• Utah Jazz: While searching for a new coach is definitely the priority for the Jazz, they could be looking to get back into the first round of this draft. Their pick belongs to Memphis for the Mike Conley sign-and-trade back 2019. But the Jazz would love to get into the mix, likely somewhere in the back end of the first round, to grab a cost-effective role player. There’s been a little bit of chatter about whether Royce O’Neale could be the guy moved in this trade, but the franchise’s dedication to Donovan Mitchell and making him happy means they’re unlikely to move his good friend off the team for a rookie. More likely, it would be dangling a young player — maybe even Nickeil Alexander-Walker — for that first-round selection.
Holy pathetic franchise Batman.
It’s hard to gauge what the Jazz will end up doing with Gobert. It’s clear they’re committing to Mitchell and trying to find a way to make him happy long-term in Salt Lake City. While some in the organization value Gobert greater than they do Mitchell, that is ultimately going to lose out to owner Ryan Smith and how he feels about Mitchell. Gobert and Mitchell have tried to make it work following some turmoil in the locker room throughout 2020. It doesn’t. I do think they made a valiant effort to make it work as a duo and a team, but the Jazz fell apart time and time again due to a lack of cohesion on both ends of the floor.
Other teams know the Jazz may have to move off Gobert, and they’re ready to pounce. Teams all over the league have called to ask about what it would take to part with Gobert. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year has a lot of complications for a deal happening. His perceived value around the league is high, but not nearly as high as how the Jazz view him. He also has a cap number of $38 million for next season, and he’s owed just under $170 million over the next four years (including his player option). It will take some big money to match salaries enough here.
The Hawks are very interested in Gobert but may wait to see what the Ayton market looks like — both in terms of money and complications in making a trade with Phoenix. The Minnesota Timberwolves called about Gobert, as they’re interested in pairing Karl-Anthony Towns with a defensive-minded five (Capela is also an option for them to pursue). But the Chicago Bulls might hold the keys to all of this. They can provide a solid-enough veteran big man (Nikola Vučević) back in the deal to help the Jazz play/win now. The Bulls’ willingness to attach Patrick Williams in a deal at the end of the day is a game of chicken that has yet to approach its breaking point.
A dozen other teams, at least, will kick the tires on a Gobert acquisition, but the Jazz are preparing to see what life without Gobert might look like in their next era of basketball.