NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Lakers and More

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 20, 2022

NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Lakers and More

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    If the NBA landscape dramatically shifts over the 2022 offseason, those changes are most likely to come on the trade market.

    While free agency could produce a few stunners, there aren't many clubs with money to spend or impact players available. If enough teams want to reshape their rosters, that could turn this trade season into a frenzy.

    With that in mind, it's little surprise to see the trade rumor mill is already spinning. We're here to sort through the activity to identify and analyze the latest buzz.

Jazz Likelier to Trade Rudy Gobert Than Donovan Mitchell but Could Keep Both

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    Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images

    The Utah Jazz are rarely the talk of the basketball world, but they may hold that distinction heading into the offseason.

    With a single playoff series win to show for the last four seasons, the Jazz could be on the cusp of a roster overhaul. Everything from trading both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to perhaps splitting from coach Quin Snyder has been at least speculated about, but it's possible (if not probable) their summer won't be nearly that dramatic.

    "League sources have indicated that if the Jazz were going to part with one of their dual franchise players that it would probably be Gobert, but the Jazz could be looking to retain both players," Sarah Todd of Deseret News reported.

    None of this is surprising.

    Gobert is older and more expensive than Mitchell, plus Gobert's offensive limitations seem less likely to go away than Mitchell's defensive shortcomings. Unless Mitchell forced his way out, he was always more likely to have the support of this front office.

    And as far as keeping both goes, this core has essentially guaranteed a .600-plus winning percentage. Abandoning that always long loomed as a last resort, and the organization might still hold the belief that changes to the supporting cast could be all this group needs to get over the hump.

Potential Trade Targets for the Lakers

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    Noah Graham/Getty Images

    LeBron James just completed his fourth season with the Los Angeles Lakers. While they have won a title during his tenure, the other three campaigns featured a first-round exit and twice being left out of the playoffs.

    This roster seems ripe for a shake-up, but orchestrating one is hard with so much money tied up in the trio of James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. Save for a future first-round pick, the Lakers have little to offer in a trade. A package built around Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn probably remains the best pick-free offer they can make, even after THT's season was a disappointment and Nunn's was erased by a knee injury.

    So, what might those two bring back in a deal? An executive floated the following trio to Heavy.com's Sean Deveney: sharpshooter Duncan Robinson and Malik Beasley of the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves, respectively, and Houston Rockets scoring big Christian Wood.

    Robinson has fallen out of Miami's playoff rotation, Beasley's numbers just backtracked in a big way and Wood might be an awkward fit for Houston's rebuild as a 26-year-old approaching the final season of his contract. In other words, each is sort of the basketball equivalent of a discounted, dented can of food at the grocery store. Given L.A.'s budget constraints, though, that might be all this front office can afford.

Bulls Interested in Sixers Stopper

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    David Dow/Getty Images

    The Chicago Bulls opened the 2021-22 season by winning 26 of their first 36 games. They subsequently went 20-26 the rest of the way and suffered a five-game series loss in the first round.

    What happened? Well, the defense fell apart. It ranked 13th overall in those first 36 outings, per NBA.com, and plunged to 27th after. Injuries to Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso didn't help, but their absences also highlighted a need for more defensive talent on the roster.

    Speaking of which, Deveney reported the Bulls would be a "strong suitor" if the Philadelphia 76ers made defensive stopper Matisse Thybulle available this offseason.

    Thybulle's role evaporated in the playoffs, as his severe offensive limitations effectively rendered him unplayable. He played 137 minutes across nine games, and Philly lost his floor time by 49 points. Still, the Bulls must believe they are either better equipped to mask his shortcomings or can coax more offensive production out of him.

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