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Jazz face uncertainty after playoff elimination

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Utah Jazz came into this season as one of the favorite teams to win the NBA title.

Like some other teams at the top of that list, including the Lakers and Nets, Utah ended up being a disappointment.

The Jazz, who brought back many key players from last season when they finished with the NBA’s best record in the regular season, lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

It was his second first-round playoff loss in three seasons.

“We fell short of our goal,” point guard Donovan Mitchell said. “This hurts, I’m not going to lie.”

Potential trades after another disappointing finish could center around Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert.

Gobert is scheduled to collect $85 million over the next two years, plus he has a $46.6 million option to extend his deal through the 2025-26 season. Mitchell has a $67.5 million deal for the next two years, followed by a $37 million option.

Their relationship has been strained at times, at least at the start of the pandemic, when Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 and Mitchell followed a day later.

Since then, speculation has grown about whether a dynamic scorer like Mitchell and a dominant defender like France’s Gobert could be a 1-2 combination to lead a team capable of winning the championship.

Both will be interested in knowing if the Jazz decide to make them available in the trade market, and the possibility that one or both of them request to leave on their own is not far off.

“There are things that could change,” Mitchell acknowledged after the Game 6 loss Thursday night. “I’m not ready to discuss that, to be honest right now. Mentally I’m not in a position to be completely honest, not really.”

IS SNYDER STAYING?

There are also questions about the fate of coach Quin Snyder.

He is 372-264 through eight seasons in Utah. He is just one of two coaches to post a winning record in his career with the Jazz. Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan is the other. But the success in the regular season has not been reflected in the playoffs. Utah is 21-20 in the postseason under Snyder and hasn’t gotten past the second round with him in charge.

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