The Utah Jazz have locked down their other franchise cornerstone.
Two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert has agreed to a five-year max contract extension worth $205 million with the Jazz. This deal makes him the highest-paid centre in NBA history.
"Rudy's competitiveness and will to win have been instrumental in watching how he has grown and evolved into an elite player in our league. He is dedicated to his teammates and to winning here in Utah."https://t.co/HNDIu9hIFR pic.twitter.com/HLXr5G0DXi- utahjazz (@utahjazz) December 20, 2020
The fifth year in his deal will be a player option.
ESPN's Tim MacMahon spoke to Gobert about how grateful he was for Utah's appreciation of his talents.
"It means that they believe in me," Gobert told MacMahon. "They believe in what we've been building over the years with this whole organization, with coach [Quin Snyder] and all the guys. For me, it's an incredible blessing. It's a very motivating feeling to know that we all share the same vision and we all share this goal for this state and for this franchise."
Due to being a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-NBA selection the 28-year-old centre was eligible for the same supermax extension that reigning back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo signed (five years, $228 million), but he told ESPN he "did not request the full supermax because he wanted the Jazz to have flexibility to continue building around co-star Donovan Mitchell and him."
Mitchell signed a five-year, $195 million max extension with Utah prior to the start of the 2019-20 season that will not kick in until 2021-22, meaning he is under contract until 2026. The Jazz now have Gobert under contract until the 2025 season with the player option set for 2025-26, perfectly matching the timelines of their two superstars.
"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 was really important," Gobert told ESPN. "I want to win, and I believe in this group and I believe in this organization, and I was willing to leave that money on the table for them."
Supermax aside, Gobert's deal is still the third-largest deal in NBA history trailing only Antetokounmpo and now-Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook's $206.8 million deal signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder back in 2017.
Along with two Defensive Player of the Year awards and three All-NBA honours, Gobert has made four All-Defensive teams, is a one-time All-Star and one-time blocks champion. The French big man averaged 15.1 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game last season.