NBA

The $81 Million Sacrifice Rudy Gobert Is Willing to Make to Stay in Utah

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has established himself as one of the top centers in the NBA. Although his offensive game still needs some work, Gobert is a monster on the defensive end of the floor and an effective rim roller for the Jazz.

The Denver Nuggets drafted Gobert with the 27th overall pick in the 2013 draft and then traded him to Utah for Erick Green and cash. The Stifle Tower has career averages of 11.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks with the Jazz while shooting 64.0% from the field and 63.1% from the free-throw line.

While the Jazz love Rudy Gobert and everything he brings to the floor, the franchise has a huge decision to make with the big man before the 2020-21 season starts on Dec. 22.

Rudy Gobert has won two of the last three Defensive Player of the Year Awards

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Rudy Gobert is one of nine players in NBA history to win back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Awards. He joins Sidney Moncrief, Dennis Rodman, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace, Dwight Howard, and Kawhi Leonard.

During the 2017-18 season, Gobert averaged 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He won Defensive Player of the Year over Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Joel Embiid by getting 89 first-place votes. The following season, Gobert beat Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo with 65 first-place votes. The Frenchman put up 12.9 boards and 2.3 blocks a contest in 2018-19.

The Jazz have one of the best defenses in the NBA with Rudy Gobert manning the middle. Even when guards get into the paint at will, they have trouble finishing over Gobert’s length.

Rudy Gobert is eligible for more than $228 million 

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By winning Defensive Player of the Year and making an All-NBA team in 2018-19, Rudy Gobert is eligible to sign the supermax extension with the Jazz this offseason. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a five-year, $228.2 million supermax extension with the Bucks just a few days ago.

Gobert must sign the supermax extension by Dec. 21. If he doesn’t, the defensive star can only sign a standard extension with the Jazz, who gave All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell a lucrative five-year, $163 million maximum rookie-scale extension in November.

Rudy Gobert is undoubtedly one of the best players in the NBA. However, the Jazz have to decide if he’s worth supermax money. There are two other contracts Gobert can sign with Utah if the franchise is hesitant to give him the full supermax. He can get around $141 million from the Jazz through the minimum designated-player extension or $147 million via a standard max extension, per NBC Sports.

Is the Jazz star willing to take a discount?

Even though he’s eligible for a supermax, Rudy Gobert may not be holding out for that rich of a contract. In fact, he could be willing to take a hometown discount to stay with the Jazz.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Gobert is open to accepting a contract from the Jazz which is below the supermax. If that is the case, it would point to how loyal Gobert is to the only organization he’s known in the NBA.

“I don’t have precise contract figures. I have been told that he did not ask for the full supermax,” MacMahon said on the Brian Windhorst podcast, h/t Real GM. “I know there has been some reporting in Utah that he did. I’ve been told that is not true. That he did not ask for the full supermax.”

Last season, Gobert averaged 15.1 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. He made his first All-Star team and shot an efficient 69.3% from the field for the Jazz in 68 starts. Although Gobert was the first reported NBA player to test positive for COVID-19, which forced the league to suspend play in March, the 28-year-old has apologized for not taking the virus seriously at first and is now a big proponent of wearing masks and telling people to practice safe social distance.

It’s going to be very interesting to see what Rudy Gobert and the Jazz do moving forward. If Utah isn’t comfortable offering the supermax to its starting center, Gobert will probably be fine with taking the team’s counteroffer since he’s still going to be making a lot of money.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.