In recent days, rumors have hinted that the relationship between Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell may have crumbled after both players tested positive for coronavirus last month. This has led to speculation that either one of the two may be traded in the 2020 offseason if things don’t improve between them. As a recent report suggested, there are a few teams that might benefit if they specifically acquire Gobert from the Jazz, including the Chicago Bulls.
In a recent list of trade ideas involving both Gobert and Mitchell, Bleacher Report‘s Andy Bailey wrote that the Bulls, with recently hired executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas taking over, could change direction and look for a defensive-oriented center, especially with rumors suggesting that third-year forward/center Lauri Markkanen is unhappy in Chicago. With this in mind, he suggested that the Bulls could acquire both Gobert and backup big man Ed Davis, in exchange for Markkanen, small forwards Otto Porter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison, and the team’s first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
“Getting [Gobert and Davis] in exchange for two wings who combined for fewer than 1,000 minutes this season, a big who has seemingly plateaued in Year 3 and a pick in a weak draft class is decent value,” Bailey opined.
Rudy Gobert recovers to make an emphatic block, earning y our Heads Up Play of the Day! pic.twitter.com/9Q0hOk840D— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 26, 2020
Talking about the potential impact of the suggested trade on both teams, Bailey pointed out that it would represent a “cultural” shift for the defensive-minded Jazz, who sat at fourth place in the Western Conference with a 41-23 record at the time of last month’s league suspension. He also predicted that Utah will rely less on pick-and-rolls on offense than they normally do with Gobert as their starting center, adding that if Markkanen fills his place as a more modern big man with a good outside shot, the Jazz could improve their spacing, thus giving Mitchell more room to operate on the drive.
“The perimeter defenders would have to be better, but even with the inevitable decline on that end, Utah might be able to score enough to make something like this work.”
As for the Bulls, who are ranked 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 22-43 record, Bailey emphasized Gobert’s potential impact on the defensive end, which may be more important than ever due to the presence of top scorer Zach LaVine. As noted late last year by NBC Sports Chicago, LaVine’s reputation as a below-average defender has been one of the most criticized aspects of his game, despite how he has always seen himself as someone who could play good on-ball defense.