The Utah Jazz act reportedly three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves† according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski†
According to Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves are sending Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro and a pack of first-round picks to the Jazz.
The move signals the Jazz’s desire to move forward with the Gobert-Donovan Mitchell pairing that had been strained since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tension in the locker room between the two Jazz All-Stars has been well documented since March 2020. The second half of the 2021-2022 season did nothing but stoke the flames.
The Jazz exited the first-round playoffs for the third time in four seasons, a disappointing end to a roster built to win now. On Thursday, before the free agency opened, the Jazz also handed Royce O’Neale as a starting player to the Brooklyn Nets and could still be looking for additional trades.
According to Tony Jones of The Athletic“The Jazz have no intention of trading Mitchell. The 2023 NBA All-Star Game takes place in Salt Lake City and the Jazz are determined to build around the 25-year-old star.
How does Rudy Gobert fit in with the Timberwolves?
Gobert will now be paired up with Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota. Both have long-term contracts after Towns agreed to a supermax extension on Thursday. Gobert has four seasons left on his supermax deal.
The combination of big men could be productive for the upstart Timberwolves. Gobert, a three-time All-Star, has a career average of 12.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. Towns, a three-time All-Star, has averaged 23.2 points and 11.3 rebounds over 34.2 minutes in his career.
Gobert led the league in rebounds last season with 14.7 points per game.
Newly hired Timberwolves director Tim Connelly was the general manager of the Denver Nuggets in 2013 when the team traded their first-round pick that became number 27 Gobert to Utah.
Anthony Edwards not a Rudy Gobert fan?
One of the more interesting side plots in the reported trade is third-year shooting guard Anthony Edwards’s apparent disrespect for the role of Gobert.
In December 2021, Edwards said Gobert “puts no fear in my heart” after one of three matchups against the Jazz that month. The Jazz won them all three. Edwards had 18 points in the first game and 26 in the third, but retired for the second due to health and safety protocols.
How does Rudy Gobert change the market for Kevin Durant?
Two-time NBA Champion Kevin Durant asked for an exchange of the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday before the free agency opened. The return package for a Durant transaction is expected to be hugeand Gobert’s return indicated how many teams could bid for Durant.
Durant’s favorite destinations are said to be the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns. Both teams may need a third team to facilitate the kind of trade needed to pick up Durant.
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