Rudy Gobert has played on good teams before. He spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz. He’s played in the postseason six times. Gobert, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, will now try to be the missing piece for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he’s setting his sights no lower than a Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy for the T-Wolves.
It was a trade that took place last week but was officially announced by the Timberwolves on Wednesday. They traded Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, and the rights to first-round draft pick Walker Kessler (No. 22 overall) to Utah for Gobert. Oh, they also sweetened the deal by adding first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029, along with a 2026 first-round pick swap.
That’s a blockbuster trade, but the T-Wolves obviously believe that adding Gobert to a roster that already features Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns is worth it. They now have their own “big three” to compete in a stacked NBA Western Conference.
“He doesn’t inhibit anything we have presently,” Minnesota president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said of Gobert, according to ESPN. “He makes it better. He augments what we have presently. So, when we look at fit, it’s not just about talent. It’s about kind of developing the team … and he’s going to make it better.”
For his part, though, Gobert won’t be satisfied with making a 46-36 team just better. He’s got his eyes set on a bigger prize for the Timberwolves.
“The goal is to win a championship,” Gobert said. “I came here for that. I didn’t come here just to be a good team. I came here to try to take this team to the finals and accomplish that.”
Just how big of a jump can the Wolves take with Gobert now in the fold?
Time will tell, but one imagines that Steph Curry and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors will have something to say about it when all is said and done.