The Cost of Doing Business
The price to acquire Gobert or Mitchell is unlikely to be similar. Gobert as the older, more expensive, and an offensively limited player should be far cheaper to acquire than Mitchell. The pair are both signed through 2024-25 with player options for the 2025-26 season, but Mitchell will make close to $9 million less each season and is 25-years-old, while Gobert is 29.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but teams prefer cheaper players entering their primes over more expensive players exiting theirs. Another factor to consider is the Jazz’s immediate plans in the event of a trade.
What it Would Take to Trade For Rudy Gobert
If the Jazz move Gobert, they have more margin to take a short-term step back to retool, while if they keep Gobert, they’re under far more pressure to build a competitive team over the next few seasons.
The Jazz may be receptive to a deal for Gobert centered around John Wall and picks. The trade would get Gobert’s contract off their books, and allow them to move on from Mike Conley after the 2022-23 season and enter the offseason with a tremendous amount of cap space and picks to quickly build a contender around Donovan Mitchell in his age 27 season.
How many first-round picks would a trade like this require is another question. If the Rockets end up with the fifth pick in the 2022 draft, that pick and two of the Brooklyn Nets’ picks would likely be an appealing trade package for the Jazz. While that would be an awful lot to give up for the Rockets, they are getting the best defensive player in the league for a player on perhaps the worst contract in all of North American professional sports.
Landing Gobert would probably cost two high-value first-round picks and the necessary salary filler. Alperen Sengun could effectively act as one of those picks, but the Rockets would still need to send well over $30 million in salary back to the Jazz. If John Wall is a part of the deal, then the Rockets would have to send even more.
What it Would Take to Trade For Donovan Mitchell
If the Jazz decide to move Donovan Mitchell, they’ll likely opt to move on from Rudy Gobert as well. The reason being is that any return for Mitchell is unlikely to net a player capable of keeping them in contention, and Gobert is a win-now player. Trying to re-tool around Gobert doesn’t make much sense if he isn’t the same player when the roster is finally ready to compete.
However, if the Rockets do make a move for Mitchell, it will be far more costly than a deal for Gobert. They’ll likely have to part with one of Jalen Green or Alperen Sengun, their first-round pick this season, most of the Brooklyn picks, and all the necessary salary fillers.
Trading Jalen Green for Mitchell also wouldn’t make much sense. Green has the potential to be what Mitchell is today, and the upside to surpass him. Also, without the ability to move on from John Wall, the 2022-23 Rockets would still have a hard time competing.
If Gobert would cost roughly two high valued picks plus salary, Mitchell will likely come at double the price. He’s not at the level James Harden was when the Rockets traded him, but due to his age and cost his value should be close.
Acquiring a play as young, talented, and cost-controlled as Mitchell is a rarity. The only recent example is Ben Simmons, and he wasn’t the headliner in the trade and had significant off-the-court baggage. Good players aren’t cheap, and Mitchell will be no exception.