Now that Rudy Gobert is in Minnesota, how far will they make it next season?
Rudy Gobert Has Been Traded
Entering the off-season, we saw it as a genuine possibility that Gobert’s time in Utah was finished after a playoff loss to the Mavericks. It was evident in the way the team played that the chemistry they once had was no longer working, and the dynamic duo of Gobert and Donovan Mitchell had faded. Donovan Mitchell was also heavily rumored to be traded, but now it’s clear that the Utah Jazz plans to keep Donovan Mitchell and rebuild around him for the future. But there are also the Minnesota Timberwolves who are all in and want to make a run for a title. This one has two sides like any trade, so let’s get into it.
The Utah Jazz
The Jazz is widely seen as the winner of this trade as they got an insane haul in exchange for the former defensive player of the year. They received shooting guard Malik Beasley, power forward Jarred Vanderbilt, point guard Patrick Beverly, first-round pick Walker Kessler and Leandro Bomaro. They also got three unprotected first-round picks for 2023, 2025, and 2027, a top-five protected pick in 2029, and a first-round pick swap in 2026, which could all end up to five first-round choices and a few excellent players.
While it was known they would get a decent return in exchange for a fantastic player, no one expected this heavy return. Especially how well known it was that he would be traded or Donovan Mitchell. But this does give the Jazz a lot of flexibility for trades. For any team selling a top-tier player, like the Brooklyn Nets, picks are heaven-sent. So, if you were looking to rebuild around Mitchell with star players, you got a few young, incredible defenders in Vanderbilt and Kessler, you have cap space, and now a flurry of picks to wheel and deal as you please.
The future of Jazz is still incredibly unknown. It’s unsure if Mitchell will be staying in Utah, but now that Gobert is gone, who knows. A trade involving Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving to Utah is incredibly unlikely, and I don’t see it happening, but they do, in theory, have the assets to make it happen now. It all comes down to whether not Mitchell wants to stay there or if he wants out like Gobert, and they undergo a complete rebuild.
Now, the team who got Gobert. The Timberwolves finally seem to have a nice core with Karl Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell. They now add another all-star big man to the frontcourt and form one of the best duos we may have seen in a long time. While they lost their point guard in Patrick Beverly and defensive stud Jarred Vanderbilt in the trade, they more than got back the defensive side and likely will have Russell slide back to point guard and free agency signing; Kyle Anderson will play small forward.
Historically, the Timberwolves are one of the more dull teams in the NBA. Their only true legend is Kevin Garnett, who had to leave to make even decently far in the playoffs. But he was an elite defensive forward who did end up winning an MVP.
The Timberwolves may be looking to replicate that precisely with Gobert. Aside, this move turns them into almost contenders. They have a strong starting lineup with multiple great scorers, but they genuinely lack the depth and experience it takes to win an NBA championship. I still believe this was a good move for them, but I could see a western conference finals appearance within three years.