Before the restart of the 2019-20 NBA season, Utah Jazz franchise cornerstones Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have decided to address the issue between them so that they could focus on the team’s quest for the championship title. However, if they fall short of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy or at least reach the Finals, rumors surrounding Mitchell, Gobert, and their future in Utah are expected to heat up once again this fall.
In a recent article, Mandela Namaste of Bleacher Report included the Jazz on the list of NBA’s most active teams in the 2020 offseason. If they fail to achieve their main goal this year, Namaste believes that the Jazz could try to fix the “fit issue” between Mitchell and Gobert by trading one of them this fall.
“Even before Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert contracted the coronavirus, the Jazz faced internal turmoil. While Mitchell and Gobert are widely recognized as top-30 NBA players, they’ve never been the smoothest fit together. As a slashing guard who can jump out of the gym, Mitchell is reminiscent of a young Dwyane Wade, but his ability to get to the basket is neutralized by the paint-bound Gobert. They’ve been able to co-exist well enough since Mitchell entered the league, leading Utah to three straight playoff appearances, but as both near extensions, the Jazz may need to choose one or the other.”
Mitchell and Gobert are undeniably the main reasons why the Jazz have reached the postseason in the past three seasons, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they really consider breaking their star duo in the 2020 offseason. In the years that they played together, their only greatest achievement was playing in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs and they never got close to advancing to the conference finals. However, if ever they decide to move one of their superstars, it is highly likely to be in a superstar-for-superstar trade or in a deal that could enable them to land players that could help them become a more competitive team next year.
Aside from the “fit issue” between Mitchell and Gobert, Namaste thinks that the Jazz would also be needing to deal with the “post-prime Mike Conley.” Utah trade for Conley last summer with the belief that he could be the missing piece of their championship core. Unfortunately, since he started playing for the Jazz, he has been a huge disappointment. He failed to live up to expectations and is noticeably having a hard time to co-exist with Mitchell in their backcourt.
Despite his underwhelming performance this season, Conley is still expected to receive interest from teams who want to upgrade their point guard position while preserving their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2021. Some of the potential trade destinations for veteran point guard include the Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Philadelphia 76ers.