Breaking down the biggest trades from the 2022 NBA offseason
Jed Mabazza, Web Editor
Loyalty in the National Basketball Association (NBA) only goes so far. At the end of the day, the NBA will always be a business. Arguably every team in the league has a different vision of what winning means to them, and they will construct a team that aligns with that vision. Some teams may trade away assets to build lackluster rosters as a strategy to increase their chances of entering the lottery, with potential to get a higher draft pick. Some teams make minor trades that don’t always turn them into either play-in or playoff contenders. While others make blockbuster trades in hopes of securing their chances at a ticket to an NBA Championship, this offseason was no different. Let’s break down the two most notable trades that happened in the 2022 NBA offseason.
Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Timberwolves get: Rudy Gobert. Jazz get: Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverly, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, 2023 first round pick, 2025 first round pick, 2026 pick swap and a 2027 protected first round pick.
What this trade means for the Timberwolves
On paper, this trade looks to be a big gamble for Minnesota. Not only did they give away solid rotation players, but they also gave away a haul of future first round draft picks. It’s apparent that the Timberwolves have thrown out future financial flexibility with the contracts of their two big men Karl Anthony Towns and trade acquisition Rudy Gobert.
While pairing two big men is not unheard of, there is reason to question whether that was the right move in a time where versatility is now prioritized in roster construction. The good news is that spacing might be better as Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell can focus on their offensive output while Gobert can handle his own as the primary rim protector and pick and roll man.
What this trade means for the Jazz
Long story short, the Jazz appear to be heading towards a full rebuild. The stock pile of first round picks and rotation players gives the team far more flexibility to engage in future trades for another star, or they can opt to draft the league’s next superstar. It’s clear that the Jazz went from being a team that was over the salary cap, to a more financially flexible team which will surely help in their future roster construction.
Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers
What this trade means for the Cavaliers
This was one of the offseason’s more surprising trades. While the Gobert trade signaled the end of an era in Utah, as per a report from Shams Charania from The Athletic. Cleveland was not amongst the teams initially interested in the other half of Utah’s duo, Donovan Mitchell. In fact, it was widely believed that Mitchell would end up on the New York Knicks one way or another. Regardless, the Cavaliers no longer live in the shadow of Lebron James, and this trade all but increases their chances of making their first playoff berth in three years.
A starting five of Darius Garland, Mitchell, Caris LeVert, runner up for Rookie of the Year Evan Mobeley and Jarret Allen looks like a scary force in the eastern conference. This upcoming season will reveal just how far Cleveland can go.
What this trade means for the Jazz
The Jazz have fully committed to rebuilding. But unlike traditional rebuilding where the team sells all of its assets for mediocre talent and a few future draft picks, Utah Jazz’s CEO, Danny Ainge may have just pulled a fleece that could accelerate their rebuild. Attaining a young player in Colin Sexton, who is only 23 years old and has shown flashes of stardom when healthy, looks to be a viable replacement for Mitchell. Add in the 14th pick from the 2022 NBA Draft in Ochai Agbaji, who is considered one of the more effective scorers in his draft class per NBA.com, and Utah suddenly has another player to aid in spacing.
But we can’t forget the addition of Lauri Markannen who has popped off in this past summer’s Fiba Eurobasket 2022 contest, averaging nearly 28 points per game and eight rebounds per game. If Markkanen can bring that same output to the regular season, Utah will surely remain competitive. Utah may not have made perfect trades, but they were trades that needed to be made. They set themselves up for future flexibility financially, in trade negotiations and free agency.
The 2022-23 NBA regular kicks off on Oct.19, soon enough we will get to see these guys play in their new threads.