The Utah Jazz are reportedly trading three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Timberwolves will send Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro and a package of first-round picks to the Jazz, according to Wojnarowski.
The picks going to Utah, per sources: unprotected 1sts in 23, 25, 27, a swap in ‘26 and a top 5 protected in ‘29
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) July 1, 2022
The move signals the Jazz's desire to move on from the Gobert-Donovan Mitchell pairing that had grown strained since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The locker room tension between the Jazz’s two All-Stars has been well-documented since March 2020. The latter half of the 2021-22 season did nothing but stoke the flames.
The Jazz bowed out of the playoffs in the first round for the third time in four seasons, a disappointing end to a roster built to win now. On Thursday before free agency opened, the Jazz also dealt starting forward Royce O'Neale to the Brooklyn Nets and could still be looking for additional trades.
According to The Athletic's Tony Jones, the Jazz are not planning to trade Mitchell. The 2023 NBA All-Star Game is in Salt Lake City, and the Jazz are committed to building around the 25-year-old star.
How does Rudy Gobert fit with the Timberwolves?
Gobert will now be paired with Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota. Both have long-term contracts after Towns agreed to a supermax extension on Thursday. Gobert has four seasons left on his supermax deal.
The big-man pairing could be productive for the upstart Timberwolves. Gobert, a three-time All-Star, averages 12.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game for his career. Towns, a three-time All-Star, averages 23.2 points and 11.3 rebounds over 34.2 minutes in his career.
Gobert led the league last season in rebounds at 14.7 per game.
Newly hired Timberwolves executive Tim Connelly was the Denver Nuggets' general manager in 2013 when the team traded out of their first-round pick that became Gobert at No. 27 to Utah.
Anthony Edwards not a Rudy Gobert fan?
One of the more interesting side plots in the reported trade is third-year shooting guard Anthony Edwards' apparent lack of respect for Gobert's role.
In December 2021, Edwards said Gobert "don't put no fear in my heart" after one of three matchups against the Jazz that month. The Jazz won all three. Edwards had 18 points in the first game and 26 in the third, but was out for the second due to health and safety protocols.
How does Rudy Gobert trade change the market for Kevin Durant?
Two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday before free agency opened. The return package for a Durant trade is expected to be massive, and the Gobert return signaled just how much teams could offer for Durant.
Durant's preferred destinations reportedly are the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns. Both teams may need a third team to facilitate the type of trade needed to fetch Durant.