MANILA, Philippines – He already considers Paul George his "best friend." Now, Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell also wants the All-Star swingman to be his teammate.
The 21-year-old Mitchell celebrated "National Best Friend Day" last week by posting a picture of himself hugging George, after the heated Western Conference first round series between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It was just the first of what would be several attempts from Donovan to lure George to the Jazz.
George, 28, has a player option to stay in Oklahoma City, but can also opt out and become a free agent. While there are reports that George is leaning towards staying with the Thunder, that did not stop Mitchell from making his case to the All-Star forward.
"We want to win, and we're not selfish," said Mitchell, whose Jazz eliminated George and the Thunder in six games in the first round Western Conference playoffs.
The Rookie of the Year contender also said there would be no chemistry issues should George sign with the Jazz.
"I'm a second year player, and he's an All-Star," Mitchell pointed out.
"We don't have guys that want to be the guy, that want to be on the media spotlight," he also noted. "We have guys that understand what it takes – that if we don't score 30, it's not going to be the end of the world for us."
Mitchell also believes that George fits the Utah Jazz system perfectly, especially considering his two-way excellence. "He comes in, and he's gonna make my life a lot easier on the offensive end, and he's a great defender," the rookie said of the player known as "PG-13."
"And obviously, we have talent," Mitchell also said of his team, which features players like Ricky Rubio, Rudy Gobert, and Joe Ingles, among others. "Our coach (Quinn Snyder) is probably the Coach of the Year. We got the Defensive Player of the Year (Gobert)."
"We got a bunch of guys that work hard and put the work in," he stressed.
Mitchell further guaranteed that George – a native of Los Angeles who played the first seven seasons of his career in Indiana – will enjoy playing with the Jazz.
"We have a crowd that's incredible and sells out every night," he said. "Salt Lake City is a beautiful place. People don't give it enough credit. I'm from New York, and I'm saying that it's a really beautiful place."
It remains to be seen if Mitchell's pitch will work. George has until June 29 to decide whether he will opt in his contract with the Thunder.
NBA free agency officially begins on July 1.
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