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“For me, I just want to win” - Donovan Mitchell’s mindset may result in him leaving the Utah Jazz

Mitchell's desire to win has frayed his relationship with Utah, and the franchise is set to enter an interesting offseason as a result
“For me, I just want to win” - Donovan Mitchell’s mindset may result in him leaving the Utah Jazz

Donovan Mitchell is perhaps ready to move on from the Utah Jazz after all the failures in the playoffs

The 2021-22 season proved to be another year where the Utah Jazz failed to meet their big expectations heading into the season. And with another season where the team was unable to meet expectations in the books, a change could be brewing for Utah this offseason.

Despite making the playoffs for six straight seasons now, the Jazz have never made it past the second round. There have been some stunning disappointments, with last year’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round, despite the Jazz being the number one seed, being chief among them.

This time around, the Jazz never seemed to find their footing, and they only managed to lock up the number 5 seed in the Western Conference. So while they gave their first-round opponent, the Dallas Mavericks, a run for their money, it wasn’t a surprise to many to see them crash out in the first round. With the offseason now upon the Jazz sooner than they probably liked, they have a lot of decisions to make, and it starts with their star point guard Donovan Mitchell.

The Jazz/Mitchell pairing may be headed for a split

It’s not a stretch to say Mitchell is currently one of the best guards in the NBA. “The Spider” is a talented scorer from all three levels of the floor and is one of the better defenders at the guard position. But for some reason, it’s felt like things have never fully clicked for him and the Jazz, and that tenuous relationship could come to a head this offseason.

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As a high-volume shooter, Mitchell’s offensive playstyle has not meshed with Utah’s preferred offensive schemes, which involve tons of passing and teamwork. Intense defense and constant ball movement on offense built the Jazz’s torrid run during the start of the 2020-21 campaign. That stretch showed a glimpse of what this team could be.

But for much of the 2021-22 season, the team failed to reach those heights. Mitchell was fighting to get his shots up on most nights, and the team looked disconnected on both ends of the court. As a result, the Jazz struggled, and they unsurprisingly are headed home for the offseason despite boasting one of the deepest rosters in the league.

What’s next for the Jazz and Mitchell?

NBA players and teams are almost constantly expected to win, and while the Jazz have won a lot during the regular season, that success hasn’t translated over to the postseason. That lack of postseason success seems to be taking a toll on Mitchell, who had this to say after the Jazz season ended with their Game 6 loss to the Mavs:

“My mindset is to win. Like I said, right now, I’m not really looking at [asking for a trade]. For me, I just want to win. This hurts. Like I said, I’ll think about it in a week and go from there, but right now, I’m not really thinking about any of that.” Donovan Mitchell, ESPN

Mitchell’s desire to win may ultimately cause him to seek a trade out of Utah, just one season into the five-year, $195 million deal he signed with the Jazz in November 2020. Trade rumors have been swirling around Mitchell for some time now due to his reported unhappiness with Utah’s lack of success and a potential rift with star teammate Rudy Gobert. And while those rumors have been around for some time, this offseason might be when they finally come to fruition.

Even if D-Mitch doesn’t request a trade, the Jazz’s front office will have a decision to make when it comes to the future of their franchise. They have invested in Mitchell, but the results haven’t arrived yet; is he the guy that’s going to lead the franchise to a championship moving forward?

Utah will have to decide if Donovan Mitchell is the star they want to build around moving forward, but the decision may not be theirs. All we know is that the fireworks that ensue after their decision could be pretty interesting to watch.

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