The Jazz posted the best record in the NBA last year, but their 52-20 mark has not protected them from major changes this offseason.
After a second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Clippers, Utah restructured its front office. Justin Zanik will be taking over as GM with Dennis Lindsey moving to an advisory role. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade, a member of the ownership group in Utah, will have increased sway in the front office.
The Jazz will look to accomplish one goal after these transitions. They want to keep star guard Donovan Mitchell happy.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on “The Hoop Collective” podcast that Wade is worried about Mitchell’s desire to remain with the Jazz.
I do think that Dwyane Wade, who [governor Ryan Smith] brought in to be a co-owner but also be an advisor, is seriously concerned about Donovan Mitchell’s desire to stay there long-term.
Windhorst qualified this statement by saying that Mitchell just signed a four-year max contract with Utah, but he also discussed how Mitchell became “unnerved” with the Jazz’s approach as the season went along.
Dwyane Wade is going to influence changes. And the reason that Dwyane Wade is going to influence changes is because the way Donovan Mitchell saw this season unfold — specifically how his ankle injury was handled in the playoffs — really unnerved him. He was in a bit of a rough spot with the franchise near the end of the year.
Mitchell was reportedly “incensed” that the Jazz made him sit out Game 1 of Utah’s series with the Grizzlies because of a nagging right ankle injury. He thought he could play, but the Jazz sat him, electing to take an extra cautious approach with their star.
The Jazz lost Game 1 without Mitchell and he sent out a cryptic tweet in its aftermath.
Sorry y’all… I wish I could say more…. I’ll be out there soon !❤️🙏🏾
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) May 24, 2021
Sitting Mitchell didn’t impact the Jazz’s postseason run much. They knocked off the Grizzlies in five games and he went on to play in each of Utah’s next 10 playoff games. Still, he could be holding a grudge because of the team’s decision to sideline him.
Again, Mitchell is entering the first year of a four-year max extension he signed with the Jazz, so it’s unlikely that he will go anywhere in the near term.