In a recently published list of trade ideas, Bleacher Report suggested that the Washington Wizards could solve their defensive woes by sending five players and their 2020 first-round draft pick to the Utah Jazz in exchange for their star center, Rudy Gobert.
As explained by the outlet, the Wizards finished the 2019-20 regular season ranked 29th out of 30 NBA teams in defensive net rating, and probably won't get that much better in stopping opposing teams once point guard John Wall returns to the court after missing significant time due to an Achilles injury. While it's possible that the team could hold on to its youngsters and hope they develop quickly, trading for Gobert would give Washington a proven star who could make an "immediate impact."
In order to acquire Gobert from Utah, the publication recommended a trade package featuring six players -- center Thomas Bryant, forwards Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga, guards Jerome Robinson and Ish Smith, and the No. 9 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Such a deal, as explained, could help the Wizards return to playoff contention alongside Wall and Bradley Beal, who is under contract for at least another season but is reportedly "fed up with losing."
As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Gobert had an impressive 2019-20 campaign for the Jazz, averaging 15.1 points, 13.5 rebounds, and two blocks per game, shooting 69.3 percent from the field and playing in his first All-Star Game in seven NBA seasons. The 28-year-old Frenchman also won two straight Defensive Player of the Year trophies in the prior two seasons before losing out to Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for this year's award.
Talking about why the Jazz might be willing to part ways with one of their best players, Bleacher Report speculated that the team might mainly be hesitant to give him the maximum-level contract extension he deserves. The outlet also noted that there may still be some "awkwardness" between the big man and his superstar teammate Donovan Mitchell following their rumored off-court feud.
Given those potential distractions, it was pointed out that Utah might benefit more by acquiring people who could give them more depth and using the Wizards' No. 9 pick -- if the deal becomes a reality -- on a promising rookie such as French point guard Killian Hayes or USC forward/center Onyeka Okongwu. Bleacher Report also cited The Athletic's Tony Jones, who recently wrote that incoming free agent Derrick Favors -- who last played for the New Orleans Pelicans -- is interested in returning to the Jazz, where he might have a chance of starting for a few years if Gobert gets traded.