Rumor: Rudy Gobert to tell Jazz to trade him or Donovan Mitchell

Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert
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Donovan Mitchell could request a trade from the Jazz this offseason.

The Jazz haven’t won big, losing in the first round this year. Utah is not a big market. Mitchell and Rudy Gobert don’t get along swimmingly.

On that note (pun intended), perhaps Gobert won’t just sit back and wait for Mitchell to decide his future with the Jazz.

Sean O’Connell of SiriusXM:

O’Connell on KSL:

My understanding is that conversation has yet to happen.

Maybe he and his agent are formulating a better strategy  than a simple ultimatum, and that’s why we haven’t had anything. This is from a very trusted, hashtag, source for me, and it could be less than 100 percent complete information from what Rudy and his camp are actually planning on doing. Obviously, I’ll fully allow for that.

Gobert took to social media to shoot this rumor down.

I’d be surprised if Gobert hasn’t thought about telling the Jazz “him or me” with Mitchell. In even just his public comments, Gobert has sounded fed up with Mitchell.

But actually issuing an ultimatum? Following through on making a mess if neither player is traded? Those would be far more drastic steps.

Perhaps, Gobert will actually take them. But it’s also possible Gobert merely made comments in frustration that were incorrectly assumed to have real intent behind them. This could also be a trial balloon or warning shot got leaked.

Will Gobert and Mitchell win a championship together? Probably not. But 29 of 30 teams don’t win a title each year. Utah has been very good overall with those two. If traded, Gobert could easily land on a team further from a championship.

In some ways, Mitchell does look less explosive than he used to. He doesn’t attack the rim as much, settling for jumpers. His defense has regressed. Maybe there are actual structural issues with his athleticism. But he’s just 25. Until this report, it seemed Mitchell’s playing style/habits were the issue. And while not looking as explosive anymore, he has improved as a shooter and ball-handler.

Gobert, 29, has seemingly plateaued. At a high level, yes. But he hasn’t shown growth in his overall effectiveness the last few years. At his age, declines are more likely than further improvement.

Those differences are why the Jazz would probably pick Mitchell over Gobert. Utah has seemingly built foremost around Mitchell for a while.

As far as another team paying “handsomely” for Gobert, that wouldn’t mean a new contract. That’d mean sending the Jazz assets in a trade and taking on the four years and $169,655,174 remaining on Gobert’s current deal.

Though prioritizing Mitchell, Utah has invested heavily in Gobert. That long contract buys the team leverage. Likewise, Mitchell is locked in three more years.

So, the players can push for whatever they want. They can make life difficult for everyone involved.

But the Jazz will ultimately determine how to proceed.