Rumor: Rudy Gobert to tell Jazz to trade him or Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell could request a trade from the Jazz this offseason.
On that note (pun intended), perhaps Gobert won’t just sit back and wait for Mitchell to decide his future with the Jazz.
Sean O’Connell of SiriusXM:
I know I am not usually @utahjazz breaking news guy, but a source close to situation has informed me that Rudy Gobert is at "him or me" point with Donovan Mitchell and will demand that one of them be traded in next few days. Doesn't feel they will win championship together.— Sean O'Connell (@realOCsports) May 2, 2022
Rudy feels that his own numbers are consistent or getting better, while Don is D liability and is falling off in terms of explosiveness. Gobert also aware of at least 1 Western Conference power that would be willing to pay handsomely for his abilities. (NBA teams never tamper..)— Sean O'Connell (@realOCsports) May 2, 2022
Gobert took to social media to shoot this rumor down.
I’d be surprised if Gobert hasn’t thought about telling the Jazz “him or me” with Mitchell. In even just his public comments, Gobert has sounded fed up with Mitchell.
But actually issuing an ultimatum? Following through on making a mess if neither player is traded? Those would be far more drastic steps.
Perhaps, Gobert will actually take them. But it’s also possible Gobert merely made comments in frustration that were incorrectly assumed to have real intent behind them. This could also be a trial balloon or warning shot got leaked.
Will Gobert and Mitchell win a championship together? Probably not. But 29 of 30 teams don’t win a title each year. Utah has been very good overall with those two. If traded, Gobert could easily land on a team further from a championship.
In some ways, Mitchell does look less explosive than he used to. He doesn’t attack the rim as much, settling for jumpers. His defense has regressed. Maybe there are actual structural issues with his athleticism. But he’s just 25. Until this report, it seemed Mitchell’s playing style/habits were the issue. And while not looking as explosive anymore, he has improved as a shooter and ball-handler.
Gobert, 29, has seemingly plateaued. At a high level, yes. But he hasn’t shown growth in his overall effectiveness the last few years. At his age, declines are more likely than further improvement.
Those differences are why the Jazz would probably pick Mitchell over Gobert. Utah has seemingly built foremost around Mitchell for a while.
As far as another team paying “handsomely” for Gobert, that wouldn’t mean a new contract. That’d mean sending the Jazz assets in a trade and taking on the four years and $169,655,174 remaining on Gobert’s current deal.
Though prioritizing Mitchell, Utah has invested heavily in Gobert. That long contract buys the team leverage. Likewise, Mitchell is locked in three more years.
So, the players can push for whatever they want. They can make life difficult for everyone involved.
But the Jazz will ultimately determine how to proceed.