Utah Jazz Trades Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City

Image For 30 minutes after practice on Thursday night, Rudy Gobert worked with head coach Quin Snyder underneath a basket away from the remainder of the Utah Jazz. There, coach and player went through almost every move of the interior offensive playbook, including jump hooks, drop steps in the lane and 10-foot jumpers.

This is not the first time this has happened. But on this night, it seemed symbolic. For Rudy Gobert, it's his time.

With the Utah Jazz trading Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City on Thursday afternoon, Gobert's main road block to extended minutes is gone. Ready or not, the 7-footer with the giant wingspan is the guy in the middle and has to produce at a high level, and do so on both ends of the floor.

"I know that I'm going to play more, and I know that I'm going to have a bigger role," Gobert said. "I'm excited about that. I'm excited about my opportunity, and I just have to be ready to come in and play well."

On Thursday night, teammates expressed surprise that the Jazz pulled off a deal for Kanter and Steve Novak, which included Utah receiving two future draft picks, two young players and salary cap space.

Power forward Derrick Favors said he and Kanter had a conversation on Wednesday night after the team reconvened following the All-Star break. Teammates didn't know whether or not he'd be in uniform on Friday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. Still, they said they were happy to see him after a week away.

"I was kind of surprised when I heard about the trade," Favors said. "But at the same time, this is a business. We have to just move on and keep playing. Enes is definitely going to be missed around here."

Obviously, Gobert is the main benefactor of Kanter moving on. That much was acknowledged when general manager Dennis Lindsey addressed the media on Thursday. But Favors and Trevor Booker stand to gain as well.

Favors moves back to power forward, where he is more physically suited. Booker moves up into the rotation as the first big man off the bench. Jeremy Evans, Snyder said, will receive minutes off the bench as the fourth big man.

Also, the Jazz will play small in spots. There is the chance that Utah brings in another frontcourt player with an open roster spot. The Jazz did bring in second-year forward Grant Jerrett as a part of the trade. Lindsey said he is not expected to be available to play on Friday night against Portland.

(By TONY JONES | The Salt Lake Tribune)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07