In the middle of free agency, a bombshell hit the NBA waves, as the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves agreed on a deal for Rudy Gobert. It seemed likely the French center would be traded. Still, there was no indication that talks were progressing. While the Jazz can be happy with how the trade went, the Timberwolves fans need to be second-guessing what their front office just did. This deal was immediately labeled as bad for the Wolves and the Jazz was branded winners. However, more than just being losers, the Timberwolves could have made a historically bad deal.
Here are two reasons why the Timberwolves' Rudy Gobert trade is one of the worst deals in NBA history.
Reasons Why Timberwolves Rudy Gobert Trade is Historically Awful
The haul given up was way too much
Rudy Gobert is a player that earned his respect in this league. At the age of 30, he is a three-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA player, and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Given that he entered the league at a time when centers were slowly becoming obsolete, Gobert's career is that much more impressive. Yet, he is not a transformative superstar, and he is arguably going to make the Timberwolves worse off in some regards. The final trade for the French center ended up being Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, among others, and four first-round picks, three of them being unprotected. This is way too much for Gobert.
This means that not only have the Timberwolves given away their primary guard defender, their young sixth-man scorer, and three more players, including their 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler, but also four picks in the future, when the Timberwolves might be relying on the draft to get some help for their team. In addition to sending these draft picks to the Jazz, they also lost the chance to trade 2024, 2026, and 2028 picks, as by NBA rules, a team cannot trade away picks in consecutive years. Again, let's come back to the fact that the Timberwolves did all of this for Rudy Gobert, a player that is good, but is not worthy of this haul. If we take into the wider context of the situation, it gets even worse for the Timberwolves.
The worst part of this deal is the fact that everyone knew that the Jazz need to trade Gobert. There were some limited discussions and rumors that Gobert will stay and Mitchell will be traded, but most people assumed that Gobert was gone. In these situations, getting a good haul for a player is hard for the selling team. They are seen as the team forced to deal, meaning that they cannot dictate the terms. Yet, it feels like the Jazz got everything they wanted out of this deal while the Timberwolves looked desperate. This shows the incompetence of the front office in Minnesota in correctly evaluating their assets and figuring out what they want to do with them.
It makes no sense financially or fit-wise
Financially, the Timberwolves are now beyond locked into their core. Just a day after this trade happened, Karl-Anthony Towns re-signed with the franchise for $224 million over four years. When we add the max deal Anthony Edwards will get in a few years and that will start kicking in from 2024 onwards, that means that almost all of the money will be locked in Gobert, Towns, and Edwards. Two of them are completely fine, as Towns and Edwards are true stars of the league, even transformative in some sense. Gobert is just out of place there and this deal likely means that either the Timberwolves are moving on from D'Angelo Russell in the next offseason, or they will re-sign him and pay a ton of luxury tax for a team that just cannot win an NBA ring.
Fit-wise, it gets even worse. The biggest issues for the Timberwolves were defensive, as the team ranked 13th in defensive rating and allowed the most points per game in the league. Obviously, Gobert will help in that regard, but when it comes to the playoffs, the Wolves will have two basically immobile players that opposing teams can target in pick and rolls. Sure, Gobert and Towns will be able to help each other out under the basket, but it will not be enough to cover for their mobility issues. When it comes to offense, it seems like this duo will just clog the lane, taking away each other's space to operate.
With the Kevin Durant sweepstakes well and truly open, the Timberwolves splashing this much on Gobert just does not make sense. Sure, getting Durant would be very difficult without giving up Edwards, but they still should have stuck with their roster and possibly added a defensive-minded center for a minimum in the free agency market. This way, they locked in a core that cannot win, are financially committed to paying the luxury tax, and just lost a ton of assets for basically nothing. The Timberwolves fans will need to ask for accountability for this deal.