By: Justin Girshon
April 11, 2020
On this day one month ago, Utah Jazz All Star basketball player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Two days before he officially tested positive, Gobert touched every microphone after a press conference to make a point that the virus wasn’t a big deal. This backfired.
When it was discovered that an undefined player on the Jazz tested positive (Rudy Gobert) for COVID-19, the Jazz were set to tip off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma. Seconds before the game was about to start, officials met with coaches Quinn Snyder and Billy Donovan. After the discussion was over; all players, coaches, and officials had gone back to the locker rooms. All players, coaches, and officials had to self-quarantine in the arena for hours and all fans were forced to leave the arena after the game had been announced postponed.
One day after the postponed game, Utah Jazz All Star Donovan Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19. Mitchell had been on the court ready to play the day before he tested positive for COVID-19. A source told The Athletic that the relationship between Gobert and Mitchell “doesn’t seem salvageable.” If the players are not able to repair their relationship, one might force their way out of Utah.
Donovan Mitchell Mock Trades
Denver Acquires A New Star
Denver Nuggets acquire: Donovan Mitchell
Utah Jazz acquire: Michael Porter Jr, Bol Bol, Houston 2020 first round pick, Denver 2022 unprotected first round pick
Denver has been a very good team in the Western Conference for the last few years, but this makes them legitimate finals contenders. Although Michael Porter Jr has been a decent player who has a ton of upside, getting an already proven all star to add alongside Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray makes this a young, dangerous team ready to compete for many years together. Mitchell is a perfect fit on the Nuggets because he is still on his rookie contract. The Nuggets will have “a big three” with cap room to work with.
Although losing franchise player Donovan Mitchell hurts, Utah is receiving a haul. Injuries have held both Michael Porter Jr and Bol Bol back but they are both very talented with potential through the roof. Both were supposed to be top 5 if not top 10 picks but due to injury concerns, Porter landed just outside the lottery and Bol fell all the way to the second round. If Utah is able to receive healthy versions of both of these players, the organization is in for a bright future. In addition to Porter and Bol, Utah would receive two first round picks which make the trade intriguing.
Mitchell to the Big Apple
New York Knicks acquire: Donovan Mitchell, Tony Bradley
Utah Jazz acquire: RJ Barrett, Ignas Brazdeikis, 2020 Los Angeles Clippers first round pick, 2021 New York Knicks top 3 protected first round pick
After missing out on stars for years, the Knicks are finally able to land one. Mitchell is a New York native and grew up a Knicks fan so it seems like a no brainer for the Knicks to at least entertain the idea of acquiring him. Giving up on RJ Barrett after one year is not a necessarily smart move for the Knicks organization but without including him in a trade, the Knicks definitely wouldn’t have enough to offer. While RJ has all star potential himself, the Knicks would be acquiring an already proven young all star.
From Utah’s point of view, this is a pretty good haul. While Barrett has been inconsistent, he has shown tremendous upside and it would definitely help his development to no longer be playing with ball stoppers on the Knicks (mostly Julius Randle). Brazdeikis and the Clipper’s first round picks are also solid building pieces but the Knicks 2021 first round pick is what will make a deal happen. Assuming the Knicks aren’t finals contenders after this trade, the pick could be anywhere from the 5-16 range which is a solid pick. The 2021 draft class is deep and solid all around. The Jazz would be acquiring four young building blocks that will allow them to still win and the players to develop.
Rudy Gobert Mock Trades
Gobert Traded to Indianapolis
Indiana Pacers acquire: Rudy Gobert
Utah Jazz acquire: Myles Turner, Aaron Holiday, Brian Bowen II, Indiana 2020 second round pick, Indiana 2021 first round pick
Ever since the emergence of Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner has had a complicated role in the Pacers offense. Turner is an intriguing trade chip for the Jazz to acquire because he is physically similar to Rudy Gobert. Gobert would be a great addition to the Pacers because of the defensive presence he brings. With an already lockdown backcourt of Malcolm Brogdon and Victor Oladipo, the Pacers would be able to add an anchor in the middle with Gobert. Gobert will also help the offence run freely because he doesn’t need to score to be effective. Gobert would be able to add extra opportunities for Oladipo, Sabonis, and T.J. Warren by blocking shots and grabbing offensive rebounds.
This trade is intriguing for the Jazz because of how physically similar Myles Turner is to Rudy Gobert. In a sense,(!) Myles Turner is only a slight downgrade from Gobert while the other pieces to the trade help to even the trade out. Aaron Holiday has really developed into a solid backup point guard this year and is only 23 years old. In addition to Turner and Holiday, the Jazz will still acquire young assets (or money depending on what they do) in the picks and Bowen II.
Gobert Teams Up With Doncic and Porzingis To Create an “International Big 3”
Dallas Mavericks acquire: Rudy Gobert, Ed Davis, Miye Oni
Utah Jazz acquire: Tim Hardaway Jr, Dwight Powell, Justin Jackson, Dallas 2025 unprotected first round pick
The Mavericks would only be able to pull off a trade for Gobert if the Jazz are being low-balled by other teams. The Mavericks are sending their 2021 and 2023 unprotected first round picks to the Knicks which means they can’t trade their 2020, 2022, or 2024 first round pick because you can’t trade first round picks in consecutive years. Adding Gobert to the Mavericks would be an insane pick up for the Mavericks. This would allow for Kristaps Porzingis to be an insanely good help defender and allow him to play his natural position as a stretch four. While it’s unlikely the Mavericks will land Gobert, it would be a cool landing spot.
As I mentioned, the Jazz will only accept a trade offer like this if they are being low-balled by other teams. While this trade offer isn’t horrible, it’s certainly not what the Jazz are looking for in terms of talent. The Jazz wouldn’t be getting nearly enough here but this is a potential scenario if Gobert’s trade value is similar to what the Pistons received for Andre Drummond.
I am a freshman studying magazine, news and digital journalism at the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications