HomeSportsGobert calls joining the Timberwolves the 'most exciting situation' for his career

Gobert calls joining the Timberwolves the ‘most exciting situation’ for his career

Days before the Timberwolves and Jazz agreed to send Rudy Gobert to Minnesota for a cache of players and draft picks, Gobert told his agent, Bouna Ndiaye, that he wanted some time to think about the move.

“I told him I needed a day or two to think about it,” Gobert said. “After a day, I told him that was probably the best and most exciting situation in terms of basketball for me.”

A day later, Gobert said, the trade was over and on Wednesday, the 7-1 center was in Minnesota, posing for all the pictures and shaking all the hands he could at Target Center.

The trade represents a massive change for Gobert and the organization of the wolves. Some of the players who helped turn Wolves into a playoff team last season are out of the gate – along with four future first-round picks and another pick trade.

Gobert only joins the second team for which he has played in his 10-year career.

“So it’s just a very unique core of young guys and a very good coach [Chris Finch] who complained about my screens all the time,” Gobert said with a laugh. “So now we are on the same side. I’m excited.”

Gobert was also excited about the potential couple he and Karl-Anthony Towns will be. Two of the biggest questions about this trade are how well they will fit together, and can Wolves play two big men on the floor in an NBA that has gotten smaller and faster over the past decade.

Gobert said he took time to think about his fit with Towns.

“When I went to bed, I thought about it more and more,” Gobert said. “And actually, that was probably the best, most exciting challenge for me to team up with a guy like KAT.”

Towns’ ability to shoot, handle the ball and pass should complement Gobert in attack – and make sure teams decide which player they want to double into the position – while Gobert’s ability to protect the rim will give Towns more freedom defensively and potentially keep him out of harm’s way.

“If you had told me this a year ago, I would have told you that I didn’t think this could happen,” Gobert said. “But now that he’s come to life, I’m super excited and allowing him to be even more of himself, to be even more dominant.”

The Wolves paid a premium, and maybe even more than a premium, to bring Gobert to Minnesota. National analysts and reporters were widely critical of the trade and what Wolves gave up for 30-year-old Gobert, who has four years left on a $205million contract. Chairman Tim Connelly initially replied, “I don’t know”, when asked what he might say to people who felt wolves were paying too high a price.

“In this industry it’s very public and I think we all deserve the praise and the criticism, that’s the fun part of being a fan,” Connelly said. “Time will tell. When you make a trade you hope it’s a win-win. You’re not trying to outplay teams. … We gave up a lot to get a lot and ideally that’s the trade which will work well for the Jazz and the T-Wolves.”

“So it’s just a very unique core of young guys and a very good coach [Chris Finch] who was always complaining about my screens. So now we’re on the same side. I’m excited.”

Rudy Gobert

But the opportunity to have Gobert was too good to pass up.

“It’s an inexact science,” Connelly said. “But when you look at Rudy’s player abilities, they don’t become available very often.”

The timing worked out well for where Wolves are at as an organization and with the Jazz looking to turn the page after not coming out of the second round with a Gobert-Donovan Mitchell core.

“It felt more like a dream than a reality,” Connelly said of the Gobert acquisition. “As the discussions intensified and we felt there was a chance to add Rudy, the collective level of excitement for Chris and the front office was, ‘Wow, we have to do this.'”

There is still a lot to do. Gobert said he noticed Wolves starting to build a winning base last season. It was one of the reasons he felt comfortable with the job. The pieces are in place for a winning team to take off.

“Their will to win was different, their culture and the way they approached games, I felt like something had changed,” Gobert said.

Wolves are changing again and Gobert hopes everyone will get to a place neither he nor his teammates have reached in their careers.

“The goal is to win a championship and I came here for that,” Gobert said. “I didn’t come here just to be a good team. I came to try to take this team to the final and achieve that.”

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