Rudy Gobert’s positive coronavirus test feels so, so long ago, but the status of the Utah Jazz center and his relationship with his teammates will be an unavoidable storyline as the NBA converges on Disney World.
Specifically, Gobert’s relationship with fellow Jazz star Donovan Mitchell will be pivotal for the Jazz season. The two reportedly weren’t even talking after Mitchell became the second Jazz player to test positive for COVID-19, for which he seemed to blame Gobert’s careless conduct.
The All-Star guard signaled to reporters on Thursday that the hatchet has been buried.
“Right now we're good. We're going out there ready to hoop," Mitchell said. "And I think the biggest thing that kind of sucked was that it took away from the guys on the team, took away from what the guys on the team were trying to do and I really wish that as going forward.
"I think that'll be really a part of the focus is just us gelling as a team because obviously, Rudy and I had COVID and whatever happened, happened, but now we're ready to hoop and focused on the team as a whole because we're not really trying to keep taking attention away from what everybody's got going on. Obviously, we've got Bojan (Bogdanovic) out so we've got some guys that are really looking good and ready to step up and that's what we're really excited about."
Gobert had previously indicated the two were making progress, saying they started talking again in early April. The two even came together to dunk on a person claiming to be a Jazz fan who was angry that “Black Lives Matter” would be painted on the NBA sidelines.
The Jazz currently hold the fourth spot in the Western Conference at 41-23, and will have plenty to play for in the eight regular season games scheduled for Disney World. They sit just 1.5 games back from the second-place Los Angeles Clippers and four games ahead of the seventh-place Dallas Mavericks.
After that, a team that entered this season with such high hopes after trading for Mike Conley and signing Bojan Bogdanovic will enter the playoffs looking for the first championship in franchise history. Their two biggest stars being on speaking terms should help with that.
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