Contrary to popular belief, the Utah Jazz did much better when they sent Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers than when they sent Rudy Gobert to the Timberwolves. Yes, the package of picks the Wolves sent over was astronomical, and the Jazz got a decent cast of role players for Rudy, but the Cavs overpaid out the wazoo for the three-time All-Star.
Utah Jazz: The trade with Cleveland is one of the best ever
Not only did the Jazz get three picks and two swaps, but they also got more than half of a starting lineup. Lauri Markannen, Ochai Agbaji, and Collin Sexton will all be starters for the Jazz next year, and for several years. All of those players are 25 and below, and they are among the best new additions to the Jazz roster.
Agbaji was the 14th overall pick and is the best rookie on the Jazz roster. He is a day one starter, as are Markannen and Sexton, who is a fringe All-Star. With their haul of picks, the Jazz should be able to find the next franchise icon in the coming seasons, maybe as soon as next season.
With an unnamed rookie talent and three quality starters, none of the pieces from the Rudy Gobert deal could crack the starting five at any point during their Utah tenure. Sure, picks are good and all, but with the Cleveland deal, the Jazz know exactly what they got: three solid players who will be valuable parts of the rebuild.
This is not to say that the Minnesota deal was bad, but come on. Yes, the Jazz got four picks, but are any of the players they added any good? Vanderbilt was a fringe starter last year who couldn’t average double-digit points, Walker Kessler would be really, really good…if this was 1980, and Malik Beasley, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Stanley Johnson were all conciliatory pieces. Don’t even get me started on Leandro Bolmaro, who might not even see the court.
Four picks are better than three, sure, but the player packages are not even comparable. Not only is Agbaji one of the most well-rounded rookies in the draft class, but Markannen is a solid starter and Sexton is a clone of Donovan Mitchell. They traded away Donovan Mitchell and got Donovan Mitchell right back. Does it get any better?