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Rudy Gobert trade rumors: Hawks surround defensive anchor, have assets to make consolidation deal work

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After an upset conference final in 2021, the Atlanta Hawks were among the most disappointing teams this season. They wound up slipping into the No. 8 seed before being quickly discarded by the Heat in five games. The offense around Trae Young is elite, though somewhat vulnerable in the postseason as a one-man show. The defense is a doormat. Chairman Travis Schlenk and newly promoted general manager Landry Fields have a lot of business money. Many suspect that they will use it.

A recent report by Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report indicates that there has been “a lot of talk among league personnel” regarding Atlanta as a possible trade destination for Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who could theoretically be acquired by ” some combination of” Clint Capela. , Kevin Huerter, John Collins and this year’s 16th pick.

Collins is always in the middle of these trade rumors. Personally, it’s hard for me to imagine Atlanta getting any better with the Collins trade, which is why he hasn’t been moved on a deal to date, but Fischer, consistent with much other talk, reported that Collins is “being mentioned” as a trade target of the Portland Trail Blazers, who could return this year’s No. 7 pick.

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Perhaps Atlanta would package the No. 7 and No. 16 picks in another deal.

One way or another, Atlanta is poised to consolidate its many good-but-not-great assets into a single, bigger-impact player. Gobert makes sense as a backup for a defense that consistently makes up for Young’s shortcomings, but is Gobert going to like that? He spent last season having to cover a porous perimeter defense in Utah. Plus, Young’s non-existent ball pressure and lackluster screen navigation, coupled with Gobert’s drop-cover inclinations, would have point guards licking their chops in playoff scenarios.

Still, the defense has room to improve, and Gobert certainly would. Defense being an offseason priority is also why the Hawks are expected to re-sign De’Andre Hunter to a long-term extension, according to Fischer, who also notes Atlanta’s intention to free up more playing time for third-year big man Onyeka Okongwu. that he has great defensive potential and makes Capela expendable. But if Atlanta wants Okongwu to play more, bringing in Gobert would seem to contradict that schedule.

Aside from Young, and it looks like Hunter and Okongwu, the Hawks are making everyone else available. After firing coach Lloyd Pierce and reaching the aforementioned conference finals, Atlanta’s timeline for true contention, whether intentionally or not, has shifted. They have a great but flawed franchise centerpiece in Young, and they need to properly support him, mostly on defense, but also with another top scorer/creator to lighten his load in the playoffs.

Internal development of Hunter and Huerter as No. 2 perimeter options seems to have a ceiling, though I really like those two players. Hunter has shown the ability to create his own offense, but it’s probably out of his league at No. 2.

The same goes for Huerter, who can also create his own offense and is an underrated playmaker, but is better positioned as a shooter along with more primary options as well as Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari. These are role players with the ability to contribute primarily on any given night. Collins is really good, but not like his own creator of it. He thrives on the gaps and vertical space that comes with playing within Young’s orbit. Atlanta needs a consistent No. 2 with more independent equipment.

Whichever direction the Hawks take, it’s hard to see them on their feet this summer. It is almost certain that a trade will be made. Gobert would be a home run swinger, but in truth, Atlanta has the goods to get into just about any trade discussion it wants.

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