be questions surrounding the Utah Jazz for the foreseeable future. Key, franchise-altering decisions are looming as soon as the off-season begins.
Donovan Mitchell is going to get a maximum contract extension from the Jazz. That’s a given. He’ll be locked up for the next five years after his rookie contract expires. Things get interesting with Utah’s All-Star big, Rudy Gobert.
He’ll be eligible for the “super-max” extension that would reach $60 million annually at one point, but after this whole mess, are the Jazz going to want to commit that amount of money for a player in his prime that has a shaky relationship with the guy you’re extending in Mitchell?
Is Gobert even going to be interested in remaining with the Utah Jazz? Since his diagnosis, he seems to be distant from the team. If that is the case, he would become a trade candidate.
What can the Jazz get in exchange for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year? Let’s keep in mind that he’ll be on an expiring contract and plays a position that has shrunken in importance over the years. It certainly wouldn’t be a package worth his true value.
See what I mean? There’s just question after question for the Utah Jazz right now. Sadly, there’s going to be many more questions as we continue towards what will be a pivotal off-season. Questions that are hard to answer.
I’ve let my two cents be known many times, but I’ll say it again. Rudy Gobert is Utah’s best and most important player. I don’t see a scenario where the Utah Jazz are nearly as good next season without him in the lineup. Do with that as you will.
The Gobert/Mitchell duo will get most of the attention, but the Jazz have other responsibilities during the off-season as well. With little flexibility, the Jazz must figure out a way to round out the roster better this time around.
Aside from Bojan Bogdanovic and Emmanuel Mudiay, Utah’s free agent signings turned out to be pretty big busts. Here’s two more questions for you — if you can keep the stars in place, which veterans make sense to add around them? If you break the stars up, do you go younger and build more towards the future?
Time will tell how the Utah Jazz come out of this situation, but right now, things are looking shaky in Jazzland. It’s best to keep a positive mindset for now, but fans should also be prepared for a potentially drastic change over the summer time.