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Is Rudy Gobert Really Worth $205 Million?
Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP

The Utah Jazz are locked into the future.

Franchise superstar Donovan Mitchell inked a five-year, $195 million rookie contract extension this offseason. Mitchell has blossomed into an All-Star and one of the league’s top scoring talents since being selected 13th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Center Rudy Gobert holds down the fort in the paint. He also signed a new contract that secures cash and an experienced duo for years to come.

Rudy Gobert’s Contract Extension

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Rudy Gobert signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension in December 2020. The deal is the largest for a center in league history and kicks in next season.

The French NBA player was eligible for the same $228 million supermax extension that two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo signed as a two-time Defensive Player of the Year winner and three-time All-NBA selection. He decided to take less to give the Jazz financial flexibility in pursuit of a championship.

Per ESPN‘s Tim MacMahon:

“For me, my goal is to always win a championship,” said Gobert, who has a player option for the fifth season of the deal. “When we spoke with my agent before the negotiations started, I decided that I didn’t want to ask for the supermax. We didn’t want to start the negotiations by asking for the supermax. For me, it was important to show to the organization and show to the team that it wasn’t about money. It was about continuing to build what we’ve been building and also give this team and give myself the stability and the peace of mind to not have to deal with the negotiations later.”

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The contract is the third largest in NBA history behind Antetokounmpo and Russell Westbrook‘s five-year, $206.8 million deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.

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The deal doesn’t look great at face value, but I don’t blame Utah (Shaq feels a little differently). Small market teams like the Jazz have to do everything they can to retain their stars. It’s not like free agents are knocking down the door to get to Salt Lake City.

Gobert is valuable as one of the few traditional big men in the league. He’s a menace on the boards and the defensive end. In 2019-20, he averaged 15.1 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He anchors the front court with power forward Derrick Favors.

Utah has shown the ability to identify and develop talent. Retaining homegrown All-Stars like Gobert and Mitchell is a worthy franchise investment despite the cost. The pair has reconciled after the four-time All-Defensive team member’s infamous saga with the coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak last season.

The front office has proved its savvy enough to surround their stars with quality players by acquiring Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jordan Clarkson.

The Jazz have reached the playoffs in four consecutive seasons under head coach Quin Snyder. They face the gauntlet of the Western Conference that includes LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers; James Harden and the Houston Rockets (for now); Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers; Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors; the Denver Nuggets; Portland Trail Blazers; Phoenix Suns; Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs; and New Orleans Pelicans.

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Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets, Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks, Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, Jimmy Butler‘s Miami Heat, and the Toronto Raptors duke it out in the East.

The extension confirms Gobert, Snyder, Mitchell, and new owner Ryan Smith share the same goal: bring a championship to Utah.

MORE: Did Charlotte Completely Overpay for Gordon Hayward?

Joe Grobeck About the author:
Joe is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives in Austin, Texas. He believes Ndaumkong Suh should've won the 2009 Heisman and is an avid basketball fan.
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