As the NBA draft and the free agency period get closer, with the possibility of a Dec. 22 start to the 2020-21 season becoming more likely, transaction chatter is heating up.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert continues to be an oft-mentioned name in that space, as he is eligible for a supermax contract extension, but there is heavy debate about whether he is worth it.
On Thursday, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote a piece examining potential player movement during the offseason, and he devoted a good amount to Gobert.
He led off by writing that “several” team executives have wondered if the Dallas Mavericks would be a good destination for the Frenchman if he were to be traded, as he could team up well with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.
Lowe wrote that “I can’t get there,” however, pointing out that the Mavericks would be paying $65 million to big men Porzingis and Gobert.
Thinking a move ahead, Lowe wondered what would happen if Dallas then tries to trade for the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“Do the rebuilding Bucks want Gobert?,” Lowe wrote. “They would almost certainly prefer Porzingis, but that leaves Dallas figuring out how to fit Antetokounmpo and Gobert on offense — or finding a third team for him. (There’s also the small matter of whether Dallas has much Utah would want.)”
Lowe wrote “you can concoct fun Gobert trades” with Boston, Atlanta, Sacramento, Washington, Brooklyn and the LA Clippers. He specifically mentioned a deal with Boston involving Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III and picks that could work, as could a deal with the Clippers involving Ivica Zubac.
“But I’m not sure how realistic they are,” Lowe wrote. “For one, Utah will need a quality starting center back or risk imploding on defense. Several teams are wary of Gobert’s next deal.”
Lowe concluded that the “simplest outcome” is that Gobert signs an extension with the Jazz this summer in the ballpark of four years and $135 million with incentives. That would come out to approximately $33.5 million per year as opposed to the roughly $50 million Gobert would get annually on a supermax.
“Gobert is 28,” Lowe wrote, “so such a deal carries him through his prime.”