Following a remarkable regular season where they captured the league's best record, the Utah Jazz's journey to an NBA championship came to a heartbreaking end last night. With that loss, Jazz players had mixed reactions.
Star guard Donovan Mitchell, who scored 39 points while playing through injury, told reporters,
"This is gonna eat at me. Even when I go to the grocery store, I'm gonna be thinking about this... This hurts more than last year." Utah Jazz Guard Donovan Mitchell
As Mitchell referenced, this is the second straight disappointing defeat for the Jazz in the postseason. They blew a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets last year's first-round and lost a 25-point lead last night to the Clippers. It'll take time for them to get over the tough loss.
Fellow all-star guard Mike Conley echoed similar words.
"It'll be hard to watch basketball for a while... With a loss like that, a lot of negativity comes from it." Utah Jazz Guard Mike Conley
As for the future, there's plenty of uncertainty. Forward Bojan Bogdanovic hopes he gets another chance to play with the Utah Jazz next year.
"I hope we're going to keep our core team and get another chance next year." Utah Jazz Forward Bojan Bogdanovic
In the meantime, Bogdanovic said he plans on starting his training with the Croatian national team in 7 or 8 days.
Contrarily, Conley, whose contract expires in the offseason, wasn't sure about what the future holds. He said,
"Free agency is something I have to sit down and consider with my family. I've had a great time here, but I can't speak to what will happen in the future."Utah Jazz Guard Mike Conley
Utah's path for the future is up in the air, and the reactions of these players reflect that. Cornerstones Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are still under contract for multiple years and give Utah fans hope moving forward. Only two of their 8 main rotational players (Conley and Georges Niang) are entering free agency.
They have the pieces to repeat their regular-season dominance and make another run in the playoffs. Only time will tell if that happens. Either way, the Jazz will have some important choices to make this offseason.