It appears the Rudy Gobert-Donovan Mitchell experiment in Utah could be over. At the very least, it’s in flux. Gobert has scrubbed the Jazz from his social media, and his name is on the tip of everyone’s tongues in trade rumors.
Mitchell and Gobert never seemed to quite fit, and in the playoffs, things came to a head when it seemed Mitchell wasn’t even looking for Gobert on the offensive side of the floor. While offense has never been why Gobert signed a five-year, $205 million contract prior to the 2021 season, his usage rate was in the realm of Blake Griffin and Davis Bertans last season. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s…not good.
Mitchell is and always has been a ball-dominant player, and questions have persisted about whether he and Gobert can coexist. Right now, all signs point to no, and the Jazz appear to know it. Per The Athletic, the Jazz are engaged in discussions to trade Gobert.
With Quin Snyder out as head coach, it’s easy to imagine whoever is coming in will want a clean slate.
Here’s a look at the latest buzz around Gobert.
NOH: It’s time to break up Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell
Rudy Gobert trade rumours: Tracking the latest news, rumors, predictions
Hawks interest “wildly overblown”
Date: June 23
Rumor: According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, rumors of the Hawks being interested in Gobert have been “wildly overblown.” Amick adds that the franchise is still high on Clint Capela, who has averaged 13.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game over two seasons with Atlanta.
Reported by: Sam Amick, The Athletic
Raptors “team to watch” for Gobert
Date: June 21
Rumor: According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Raptors remain “a team to watch” if the Jazz decide to trade Gobert this offseason. Earlier in the month, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that he’s heard “rumblings” that the Raptors have expressed interest in the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
Reported by: Marc Stein, Substack
Hawks “most natural” trade partner for Gobert
Date: June 14
Rumor: Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that there has been talk among league personnel that “some combination” of Clint Capela, John Collins, Kevin Huerter and the No. 16 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft could be “routed to Utah” for Gobert.
Reported by: Jake Fischer, Bleacher Report
Rudy Gobert Jazz timeline
2013: The Nuggets draft Rudy Gobert, the Jazz trade for him
Gobert was picked by the Jazz in 2013 after playing for Cholet in France. He immediately broke records at the combine for his wingspan and standing reach. Gobert was picked 27th overall by the Nuggets before being traded to the Jazz on draft night. Gobert was strictly rotational as a rookie, playing spot minutes is just over half the games of the season.
2016-17: Rudy Gobert becomes All-NBA
After looking for this footing in his first few seasons, Gobert put together an All-NBA campaign in the 2016-17 season after signing his first extension. He led the NBA in blocks and averaged a double-double on the season, becoming one of the NBA’s premier centers in the process.
The Jazz would go on to lose in the Western Conference Semifinals to the prime Warriors.
2017-18: The Jazz trade for Donovan Mitchell, Gobert wins first DPOY
Utah, knowing it needed a scorer, traded with the Nuggets for Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell on draft night. Mitchell made the All-Rookie team but ultimately lost (controversially) Rookie of the Year to Ben Simmons. Mitchell averaged over 20 points per game.
For his part, Gobert won Defensive Player of the Year despite yet again missing the All-Star Game. He spent part of the season injured, but his dominance in the paint was impossible to overlook. The Jazz once again lost in the Conference Semifinals, this time to the Rockets 4-1.
2018-19: Gobert wins DPOY again, Jazz continues to struggle in playoffs
For the second straight season, Gobert won Defensive Player of the Year with the Jazz in 2019. Utah, however, was bounced in the first round 4-1 against the Rockets. In 2019 after a win against the Pistons, Gobert raised some eyebrows in the Jazz organization when he jokingly said to Mitchell to “pass the ball, godd—–.” While lighthearted in its nature, the comment would loom large in the future.
2019-20: Gobert shuts down the NBA, Jazz loses in the bubble
In one of the most infamous moments in NBA history, Gobert sat on the podium after a March game and downplayed the COVID-19 pandemic, touching every microphone before leaving. As it turned out, Gobert was positive for the virus. The NBA was shut down shortly thereafter, but not before Mitchell also tested positive.
It was reported Mitchell and Gobert didn’t speak for weeks after the infection. ESPN’s Tim McMahon wrote in August 2020 that Mitchell blamed Gobert for his contraction of the virus, further deepening the rift between the two. They seemed to bury the hatchet, but it didn’t translate to success on the floor, and the Jazz lost in the first round of the NBA’s bubble 4-3 to the darling Nuggets.
MORE: NBA Draft grades 2022: Ranking all 30 teams on draft night
2020-21: Gobert earns massive extension, wins third DPOY
Prior to the 2020-21 season, Gobert inked his current five-year, $205 million extension — the largest ever for a center. In February 2021, Gobert continued to downplay the friction between himself and Mitchell, telling The Athletic: “We had a very honest conversation, and that’s all I needed.”
He won his third Defensive Player of the Year award, tying himself with Dwight Howard for second all-time. The Jazz, however, once again flamed out in the playoffs, losing in the second round to the Clippers 4-2.
2021-22: Jazz lose in playoffs again, split seems imminent
Regardless of Gobert and Mitchell’s standing with each other, the personnel problem in Utah also seems insurmountable. Mitchell and Gobert never seemed to freeze on offense in the Jazz’s first-round loss to the Mavericks, and a rumor sprung up (that Gobert later denied) that Gobert gave the Jazz a “him or me” ultimatum with regards to Mitchell.
With Snyder leaving after the season, it may be time for the Jazz to seek a fresh start. Trade rumors have cropped up, but much of the interest has appeared to be cursory.
The Jazz have a good opportunity to press the reset button, and Gobert could be a great fit for the right team. In Utah, however, the situation with Mitchell as it is seems untenable.