Rudy Gobert gets five-year, $205m Jazz extension

By Ben Spratt 21 December 2020 427
Rudy Gobert gets five-year, $205m Jazz extension

Rudy Gobert has agreed a five-year extension with the Utah Jazz worth $205million.

ESPN reported the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year will sign the third-largest deal in NBA history, which includes a player option in its final year.

Gobert, a 2020 All-Star, was the outstanding remaining unrestricted free agent for 2021 after Giannis Antetokounmpo sealed his Milwaukee Bucks stay.

The 28-year-old will not be available either, though, instead securing an extension with the Jazz, where he has played since a draft-night trade from the Denver Nuggets in 2013. Gobert had been the 27th overall pick.

Gobert said he did not request the full supermax in negotiations in order to leave cap space for Utah to build a title-contending team.

"For me, my goal is to always win a championship," he told ESPN. "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 organisation 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.

"I want to win, and I feel like leaving this money on the table for the team just to be able to have better talent around me and Donovan [Mitchell] was really important.

"I want to win, and I believe in this group and I believe in this organisation, and I was willing to leave that money on the table for them."

The Frenchman has established himself as one of the league's outstanding defensive players, averaging 2.2 blocks and 11.0 rebounds – as well as 11.7 points – across his seven-season career.

Gobert led the league in blocks in 2016-17 (2.6 per game) when he was named to the All-NBA Second Team, making the Third Team in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The Jazz have struggled to make progress in the playoffs during Gobert's career, however, winning just two postseason series.

Gobert is staying despite a coronavirus controversy as the last campaign was halted in March after the center tested positive.

He played down COVID-19 fears, carelessly ignoring restrictions, and star team-mate Donovan Mitchell also subsequently contracted the virus, leading to the pair not talking for a time.

They returned to action to lose a gripping seven-game series to the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

Gobert added: "After all the things that happened within our team and all that, I really wanted to go back in the bubble and see how things are going.

"After the bubble, I really felt like I could win a championship with Donovan.

"I think we've both grown a lot, and we're going to keep growing. I'm really excited that we're going to be able to continue this journey together."

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Ben Spratt

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