Following reports about Rudy Gobert’s worsening relationship with the face of the Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell, rumors began circulating around the All-Star center’s future with the team. The Jazz are currently doing their best to fix the issue between two of their franchise cornerstones, but if they fail, they could be forced to part ways with Gobert in the 2020 NBA offseason. Once he officially becomes available on the trade market, several teams that are in dire need of additional star power to contend for a championship title are expected to express a strong interest in acquiring Gobert, including the Washington Wizards.
According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Wizards could offer a trade package that includes Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant to the Jazz in exchange for Gobert. With his promising performance in his rookie year, trading Hachimura would undeniably be a tough decision for the Wizards. However, it’s the type of move that the Wizards should be willing to make if they’re determined to keep the explosive backcourt duo of Bradley Beal and John Wall.
As Swartz noted, there’s no team that needs Gobert more than the Wizards. The Wizards may have shown an impressive performance on the offensive end of the floor this season, but they were noticeably struggling on the opposite end. Before the NBA suspension due to the spread of coronavirus, the Wizards ranked last in defensive rating (115.0), 29th in defensive rebounding percentage (70.8 percent) and 24th in blocks per game.
Swartz believes adding a two-time Defensive Player of the Year like Gobert to the core of Wall, Beal, and Davis Bertans would not only help the Wizards address their defensive issues, but it would also turn them into a legitimate playoff contender in the Eastern Conference next season.
“No team in the NBA needs Rudy Gobert more than Washington, especially with Wall’s mobility likely limited when he returns. If the Wizards backcourt can’t stop penetration, Gobert could at least keep opponents out of the paint. Gobert has the NBA’s highest defensive real plus-minus rating (3.23), per ESPN, is fourth in rebounding (13.7 per game) and is sixth in blocked shots (2.0 per game). If the Wizards can re-sign sharpshooter Davis Bertans to be their starting power forward, the core of Wall, Beal, Bertans and Gobert would definitely be a playoff team in the East.”
Gobert would undeniably be an incredible addition to the Wizards, giving them an All-Star-caliber big man who could form Washington’s “Big Three” with Wall and Beal. Aside from being an incredible rebounder and shot-blocker, Gobert would also give the Wizards a very reliable option on the offensive end of the floor. This season, the 27-year-old French big man is averaging 15.1 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks while shooting 69.8 percent from the field.
Meanwhile, if the proposed trade deal becomes a reality, it would not only be beneficial for the Wizards but also for the Jazz. In exchange for Gobert, the Jazz would be receiving two talented big men who fit the timeline of Mitchell. Bryant could serve as an immediate replacement for Gobert as the Jazz starting center, while Utah could temporarily use Hachimura as their primary backup power forward until he proves that he’s ready for the starting role.