Bill Simmons began his Monday podcast by chatting with Ryen Russillo about the Minnesota Timberwolves’ recent blockbuster trade for Rudy Gobert.
Warning: He doesn’t love it for Minnesota.
“To start with, I think I hated Rudy Gobert’s trade for Minnesota more than any trade I’ve hated for any team in the last 30 years,” he told Russillo.
“Wow,” Russillo replied.
“I thought about it for two days,” Simmons continued.
I looked at what they got. I have my feelings for ‘Can you win with Gobert?’ For the reason behind it. And I just don’t get it. I rarely set my flag. I’ll put my flag up really strong when I’m feeling really strong about something.
As if Luka was a good example, Luka fell to 3. I just didn’t get it. I put my flag on it.
I hate this trade for Minnesota, Russillo. I hate it, I can’t defend it. We’re going to go through everything they’ve given up, but my first reaction is, ‘What’s going on?’ and then I watched it for 48 hours and am even more confused.
If you had told me they just gave up two unprotected picks with everything else they gave up to get Gobert and his money back, I’m still not sure I love it for Minnesota and I will be up all come in reasons why.
But that was my first reaction. What was your first reaction? What’s now?
“I hated it back then,” Russillo agreed. “I hate it now. I don’t know if it’s the worst trade in 30 years, seems aggressive.”
“No, I’m saying I hated it the most…and I’ll go through some of the other trades,” Simmons clarified. “But I just really don’t like this trade.”
“It depends on how you feel about Gobert, doesn’t it?” Russillo asked.
So whenever you talk to a team, you’re going to say, hey, are you Gobert guys or not?
I think we all know what this camp is for years. I remember first remembering how insane his impact on the ground was over the course of a season.
I remember Zach Lowe called me one time because I was on ESPN and he said, ‘I do a few different things, I just like to check in with different people, and he said, ‘You got some of that Gobert stuff seen? ?’
And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I thought something was wrong when I saw the on/off [stats] with him because it was so dramatic and it was such a significant number that showed you what his worth was.’
So I felt like I defended him a lot. I don’t like guys who don’t have to be guarded. That’s like a basic belief I will always have about basketball players. I kind of want you to be able to score sometimes, and I want to take care of that a little bit.
So when that played out and you start asking like a Gobert market, some people loved him and there would be other groups that would say, ‘Look, we like him, but our frigging analytics department is coming screaming down the hall at how amazing this guy is.’
And I think that’s part of the Gobert divide and the confusion. So there’s a really good part of that for Minnesota, which is, “Maybe it’s okay.” Maybe they have a good little run here for four or five years.
Maybe those picks they loaded, maybe it doesn’t matter because they’re all in their 20s, and as we’ve been talking for years, they can all be a little overrated. But now I think they are totally underrated.
But it’s a very, very dangerous game when you start kicking those picks around unprotected for years, if we’ve learned, if we’ve learned anything in the last few years, you have no fucking idea who you are and who will be on your list for the next few years.
“And which stars will be on that list,” Simmons added.
“Exactly,” Russillo said approvingly.
To say, “We’re going to be good,” thought Houston as they traded for Russell Westbrook. That’s what Brooklyn thought when they traded for Harden.
Milwaukee is a better bet because Giannis seems to be the kind of personality who says, “I f***ing love it here, traded for whoever for Jrue Holiday.”
The only part of it I can understand is that Connelly was such an analytical drive, the new guy running it, and Matt Lloyd he brought over from Orlando. These are really good front office guys and I know their opposing field goal percentage is marginally about 67%, 25th in the NBA. They wanted to fix that.
But what then? But what then? Okay, cool, maybe then you’ll win a lot of games in the regular season. Maybe you are a 4 seed. But Bill, I’d ask you that like you just blundered, moved that many unprotected picks, and you’re going to pay Gobert $47 million in 2026. Are you guaranteed next year? Can you sit here in July and say, “I guarantee you’ll win a first-round series in the next playoffs?”
In that podcast, Simmons and Russillo also discuss the price the wolves paid, went into more detail about Gobert, and talked about how Minnesota is locked in three guys. Simmons also listed several bad trades over the past 30 years that he liked more and explained why.
It’s a must-read for Wolves fans, even if they didn’t like the Gobert trade.