Donovan Mitchell snaps over ‘blatant lie’ as Jazz drama escalates

It’s clear Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and his reps want the perception to be that he is unhappy about coach Quin Snyder’s abrupt resignation.

What’s unclear is if that will propel Mitchell to ask for a trade – or just the opposite. Could this give Mitchell a chance to influence who his next head coach in Utah will be?

Though Mitchell’s former assistant coach in Utah and buddy Johnnie Bryant of the Knicks quickly emerged as a lead candidate, a source close to Mitchell told ESPN.com on Sunday night Mitchell was “disappointed, unnerved, unsettled.”

Then Monday, Spence Checketts, son of former Knicks president Dave Checketts, said on his radio show Snyder had tried to call Mitchell but he would not take the call. Checketts formerly worked for the Jazz radio broadcast and is well-connected in the organization.

That Checketts report did not sit well with Mitchell, who responded to the charge on Twitter:

“I choose to leave a lot of what y’all say alone but y’all gon stop blatantly lying on my name,” Mitchell wrote.

Donovan Mitchell with Quin Snyder
AP

Mitchell still hasn’t tweeted about the loss of Snyder like his teammate Rudy Gobert did.

Multiple sources say Gobert and Mitchell have never repaired their relationship that hit rock bottom when the pandemic started with each player – Gobert first – testing positive for COVID.

“Forever grateful for Quin,” Gobert tweeted. “Gave me a chance 8 years ago and believed in me when not a lot of people did. And helped our team grow into a Western conference powerhouse through all the ups and downs. Wishing you nothing but the best in your next chapter! ”

Sources say Utah president Danny Ainge does not really know Bryant and people around the league are skeptical he would hire someone with no head-coaching experience unless Mitchell pushed for it. Mitchell called Bryant, who attended the University of Utah, a “brother” after the Knicks hired him.

Donovan Mitchell against the Mavericks in the 2022 NBA playoffs.
Donovan Mitchell against the Mavericks in the 2022 NBA playoffs.
AP

One coaching source said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau would be fine if Bryant jumped ship to Utah since it was senior executive William Wesley who pushed for the hiring of his friend Bryant to Thibodeau’s staff.

Ironically, it would be in the best interest of Knicks president Leon Rose to block the move since Bryant’s Utah return would eliminate the chance of Mitchell, a Westchester / Connecticut product, asking for a trade out of Utah. Mitchell is repped by Creative Artists Agency, which Rose used to manage.

Mitchell has been at the Garden this offseason, attending at least one Rangers playoff game, and has not been known as a hockey fan.

Donovan Mitchell at a Mets game on May 2, 2022
Donovan Mitchell at a Mets game on May 2, 2022
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Wesley, executive Allan Houston and personnel director Makhtar N’diaye showed up in the first row of one of Utah’s first-round games in Dallas. The Jazz reportedly were concerned about their appearance.

It’s quite the Salt Lake City soap opera. And it leaves Knicks brass waiting – which is the hardest part.

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