Very few teams have the cap space and assets to pull off a trade for Rudy Gobert. The Washington Wizards are one of few teams that make sense.
The Washington Wizards need two things ahead of next season: more help along the wing, and a starting center to join John Wall and Bradley Beal. Coincidentally enough, the Utah Jazz may soon be pressured into dealing their two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert.
There’s a reported tension in the Jazz locker room after the events that transpired that lead to both Gobert and franchise face Donovan Mitchell being tested positive for COVID-19.
The latest reporting from Shams Charania of the Athletic says the relationship between the two may not be “salvageable.” In that case, Utah would be forced to choose between the two. And if you asked most betting men, they’d lean towards the Jazz exploring Gobert’s market.
He’ll be on the books for an expiring $26 million next season. With a new contract no doubt looming, it makes more sense for both the Jazz and potential suitors to strike a deal now. And who better to take a stab at renting Gobert than the Wizards?
Point guard John Wall will be returning from his Achilles’ injury next season, and Bradley Beal is on an unstoppable incline through his prime. The center position is their biggest question mark, and with playoffs their lone motive next season, they’re viable candidates to inquire on Gobert.
The big man posted 15.1 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game this year for the Jazz. So, what would a trade look like between the two contender hopefuls?
It would be a simple player for player, plus draft pick exchange for Utah and Washington. The Wizards should already be considered one of the more likely teams to deal their first-round draft selection in the first round this summer.
They’ve got a few young pieces in Troy Brown Jr, Rui Hachimura, and Moritz Wagner, but would rather be competing than retooling for a rebuild next season. Making it no surprise that they should be in the pool of names looking to add top talent come the offseason.
Thomas Bryant isn’t an upgrade from Gobert by any means, but in terms of a simple placeholder, can play a strong role for teams in need of floor-spacing bigs. He shot just over 40 percent from behind-the-arc this year while also averaging 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds for Washington.
There are also multiple young centers expected to go in the first round of the upcoming draft, which could make way for a cheaper Gobert replacement in Utah. Names like James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, and Onyeka Okongwu are all projected lottery selections in the latest mock drafts.
This deal would also provide some cap space for the Jazz, as Washington would be absorbing Gobert’s expiring $26 million onto their books. Bryant is on the books for just $8 million, and depending on how high the Wizards’ pick is, Utah could be opening up $10-12 million in this deal.
The one ramification for Washington here is that a deal for Gobert means saying goodbye to any and all hopes of resigning sharpshooter Davis Bertans. But with both their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions available, the Washington Wizards still have room to bring in help for the bench.
It should be an easy decision for general manager Tommy Sheppard however, as Washington has been absolutely abysmal on defense this year. Bringing back Wall, and instituting Gobert’s defensive prowess could be just the boost this roster needs in their search for a title.
If the Utah Jazz are looking to deal Rudy Gobert come the offseason, few teams make more sense as a trade partner than the Washington Wizards. With their cap space, first-round draft selection, and plethora of young big men on roster, they could formulate a trade with ease.
Gobert will be on an expiring deal next year. You’ll find little to no teams as willing to go “all-in” on next season than the Wizards. If things don’t go according to plan, Washington will have no problem letting him walk, as they prepare for what is an imminent rebuild.
But in regards to next season, the message is clear: the Washington Wizards are planning on competing. Trading for Gobert could put them four steps ahead of their Eastern competition.