The Golden State Warriors may have entered postseason play at a deficit in the pivot from a size standpoint, but it was still easy pickings against the Denver Nuggets. Despite a show-out effort from Nikola Jokic, his shorthanded team was predictably overmatched against Steve Kerr’s crew.
Even as they have ascended to title-favorite status (or close to it), though, there remains a nonzero chance that the Dubs could run into trouble against better teams with high-level bigs on their roster.
If Devin Booker can round back into form, for example, Deandre Ayton becomes that much more dangerous down low, even as Draymond Green has matched up well with the former No. 1 pick.
In a world where Golden State falls short of its championship goals this season, GM Bob Myers could look to shore up the center spot. To that end, one analyst is pitching a mega-deal for one of the best defensive players of the last decade-plus.
B/R: Warriors Could Swing Monster Deal for Rudy Gobert
Following the Utah Jazz’s series clinching-loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, rumors abound that the team could split up its All-Star duo of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. In the event that Utah’s CEO, Danny Ainge, does open up shop, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey is pitching the following deal:
- Utah Jazz receive: G/F Andrew Wiggins, F Jonathan Kuminga, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2025 first-round pick swap
- Golden State Warriors receive: C Rudy Gobert
For years, Curry has been one of the game’s best and most consistent offensive engines. And for much of the same time, Gobert has been that on defense. Having both on the same team would be absurd.
A defense anchored by Gobert, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson would be stifling. And the amount of attention that Curry, Thompson and Jordan Poole command outside would lead to plenty of dunks for Gobert.
The 7-foot-1 Gobert averaged 15.6 points, a league-best 14.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in 2021-22. He also led the league in defensive real plus/minus (8.0) and screen assists (6.3 per game).
His deal is guaranteed through the 2024-25 campaign, with a player option for ’25-26.
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Why Utah Does It
Clearly, the current mix isn’t working in Salt Lake City. With the Jazz severely lacking for perimeter defenders, Gobert was put in compromising positions time and time again against the Mavs. And beyond that, Mitchell and Gobert may have proven able to put their personal issues aside for the sake of the team (and themselves), but the pairing remains an imperfect one.
This deal ends an awkward situation while netting the Jazz a significant return in Wiggins — an All-Star who would also become the team’s most capable defender (unless Danuel House returns) — a bona fide star on the rise in Kuminga and draft assets.
Assuming they hang onto Mitchell, Utah would likely remain very competitive in this scenario. Along the way, Ainge clears a lot of long-term salary off the books for future retooling.