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Chicago Bulls reportedly interested in Rudy Gobert, 2 possible trade scenarios

Jason Burgos
chicago bulls, rudy gobert
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

To improve the team for the 2022-2023 season, the Chicago Bulls reportedly could target Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert if he became available.

Even before head coach Quin Snyder stunned his team and the league by resigning from the position he held for eight successful seasons, the expectation from the industry was that the 2022 offseason would be one of significant change for the Utah Jazz.

While there is still a possibility that multi-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell could request his exit from the the only team he has ever played for, most assume the biggest domino to fall when it comes to roster changes this summer would be a Rudy Gobert trade. There have already been various reports of teams that could be interested in the three-time defensive player of the year, and Monday has offered up a new claim of interest, but this time from a playoff team on the rise.

Chicago Bulls join Raptors in possible Gobert sweepstakes

chicago bulls, rudy gobert
Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, The Ringer’s NBA insider Kevin O’Connor confirmed reports from last week that the Toronto Raptors have interest in the three-time All-Star. However, he also added that sources told the outlet that the sixth-seeded Chicago Bulls would jump into the Gobert chase if he became available.

“Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported last month that the Raptors have expressed interest in Gobert. I’ve heard those rumblings too,” O’Conner wrote. “Sources have also indicated the Bulls are a team with interest in Gobert (and other centers on the market, including Knicks free agent Mitchell Robinson).”

There still hasn’t been any confirmation that the Jazz is taking serious offers on the center. However, if they do plan to move forward with Mitchell — as has been reported — moving the Frenchman to bring about some wholesale changes would be the obvious route. Assuming the Bulls could swing a trade, let’s take a look at how a Gobert to Chicago trade might look.

Two Rudy Gobert to Chicago trade scenarios

chicago bulls, rudy gobert
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

While he is an elite defensive talent, Gobert is viewed as an offensive liability at times, especially considering the massive contract he currently owns. It’s a deal that will start paying him over $40 million a season in 2023-2024 and includes a final-year player option for $46 million. That sort of money does make a trade a bit difficult.

However, one possible option would be to trade one player that is getting paid much more than he deserves for one that is about to. Bulls guard Zach LaVine is heading into free agency off back-to-back All-Star seasons and will be looking to get a max deal worth $212 million. That may be too rich for the Bulls’ financial blood. But they may see adding Gobert as a major improvement, and a perfect way to gain something instead of letting LaVine walk for nothing in free agency by moving him in a sign-and-trade deal.

  • Rudy Gobert stats (2021-2022): 15.6 PPG, 14.7 REB, 2.1 BLK

For the Jazz, they were already stuck in a contract paying Gobert over $40 million a year for several years. But using that money instead for a new-look team led by Mitchell and LaVine could be a major win for them by improving the team without adding more salary obligations.

If the Jazz did not want to invest a max deal in LaVine, another option would be a swap that saw them send Gobert to Chicago and receive center Nikola Vucevic, guard Alex Caruso, and the 18th pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

It is not as sexy a deal as getting LaVine, however, Vucevic is a very capable center replacement who always hovers near All-Star potential. Caruso is a nice rotation addition, and the organization gets a first-round pick. Something they do not have in the 2022 annual selection event.