Rudy Gobert explains why he thinks the Jazz traded him away

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert arrives for Game 3 of the NBA basketball first round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks on April 21, 2022 in Salt Lake City. Gobert has been traded by the Jazz to the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Rick Bowmer, Associated Press)

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SALT LAKE CITY – Rudy Gobert stood in front of a backdrop covered in Timberwolves logos as he lifted a No. 27 Minnesota jersey. Yes, it takes longer than five days to get used to it.

Minnesota held its introductory press conference for Gobert on Tuesday, officially kicking off the former jazz hub’s new NBA life.

For the Timberwolves, the trade that sent four players and several draft picks back to the Jazz was an easy decision. The Wolves are a small-market team; opportunities to add an All-Star in the prime of their careers with several years left in their contract are rare. Sure, the price was high – and you could say they paid too much – but for them the risk was worth it.

So after Minnesota buyers praised Gobert and his game — calling him a game-changing player and a future Hall of Famer — the question was addressed to Gobert: Why would Utah, another small-market franchise, trade you out?

“That’s a good question. I mean, of course losing (former Jazz coach Quin Snyder),” Gobert began. “Quin was there for eight years; he was a big part of what we did. The odds of winning aren’t always great. And for us, in Utah, that’s about what happened. I think the organization felt that we might be past that window we had in the last few years i think clearly they will still be a very competitive team but they just felt that with all the trumps they could get with me it was better for them to go that way.”

However, Gobert said both sides could see it as a win in the end. The Timberwolves are now hoping to compete for a title, and Gobert will definitely help them do that. The Jazz, meanwhile, were given more options for their future.

“I think it could potentially be a win-win situation,” Gobert said. “They also put me in a great situation to win. And for that I’m really grateful for that. They’ve put me in a team where I can continue to thrive and hopefully win a championship. And then for them, I really hope that they will be able to get better and better and hopefully get to the stage that we were a few years ago Even though we didn’t get past the second round we were first in the West – that doesn’t mean it’s not happening often.”

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year realizes that all these big moves come with risks, but he’s grateful to be on a team that has the chance to compete at a high level.

“It’s never easy. It’s always speculative. You never know what’s right or wrong, and sometimes you have to make decisions, and that’s what they did. … I’m grateful they put me in a position to win,” he said. †

Gobert admitted he wanted to spend his entire career with the same team; he embraced Utah – regularly gave back to the community through his charitable foundation and also through his time. He built a house in the Salt Lake Valley and was immensely proud of what the Jazz had built as a team. But, he admitted on Tuesday, there is excitement in something new.

“I’m the type of guy who thought early on that it would be cool to spend my entire career in the same place,” he said. “But I also always wonder how cool it would be to go to a new place and in a new system and a new environment. So it’s like whatever happens, it’s positive.

“I spent nine amazing years in Utah, we built something that was very unique and that will never go away,” he continued. “Even though we didn’t win a championship, I think those years were great years in terms of winning. We won the most games in the last four years in the NBA — even though there’s no ring at the end, it’s still a pretty cool achievement. All those years and all that grind has made me a better player and a better person and now I’m in a situation where I can hopefully get this team to where we want to be and that’s very, very exciting .”

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Ryan Miller has been covering the Utah Jazz for KSL.com since 2018.

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