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Potential Rudy Gobert Trade Options For The Utah Jazz

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball against Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz during the fourth quarter at Staples Center on April 07, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With the NBA season seemingly on the horizon, ESPN’s Zach Lowe released his offseason primer discussing the biggest storylines facing the league. His report included potential trade options for the Utah Jazz and All-Star center Rudy Gobert if the team doesn’t envision a future with the two-time Defensive Player of the Year in tow.

Lowe wrote that the Jazz and Gobert reaching an agreement on a contract extension somewhere in the range of four-years and $134 million was the most likely outcome. That would be a large discount from the supermax deal Gobert is eligible for, but unlikely to receive, even if he were to hit the free agency market next year.

However, Lowe did present some potential trade partners for the Jazz, hinting that the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and the Washington Wizards might be in the market for a player with Gobert’s talents.

With those partners in mind, I created the best potential trade offer each team could make the Jazz for exchange for Gobert. As a disclaimer, fans should recognize that in any Gobert trade, the Jazz will be giving up the best player in the deal which is traditionally a losing option.

Additionally, these moves would be made with the idea of staying competitive next season and an eye on growth potential in the near future. Because it appears Gobert may be willing to accept less than the supermax, the Jazz aren’t really being forced into any deals. Meaning, an offer would have to really blow the Jazz socks off for the team to make a move.

With that laid out, any package for Gobert would probably have to land a starting-caliber center in return, with an additional rotation piece, and a tantalizing young player, plus draft capital to be considered. It’s a big asking price, but the Jazz shouldn’t be feeling any pressure to make a deal they aren’t comfortable with.

Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert Trade Options

Atlanta Hawks Send: Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, 6th Pick

Utah Jazz Send: Rudy Gobert, Ed Davis, Georges Niang, 23rd Pick

Analysis: This has the structure of a popular trade rumor that has been circulating for a few weeks. Atlanta is reportedly in win-now mode and doesn’t have a ton of interest in drafting another top 10 pick that will take time to develop next to Trae Young.

It checks the Jazz boxes of adding a starting big man in Capela, with two nice young pieces in Hunter (last year’s number four overall pick), and Huerter who the Jazz were rumored to be enamored with on draft night two years ago.

What could push this deal over the top for the Jazz is getting the number six overall pick in return. The Jazz would have a terrific starting lineup, even after trading Gobert in this scenario, and could hope to add further depth to the roster with a top 10 pick.

It’s a steep cost for Atlanta, but Gobert would likely push them into the Eastern Conference playoff chase and would be an ideal fit next to rising star John Collins.

Boston Celtics Send: Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Grant Williams, Romeo Langford, 14th Pick (From Memphis)

Utah Jazz Send: Rudy Gobert

Analysis: Jazz fans have liked the idea of seeing a Gobert for Jaylen Brown swap but the numbers simply make it too difficult to pull off. Additionally, there’s likely little motivation for Boston to include both Brown and Marcus Smart in a deal for Gobert.

So, this deal revolves around Smart, both Robert and Grant Williams, and Romeo Langford. Smart gives the Jazz tremendous bench depth and helps reform the defensive identity the Jazz would lose by sending Gobert East.

Robert Williams is still a work in progress, though he showed some nice flashes during the Celtics most recent playoff run. However, he’s still a significant step down from Gobert. Grant Williams is a “Jazz DNA” player who offers frontcourt versatility and a high basketball IQ to provide depth off the bench. Romeo Langford would serve as a bit of a home run swing on the back end of the deal, but the Jazz would have to be patient.

Truthfully, there’s probably not enough meat on the bone in this trade for the Jazz to say yes and would likely want the Celtics 14th overall pick (via Memphis) in a deal. Perhaps if the Jazz had a second deal in mind sending Mike Conley elsewhere for a more proven starting center this could work, but these two teams simply might not have the right pieces for a good marriage.

Brooklyn Nets Send: Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris (S&T), Jarrett Allen, 19th Pick

Utah Jazz Send: Rudy Gobert, Georges Niang

Analysis: This trade is difficult as it would depend on Joe Harris’s free-agent value and whether he’d prefer to play in Utah, or sign somewhere else. He’s going to be looking for a deal north of $10 million which is right in line with what it would take to get this trade done.

