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In the immediate aftermath of two NBA offseason blockbuster trades of similar scope and both involving the Utah Jazz, the national reaction was markedly different.

With the Wolves giving up four first-round picks (three unprotected) and a haul of role players to land Rudy Gobert, the consensus was that the Jazz won the deal. Post-trade grades tend to be reactionary and somewhat useless on their own, but taken en masse they do show a consensus.

The Athletic (C+), Sports Illustrated (C) and CBS Sports (D) gave the Wolves mediocre-to-poor grades, while giving Utah grades of B, A and A, respectively.

With the Cavaliers giving up three first-round picks (all unprotected) and arguably a much better haul of players than the Wolves to land Donovan Mitchell, the consensus was generally that the Cavs won the deal (or that at least both teams did well).

The Athletic (A-), Sports Illustrated (A) and Sporting News (A) all loved the deal for Cleveland, while handing out grades of B, B+ and B for Utah.

There are three ways to read this:

  • It's just lazy, reactionary journalism. Gobert routinely finishes far ahead of Mitchell in advanced stats like Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares Per 48 minutes. His contributions might be less flashy because much of his impact comes on the defensive end, but he is arguably a more valuable player than Mitchell and it could be argued the Wolves did at least as well as the Cavs in their trade.
  • The eventual market for Mitchell shows the Wolves overpaid for Gobert and the pundit consensus is correct. Mitchell is, after all, more than four years younger than Gobert (26 soon compared to 30). He plays on the perimeter, and therefore has a much greater ability to affect games in crunch time in the modern NBA.
  • Perception doesn't matter and each deal is its own entity. As Wolves President Tim Connelly recently said about the Gobert trade, "The metric we're going to really focus on: Is our team better?" Sometimes how a player fits is a more vital component than we understand, and Gobert's defensive impact and excitement about playing in Minnesota are not traits always shared by Timberwolves acquisitions.

As with all trades, time will reveal the true story. For now, I will just label the split reactions as interesting and file them away.