The Utah Jazz never get any love.
Whether it’s the small market, the location, the defensive-oriented playing style or something else, Utah consistently fails to attract (or keep) free agents and is never legitimately recognized as a contender.
But, Donovan Mitchell’s presence changed a lot. Not only did he adequately replace All-Star Gordon Hayward after he decided to leave in free agency, but he sparked an entire new life into the franchise.
Finishing 48-34 in this past regular season, the Jazz earned the fifth seed in the Western Conference and were able to take down the fourth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in six games of their opening-round playoff series.
Although they ended up losing to the top-seeded Houston Rockets in the second-round, they were able to win a game, thus avoiding a sweep.
With a number of high-profile stars about to hit the market this summer and with the entire Jazz squad slated to return next season (with the exceptions of Derrick Favors, Dante Exum and Raul Neto, all of whom are free agents), Utah should presumably be an attractive option for anyone who wants to win.
While on a trip to Manila, Philippines, Mitchell had no problem openly recruiting one player in particular.
An overseas recruiting effort
"I'll make [my pitch] to Paul George right now," said Mitchell, per JR Isaga of Rappler.com. "We want to win, we're not selfish. If he comes in, it's gonna make life a lot easier on the offensive end. He's also a great defender."
"We have talent, we have a crowd that sells out every night," he continued. "Our coach [Quin Snyder] is probably the Coach of the Year and we have [a] Defensive Player of the Year [candidate in Rudy Gobert].”
Although Mitchell didn’t mention himself, playing alongside an elite scorer would take some of the offensive burden off of George as well.
George would presumably make a great fit in Utah. Not only is he one of the best defensive wing players in the entire NBA, but his versatility and offensive ability would make the team infinitely more dangerous.
Interestingly, Mitchell would prefer playing against another high-profile superstar free agent than with him.
"If I had a choice on playing [with] him or beating him, I'd rather beat him," Mitchell said of LeBron James. "But if he wants to play with the Jazz, then we'll take him of course.”
Utah is not considered to be a logical landing spot for James this summer.
While the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be the two most realistic landing spots for George, there’s a possibility that a surprise team gets into the mix. If the Jazz can get in front of PG13 and his representatives, they’d presumably be able to make a strong pitch.News Now - Sport News