Basketball: Rudy Gobert goes to Minnesota to win the moon

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French pivot Rudy Gobert, considered at 30 as one of the best defenders in the NBA, moves from the Utah Jazz to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he hopes to win his first league title.

Gobert finished top rebounder last regular season.

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At 30, Rudy Gobert will discover only his third team: after Cholet (2010/13) and Utah (2013/22), the ambitious French pivot will now defend the colors of Minnesota Timberwolves in the fight to win the title of NBA champion who makes him dream.

Revealed Friday by the star journalist ofESPN Adrian Wojnarowski, always very well informed, the departure of Gobert from Utah, his team since his debut in the NBA in 2013, was confirmed on Saturday on social networks by the main interested party.

“Utah!!!! I was just a kid from France when I came here nine years ago, but I felt welcomed and supported from day one,” a piece of writing that is considered one of the NBA’s best defenders.

“I grew as a man and as a player in front of your eyes and I thank you for every moment that I lived. Utah and its people will always hold a special place in my heart, thank you, the journey continues,” added Gobert. If the native of Saint-Quentin does not mention his next destination, it is known: it is the Minnesota Timberwolves who paid the price to recruit the triple best NBA defender.

$205 million over 5 years

To receive Gobert, Minnesota has put in the balance no less than five players, including the experienced Patrick Beverley and especially four first-round draft picks in the years to come (2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029). Gobert (2.16 m), best regular season rebounder (14.7 per game)

With Towns signing a new four-year contract worth 224 million euros on Friday with Minnesota, guard Anthony Edwards, first choice of the 2020 draft and Gobert therefore, the Timberwolves can do some damage in the conference. West as of the next season which will begin on October 18.

In Minnesota, Rudy Gobert is the former shock duo with Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns (left).

In Minnesota, Rudy Gobert is the former shock duo with Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns (left).

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Without Gobert, the franchise created in 1989 and never yet rewarded with the NBA title, was eliminated in the first round of the 2022 play-offs by Memphis. Exactly the same result as Utah, eliminated by Dallas.

Since Gobert’s arrival, the Salt Lake City franchise had certainly become a stronghold of the Western Conference, but it is still chasing the NBA title and regularly comes up against its glass ceiling, the conference semi-finals as in 2017, 2018 and 2021.

After this new failure in the spring, the leaders realized that their team was at the end of the cycle and dismissed Quin Snyder, their coach since 2014, with whom Gobert was close, before therefore separating from “Gobzilla”.

Stormy relationships

A decision that seemed inevitable as long as relations on and off the field with the other star of the team Donovan Mitchell had become stormy since an event which occurred in March 2020.

Gobert then became the first NBA player to have tested positive for Covid-19, just after touching the microphones of a press room. His positive test had recalled the suspension of the NBA season and cast a chill over his relationship with Donovan Mitchell, who was quickly infected.

Minnesota popular with bookmakers

As he enters the second year of his mega-contract signed in December 2020 ($205 million over 5 years) which guarantees him an annual salary of more than $38 million in his new jersey, Gobert is still chasing his first title. NBA champion and will try to forget the disappointments of Utah in the polar cold of Minnesota.

His arrival has already caused Las Vegas bookmakers to react: his new team’s odds for the 2023 title have fallen from 80 to 1 to 50 to 1, while that of Utah has fallen from 50 to 1 to 100 to 1. ..

(AFP)

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