Harris would step into the Jazz starting small forward role right away, while Dinwiddie would give the Jazz tremendous depth at both guard positions off the bench. However, Harris doesn’t fix the Jazz perimeter defensive issues and Dinwiddie could bolt next summer if he opts out of his current deal.

Allen gives the Jazz their starting center of the future and a player who could ideally step up and fill Gobert’s absence sooner rather than later. The Jazz could add extra insurance with another pick late in the first round, but that adds up to a shot in the dark.

In return, the Nets add a third star in Gobert to the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving duo and maintain some spacing with Niang.

Ultimately, it might still be too high of an asking price as the Jazz couldn’t be sure of Dinwiddie’s preference for the future, and the Nets may want to see how their existing pieces fit together before making a move.

Dallas Mavericks Send: Maxi Kleber, Seth Curry, Dorian Finney-Smith, Delon Wright

Utah Jazz Send: Rudy Gobert

Analysis: This trade fails the smell test because it simply doesn’t check enough boxes for the Jazz. All four players returning to the Jazz are solid rotation pieces, but none have any real high upside.

Furthermore, the Jazz wouldn’t replace Gobert’s spot in the starting lineup, even though they would get significantly longer on the perimeter with Wright and Finney-Smith in the rotation. To make matters worse, Dallas just doesn’t have the draft capital to make a deal enticing.

Lowe mentioned Dallas as a potential trade partner, so I included them, but there’s little on the roster (especially their higher-priced contracts) that would catch the Jazz eye.

Los Angeles Clippers Send: Ivica Zubac, Patrick Beverly, Landry Shamet, Mfiondu Kabengele

Utah Jazz Send: Rudy Gobert

Analysis: The difficulty in the Clippers roster is that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George earn more than half of the team’s total salary, meaning the rest of the roster is filled out with mostly low contract players. As a result, they don’t have much star power to send the Jazz in a trade centered around Gobert.

This deal would net the Jazz a promising young big man (though he’ll never be a star) in Zubac, depth and insurance at the guard position in Beverly, a good young piece in Shamet, and a big man with intriguing upside in Kabengele.

However, the Jazz take a significant step back next season with no real guarantee they ever improve. Worse yet, the Clippers owe about a decade’s worth of draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder dating back to the George trade.

Jazz say no, and the Clippers simply can’t improve their offer.

Sacramento Kings Send: Marvin Bagley, Richaun Holmes, Corey Joseph, 12th Pick

Utah Jazz Send: Rudy Gobert

Analysis: This deal does check a few of the boxes for the Jazz in both adding young talent in Bagley who still has All-Star potential and replacing Gobert with a starting-caliber big man in Holmes.

Make no mistake, Holmes in no Gobert, and he never will be, but he had some very impressive moments in Sacramento last season and is just now entering his prime.

Additionally, the Jazz would add depth at the point guard position in Joseph, who I’ve been told they had expressed interest in before. Adding the 12th pick would add extra upside to the deal if the Jazz were in love with a prospect they expected to be on the board in the late lottery.

However, this deal probably doesn’t get off the ground as Jazz just don’t get enough guaranteed return. Bagley has some intrigue but is oft-injured and hasn’t shown enough flashes to be worthy of such a big gamble.

If the Jazz could persuade Bogdan Bogdanovic to enter the deal as a sign and trade in place of Joseph they would likely have more interest, but the numbers don’t add up.

Washington Wizards Send: Thomas Bryant, Davis Bertans (S&T), Troy Brown, 9th Pick

Utah Jazz Send: Rudy Gobert

Analysis: Once again, the boxes the Jazz would need to be checked are there. Bryant steps into the starting center spot after showing promise last season on a mediocre Wizards team. The Jazz get longer with the addition of Brown who quietly had a nice sophomore season, and Bertans, assuming he would agree to a sign and trade, pushes the Jazz over the top as the best three-point shooting team in the league.

It’s not exactly what the Jazz need as they are looking to be more competitive defensively, but they could address that in the draft, now with both the ninth pick and the 23rd pick in their possession.

This isn’t a bad offer and could have long term payoff depending on the development of Brown and Bryant. Seeing one of James Wiseman or Onyeka Okongwu to take over as Gobert’s successor could tilt the deal in the Jazz favor.

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