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Paris (AFP) – As a 30-year-old, Rudy Gobert will only discover his third team: after Cholet (2010/13) and Utah (2013/22), the ambitious French pivot will now defend the Minnesota Timberwolves’ colors with the goal of winning the title as NBA champion, which makes him dream.
Revealed Friday by ESPN star journalist Adrian Wojnarowski, always very well-informed, Gobert’s departure from Utah, his team since his NBA debut in 2013, was confirmed on social media on Saturday by the principal in question.
“Utah !!!! I was only a kid from France when I arrived here nine years ago, but I felt welcome and supported from day one,” wrote the man who is considered one of the best defenders in the NBA .
“I grew up as a man and as a player in front of your eyes, and I thank you for every moment I have had. Utah and its people will always have a special place in my heart, thank you, the journey continues,” added Gobert, one of The highest paid French athletes on the planet.
If the native Saint-Quentin does not mention his next destination, it is known: it is the Minnesota Timberwolves who paid the price for recruiting the triple best NBA defender.
To host Gobert, Minnesota has put on the balance no less than five players, including the experienced Patrick Beverley and especially four first-round draft picks in the coming years (2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029) – the draft allows for recruiting best young players from the US university system or from abroad -.
$ 205 million over 5 years
Gobert (2.16m), the best rebounder of the regular season (14.7 per game) should form a formidable pair for the Timberwolves in the racket along with another very high level interior, Karl-Anthony Towns.
With Towns signing a new four-year, $ 224 million contract with Minnesota on Friday, guard Anthony Edwards, first-round pick in the 2020 draft and Gobert therefore, the Timberwolves could do some damage in the conference. West from next season, which begins October 18th.
Without Gobert, the franchise was created in 1989 and has never yet been awarded the NBA title, eliminated in the first round of the 2022 playoffs 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 still chases the NBA title and regularly meets its glass ceiling, the conference semifinals 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 fired Quin Snyder, their coach since 2014, whom Gobert was close to, before therefore parting ways with “Gobzilla”.
A decision that seemed inevitable as relationships on and off the pitch with the other star on the team Donovan Mitchell had been storming since an event that took place in March 2020.
Gobert then became the first NBA player to test positive for Covid-19. His positive test had triggered the disruption of the NBA season and put a damper on his relationship with Donovan Mitchell, who quickly became infected.
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 the first NBA championship title 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 title in 2023 have dropped from 80 to 1 to 50 to 1, while Utah’s odds have dropped from 50 to 1 to 100 to 1..
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