From Salt Lake City To Chi-Town: A Frenchmen In The Midwest

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

From Salt Lake City To Chi-Town: A Frenchmen In The Midwest

Basketball

From Salt Lake City To Chi-Town: A Frenchmen In The Midwest

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz. Home of NBA legends, the fourth-highest winning percentage in NBA history, and one of the more competitive Western Conference squads in recent history. After yet another underwhelming season and their third first-round exit in four years, all of Utah knows that it’s time for their beloved franchise to enter a full rebuild. They struck lightning in a bottle with an extremely smooth transition from one star in Gordon Hayward, to another in Donovan Mitchell, but not everything is sunshine and rainbows in the Beehive State. As star shooting guard and former Louisville Cardinal Donovan Mitchell continues to grow frustrated with the team, there is truly no point in attempting to keep a team that’s ceiling is well below a championship together. Mitchell has been rumored to be interested in joining teams like the New York Knicks and Miami Heat, but there’s one more valuable piece to the Utah Jazz that can’t be overlooked. One of the best defenders of all time and top center in modern basketball, Rudy Gobert. 

There’s one team that’s on the opposite side of the Utah Jazz when it comes to NBA contention, as they begin their years of championship aspirations, rather than exiting it. That team would be no other than the Chicago Bulls. In 2021, the Bulls jumped off to a scorching hot start, surprising many as a top seed in the Eastern Conference and one of the most exciting and dangerous teams in the league. As the year went on, Chicago cooled down and was met by none other than the injury bug, with key players ranging from veteran star Zach Lavine to Bulls newcomer Lonzo Ball spending time away from the court. The Bulls’ struggles became evident throughout the year, with defense being one of the main aspects of what would ultimately make the team fall short of both a final top seed and a second round playoff berth. With a generational defender potentially on the market, it would be huge for the Bulls front office to strike a deal this offseason, to further push their franchise towards a championship. 

Mock Trade Package:

UTAH RECEIVES: Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, Future First Round Pick

BULLS RECEIVE: Rudy Gobert, Future Second Round Pick

Logistics Of The Trade 

In December of 2020, Rudy Gobert signed a five-year, 205 million dollar extension with the Jazz, expecting to help the team contend for years to come. As things have quickly fallen from what they used to be, it would make little to no sense for Utah to keep Gobert, as he’ll be in his mid 30’s by the time the team could potentially exit their rebuild, with that in itself being a question mark, as some teams can take more time than expected. The French native would also be earning an annual salary of around 40 million dollars, which is pointless for a team trying to acquire young talent and free up future cap space. The Jazz would be wasting Gobert’s prime years on a team that he ultimately could not help get to a championship, with their goal to start fresh, rather than contend. By trading him now, they would be getting offers of the highest value ever for the center, with Gobert playing some of the best basketball of his career, coming off of what should have been another DPOY season for him.

The Jazz would be acquiring Nikola Vucevic, who would be a more than serviceable center in the last year of his deal, that would guide the franchise in the right direction as a veteran mentor. Coby White, a young point guard who’s shown flashes of All-Star potential, would be the other player going to the Jazz in this deal. White could finally get huge minutes as a starting point guard, making him a potential young cornerstone for Salt Lake City. With Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and Ayo Dosunmu all earning minutes at point guard for the Bulls, White would be able to thrive on a team without as much competition. A future first-round pick, protected or not, is a nice cherry on top to sell the Jazz front office on the deal.

On the other hand, it’s quite simple why the Bulls would want Gobert. His impact is sensational, as he takes the Jazz from one of the worst to one of the best defensive units in the league when he’s on the court. His rebounding would help the Bulls take away many of the second chances for other teams, and by adding just one more person in Gobert, along with draft pick Dalin Terry, the Bulls would eliminate the need for defense, and the front office could solely focus on shooting for the rest of the offseason. 

Chicago won’t be the only team on the phone with Utah for Gobert. His market will be hot, but there’s one undeniable fact. This could be the move that takes Chicago from a tier two contender to a true top threat in the league.

Let me know your thoughts on my Twitter! (@twsn_sbs)

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