But that pairing with him and Rudy Gobert had peaked already, and it became evident that the team needed to hit the drawing board again.
Mitchell was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and even though he cherished his time in Utah, his comments on racism may not have sat well with some of his former fans:
“It’s no secret there’s a lot of stuff that I dealt with being in Utah, off the floor,” Mitchell said, as quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune. “If I’m being honest with you, I never really said this, but it was draining. It was just draining on my energy. … Man, it was just one thing after another. To receive the amount of pushback I got over the years, it was a lot. … I’m just like, ‘Y’all have no idea.’ I took on a lot because I felt like I could do it. But at some point, it became a lot to have to deal with.”
That’s why some expected boos and jeers in his first game back to Salt Lake City, but unfortunately, that was far from the case.
Jazz fans actually showed their love for Spida, who was clearly emotional ahead of the game.
Donovan Mitchell got a standing ovation from the Utah crowd in his first game back since being traded from the Jazz 👏 pic.twitter.com/PTr9TI9S7V
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 11, 2023
Mitchell gave them one of the best performances of the season, scoring 46 points on 51.9% shooting to go along with 5 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 7 triples.
However, that wasn’t enough to help his Cavaliers avoid a 116-114 setback to his former team.