Rudy Gobert left the Utah Jazz. After 9 years spent under the colors of the Salt Lake City franchise, the French interior was traded by its leaders to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. An expected movement to launch a new project in Utah after the known failures in the Playoffs.
Despite his attachment to the Jazz, the Habs can rub their hands after this exchange: he arrives in a competitive and ambitious team. After a promising 2021-2022 financial year, Wolves aim to take a new step.
And with that in mind, the team’s new boss, Tim Connellydid not hesitate to launch major maneuvers to recover Gobert this summer.
Wolves want to fight for the title
Because to secure the services of the 30-year-old pivot, the Wolves paid a high price. At player level, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverly, Walker Kesler, Jarred Vanderbilt and Leandro Bolmaro took the direction of the Jazz. But that’s not all.
Minnesota also agreed to drop 4 picks in the first round of the Draft (2023, 2025, 2027 unprotected, 2029 protected top 5), but also a swap of the 2026 pick. In summary, Connelly has just gone all-in! Appointed last May, the ex-leader of the Denver Nuggets was bound to move on this offseason.
He was credited with intentions of shaking up the workforce with a possible trade of D’Angelo Russel. But in the end, he decided to take the risk of “sacrificing” the future of this franchise (with Draft picks) to give himself a chance to play the leading roles in the Western Conference. With an assumed dream: the NBA title.
Reinforced by its direction but also by Karl Anthony TownsSo Connelly sent everything for Gobert. With the exception of Jaden McDanielsdesired by Jazz but considered untouchable. A movement perceived as essential.
Because without a major movement, Minnesota did not see the current workforce capable of aiming further than a simple qualification in the Playoffs.
Rudy Gobert, his farewell message to Jazz fans
A real bet in the current NBA
But a question arises: can Wolves really claim the Larry O’Brien trophy with the addition of Gobert? On paper, the future major 5 of Chris Finch has a mouth: Russell, Anthony EdwardsMcDaniels, Towns and therefore Gobert. Even on the bench, the recent additions of Kyle Anderson and of Bryn Forbes are interesting.
However, the Towns-Gobert association raises questions in the current NBA. With a League where the small ball has clearly established itself as the norm, the choice to bet on two large interiors remains risky.
A real counter to the trend, especially after the coronation of the Golden State Warriors. But obviously, the Wolves fully assume this daring direction.
“What the Timberwolves believe is that they weren’t going to outclass small ball Golden State… They’re going to start big and stay big. They want to see if the rest of the league can handle them. “, explained The Athletic journalist Jon Krawczynski.
A justification that can be understood. And if everyone is going in the same direction, this formula can work. But the efforts will have to be collective. Defensively to build around Rudy Gobert. But also offensively, where some, including the Habs, will have to sacrifice themselves. Individuals will also have to be up to it, like a highly anticipated KAT at post 4.
In the end, with this movement, many uncertainties remain in Minnesota. But at least the team gives itself the means of its ambitions. The risk is real. The potential too.
Free Agency NBA 2022: complete list of rumors, trades and signings