SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Rudy Gobert is staying in Utah.
The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year signed a 5-year, $205-million extension with the Jazz, with a player option in the fifth year. The deal is the largest for a center in NBA history, and the third richest ever signed behind Giannis Antetokounmpo ($228 million) and Russell Westbrook ($207 million).
Gobert, who is in the final year of a 4-year, $105-million deal, was eligible for a super max deal worth $228 million, but the two sides agreed on this deal to give the Jazz more flexibility in signing other players.
Gobert addressed the Jazz fans on Twitter Sunday morning, saying, “I have grown as a player, but more importantly, I have grown as a man over the last 7 years. You have seen me through the good times, you have also seen me through struggles and mistakes, and you have been patient while watching this French kid grow. Throughout, you have always supported me and taken me in as one of your own. For that, I have always been grateful and it’s why my family and I are proud to continue to make this our home.
“So, for the guy that doesn’t say too much, I’ll send by saying thank you, I’m here to stay, and I’m here to WIN a Championship. I’m here to win with my brothers. I’m here to win with coach Q and I’m here to win with you, Utah. Let’s get it.”
So now, the two cornerstones of the Jazz franchise, Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, are signed for at least the next five years. Mitchell agreed to a 5-year, $163-million extension four weeks ago. Mitchell’s deal could grow to $195 million if he makes an All-NBA team.
Gobert made his first NBA All-Star Game this past season, averaging 15.1 points and 13.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
In his seven seasons in the NBA, the 27th overall pick in the 2013 draft has developed into one of the most dominant big men in the game, winning the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2018 and 2019.
“Rudy’s commitment, competitiveness and dedication to winning is why he is one of the elite players in the NBA,” said Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey. “The impact he’s had on our team, the state of Utah and so many other communities around the world is immeasurable. We’re ecstatic that Rudy will continue to be an integral part of our franchise as we work towards our goals.”
“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,” saidhHead coach Quin Snyder. “He is dedicated to his teammates and to winning here in Utah. It has been so rewarding to watch how Rudy has evolved off the court as well and I look forward to seeing how he continues to make an impact through his dedication to kids and to our community.”
The sale of the Jazz franchise to Ryan Smith was just approved by the NBA Board of Governors on Friday, and Smith said about the signing of Gobert, “Rudy is such a special player. He makes everyone on the court better. We couldn’t be more excited about his commitment to this team, to Utah, and most importantly, to keeping this unique culture together.”
Gobert made international headlines in March, becoming the first known NBA player to contract the COVID-19 virus. When Mitchell tasted positive for the virus soon after , the two stars were reportedly feuding over Gobert’s careless attitude when he first tested positive. But they have since made up and are now focused on bringing Utah a championship.
This past season, Gobert led the NBA for the second-straight year in slam dunks, jamming home 221 on the year. In addition, he totaled 471 screen assists which was also a league high for the second-straight season. With a block against Phoenix on February 24, the center logged his 1000th career block, becoming the third fastest active player to hit that milestone, doing so in his 462nd NBA contest.
During the 2019-20 campaign, he ranked third in defensive win shares (4.2) and fifth in total win shares (10.7) in the NBA. He also contested 16.4 shots per contest, which was the second most shots contested per game last season. The 28-year-old totaled 49 double-doubles in 2019-20, the fourth most by any player on the year.
The native of France has helped the Jazz to four-straight postseason appearances, appearing in seven playoff contests in 2020, averaging 16.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 38.6 minutes per game.
In the Jazz record books, Gobert ranks first in all-time field goal percentage (.640) and true shooting percentage (.658), third in offensive rebounds (1,542) and defensive rebounds (3,649) and fifth in blocks (1,030).