In the middle of the NBA suspension due to the spread of coronavirus, rumors are circulating around the Utah Jazz and the worsening relationship between Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. As of now, the Jazz are doing their best to fix the issue between Gobert and Mitchell, but if they fail, they could be forced to break their star duo in the 2020 NBA offseason. With Mitchell currently considered as the face of the franchise, most people see Gobert as the likely trade candidate in Utah this summer.
Once he becomes officially available on the trading block, several NBA teams in dire need of a frontcourt boost are expected to express a strong interest in acquiring Gobert, including the Boston Celtics. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the Celtics could take advantage of the ongoing situation in Utah to address their need of a defensive-minded big man.
“The Utah Jazz were the epicenter of the NBA shutdown last month, leading to tensions between stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert (although Gobert, the first NBA player diagnosed with COVID-19, recently downplayed the notion). If the Jazz believe their relationship is irreparably damaged, the Boston Celtics may be able to take advantage. Boston already has a talented core built around Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum with Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward as supporting pieces, but the Celtics lack size. Gobert would change the team’s complexion immediately.”
Since the 2019 NBA offseason, the Celtics have been aggressive on the trade market, searching for a big man who could fill the hole Al Horford left on the defensive end of the floor. The Celtics couldn’t ask for a better replacement for Horford than Gobert, who was the Defensive Player of the Year in both 2018 and 2019. The potential acquisition of Gobert would not only solve the major problem in the Celtics’ frontcourt, but he would also give them a very reliable scoring option and incredible rebounder.
This season, the 27-year-old center is posting incredible numbers, averaging 15.1 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks while shooting 69.8 percent from the field. Adding Gobert to the Celtics’ core of Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown would strengthen their chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship title in the 2020-21 season.
To acquire Gobert, Pincus suggested that the Celtics could send a trade package centered on Gordon Hayward to the Jazz. To further convince the Jazz to send Gobert to Boston, the Celtics could use one of their three first-round picks in the 2020 NBA Draft as a sweetener. The departure of Gobert would undeniably break the heart of lots of Jazz fans, but the potential deal would bring back a fan-favorite in Utah.
Hayward started his NBA career with the Jazz in 2010 and was considered the face of the franchise before he decided to leave the team in the summer of 2017. Though he would no longer be the main man in Utah, reuniting with Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder could help Hayward regain his All-Star form.