The Jazz’s two All-Stars, center Rudy Gobert and guard Donovan Mitchell, are moving past their feud, Utah executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey said Tuesday.
FILE PHOTO: Basketball – FIBA World Cup – Quarter Finals – United States v France – Dongguan Basketball Center, Dongguan, China – September 11, 2019 France’s Rudy Gobert and Nicolas Batum react REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Speaking on a video conference call with reporters, Lindsey stated that the players are already healing their relationship, which was damaged by Gobert’s actions at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gobert treated COVID-19 cavalierly in early March, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that he went around touching other players and their belongings. Gobert tested positive for the virus on March 11, prompting the NBA to suspend its season, and Mitchell tested positive on March 12.
Gobert subsequently apologized for his earlier joking attitude toward the coronavirus.
Lindsey said Tuesday, “They’re ready to put this behind them, move forward, act professionally. Look, the COVID-19 night of March (11) was really unprecedented. It brought a microscope to our team, and we get it. With that said, we’re very pleased with the collective makeup of our group, Donovan and Rudy in particular.
“They’ve said their piece to each other, they’ve both visited at the ownership level, at management level, the coaches level, the players level with each other, they’re fully participating in our Zoom workouts.
“We fully expect the team to come together in a great way and continue to move forward as a group. … At the most basic level, they know they need each other to accomplish the goals that we want to accomplish and that’s to be the last team standing in the NBA.”
All Jazz players and staff members were free from the coronavirus as of March 27, the team announced.
Gobert said April 12 on Instagram Live regarding Mitchell, “It’s true that we didn’t speak for a while after this, but we spoke a few days ago. We’re both ready to go out there and try to win a championship for this team.”
The Jazz (41-23) had won five games in a row before losing their last contest prior to the NBA’s shutdown. They sit in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, 1 1/2 games behind the Denver Nuggets (43-22) and one game ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder (40-24) and the Houston Rockets (40-24).
—Field Level Media