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


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

These perspectives are likely to change.

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

Just like Minnesota, with good reason. The Timberwolves announced the Gobert acquisition at a press conference in Minneapolis on Wednesday, when the trade they agreed to with the Utah Jazz last week could finally become official. It took four players, five first-round picks — including one made last month — and the chance to trade another pick to bring the French center to Minnesota, and the Timberwolves still feel like they got it right. the case.

“We think it fits perfectly into what we already do,” Finch said.

In a league that has become increasingly positionless, where the small ball sometimes rules, the Timberwolves now have two of the best big men in the league on the same roster with a three-time Defensive Player of the Year in Gobert playing alongside All-NBA performs Karl-Anthony Towns.

“It doesn’t preclude anything that we have right now,” Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said. “He’s improving it. He’s increasing what we have right now. So when you look at the form it’s not just about the talent. It’s kind of about developing the team… and he’s going there ‘to improve.”

The Utah-Minnesota trade was executed shortly after the NBA’s moratorium on most offseason player moves and contract signings was lifted Wednesday.

The final deal in the Utah-Minnesota deal was as follows: Gobert to the Timberwolves for Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, rights to newly drafted Walker Kessler, 2023, 2025, 2027 first-round picks and 2029 from Minnesota and a first-round pick trade in 2026.

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

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

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

“The window to win is not always big,” Gobert said. “For us in Utah, that’s kind of what happened. I think the organization was like that. We were maybe past that window that we had in the last few years. I think it will always be a very competitive team. as with all the assets they could get for me, it was better for them to go in this direction.”

The Timberwolves could be the opposite. They haven’t seen the second round in nearly two decades and are betting Towns, Gobert, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell can become a core force to change all that.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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