Utah Jazz – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2020-08-03T20:31:59Z https://www.hoopsrumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Luke Adams <![CDATA[Gobert After Opener: "Life Work In Mysterious Ways"]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167340 2020-07-31T21:04:05Z 2020-07-31T21:04:05Z
  • Rudy Gobert‘s positive coronavirus test on March 11 shut down the NBA. Four-and-a-half months later, it was Gobert scoring the game-winning basket for the Jazz in the first game of the NBA’s restart. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN details, Gobert said on Thursday night that he’s “grateful” to be in a position to get back on the court and resume the season. “Life works in mysterious ways,” he said.
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    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Southwest Notes: Zion, Mavericks, Forbes, DeRozan, Pop]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167268 2020-07-31T03:04:52Z 2020-07-31T02:13:23Z Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson is among the top stars to watch in the NBA’s Orlando season restart, according to Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. Kushner notes that the league’s unique eight-game seeding play-in approach was clearly designed to imbue value to the Pelicans’ eight contests, and to allow a debut Williamson playoff appearance to be possible.

    This play-in option, which equips the teams in the West seeded ninth to 13th with a theoretical chance of making the playoffs in a knockout two-game wildcard bout with that No. 8 seed, would benefit a team like the eleventh-seeded Pelicans, who fall to a 28-37 record after their loss to the Jazz tonight.

    There’s more out of the NBA’s Southwest Division:

    • Mavericks director of player personnel Tony Ronzone has been accused of sexual assault by another Mavericks employee, according to Jessica Luther and Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. After the Sports Illustrated investigation was published, the Mavericks issued a response, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. The Mavericks called the article a “one-sided, incomplete and sensational form of journalism, with its inaccuracies, mischaracterizations and omissions.”
    • Spurs starting shooting guard Bryn Forbes will miss the team’s first seeding game in the league’s Disney World restart as he battles a sore right quad, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).
    • Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News wonders if, thanks in part to the Spurs‘ inclusion in the Orlando restart, star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan and longtime head coach Gregg Popovich might remain with the team beyond this season. DeRozan, 30, can opt out of the 2020/21 season, the last season in the five-year, $139MM contract he signed with the team that drafted him, the Raptors, in 2016. Popovich, 71, has coached the Spurs since 1996. The team has made six Finals appearances during his tenure, winning five.
    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Zion Williamson To Play On Thursday]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167078 2020-07-30T21:33:02Z 2020-07-30T21:32:07Z JULY 30: Williamson will be active on Thursday vs. the Jazz, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). Although Zion won’t have a set minutes restriction, he’s expected to play in “short quick bursts,” Haynes adds.

    JULY 29: The availability of Pelicans star rookie forward Zion Williamson for his team’s first seeding match on Thursday against the Jazz will be a game-time decision, according to head coach Alvin Gentry, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

    Williamson cleared his on-campus quarantine on Tuesday, having returned to the league’s Orlando restart campus last week after tending to a pressing family matter. He will have practiced twice with his team ahead of Gentry’s decision tomorrow.

    Gentry did acknowledge during a press conference today that Williamson took part in five-on-five drills on Tuesday. Zion engaged in a light-contact practice with the Pelicans today, per Mark Medina of USA Today (Twitter link).

    Williamson has no reservations about his preferences for tomorrow’s contest in Orlando. “If you know me, I want to hoop,” Williamson said. The No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft has been limited to just 19 contests out of a possible 64 this season, though his play has lifted New Orleans to the brink of playoff contention.

    Williamson boasts a terrific slash line of 23.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 2.2 APG, while shooting 58.9% from the field and 46.2% from long range. For the 2019/20 season, the Pelicans are 11-8 with Williamson and 17-28 without him.

