If the Brooklyn Nets had one weakness last year (other than keeping players healthy), it was their defense. The team ranked 20th in the NBA in defensive rating. In the playoffs, the Nets performance was even worse. The team was ranked 14th of 16 in defensive rating. Addressing the team’s defensive struggles should be near the top of Brooklyn’s list in the upcoming offseason.
Among the decisions Brooklyn has to make is whether or not they focus on building around their newly acquired All-Star point guard Ben Simmons. Simmons was close to winning NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, and one thing they were looking forward to by trading for him was the defensive presence he brings. Simmons can defend both on the perimeter and in the post. However, Simmons has seen his name all over the trade rumor mill after being unable to make his on-court debut for the Nets. Recent reports have said that Brooklyn plans on keeping their core of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons together next season.
Despite the reports, one transaction that has had the most weight to it is the Brooklyn Nets trading Simmons in a package to acquire Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz. One source close to the Jazz confirmed last week that the team is listening to offers for their All-Star Center, Rudy Gobert.
Jazz Fielding Offers for Rudy Gobert
On the June 8 episode of the ‘Basketball Illuminati‘ podcast hosted by NBA insiders Amin Elhassin and Tom Haberstroh, Jazz beat writer Andy Larson confirmed that the team could be open to trading Gobert.
“Is shopping the right word for what they are doing with Rudy Gobert? I’m not sure, but they are talking a lot of Rudy Gobert trades,” Larson said. “So I think they are very interested in moving him. Quite frankly, I think they know that that partnership is over and probably that you can’t have a cohesive locker room and cohesive chemistry moving forward with those two guys at least for the long term… It’s pretty clear that that relationship is strained. So they’re talking to the Toronto Raptors, they’re talking to the Chicago Bulls, they’re talking to a number of different teams on whether or not they can get Rudy Gobert moved.”
While Larson didn’t necessarily name the Nets as a Gobert suitor, you have to believe they have at least made an initial call.
Gobert to Brooklyn?
In May, a trade between the Nets and Jazz was rumored in a deal that saw the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year being dealt to Brooklyn.
The proposed transaction was as follows.
Utah Receives: Ben Simmons and a 2022 first round pick (via Philadelphia)
Brooklyn Receives: Rudy Gobert
Now, the Nets did elect to defer their first round pick they received in the James Harden trade until the 2023 NBA draft so the trade could trade a little. Acquiring Gobert could mean more than just Simmons, and if the Nets do choose to call it is interesting to hear that the Jazz will listen. Would Gobert be an answer to what the Nets need to get over the hump?