With less than three weeks to go until the 2022 NBA draft and less than four until the league’s free agency period opens, transaction chatter is getting louder and louder.
On Tuesday, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that the Utah Jazz “have been one of the more active teams during early offseason trade conversations in recent weeks, most notably featuring All-Star center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.”
Fischer noted that the Chicago Bulls are seen as a potential trade destination, adding to similar reporting from The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor on Monday.
Fischer noted that Chicago acquiring Gobert would “almost certainly” include Bulls center Nikola Vucevic going to the Jazz, both because it would give Utah an All-Star caliber replacement at center and to help make salary matching work.
As Fischer observed, the Jazz would surely want Patrick Williams, the fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft, back in the deal as well, although he reported that “Chicago’s willingness to part with Williams remains to be seen.”
Fischer reiterated what others have reported as far as the Jazz looking to retool their roster rather than enter a rebuild, and he reported that “Utah has not entertained rival teams’ overtures to steal away All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, sources said, but the Jazz front office has engaged various teams in Gobert discussions.”
On the coaching front, Fischer reported that “Utah officials are still compiling their list of interviewees, sources said, and will begin formal outreach to candidates in the coming days.”
Fischer added that league sources don’t expect team CEO Danny Ainge “to stand in the way” if Mitchell and Ryan Smith “are aligned” on a candidate, and that “Ainge is not known to be someone who scours the market of the NBA’s up-and-coming head coaches.”