    Gentry noted that the Pelicans’ medical staff would determine whether or not there would be a minutes restriction on Williamson, should he indeed suit up on Thursday, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). Williamson had no known medical issues prior to departing the Orlando campus earlier this month.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Examining Possible Long-Term Mitchell, Gobert Deals]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166886 2020-07-27T22:00:27Z 2020-07-27T22:00:27Z
  • Sarah Todd of The Deseret News takes a deep dive into the Jazz‘s ability to retain both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert long term, exploring the odds of the team doing so and speculating about what their contracts might look like.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Mitchell Focused On Becoming Team Leader]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166243 2020-07-23T21:38:05Z 2020-07-22T01:30:53Z
  • In addition to improving as a player, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell also wants to improve as a teammate, writes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. As Walden relays, head coach Quin Snyder has been impressed by Mitchell’s development in both areas. “That maturation process has been going on,” Snyder said. “And some of it you guys don’t see as much. Some of it we see on the floor, some of it we see in the locker room, some of it we see during video (review). … There’s an awareness and a care factor there that has manifested itself in even more leadership.”
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    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Conley Feeling Comfortable Entering Restart]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165932 2020-07-18T15:59:34Z 2020-07-18T01:00:03Z
  • Mike Conley has endured some rough patches during his first season with the Jazz but the veteran point guard feels like he’s settled in, Tony Jones of The Athletic notes. “It feels like I’ve played a full season already,” Conley said. “I’ve had a chance to build chemistry with my coaches and with my teammates. I haven’t had any questions about plays or my role. I have a clear picture on what to expect.”
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[SLC Stars Coach Schiller Leaves For Zalgiris Kaunas]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165611 2020-07-15T18:51:08Z 2020-07-15T18:51:08Z
  • G League Coach of the Year Martin Schiller, who had been the head coach of the Jazz‘ NBAGL affiliate, is leaving the Salt Lake City Stars to coach Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, as Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Community Shootaround: Western Conference Seeding]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165310 2020-07-13T18:10:24Z 2020-07-13T18:10:24Z As we detailed on Friday when we discussed the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, there will be an opportunity for teams to move up – or down – in the standings when play resumes on July 30.

    With eight “seeding games” on tap, teams are unlikely to make up five- or six-game deficits on the clubs ahead of them in the standings, but there’s a strong likelihood of a shake-up in instances where teams are only separated by a game or two.

    That’s even more true in the Western Conference than it is in the East, albeit not necessarily at the very top of the standings, where the 49-14 Lakers hold a fairly comfortable lead on the 44-20 Clippers. The Lakers’ magic number to clinch the conference is just three, so they’re a safe bet to hang onto the No. 1 seed.

    After that though, there’s some congestion in the standings. The Clippers’ lead on the Nuggets (43-22) is just 1.5 games. Denver holds an identical lead over the Jazz (41-23). Utah, meanwhile, is just a couple losses away from slipping down to the No. 6 seed, as the Thunder (40-24) and Rockets (40-24) are right on their heels. The 40-27 Mavericks round out this group of six teams, a game-and-a-half behind OKC and Houston and just 5.5 games behind the second-seeded Clippers.

    A number of those six clubs bunched up in the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture will face one another when play resumes. For instance, the Thunder – who have the potential to move up or down a couple spots in the standings – will open the restart against the Jazz and Nuggets and eventually finish their season against the Clippers. The Clips will face the Mavericks and Nuggets in addition to OKC. Dallas opens its eight seeding games by playing the Rockets.

    Given the strength of competition in the West, seeding could be paramount in the postseason. The Nuggets, for example, could conceivably face the Jazz, Thunder, Rockets, or Mavs in the first round and would likely prefer some opponents to others in that group. The Jazz, currently at No. 4, could be motivated to avoid the No. 6 Rockets in the first round, since they’ve been eliminated by Houston in each of the previous two postseasons.

    At the bottom of the playoff picture, the No. 8 Grizzlies (32-33) have essentially no chance to move up, since they’re seven games back of Dallas. But they’ll be looking to increase their lead over the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, and Suns — if they can finish with more than a four-game lead on all those clubs, they’ll avoid a play-in tournament. If the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds finish within four games of one another, a play-in tournament will be necessary to determine that final playoff spot.

    A newly-healthy Blazers squad will be a major threat to the Grizzlies, as will a Pelicans team that faces one of the league’s weakest schedules over the course of the eight seeding games.

    What do you think? Do you think we’ll see much movement in the Western Conference’s top eight? Will the Grizzlies be knocked out by one of the challengers behind them in the standings? What do you expect the West’s top eight seeds to look like by the time the playoffs begin?

    Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your predictions!

    JD Shaw <![CDATA[Northwest Notes: Jazz, Bogdanovic, Roberson, Blazers]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165257 2020-07-13T12:19:54Z 2020-07-12T22:00:10Z For the Jazz, adjusting to the NBA’s campus in Orlando was especially difficult during the first two days of the trip, Tony Jones of The Athletic details. 

    Like other teams, each player and staff member in Utah’s traveling party had to quarantine for the first 48 hours once they arrived. The sudden adjustment to being isolated was an eye-opener for many within the franchise.

    “Those first 48 hours sucked,” Joe Ingles said with a chuckle. “The window of the room was sealed shut, so I couldn’t open it. So I fear over the course of some months, the room is going to get a little stanky.”

    Coaches and staff members were no exception to this, naturally, with head coach Quin Snyder offering his perspective on the first 48 hours of his journey.

    “We had a lot of time to ourselves,” Snyder said. “It was a lot of time to think. I had to be careful to not overthink.”

    Utah is entering the resumed season with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference at 41-23, trailing the No. 3 seed Nuggets by 1.5 games and the No. 2 seed Clippers by three games.

    Here are some other notes out of the Northwest Division tonight:

    • The Jazz are also adjusting to life without Bojan Bogdanovic in Orlando, Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News writes. Bogdanovic is slated to miss the rest of the season after undergoing wrist surgery in May, averaging 20.2 points in 63 games on the year. “Missing Bojan, having to adjust the way we play, our style, I think Coach is adapting in a way that helps us out to play more freely but still have a lot of structure and the way he wants us to play,” Royce O’Neale said.
    • Thunder forward Andre Roberson joined the team in practice on Friday for the first time in nearly a year, Royce Young of ESPN writes. Roberson, who last saw NBA action over two years ago, first sustained a ruptured patellar tendon in January of 2018. He suffered a setback later in the year that required additional surgery, then experienced another setback six weeks later by sustaining an avulsion fracture in his knee. “He looked really, really good in terms of the way he was moving,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “It was great to see him out there. I was really happy for him. But like we’ve talked about in the past, we’ll see how he can continue to build up and develop here over the next week, but he was out there today and he participated in everything.”
    • The Trail Blazers’ big men looked good in their returns to the court last week, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins have both healed from their respective injuries, with Portland now sporting three seven-foot players when including Hassan Whiteside. “They both looked like the way we remembered them,” coach Terry Stotts said. “I told Nurk that — he’s the Nurk I remember playing at both ends of the floor. He made some really good passes, good rebounds. And Zach was full of energy. You couldn’t tell either one of them missed time. It was very encouraging.”
    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Jazz Have Had No New COVID-19 Cases Since June Testing Started]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164797 2020-07-09T02:39:24Z 2020-07-09T01:47:12Z
  • The Jazz touched down in the NBA’s Orlando restart campus last night. Team general manager Justin Zanik indicated in a Zoom conversation today between himself, executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey and reporters that the club has not experienced any positive coronavirus tests since mandatory team testing began last month,  according to Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. Zanik traveled with the team to Orlando, while Lindsey stayed in Utah.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Rudy Gobert/Donovan Mitchell Relationship]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164622 2020-07-07T14:49:41Z 2020-07-07T14:49:41Z The tension between Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, the first two NBA players known to have tested positive for the coronavirus in March, has been a simmering subplot since the league suspended its season nearly four months ago. In his latest piece, Tim MacMahon of ESPN takes a deep dive into the subject, writing that there were some issues between Gobert and Mitchell even before the COVID-19 situation.

    As MacMahon details, a high-ranking Jazz source described the pre-coronavirus tension between the two All-Stars as “a two out of 10 on the NBA drama scale.” That situation worsened a little in March because Mitchell blamed Gobert for infecting him with COVID-19, sources tell ESPN.

    The two players didn’t talk for several weeks following their positive tests, despite Gobert’s efforts to reach out. When the Jazz wanted to start virtual meetings and workouts in early April, Gobert told teammates that he didn’t feel comfortable participating in them until he and Mitchell had talked. The two finally touched base about a month into the hiatus, writes MacMahon.

