Last month the Utah Jazz signed Donovan Mitchell to a contract extension through the 2024-2025 season. Now in an attempt to maintain stability and belief in contending moving forward, the Jazz inked center Rudy Gobert to a five-year extension.
The move makes sense in one aspect, it keeps the team’s top two players together for the next several years. However, one must question the value of the contract, which is for $205 million, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. To put that kind of money in perspective, it’s the largest deal ever for a center and third-highest behind Russell Westbrook and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Other names in the top five are Steph Curry, Anthony Davis and Klay Thompson.
While Gobert is a solid NBA center, he sticks out like a sore thumb on the list of the players with the highest contracts. The 28-year-old Rudy Gobert is a standout on the defensive end, averaging 2.2 blocked shots per game. He averaged 15.1 points and 13.5 rebounds per game last season and earned his first All-Star appearance last season. There is no question that Rudy Gobert is an elite rebounder and shot blocker. However, to be worthy of the highest paying contract in league history at the position, you better bring it all to the table, which is to be among the highest scoring at your position. Consider Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, who averaged 23 points per game in what is widely regarded as an off year for. Rudy Gobert is nowhere in the same neighborhood in terms of scoring only a little higher in rebounding and blocks.
I suppose Rudy Gobert could get into that elite level to be worthy of the huge extension. After all, he is really just in the early part of his prime years. He will have added motivation knowing the Utah Jazz have faith in him and could elevate him to the next level. If just seems that a contract of that magnitude is for a player who has already reached superstar status, not one who “may” get there. In any event, it will be interesting to see if the Gobert/Mitchell tandem can live up to the increased expectations that huge money brings. If so, that means advancing past the first round of the NBA playoffs and win an NBA championship.