A year after finishing with the best record in the NBA, the Utah Jazz regressed this season, finishing only fifth in the Western Conference and losing in the first round of the playoffs to the seemingly inferior Dallas Mavericks.
There was some question as to how much other teams would be willing to give up for a player such as Gobert, who is an outstanding shot blocker and rebounder but a vastly flawed offensive player.
But on Friday, the Jazz sent him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for four players and four future first-round draft picks.
Wait for confirmation, but I believe this is the full Rudy Gobert to Minnesota trade pic.twitter.com/DIs5eKBrxt
— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) July 1, 2022
The return is more than one would expect for a player like Gobert who has profound strengths but also significant weaknesses.
If the Jazz didn’t rob the Timberwolves blind, they at least got a nice head start on rebuilding.
An Outstanding Return
It’s hard and rather unusual to get equal value for a star like Gobert, and although we won’t try to argue the Jazz got equal value, they did get plenty of value nonetheless.
The 2023 first-round pick they received may not end up being rather high, but the others, particularly the ones in 2025 and 2027, could turn out to be pretty valuable.
The Timberwolves figure to make the playoffs in 2023, but doing so isn’t a lock due to the immense depth in the Western Conference.
In addition, teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies and perhaps even the Los Angeles Lakers figure to be better than they were this year.
Minnesota doesn’t have the look of a team that is bound for title contention within a couple of years, and it could possibly blow up in its face, just as it did for Utah.
If it does, there is always a chance that one of the picks the Jazz acquired will be a high lottery pick.
What if Karl-Anthony Towns gets frustrated and wants out?
Rising star guard Anthony Edwards can also leave the team as a free agent in a few years.
In the meantime, Malik Beasley is a solid player who can help a playoff team right away, even if he’s not good enough to start on such a squad, while Patrick Beverley can still harass opponents defensively and hit open 3-pointers.
More Moves On The Way?
One would think that with Gobert headed to Minnesota, the Jazz should retool around 25-year-old hot shot guard Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell has his critics, but he is a big-time scorer who raises his game come playoff time.
However, something big involving him may be brewing.
Per league source a potential Blockbuster 3 team deal between PHX, BRK & Utah is being discussed & could be finalized tomorrow centered around Deandre Ayton to Utah, Donavan Mitchell to Brooklyn and Kevin Durant to Phoenix. Other players and picks are involved per league source👀 pic.twitter.com/ZU2OYdjaVj
— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) July 2, 2022
Deandre Ayton is a solid player, but he’s not an All-Star and cannot fill the void created by a departing Mitchell.
On the other hand, if the Jazz also get at least one future first-round pick in such a trade, and if Mitchell cannot be convinced to remain in Salt Lake City, they can move forward with some real hope.