As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country and leave people sick and out of work, basketball, and sports in general, have been pushed to the back burner. Even NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league isn’t going to be able to make any further decisions about the future of the season until at least May.
But even though it’s hard to focus on basketball right now, it will return at some point. And when it does, the Utah Jazz are going to have an interesting situation on their hands. Rudy Gobert, of course, was the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, and Donovan Mitchell was next.
While we’ll never know if Gobert was the one who passed the infection on to Mitchell, that possibility, along with Gobert’s lackadaisical attitude towards the threat have created an icy tension between the two stars. In fact, their relationship might be permanently damaged, according to a report from Sam Amick and Tony Jones of The Athletic.
The Jazz have already begun working on the Mitchell-Gobert relationship, but 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.
There is hope that the relationship will improve over time, and the fact that there could potentially be a lot of time to sort things out could work in Utah’s favor.
There won’t be any basketball for months, which gives the Jazz a chance to see if time and distance can help smooth things over. If it can’t that would be truly unfortunate after the many years they’ve spent building this team, but it’s not hard to see why that would be the case.
Even though Mitchell ended up getting through the virus without too much trouble, that was only by chance. While older people are much more affected, it’s still a danger for younger people as well. There’s no question Gobert was acting in a reckless manner, as we saw during his press conference just prior to the season shutting down, when he made a point to touch every microphone in front of him.
His action put Mitchell, and many others in and around the Jazz organization at risk. And based on the reporting from Amick and Jones, the Jazz had done plenty of work to educate the team about the situation, so he didn’t have the excuse of being ignorant.
Again, only time will tell if things can be salvaged in Utah, but we might have already seen the peak of this current Jazz group.