How blockbuster Rudy Gobert trade impacts Bulls

Rudy Gobert, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Rudy Gobert, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Although the Chicago Bulls had been pegged as the favorites to land star center Rudy Gobert via trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves surprised many by pulling the trigger on a deal to land the French big man. He joins Karl-Anthony Towns in what should quickly become the most dynamic frontcourt pairing in the NBA if all goes according to plan.

Barring the unlikely event the Bulls manage to pull a trade for superstar Kevin Durant, this all but ensures that Chicago will be essentially running the same core out on the court next season. Considering the team held the top spot in the East at the start of 2022, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news of this trade in the middle of another hectic day of free agency.

Although Rudy Gobert did not actually get traded to the Chicago Bulls in the end, this move will still have league-wide ramifications.

It seems the primary issue holding up a Gobert to Chicago trade was the inclusion of Patrick Williams. As seen by the five first-round picks Utah received in return for Gobert, Danny Ainge appears intent on securing young talent for the Jazz. It’s unlikely Ainge would have ever agreed to any deal that didn’t include Williams or Lonzo Ball.

Judging by your responses on Twitter, however, it seems the fanbase shared Arturas Karnisovas’ opinions on whether or not Williams should be on the table. In our poll of over 200 people, 64% of Bulls fans were against trading for Gobert at the price point the Jazz were asking.

Considering the enormous package the Jazz did end up receiving from Minnesota, I hope most fans would agree that staying out of it was ultimately the best decision here.

Now that the Bulls have decided to stick to their guns, the pressure is now on Williams to live up to our lofty expectations. He’s not alone in this endeavor though, because Nikola Vucevic is also due a bounce-back season. Hopefully, he can prove he’s still got the skill of a multi-time All-Star and that Chicago never needed to go searching for an upgrade in the first place.

Vucevic even poked a little light-hearted fun at the news, knowing full well Bulls fans had been placing him in proposed mock trades for Gobert. Even I’m not innocent in this regard, as my proposed trade package included the big man as well. It’s nice to see Vooch take all this in stride with some humor.

Even though Gobert won’t be coming to Chicago, at least we can take solace in the fact he will remain out West. Before this trade went down, there were a handful of Eastern Conference rivals rumored to be interested in Gobert for the right price, including Atlanta, Brooklyn, and Toronto. Considering the competition has only gotten this summer, keeping Gobert out of the conference was a small but important victory for the Chicago Bulls.

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