Utah Jazz will keep guard Mitchell for 2019-20 campaign
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.