One of the most talked-about trade targets for the Chicago Bulls in recent weeks has been Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert. The season for trades has already begun, with Christian Wood being dealt to the Dallas Mavericks, so who knows when the next blockbuster could happen?
Chicago struggled on the defensive side of the floor last year, so in theory, adding a three-time Defensive Player of the Year would help with that. However, not everybody is on board with the idea that the Bulls should trade for Gobert.
According to Sam Smith, NBA.com’s Bulls writer, Chicago needs to consider the long-term consequences of a Gobert trade. And in his opinion, it wouldn’t be worth it for the Bulls to trade for the big man.
“The other part of the speculation as you note has Pat Williams included,” Smith wrote. “After all, Gobert is a multiple Defensive Player of the Year. So the thinking would be you have to at least come close to matching talent. And the Bulls need defense and all that. But it also sounds a bit like sitting down for a lunch of a chili cheese dog and a banana split washed down by a milk shake. You better consider the long term ramifications. I’d hope the Bulls would step away from the table.”
Williams never got a fair chance at his sophomore season, as he spent most of it sidelined with a wrist injury. Smith believes that the Bulls should keep him instead of trading him for Gobert, and according to recent reports, Chicago agrees.
Bulls Refusing to Trade Williams
The young forward only appeared in 17 games this past season, and it seems as though Chicago wants to see more from him. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Bulls are not willing to let him go in a trade for Gobert this summer.
“The Bulls do not appear willing to include Patrick Williams … in a trade package for Gobert, sources told B/R,” Fischer wrote in a June 14 article about the likelihood of star free agent Zach LaVine re-signing with the Bulls.
In the 17 games he appeared in after returning from injury, Williams averaged 9.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 0.9 assists on 52.9% shooting from the field and 51.7% shooting from behind the three-point line.
In addition, Smith doesn’t think that Gobert fits the mold of a championship-caliber center.
Gobert Not Built for Title Contention
In his June 10 article, Smith noted that, while Gobert’s defensive excellence has helped him become one of the top regular-season centers, he does not fit the mold of the big men who have found recent success in the playoffs. He also notes that Gobert’s current star teammate, Donovan Mitchell, seemingly doesn’t want to play with him anymore.
“Here’s a guy Gobert — I don’t know him — who the best player on his team apparently doesn’t want to play with, turns 30 this month and is owed $160 million for the next four years,” Smith wrote. “Who never has been beyond the second round of the playoffs, and if you examine the teams in the conference finals, all the “big” guys are active, 6-9 types like Bam Adebayo, Robert Williams, Al Horford, Kevon Looney and whoever the Mavericks were playing.”
If the Bulls could manage to trade for Gobert without giving up Williams, then maybe it would be worth it. But according to Smith, they might be better off avoiding him altogether.