After the NBA Utah Jazz successively traded out two core players-Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz lineup has entered a reconstruction mode in the offseason. Ainge mentioned the reasons for rebuilding the lineup during the interview, and today Mitchell refuted Ainge’s statement in a press conference.
Ainge found that the Jazz players had no common goals and no trust in each other. Such a poor locker room culture and getting along was the reason why the team could not stand out in the playoffs and had to face a roster reshuffle.
So Ainge finally chose to dismantle the team lineup that had the best record in the league two seasons ago, and sent the three-time best defense Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for 5 players, 4 first-round picks and 1 Swap rights for future first-round picks and trade Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers for 3 first-round picks and 2 draft picks.
However, Mitchell disagreed with Ainge’s remarks. Mitchell said in a news conference today that he joined the Cavaliers that he doesn’t think players don’t trust each other, and instead feels that the potential of the team’s locker room culture continues to rise. In addition, he also said that he once told Ainge after the season that Gobert should not be traded, but the Jazz eventually chose to trade the core veteran who played for the team for 9 years.
Although Mitchell played for the Jazz for 5 seasons and averaged at least 20 points per game personally, and also led the team to the playoffs, the team has only 2 times in the past 5 seasons. Into the Western Conference semi-finals, the remaining 3 times were eliminated in the first round, and always stopped in the Western Conference semi-finals without a greater breakthrough.
Perhaps Ainge found that the Jazz lineup with Gobert and Mitchell as the core did not reach the level that can win the championship, even if Gobert is the team’s main defensive force, Mitchell is the main offensive force, the strength of the two. It doesn’t seem like a higher fit has been reached on the Jazz.
Now Gobert will flex his muscles with the Timberwolves, and Mitchell will also expand his career prospects with this new team with the Cavaliers. As for Ainge sending these two main players and risking reconstruction in exchange for multiple first-round picks and whether the selection of players is correct in the end, it remains to be seen how the Jazz will perform in the 2022-2023 season.