Rudy Gobert Contract: Only 1 NBA Team Is Desperate Enough to Take the Controversial $131 Million Center
The Minnesota Timberwolves gave the Utah Jazz an enormous package of players and picks in the Rudy Gobert trade this offseason. The deal hasn’t worked out well for the T’wolves, and things went from bad to worse when the center punched his teammate in the last game of the regular season, and the team won without him. Now, Minnesota would surely love to get out from under the Rudy Gobert contract, but the deal looks so bad right now only one NBA team would trade for him: The Brooklyn Nets with Ben Simmons.
The Rudy Gobert contract
When the Timberwolves traded for the Rudy Gobert contract, they thought they were getting the six-time All-Defensive team, four-time All-NBA, three-time All-Star, and three-time Defensive Player of the Year from the Jazz.
What they got was a player who jammed up the offense, stifled Karl-Anthony Towns, and averaged less than blocks per game (1.4) for the first time since his 45-game rookie season.
And the price they paid for Gobert was astronomical.
Minnesota gave up first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029, a 2026 first-round pick swap, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Jarred Vanderbilt, and 2022 No. 22 overall draft pick Walker Kessler.
All this is bad. But what’s worst is that the Rudy Gobert contract is virtually untradeable.
In 2020, Gobert signed a five-year, $205,000,002 contract extension with the Jazz, making him the highest-paid center in NBA history at $41,000,000 per year.
After the 2022-23 season debacle, the 30-year-old Frenchman still has two years with a player option (that he will 100% pick up) left on the Rudy Gobert contract. That means he’ll make $41,000,000 in 2023-24, $43,827,587 in 2024-35, and $46,655,173 in 2025-26.
While this seems like a contract that no team in the NBA would take, there is one franchise desperate enough (and with a contract terrible enough) to make a Rudy Gobert trade this offseason.
A Rudy Gobert trade for Ben Simmons: Who says no?
The only nine-figure deal in the NBA right now than the Rudy Gobert contract is the Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons contract.
Simmons continued his downward spiral this season, averaging career lows on points (6.9), assists (6.1), rebounds (6.3), and steals (1.3). He also went 0-of-2 on 3-point attempts. Still, the Ben Simmons contract has two years and $78.1 million remaining on it.
And while the Nets shut Simmons down for the season after playing just 42 games due to “back and knee injuries,” it seems to most observers that he’s simply not interested in playing NBA basketball.
The whole Simmons situation is much worse (and a bigger waste of money) than the Gobert situation.
Maybe this offseason, some team would take the Rudy Gobert contract if the Timberwolves were able to attach a first-round pick to it. However, the T’wolves now have no first-round picks to trade until 2031.
The only team desperate enough and with a big enough headache of its own is the Nets. Brooklyn could send Simmons and a pick they got in the Kevin Durant, or Kyrie Irving deals to Minnesota for the French center in a Rudy Gobert trade.
For the Nets, they get a veteran center in this Rudy Gobert trade who makes more sense for their lineup than the Timberwolves’. On the flip side, the T’wolves get out of this big-money deal a year sooner, and maybe out of the East Coast spotlight, Simmons can turn things around.
So, if Minnesota calls Brooklyn and offers this deal, who says no?