The Minnesota Timberwolves have just traded for Rudy Gobert, in perhaps the first indication the Utah Jazz are ready to blow up their roster.
We knew there was a strong chance new Timberwolves president of basketball operations would try and put his own fingerprint on the roster, but this is massive.
Meanwhile, new Jazz head coach Will Hardy will take on the challenge of ensuring the Jazz still have a respectable defense without the three-time Defensive Player of the Year on the roster.
Though it was previously rumored, this blockbuster comes as a shock. Let’s break down what it means for both teams.
Breaking down the Gobert trade details
I want to be clear, the Jazz got an absolute HAUL for trading Gobert. Here are the full details of the trade, as provided by Woj.
- Timberwolves get: Rudy Gobert
- Jazz get: Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, four first round picks
The picks are the Wolves’ 2023, 2025, and 2027 firsts, plus a top-five protected 2029 pick to Utah. But for now, the Wolves have given up their starting point guard, and a key part of their culture, sparing Patrick Beverley. Malik Beasley (threesley), their best three-point shooter. Plus Jarred Vanderbilt, the best rebounder on the team and the team’s previous starting power forward.
Leandro Bolmaro is a first-round pick from 2020, and is a 6-foot-6 wing that has yet to develop much more than his on-ball defense and ball-handling ability. And of course Walker Kessler developed a reputation for being the best rim protector in college basketball at Auburn, which enticed the Wolves to select him in the first round just a few weeks ago.
At the end of the day, the Jazz knew they had to get a barrel of assets back in the trade, and that appears to be exactly what they extracted from their Western Conference rivals in Minnesota.
Evaluating the fit – Pairing Rudy Gobert with KAT + Ant
Clearly the Timberwolves remain intrigued with the idea of forming one of the best frontcourts in basketball, with Rudy Gobert being the defensive specialist to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns’ insane scoring skills. Obviously a trade of this caliber wasn’t easy to pull off, especially with Gobert’s current contract, but Tim Connelly found a way to get it done.
- Rudy Gobert contract: $38.1 million in 2022-23
Was the acquiring cost too much to pay? Probably. Gobert is a three-time NBA All-Star and undoubtedly one of the best paint defenders/rim protectors in basketball, but he’s also extremely limited.
The Stifle Tower is a monster at 7-foot-3, but obviously he has other athletic limitations like slow foot speed, much like we would have seen from Walker Kessler. Only Gobert is the proven thing. Still, we also saw teams outscheme the Jazz by essentially forcing Gobert off the floor, using his lack of agility to their advantage. Will that still happen in Minny as he’s paired next to Towns? Probably.
Entering the free agency process with tons of depth, the Wolves just erased it in one fell swoop. Time will tell whether it pays off.
New look Wolves starting five:
- PG – D’Angelo Russell
- SG – Anthony Edwards
- SF – Jaden McDaniels
- PF – Karl-Anthony Towns
- C – Rudy Gobert
The Wolves may have one of the better starting lineups on paper, but how will the loss of so many pieces impact their future? This trade certainly shakes up the team chemistry too, but two important notes, D’Angelo Russell and Jaden McDaniels were not included in the deal. This likely means DLo is staying put, sticking in the starting lineup as the starting point guard instead of rotating with Pat Bev.
- Minnesota Timberwolves trade grade: B-
- Utah Jazz trade grade: A++
It’s hard to rag on the T-Wolves completely because Gobert has the potential to solve both their defensive and rebounding woes, but at what cost? Meanwhile, grading this deal for the Jazz will be incomplete until a few years after we know what that 2029 first-round pick becomes, in addition to how they continue to shape the roster for 2022, but if Gobert was as good as gone, this trade was as good as it gets for Utah.