With the regular season drawing to a close, Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz face a lot of questions about their future.
As the 5th seed in the West, there isn't a lot of hope that Utah can make a deep run this season. Beyond that, there is even less hope that Mitchell, their biggest star, will stick around for too much longer.
On his podcast, The Ringer's Bill Simmons explained why he believes this could be his last season with the team.
"Look, we're betting on the recent history of the league. And every year the recent history of the league is 'superstar x decides he doesn't want to be somewhere' and it ends way faster than you think. In this case, there are some teams that could do some pretty big packages. You also have Danny Ainge there I think they'll try to trade Gobert first. But they will not bring this team back. This team now, it reminds me of this mid-2010s Clippers teams where it's like alright, this is done."
"If Mitchell doesn't make All-NBA, that can speed this up. Because he's just like 'wow we're a 6th seed nobody talks about our team, nobody thinks we have any real upside and, on top of all this, I'm not even an All-NBA player? I need to go to a bigger market.' It could happen."
The idea that Mitch isn't totally committed to the Jazz isn't new. In fact, there is some concern within the franchise that the young stud could follow in the footsteps of his peers and look for a way out.
Executives out there and and teams out there that are in the hunt for star players, they have Damian Lillard 's name on the board, sort of high up. And then maybe down, not high on the board, but down on the sort of middle right side of the board... They have Donovan Mitchell.
One of the big reasons why Ryan Smith brought in Dwayne Wade, and yes, Dwyane bought into the team, but I will promise you, he got a very favorable price. (...) I think he got a very sweetheart deal. One of the reasons he did it was Ryan Smith wanted to have Donovan Mitchell stay in Utah for the long-term.
Dwyane Wade, who (Ryan Smith) brought in to be a co-owner but also be an advisor, is seriously concerned about Donovan Mitchell’s desire to stay (in Utah) long-term.
Despite finishing near the top of the standings for the past few years, the Jazz haven't gone very far in the playoffs, seeing early exits repeatedly in the Mitchell/Gobert era.
And as one of the smallest market teams in the league, Utah isn't a great place for young guys like Mitchell to grow their brand.
At the very least, it seems like everyone expects some kind of change in the near future for the Jazz, and Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging 25.9 points per game this season, could be the first one to go.