The Utah Jazz once again failed to meet their postseason aspirations. Despite not having Luka Doncic for the first three games of the series, the Dallas Mavericks were still able to boot out the Jazz in a convincing fashion. The Jazz have made the NBA Playoffs for the past six seasons but have failed to advance past the Western Conference Semifinals.
There also has been growing speculation about the unhappiness between Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. With the organization at a crossroads, it seems major moves are on the horizon.
Rudy Gobert is at "him or me" point with Donovan Mitchell and will demand that one of them be traded in next few days, per @realOCsports
“Rudy feels that his own numbers are consistent or getting better, while Don is D liability and is falling off in terms of explosiveness” pic.twitter.com/ilIJRMXX2z
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) May 2, 2022
Mitchell and Gobert have been very impactful during their time in Salt Lake City. They have helped lead the Jazz to a consistent winning record and ended near the top of the Western Conference just about every season. However, if it is time to break up the duo, there should be an obvious answer on who to build the franchise around. Gobert is a game-changing defender, but Mitchell is a proven star. The 25-year-old has career averages of 23.9 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.2 rebounds. Mitchell is a near-perfect star in the style of today’s NBA and the Jazz would be wise to do everything possible to hold onto him.
2 trades Jazz must make in 2022 offseason
Jazz Get: John Wall and Christian Wood
Rockets Get: Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley Jr.
Wall is such an interesting trade target. The 31-year-old was once one of the best players in the NBA but has played just 113 games over the past five seasons. He missed a year due to an Achilles tear and has had a few other injuries, but most of his missed time has been due to the Houston Rockets’ preference. With the Rockets in rebuilding mode and Wall hopefully able to contribute to winning basketball, the team has kept him away for a majority of the time. On one hand, this is a concern, as it is unclear how much Wall has left in the tank. On the flip side, these are years of wear-and-tear potentially saved on his body.
Wood is also a solid target. While he is not the dominant defender like Gobert, he possesses a much more well-rounded offensive game. Wood is more than capable as a starting center and would effectively fill this for the Jazz. This trade would be somewhat of a risk, considering the question marks surrounding Wall. However, the Jazz may be closer to desperation mode than most realize. Wall has averaged 19.1 points and 9.1 assists in his career and could be a solid secondary scorer next to Mitchell.
The Rockets saw a massive step forward from rookie Jalen Green toward the end of the season and could begin to compete soon. Adding Gobert as a defensive anchor and allowing the young core to continue developing could lead to some long-term success for the squad.
Jazz Get: Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, Justise Winslow
Trail Blazers Get: Rudy Gobert
The Portland Trail Blazers have been in need of an impact defensive player for quite some time. They were reportedly interested in Ben Simmons early on in the season. Adding Gobert would anchor their defense and greatly alter the team’s current trajectory.
While the Trail Blazers may lack the top-end talent to offer in a trade, they hold several enticing complementary pieces. The main prize of the deal would be Simons who burst onto the scene last season in the absence of Damian Lillard. Simons averaged 17.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists which are all career-highs. The 22-year-old also shot an impressive 40.5% on three-point shots. Mitchell is in need of a dynamic backcourt partner and this duo could have an exciting future.
The Jazz also must address how much their defensive identity will change if they elect to give up Gobert. Their current system involves wing players funneling in their matchups to the paint and for The Stifle Tower to protect the rim. With the 7’1″ big man out of the picture, the Jazz will need to find some more defensive-minded wings. This is exactly the case with Hart and Winslow.
This type of trade would also allow the offense to be rebuilt to fully cater to Mitchell’s strengths. Trading away Gobert would provide more spacing in the halfcourt and Utah could utilize more five-out sets. Hart and Winslow may not be as great of shooters as the Jazz are used to at this position, but their defensive ability is necessary to add. Hart is also a terrific rebounder for his size and would help make up for the rebounds Gobert is counted on to bring.