Which Players Would Celtics Fans Be Willing to Trade for Rudy Gobert?

It came to my attention yesterday that a writer from Bleacher Report suggested that the Boston Celtics should trade Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Daniel Theis, Romeo Langford, and a 2020 first-round pick for Utah’s Rudy Gobert.

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You can say what you want about Rudy Gobert and how great of a defender he is, but the fact of the matter is Gobert is qualified to sign a “supermax” contract when his current deal is up. That means whichever team has Gobert can pay him upwards of $247.3M over five years.

The Celtics would simply not be able to afford to pay Rudy Gobert any type of max money. Even if they trade away those four guys, not only are they trading away their depth and straight-up gutting their team, that doesn’t equal out to what Gobert would be in line to make for his next contract.

Gobert is qualified to make close to $50M a season. 50 MILLION DOLLARS!! I know the guy has made All-NBA teams and has won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards, but committing 1/4 of a billion dollars to one single player is ridiculous.

Also, that deal wouldn’t kick in until the 2022-2023 season, which means he wouldn’t start getting paid that money until he turns 29 and will get paid over 60 MILLION DOLLARS at the age of 33.

Year Age Contract Amount % of Salary Cap
2019-2020 27 $24,258,427 22.26%
2021-2022 28 $25,775,281 21.84%
2022-2023 29 $44,710,092 35.00%
2023-2024 30 $48,286,899 34.92%
2024-2025 31 $52,149,851 34.83%
2025-2026 32 $56,321,839 34.75%
2026-2027 33 $60,827,586 34.67%
SUPERMAX TOTAL $262,296,267
TOTAL SALARY (Credit for the graph) $312,329,975

Remember what happened after John Wall signed his supermax extension? He hasn’t played a game since December 26, 2018, and is being paid all that money to not play. No disrespect to Wall because he deserved that money, but an injury has caused the Wizards to be without their star point guard and are still committed to paying him. The same thing can happen to Gobert.

Is Rudy Gobert one of the best defensive players in the league at the moment? Yes. Does he deserve more than $25M a season, which he is currently making? Yes. But a lot can change in a few years. Gobert can block shots, rebound, and score efficiently around the rim, but the fact of the matter is he can’t shoot a basketball to save his life. Having to owe that much money to a center who can’t spread the floor, which is a vital part of Boston’s system, would be outrageous and flat-out stupid.

I don’t have anything against Gobert, but getting rid of two centers who do their job just fine, a prospect who can be a serious help to the second unit, and the heart and soul of the team doesn’t make any sense. You’re trading four valuable players (to the Celtics, at least) and a first-round pick for one player who you’d have to pay $60M to when he’s 33.

I’m curious who Celtics fans would trade in a potential Gobert deal. If he wasn’t going to be owed that much money, then this would be a different conversation, but getting your team locked into that contract would be a stupid decision on Danny Ainge’s part. I’m content with what this team has.

I’ll pass.


Photo: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

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