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#pounditTuesday, February 7, 2023

Is NBA trade market collapsing?

Rudy Gobert warming up

Feb 24, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) warms up before the game against the Phoenix Suns at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade market has slowed significantly in recent weeks, and one significant factor may be to blame for the relative lack of movement.

Despite the perceived availability of stars like Donovan Mitchell and Kevin Durant, no major trade appears to be close anywhere across the NBA. This is largely down to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ acquisition of Rudy Gobert, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. Minnesota’s decision to trade three unprotected first-round picks, as well as another with top five protections, to acquire Gobert from the Utah Jazz has changed the trade market. Prices for the likes of Mitchell and Durant are so inflated that teams are unwilling to match them.

Gobert is regarded as an elite defender, but is not a big offensive threat. Mitchell and Durant are franchise cornerstones and should theoretically command more than Gobert. The problem is that few teams can even afford to give up more than Minnesota did for Gobert, and would struggle to put together a competitive team around each star if they did make such a move.

The Utah-Minnesota trade has reportedly been a huge source of frustration for GMs around the league. It essentially broke the trade market, and there may be no way to reset it this offseason.


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