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Report: Rudy Gobert traded to Timberwolves for four first-round picks, Beverley, Beasley more

Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz - Game Four

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - APRIL 23: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz looks on during the first half of Game Four of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 23, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

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Since he took over the front office in Minnesota, the buzz around league circles has been Tim Connelly wanted to lean into size and add a defensive big man to play next to Karl-Anthony Towns, someone who could solidify Towns’ weakness and let him focus on his immense strength — scoring the basketball.

Enter Rudy Gobert.

How badly did Connelly want Gobert? Enough to overpay.

Those picks are the overpay — four of them, and they are barely protected. That’s a Harden-level pick package.

There is a lot to unpack here.

• Gobert makes the Timberwolves better. Fans tend to downplay him and his skillset, but he is an elite defender who improves Minnesota’s middle-of-the-pack defense, plus he can finish around the rim and make some passes. There are good reasons for the Timberwolves to try Gobert next to Towns.

• The question is the price tag. Why did Minnesota give up so much? Who were they bidding against that drove up the pick package that high? The Timberwolves’ argument is that when they win those are late first-round picks and not that valuable, and they have two elite bigs plus Anthony Edwards. Of course, “those picks are not going to be good” is what Nets GM Sean Marks said when he traded all those picks for Harden, and where are they now? Things change fast in the NBA.

• Connelly and Minnesota have bet that the “twin towers” idea of Gobert and Towns can work. That duo is imposing, however, it leaves coach Chris Finch some work to do creating space in the halfcourt (“Mr. Gobert, we’d like to introduce you to the dunker’s spot here along the baseline”).

• Can Towns play the four in the modern NBA, especially defensively?

• Where does the slashing of Anthony Edwards fit into this? He still should be the best player on this team within a couple of years and he will have the ball in his hands a lot. He has the potential to be a great playmaker, but the lane could be crowded for the Timberwolves next season. This will be a test for him.

• Gobert has four years and $140 million remaining on this contract.

• That D’Angelo Russell was not part of this trade raises eyebrows — Minnesota has been very openly to trading him, but the market has been slow.

• Danny Ainge has added five future first-round picks.

• The plan is reportedly to build around Donovan Mitchell, not trade him. (How Mitchell feels about that is another question.)

• The plan also may be to pair Mitchell with a new center: Deandre Ayton.

• Ayton to the Jazz would make Kevin Durant to the Suns far more difficult to pull off.