NBA

The Utah Jazz Are Wasting $400 Million and Still Won’t Win a Championship

The Utah Jazz have two of the NBA’s best players on their roster in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. The franchise has made the playoffs every year since Mitchell was drafted with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft out of Louisville.

The Denver Nuggets selected Mitchell and then traded him to the Jazz for Tyler Lydon and Trey Lyles. Ironically, Gobert was drafted by the Nuggets as well back in 2013. Like Mitchell, the Stifle Tower was traded to the Jazz in exchange for Erick Green and cash.

While the Jazz will be a perennial playoff team with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert leading the way, the team will never win a title with the two stars in the fold. That will haunt the front office in the long-run after the money both All-Stars got this offseason.

Donovan Mitchell got $163 million from the Jazz, and it could become $195 million

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As expected, the Jazz signed Donovan Mitchell to a lucrative rookie-scale extension this offseason. Utah gave the shooting guard a five-year deal worth $163 million. Mitchell can earn $195 million should he be voted onto one of the three All-NBA teams.

Since entering the NBA in 2017-18, Mitchell has established himself as one of the league’s best scorers. He has career averages of 22.7 points per game in the regular season and shoots 43.9% from the field and 35.5% from beyond the arc.

In 23 playoff games, Mitchell has put up 27.3 points a contest. The electric guard led the Jazz to an upset win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2018 playoffs. However, Utah has gotten bounced by the Houston Rockets and Nuggets in the first round of the postseason in back-to-back years.

Mitchell and the Jazz had a 3-1 series lead over the Nuggets in the 2020 playoffs at Walt Disney World. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic went on a historic tear, though, and led the Nuggets to a comeback series win.

Even though the Jazz choked against the Nuggets, it was a no brainer for Utah to extend Donovan Mitchell, who will only get better with age.

Rudy Gobert signed the largest deal for a center in NBA history

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A two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert is now the highest-paid center in NBA history. The Jazz signed Gobert to a five-year, $205 million extension. Gobert’s contract is the third-biggest deal in NBA history. It’s a lot of money for a guy who isn’t that talented on offense, but the Jazz clearly value Gobert’s defensive abilities.

During the 2019-20 season, Gobert averaged 15.1 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game while shooting 69.3% from the field. He was in the news for all the wrong reasons in March after becoming the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19. The 28-year-old jokingly touched microphones during a press conference with reporters despite the COVID-19 virus spreading in America.

The NBA suspended the 2019-20 season after Gobert contracted COVID-19. The Frenchman apologized for his actions and averaged a double-double against the Nuggets in the playoffs. Rudy Gobert’s production, though, wasn’t enough to save the Jazz from choking against Denver.

The Jazz’s $400 million investment won’t lead to a championship

The Jazz extended the Donovan Mitchell-Rudy Gobert duo to a combined $400 million this offseason. While both players are great at what they do, Utah won’t be winning a title anytime soon.

The Western Conference is loaded with teams better than the Jazz, led by the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, and Golden State Warriors. Even if Gobert and Mitchell take their games to the next level in the upcoming season, the Jazz still won’t win the Western Conference. As long as LeBron James and Anthony Davis are on the Lakers, the West will likely run through the Purple and Gold.

In a couple of years, the Gobert contract is going to look really bad for the Jazz. Although he’s an elite defensive player, Gobert is limited in what he can do on offense, and that usually comes back to haunt the Jazz once the playoffs start since half-court scoring is at a premium in the postseason.

Since Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have a well-documented beef that started after the latter contracted COVID-19, many believe Mitchell won’t finish his NBA career with the Jazz despite signing his monster extension. The high-flyer can always request a trade from Utah since he’s got his money.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.