Entering postseason play, it was abundantly clear that the Golden State Warriors had a roster capable of adding one or more titles to its already crowded trophy case. That reality has only become more apparent through six playoff games.
Still, the team’s lack of size in the pivot — not to mention the expiration of Andrew Wiggins’ current deal and unrestricted free agency in 2023 — has prompted Warriors-centric trade chatter dating back to before February’s dealing deadline.
One player who has figured more and more prominently in Warriors rumors is Jazz center Rudy Gobert. And fuel was added to the fire recently when a West executive told Heavy.com‘s Sean Deveney that Golden State’s vets could push for Bob Myers to bring the big man in, should he become available.
According to a new report out of Salt Lake City, that could happen sooner rather than later.
Gobert to Demand Either He or Mitchell Get Moved?
Per SiriusXM’s Sean O’Connell, Gobert is expected to drop an ultimatum on the Jazz in the coming days. His demand: that the team — which has disappointed during postseason play in recent years — move either Mitchell or himself.
I know I am not usually @utahjazz breaking news guy, but a source close to situation has informed me that Rudy Gobert is at “him or me” point with Donovan Mitchell and will demand that one of them be traded in next few days. Doesn’t feel they will win championship together.
If Gobert does indeed feel this way about Utah’s current mix, it’s difficult to blame him for it. The Jazz were just dropped from the playoffs in Round 1 by the Mavericks despite the fact that Luka Doncic didn’t even hit the court until Game 4. It was eerily similar to their exit in Round 2 last year against the Clippers with Kawhi Leonard missing multiple games.
The postseason shortfall has clearly had an effect on both of the Jazz stars, not to mention the organization itself.
O’Connell further reported that Gobert knows of at least one West team that “would be willing to pay handsomely for his abilities.” Whether that team is the Warriors or someone else is anyone’s guess.
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What Gobert Would Bring to the Table
Gobert averaged 15.6 points, a league-leading 14.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in 2021-22. He significantly affected games on both ends of the court for Utah, and that impact would undoubtedly be just as pronounced in Golden State.
The Warriors haven’t had a high-level rim-runner since JaVale McGee left town, and Gobert is as good or better than anyone in the Association in that department. Among players appearing in 40-plus games while averaging three or more possessions as a roll man, Gobert was second in the NBA at 1.32 points per possession.
His screening to free up open threes and driving lanes for teammates is also elite. He led the league in screen assists at 6.3 per game, a number that would equate to a lot of points in the Dubs offense.
Meanwhile, Gobert’s defensive prowess is well-known. This past season was another gem on that side, as he finished with the league’s top defensive real plus/minus score at 8.0. Also: opponents’ field goal percentages dropped 13.1% within six feet of the hoop when he was the closest defender.
That differential was negative all the way out to three-point range, where opponents were minus-1.2%.