NBA free agency is off to a fast start this offseason. Big deals are coming in fast and furious, whether it be star players signing huge new contracts, or big-name players getting traded, or in the case of the Brooklyn Nets, requesting trades that are set to be fulfilled shortly.
Arguably the biggest move that has transpired so far involved the Utah Jazz sending Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for five first-round draft picks and three pieces of Minnesota’s rotation. Many expected Gobert could be on the move, but Minnesota’s package for Gobert was widely labeled as an overpay for Gobert and shocked the entire league.
Bill Simmons thinks the Timberwolves’ trade package for Gobert may be one of the worst in NBA history
The total haul that the T-wolves sent over to Utah included Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler (considered the fifth draft pick in this deal). Minnesota also sent over four more first-round draft picks, three of which are unprotected and the last of which is top-five protected.
That’s quite the package for any player, let alone Gobert. Many people were blown away by the ransom the Jazz landed for Gobert, including Bill Simmons. Simmons tweeted out in the aftermath that he is “gonna spend the next 48 hours…wondering if Minnesota just made the most inexplicable NBA overpay trade of all time.” And, well, he may have a point.
How badly did the Timberwolves overpay for Gobert?
The question many had wasn’t ‘did the Timberwolves overpay for Gobert’; the answer was obviously a resounding yes. The real question was just how badly did they overpay for him.
On the surface, it doesn’t look too good. Gobert just turned 30 years old and is under contract for four more years. By the end of the deal, he will be making over $46 million. Gobert is a good player, but he probably isn’t worth $46 million right now, and he almost certainly won’t be in four years either.
A big reason for that is we may have already begun to see Gobert’s decline. Gobert is the most imposing paint presence in the league on defense, and he’s pretty solid offensively too, but we began to see his impact wane last season. Maybe it was because of Utah’s on-court dysfunction, but Gobert was occasionally uninvolved on offense while getting picked on more frequently on defense.
Gobert is still one of the league’s best defensive players, but opposing offenses are becoming more and more comfortable pulling him out to the perimeter and driving past him. Gobert is still tough to finish on, given his ridiculous blocking capabilities, but speedy guards are becoming increasingly comfortable running by him on their way to the rim, and Gobert hasn’t been able to keep up.
Of course, it’s worth noting that this deal will help Minnesota greatly. They allowed opponents to hit 66.9 percent of their field goals at the rim last season, which was 25th in the league. That number will surely drop with Gobert on the floor.
The problem is the Timberwolves gave up an absurd amount of resources to land him. They lost vital three members of their rotation in Beasley, Beverley, and Vanderbilt, and they also sent over four first-round draft picks. It wouldn’t be as bad if there were some protections for them, but the fact that three are unprotected is astonishing.
The Timberwolves have a good core group that they are adding Gobert to, but his fit isn’t going to be super smooth since they already have Karl-Anthony Towns on the roster. They also sent their best avenues of adding more young talent in draft picks to Utah. This is undoubtedly a huge overpay by Minnesota, and Simmons isn’t wrong to believe that it may be one of the most egregious moves in the history of the league.