Utah Jazz will keep guard Mitchell for 2019-20 cam­paign

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Dono­van Mitchell, who led all NBA rook­ies last sea­son by scor­ing 20.5 points a game, will re­main with the Utah Jazz through the 2019-20 cam­paign, the club an­nounced. The Jazz ex­er­cised a club op­tion to keep the 13th pick in last year’s NBA Draft for a third cam­paign just six days be­fore Utah opens the 2018-19 sea­son Wed­nes­day at Sacra­mento.

Mitchell, who won last sea­son’s NBA Slam Dunk Con­test, joined David Robin­son, Larry Bird, Ka­reem Ab­dul-Jab­bar and Wilt Cham­ber­lain as the only rook­ies since 1959 to lead all scor­ers for a club that wins 45 games or more. Mitchell is the only guard in that iconic group. The 22-yearold also set a rookie record with 187 3-point­ers made in a sea­son while earn­ing a unan­i­mous spot on the 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie First Team, although the Rookie of the Year award went to Aus­tralian Ben Sim­mons of the Philadel­phia 76ers. Mitchell av­er­aged 24.4 points over 11 play­off games, the first rookie to av­er­age more than 20 points in the post-sea­son since Tim Dun­can in 1998 as the Jazz reached the sec­ond round be­fore los­ing to the Hous­ton Rock­ets. Mitchell scored 33 points to set a Utah one-game rookie play­off record, break­ing Karl Mal­one’s 31-point mark from 1986, then sur­passed him­self with a 38-point ef­fort in a se­ries-clinch­ing game six first-round per­for­mance against Ok­la­homa City.

MON­TREAL GROUP SEEKS NBA EX­PAN­SION OP­POR­TU­NITY

If the NBA de­cides to ex­pand, or­gan­is­ers in Mon­treal wants the league to look north of the bor­der. A Que­bec busi­ness group led by former fed­eral cabinet min­is­ter and se­na­tor Michael Fortier has spo­ken with NBA com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver, Fortier told re­porters Wed­nes­day. “Although the NBA and its com­mis­sioner have made it clear to us that they cur­rently have no plans to ex­pand the league, we have taken the de­ci­sion to pre­pare for when ex­pan­sion does take place, be­cause we be­lieve it will take place,” Fortier said. The group has been meet­ing with po­ten­tial Cana­dian and for­eign in­vestors to ar­range fi­nanc­ing. Fortier es­ti­mated the cost at be­tween $1.5 bil­lion and $2 bil­lion in US dollars, but said no pub­lic fund­ing would be re­quired.

Ac­cord­ing to Fortier, Mon­treal Cana­di­ens owner Ge­off Mol­son is open to the idea of an NBA team play­ing at the Bell Cen­tre. The NBA cur­rently has 30 teams, 15 teams in the East­ern and Western con­fer­ences. The league last ex­panded in 2004, when the Char­lotte Bob­cats (now the Hor­nets) joined. Seat­tle, which saw its Su­perSon­ics move to Ok­la­homa City in 2008, has long been con­sid­ered the favourite for fu­ture ex­pan­sion. Other cities who have ex­pressed in­ter­est in­clude Van­cou­ver, Pitts­burgh.

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