He is the dream target of many a Bulls fan, the defensive stalwart who could clean up the team’s rim-protecting woes and vault Chicago back into championship contention. Only problem is, it will take a major package to get Rudy Gobert out of Utah, even as the Jazz appear eager to make a deal to shake up what has become a stagnant roster.
More than major, in fact. As one Western Conference executive tells Heavy.com, the price for Gobert is, “pretty astronomical.”
Here’s how he put it:
They’re going to want a star-caliber player, a young prospect and picks—maybe just one pick in the end but they will ask for a lot of picks, no doubt. That makes it hard because there are not going to be that many teams who can offer that and because Gobert is up around $35 million per year, it’s not easy to match that deal. But generally, they are asking a pretty astronomical price. Will Atlanta want to do that, give up John Collins and a player and picks? Maybe. Chicago is not going to want to pay that. Golden State is not going to pay it. New York has the picks but does not have the pieces. It is not an easy deal to make.
Gobert Comes With Big Contract, Little Offense
Of course, no one expected the Jazz to give away Gobert, a player who averaged 15.6 points, 14.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots last year and has been a three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner. But it was expected that the Jazz would recognize the difficulty of their position as they attempt to reconfigure the roster around Donovan Mitchell (assuming he stays put, that is) with Gobert being their most attractive piece.
As dominating as Gobert is defensively, he remains limited offensively. He led the league with 71.3% shooting this season, but rarely left the basket area on those attempts—he took 98.2% of shots within 10 feet of the rim, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
He is also comes with a significant financial commitment, having signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension in 2020. Four more years of that deal remain, with the final three years over $40 million per season.
Asking Price Should Come Down Over Time
That is a lot to pay for a one-way player who, even with his excellent rebounding, clogs up the lane on the offensive end. It is possible, then, that the asking price on Gobert will come down.
But it remains unlikely that the asking price will come down into the Bulls’ neighborhood. Chicago has given teams no indication that they’re willing to deal away third-year forward Patrick Williams, and the Jazz would not have much interest in a Bulls package built around a draft pick, Coby White and the expiring contract of Nikola Vucevic.
“There is time for it to come down, for the price to come down,” the exec said. “It is not something that must get done at the draft. I think they would prefer that it does but it does not necessarily have to go that way. They can see how the dust settles and get it done after July 1, maybe some teams will be a little more desperate. But Utah is not going to get desperate enough to send (Gobert) out for pennies on the dollar.”