SALT LAKE CITY — Community-beloved Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell said goodbye Friday to the team and fanbase where he spent the first five years of his NBA career.
He also thanked his coach, the recently-resigned Quin Snyder, for the opportunities he gave the young star.
"Thank you for the memories and the incredible times… you guys watched me grow up on and off the floor," Mitchell wrote in an Instagram post. "Coach Quin thank you for giving me the opportunity and trusting me to lead this team for the past 5 years‼️ Love 🖤🤞🏾"
Mitchell was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to reports from league insiders on Thursday. Utah will receive three unprotected first-round draft picks and two pick swaps in the deal, along with Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen and Ochai Agbaji. The deal has not officially been announced by either team.
Included in his farewell post was a video from 2018 when the Jazz won their first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder — Mitchell's first taste of the NBA postseason. The crowd chanted "M-V-P!" as the young rookie gave his post-game interview. Although Utah lost to the Houston Rockets in the conference semi-finals, Mitchell would continue to lead the team to four more consecutive playoff appearances.
It's been a bitter pill to swallow for many longtime Jazz fans who have fallen in love with Mitchell since he came to Utah as an impressive rookie — and who also contributed to the community in aspects bigger than basketball.
Despite having an All-Star duo of Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert (and even with the best season record in the league in 2020-21), Utah has failed to make it past the second playoff round year after year. Team managers and owners apparently decided it was time for a complete rebuild.
Gobert was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves — also for a few players and a handful of draft picks — Royce O'Neale was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, Joe Ingles was traded to Portland following a season-ending injury, and a young Will Hardy was brought as the new head coach in Snyder's place.