Let’s start with the obvious: A Rudy Gobert trade to the Warriors is highly unlikely. At best.
After another disappointing playoffs, it’s expected the Jazz will try to trade Gobert and rebuild around Donovan Mitchell as part of a massive shake-up of the roster and franchise, multiple sources have told NBC Sports. The names that first come up in speculation about a landing spot for Gobert are Charlotte and Toronto.
McMahon: “I know Rudy Gobert and Draymond Green have a great relationship… Any Golden State possibilities?”
Windhorst: “I have heard that rumor out there… I guess it would be based around Andrew Wiggins… I don’t know. If the Warriors win the title I don’t know if they’re looking for a major shake-up. But the Warriors don’t have that big and they have young players and they have the Wiggins contract. … I don’t think they should be considered a leader but I think that’s on the board. I’ve definitely heard that.”
Some context here. First, a trade for Gobert would suggest the Warriors do not believe recent No. 2 pick James Wiseman is going to develop into the big man they need. Wiseman missed this entire past season following a torn meniscus, although he did play in the G-League (to unimpressive reviews). The Warriors had Kevon Looney at the five this season and got solid production out of him, however, he is a free agent and played well enough that other teams will offer more than the Warriors can or will.
Gobert trade speculation also assumes Mitchell doesn’t try to force his way out of Utah, something other teams think could happen. If Mitchell wants out, the Jazz must reconsider how they are retooling and may want to keep Gobert.
Gobert has four years and $170 million left on his max contract extension (three years, then a player option) — that’s a lot of money to take on, both in terms of a trade and just on the books of a franchise. It will limit a team’s flexibility (the Warriors have one more year of Andrew Wiggins at $33 million still on the books). Do the Warriors want that?
All that said, crazier things have happened. Gobert is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, the best drop-back big man in the league (who can switch out some on the perimeter and hold his own), and is an underrated finisher around the rim on offense. He can help a lot of teams.
How the Warriors’ season ends also will impact how aggressive they are this offseason. Fall to the Grizzlies in the second round and there will be more shakeups than if they return to the Finals.
But the Gobert rumors are flying around the league, and the Warriors are at least involved in those.