    “We told each other what we had to say to each other,” Gobert said. “We are both on the same page. We both want to win. We both think that we have a great opportunity, and we know that we need each other. We talked about a lot of things, but the main thing was that we are on the same page and the fact that our team needs us. We can win together. That’s the most important thing.”

    MacMahon’s story is packed with interesting details on the Jazz and the relationship between the team’s two stars. It’s worth checking out in full, but here are some of the highlights:

    • The pre-pandemic issues between Gobert and Mitchell often revolved around touches on offense, since Mitchell sometimes try to do too much, while Gobert has a habit of letting teammates know if they didn’t pass to him when he felt he was open. As MacMahon notes, Mitchell has heard the brunt of those gripes, since he has the ball in his hands the most. “Rudy has to pick his spots, and Donovan can’t react to everything,” one team source told ESPN.
    • Gobert acknowledged that he shouldn’t be airing his on-court frustration quite so much, per MacMahon. “I understand that I’m annoying. I can be very annoying,” said the two-time Defensive Player of the Year. “I think maybe because (Mitchell) was really good really early, I’ve been very demanding and maybe in not always a positive way. Sometimes you don’t realize it. … It’s pretty much, I’m the a–hole.”
    • A pair of All-Star snubs prior to this season bothered Gobert, and MacMahon suggests that some people in the Jazz organization thought the big man may have started focusing too much on his scoring statistics in the hopes of earning more recognition. Gobert, who told ESPN that “every single player in the NBA thinks about his stats,” admitted that was a fair concern.
    • Still, Gobert insists he’s happy to let Mitchell be the face of the franchise, as MacMahon relays. “Donovan has a very bright personality and all that, and the way he plays, he’s more fun to watch than me,” Gobert said. “If I was 12 years old… I wouldn’t want to watch Rudy Gobert get dunks and alter shots. I’d want to watch Donovan Mitchell cross people up and do crazy layups, crazy dunks, of course. I totally understand how it works, and I’m fine with it.”
    • The occasional issues between Gobert and Mitchell aren’t expected to lead to a break-up. The Jazz want to keep both players, and they’ve each expressed interest in remaining in Utah long-term. According to MacMahon, a max-salary extension offer for Mitchell is a no-brainer, though negotiations with Gobert may be trickier — he’ll be eligible for an extension worth up to 35% of the cap, compared to 25% for Mitchell.
    • There’s hope within the organization that the pre- and post-coronavirus issues between the two stars may push them to have more productive conversations with one another and grow closer, says MacMahon. “When adversity comes, it can pull the group together or it can push them away,” a team source told ESPN. “That’s the reality of the situation. It’s up to them.”
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Rudy Gobert Discusses Backlash After Positive Test]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164424 2020-07-05T21:26:41Z 2020-07-04T21:00:11Z Rudy Gobert faced a lot of anger after his positive test for COVID-19 led to a league-wide shutdown, and some of it came from his own locker room. The Jazz center spoke about about the experience Friday during an 11-minute session with reporters, including Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

    “I’m happy now. I’m in a good place, you know,” he said. “And I’m happy that I get the joy back from playing basketball with my team and the competitiveness is back. I’m ready to try to go out there and try to win the championship. That’s the goal. And to be honest, after everything we’ve been through as a team and as human beings, it would be a great comeback.”

    Gobert was not only the NBA’s first player diagnosed with the coronavirus — he became an object lesson in the need to take the virus seriously. Two days before the positive test, he made light of an NBA directive about distancing by touching every reporter’s tape recorder that was on a table in front of him. There was an immediate public backlash for making light of the situation, which increased once he tested positive.

    He took steps to atone for the mistake, donating $200K to a fund helping part-time workers at Jazz games and another $310K to families in Utah, Oklahoma City and his native France who were affected by the pandemic.

    “I won’t be able to control everyone’s perception of me, but I can control my actions,” Gobert said. “I can control, you know, the things I do for the people around me, for the community, the things I do for my teammates on the court, off the court. All that stuff, I can control and that’s what really matters to me.”

