Center Rudy Gobert says he’s ready ‘to win a championship’ with Minnesota Timberwolves

Rudy Gobert reads Twitter comments, so he knows Minnesota fans didn’t like him much in his first nine NBA seasons. And he also heard Timberwolves coach Chris Finch regularly complain about the way he sets up screens.

These perspectives are likely to change.

“Now we’re on the same page, so I’m excited,” Gobert said.

Minnesota is like that, and for good reason. The Timberwolves announced the acquisition of Gobert at a press conference in Minneapolis on Wednesday, when the deal they agreed with the Utah Jazz last week could finally become official. It took four players, five first-round picks – including one last month – and the option to trade another pick to bring the French center to Minnesota, and the Timberwolves still feel like they won the deal .

“We think it fits perfectly with what we’re already doing,” said Finch.

In a league that has become increasingly positionless and where small-ball sometimes reigns supreme, the Timberwolves now have two of the very best big men in the league in the same lineup with a three-time Defensive Player of the Year in Gobert, who plays alongside the All-NBA cast member Karl-Anthony Towns.

“He doesn’t inhibit anything that we have right now,” said Tim Connelly, president of the Timberwolves basketball division. “He’s doing better. He extends what we currently have. So when we look at fit, it’s not just about talent. It’s about developing the team… and he’s going to do better.”

The Utah-Minnesota trade came shortly after the NBA lifted its moratorium on most offseason player movements and contract signings on Wednesday.

The final agreement in the Utah-Minnesota deal was Gobert to the Timberwolves for Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, the rights to newly drafted Walker Kessler, Minnesota’s 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029 first-round picks and a Pick swap in the first round 2026.

Jazz owner Ryan Smith said Gobert “will be a part of us forever”.

“Rudy Gobert had a tremendous impact on this franchise and the entire state of Utah during his nine seasons with Jazz,” Smith said. “As one of the greatest defensive players in NBA history, Rudy will forever be remembered as one of the greatest players to wear a jazz uniform. His love for and impact on this community is impossible to overstate.”

The Jazz saw coach Quin Snyder back after eight seasons last month and hired former San Antonio and Boston assistant Will Hardy to replace him. Then came the Gobert trade that ended an era in Utah. No team in the Western Conference has won more regular-season games in their last six seasons than the Jazz, but the success has never carried over into the postseason. Utah made the playoffs in each of those six years and did not advance past the second round.

“The window to win isn’t always big,” Gobert said. “That’s how it happened for us in Utah. I think the organization felt like that. We might have crossed the window we’ve had in recent years. I think it will still be a very competitive team. It just felt like all the assets they could get for me, it was better for them to go this route.

The Timberwolves could be the opposite. They haven’t seen Round 2 in almost two decades and are betting that Towns, Gobert, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell can become a core that changes all that.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34203442/center-rudy-gobert-says-ready-win-championship-minnesota-timberwolves Center Rudy Gobert says he’s ready ‘to win a championship’ with Minnesota Timberwolves

Emma Bowman

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