NBA

Rudy Gobert trade rumors: Bulls emerge as possible suitor for former Defensive Player of the Year, per report

The Utah Jazz were already in a state of flux after their first-round disappointment against the Dallas Mavericks, but things got even more complicated when longtime coach Quin Snyder resigned from his position after eight seasons on the job this week. Now the Jazz have to figure out what they can do to improve without knowing who will lead them into next season.

According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Jazz have thus far “not entertained rival teams’ overtures to steal away All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell,” but reportedly have engaged multiple teams about three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor initially reported that the Chicago Bulls were a suitor for Gobert, and Fischer went on to confirm their interest.

The Bulls would be a very interesting fit for Gobert given their existing roster. Utah put Gobert in a difficult position defensively by surrounding him with subpar perimeter defenders. That made it hard for him to survive against stretch big men, because leaving his post near the rim assured easy layups. The Bulls have a number of strong perimeter defenders, including Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. In Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, they have two star perimeter shot-creators to Utah’s one in Mitchell.

A Chicago offer would almost certainly start with two-time All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, a more offensively-minded player that Utah could pair with Mitchell, but the question would become what the Bulls would add on top of him. The Jazz would surely target former No. 4 overall pick Patrick Williams, the sort of versatile, two-way forward they’ve lacked since Gordon Hayward left. The Bulls, who have few other forward options on their roster, would surely prefer to keep Williams, and would instead prefer to trade young guards like Ayo Dosunmu or Coby White

Further complicating matters here are the picks the Bulls owe from previous trades. The Bulls owe the Orlando Magic their top-four protected pick in 2023 thanks to the Vucevic trade. If it doesn’t convey, it becomes top-three protected in 2024. Two years after the Magic get that pick, the Spurs get a lightly protected pick of their own from the DeRozan trade. Add those two deals up and the Bulls can trade just one of their own first-round picks: either their 2028 or 2029 selections. They also own a pick from the Portland Trail Blazers that they can deal, but it is protected 1-14 every year from now until 2028, limiting both the upside and certainty that it offers. In other words, the Bulls can’t grease the trade wheels with draft capital as easily as other suitors.

And there will surely be other suitors. The Raptors, Hawks and Mavericks are other teams that have had reported interest in Gobert at some point, and others will emerge. He may be getting older and he may be expensive, but he is the NBA‘s best rim-protector, and there will be a strong market for his services this offseason.



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