    Gobert addressed several other topics during the interview:

    On the strained relationship with teammate Donovan Mitchell, who tested positive shortly after Gobert:

    “As long as we respect one another and we both share the same goals and we both do what’s best for the team, that’s what matters. And, you know, I think over the last few years that’s what we’ve been doing and that’s what we plan on continuing doing.”

    On the negative reaction he faced after the shutdown, both on social media and with some teammates:

    “Obviously, when you have the whole world judging you and threatening you or sending you a lot of negative energy and stuff like that, it’s something that I would say is not easy as a human being. But at the same time, people just judge you on the perception they have and the perception they get. Sometimes it can be one picture, one video, one interview, one action.”

    On his recovery from the virus, which still isn’t complete:

    “Smelling, I took that for granted too. It’s back now, it’s back at 80%, I’m not worried.”

    On the possibility of a super-max deal, which may happen this offseason:

    “I don’t plan on leaving (Utah) right now.”

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Mitchell On Gobert: We're Good]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164246 2020-07-03T01:47:52Z 2020-07-02T23:46:27Z Jazz teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert appear to be patching up their relationship, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes. “Right now we’re good,” Mitchell said in a Zoom conference with the media. “We’re going out there ready to hoop.” In the wake of his positive test for COVID-19 in March, Mitchell was said to be frustrated with Gobert. the first NBA player to test positive. The situation reportedly remained tense even after Mitchell recovered from the virus.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[And-Ones: Luxury Tax, Thomas, Scola, Top Defenders]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164035 2020-07-01T22:12:43Z 2020-07-01T17:14:47Z The Trail Blazers have the highest luxury tax bill at $5.9MM, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Team salaries are now frozen after the one-week transactions period that closed late Tuesday. The Heat ($2.9MM), Thunder ($2.5MM) and Timberwolves ($582K) are also over the luxury tax line but the projected $11.9MM total is the lowest since the luxury tax was introduced in 2002/03, Marks notes.

    We have more from around the basketball world:

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Northwest Notes: Gobert, Jazz, Morris, J. Johnson]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=163746 2020-06-28T17:21:00Z 2020-06-28T17:03:07Z Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who recorded the NBA’s first positive test for COVID-19, still hasn’t fully recovered from the virus. Gobert, whose test results sparked the league-wide shutdown, describes his symptoms in an interview with L’Equip (translation provided by BasketUSA).

    The taste has returned, but the smell is still not 100%,” Gobert said. “I can smell the smells, but not from afar. I spoke to specialists, who told me that it could take up to a year.”

    Gobert is eager to start playing again, saying he hasn’t been part of a five-on-five game since the hiatus began. He has been boxing, swimming and running in the mountains, but had a physical reaction last month that he said felt like “ants in my toes.” Gobert also talked about shouldering the blame for the shutdown.

    The NBA was waiting for a first case to stop the championship, it fell on me!” he said. “I became the image of the coronavirus for the Americans, the domino that triggered the end of the season, but it was not I who brought the virus to the United States. ”

    There’s more from the Northwest Division:

    • The Jazz will bring a fully healthy team to Orlando, except for Bojan Bogdanovic, who had surgery on his right wrist last month, coach Quin Snyder tells Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Snyder also expressed support for his players who are advocating for social justice, such as Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson.
    • Nuggets guard Monte Morris has used the frustration of sliding in the 2017 draft as incentive to prove he belongs in the NBA, writes Steve Kosmider of the Athletic. Morris was projected as a first-rounder in some circles, but went to Denver with the 51st pick and had to work his way up from a two-way contract. “I was really mad about it,” Morris recalled. “Guys I dominated in college on multiple occasions were getting picked ahead of me. I got hurt during the draft process. I pulled my quad at the Laker workout, which was like my third workout. I still had about 15 workouts to go. I feel like if I had did them I would have moved up. I only worked out for three teams so that may have hurt me, but I still think my resume, doing what I did at Iowa State, should have had me going higher.”
    • James Johnson is certain to exercise his $16MM option and remain with the Timberwolves next season, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Johnson provides a veteran presence on a young team and is a vocal leader in the locker room.