After suffering a first-round exit in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, rumors have started to swirl around Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and their future with the Utah Jazz. With their inability to fully dominate the Western Conference and win the NBA championship title, there are growing speculations that the Jazz may consider breaking up the superstar duo of Mitchell and Gobert. With Mitchell considered the face of the franchise, most people believe that Gobert will be the one to go should the Jazz decide to split up their tandem.
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Potential Suitor For Rudy Gobert - Charlotte Hornets
Though the Jazz are yet to make him officially available on the trading block, Gobert has already been linked to some potential suitors in the upcoming offseason. According to John Hollinger of The Athletic, one of the teams that could express a strong interest in acquiring Gobert from the Jazz is the Charlotte Hornets.
“If there is one team that might be tempted to put together a James Harden-type package for Gobert, this is the one," Hollinger wrote, referring to the Hornets. "Charlotte badly needs a rim protector and has enough cap flexibility to absorb Gobert’s $170 million salary for the next four years."
Proposed Jazz-Hornets Trade
In a recent article, Brett Siegel of Sports Illustrated created a list of potential trades that could happen after the 2022 NBA Draft. These include the hypothetical blockbuster deal that would send Gobert to the Hornets this summer. In the proposed trade scenario, the Hornets would be offering a trade package that includes PJ Washington, Gordon Hayward, Mason Plumlee, and the No. 13 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft to the Jazz in exchange for Gobert and Rudy Gay.
If the trade becomes a reality, Siegel believes it would help the Jazz and the Hornets in filling up the needs to improve on their roster.
Hornets Solidify Starting Lineup
Trading all those assets for Gobert would be a no-brainer for the Hornets as it would allow them to address their need for a starting-caliber center. Gobert may not be a floor spacer, but he's still a solid two-way contributor. He would give the Hornets a very reliable scorer under the basket, a monster rebounder, and a quality rim protector.
This season, the 29-year-old French big man averaged 15.6 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks while shooting 71.3 percent from the field. Gobert won't make the Hornets an instant title contender, but adding him to the core of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Miles Bridges would undoubtedly give them a better chance of ending their playoff drought next year.
Jazz Improve Depth Around Donovan Mitchell
The proposed blockbuster deal with the Hornets would also be worth exploring for the Jazz. Though they won't be receiving another superstar in return, the suggested trade would help them improve their depth. By sending Gobert to Charlotte, the Jazz would be bringing back the former face of the franchise, Hayward, to Utah, while adding a veteran center in Plumlee and a floor-spacing big man in Washington.
As a sweetener, the Jazz would also be receiving a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. They could use it to add another talented prospect to their roster or move it in a separate trade to further solidify their core around Mitchell.