Four Trade Destinations For Rudy Gobert

The Utah Jazz had yet another disappointing end to their season last week as they dropped Game 6 at home to the Dallas Mavericks to lost their opening round NBA playoff series 4-2. It is not only the loss that stings, but the way they lost. The Jazz spent years hanging their hat on elite defense before adding the electric Donovan Mitchell to add some scoring punch. But things never clicked and the defense completely fell apart in 2021-22 despite Rudy Gobert’s consistently excellent defensive presence that made him a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year (again).

Change is coming for the Jazz. The Gobert-Mitchell tandem has failed spectacularly in the postseason for a few years in a row and it doesn’t help that the two appear to dislike one another quite a bit. Salt Lake City radio host Sean O’Connell entered the scoop game on Monday and said that Gobert is at the point where he wants the Jazz to choose him or Mitchell going forward.

A trade in the next few days doesn’t seem realistic since the postseason is still ongoing and the new league year won’t start until after the Finals. But breaking up the Jazz core seems like the logical next step — and if the franchise decides to do that, it’s very likely Gobert is the odd man out. Mitchell is younger and offensive firepower is more valuable than defensive prowess these days. Not to mention that it’ll be way easier to sell tickets using Mitchell’s poster dunks instead of Gobert’s elite rim protection.

If Gobert does end up on the block, where could he go? Salary-matching will be difficult due to his five-year, $205 million deal that will pay him $38 million next season — and interest may be scarce because the deal will pay him $46 million in its final year. But Gobert, despite his many flaws, is one of the best big man defenders ever and could be a piece of a championship-level defense.