The Jazz had the best record in the NBA last year, but their 52-20 score did not protect 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 take over as Managing Director and Dennis Lindsey will take on an advisory role. Meanwhile, Utah Ownership Group member Dwyane Wade will have increased influence on the front office.
Jazz will seek to achieve a goal after these transitions. They want star goalie Donovan Mitchell to be happy.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on “The Hoop Collective” podcast that Wade is worried Mitchell’s desire to stay with Jazz.
I think Dwyane Wade, who [governor Ryan Smith] brought to be a co-owner but also an advisor, is seriously worried about Donovan Mitchell’s desire to stay there for the long term.
Windhorst qualified this statement by saying that Mitchell had just signed a four-year maximum contract with Utah, but he also explained how Mitchell had become “pissed off” by the Jazz’s approach throughout the season.
Dwyane Wade will influence the changes. And the reason Dwyane Wade is going to influence the changes is because the way Donovan Mitchell has seen this season unfold – especially how his ankle injury was treated in the playoffs – really pissed him off. He was in a tough spot with the franchise towards the end of the year.
Mitchell would have been “exasperated” that the Jazz made him drop out of Game 1 of the Utah Series with the Grizzlies due to a lingering right ankle injury. He thought he could play, but the Jazz sat him down, choosing to take a very careful approach with their star.
The Jazz lost Game 1 without Mitchell and he sent a cryptic tweet as a result.
Sorry all of you … I wish I could say more … I’ll be there soon! ❤️🙏🏾
– Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) May 24, 2021
Sitting Mitchell didn’t have much of an impact on the Jazz playoffs. They took out the Grizzlies in five games and he played in each of Utah’s next 10 playoff games. Still, he could hold a grudge over the team’s decision to sideline him.
Again, Mitchell is entering the first year of a four-year maximum extension he signed with the Jazz, so he’s unlikely to go anywhere in the short term.