Utah Jazz lynchpin Rudy Gobert has claimed that he “left money on the table” by signing a five-year contract extension worth a staggering $205 million, leaving stunned fans to question the largest deal for a center in NBA history.
All-star Gobert was keen to emphasize that he told his agent not to ask for the maximum extension deal available to him, which would have handed him an even vaster $228 million windfall to stay with the Jazz.
Gobert’s co-star in the team, Donovan Mitchell, took the most available to him when the Jazz guaranteed him $163 million for five years earlier in the off-season, potentially rising to $195 million should he be named in an All-NBA team this season.
“For me, it was important to show to the organization and the team that it wasn’t about money,” Gobert told ESPN, claiming that he had settled for ten percent less than the gigantic sum he could have signed for because he wanted Jazz to be able to sign more players.
BREAKING: Rudy Gobert signs a 5-Year/$205 Million extension with the Jazz, via @wojespn. pic.twitter.com/YasaLht8O8
“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.
“I believe in this group and I believe in this organization, and I was willing to leave that money on the table for them.
“When we spoke with my agent before the negotiations started, I decided that I didn’t want to ask for the supermax.
Trying to figure out why the Jazz gave Rudy Gobert 205 million dollars pic.twitter.com/CG7N3Wd5XA
They gave Rudy Gobert 205 mil…. pic.twitter.com/mppmjQSHe1
As a fan, the Gobert max extension shows me the Jazz had no options. Rudy is a good player, but that is it, he’s good. No center in the NBA today is a true game-changer except Jokic. Paying 205 million for the next 5 years will keep Utah relevant, but thats it. #NBA
“We didn’t want to start the negotiations by asking for the supermax. It was about continuing to build what we’ve been building and also giving this team and myself the stability and peace of mind to not have to deal with the negotiations later.“
7ft 1in Frenchman Gobert became an offense and defense anchor for the Jazz last season and was named a Western Conference reserve for the NBA All-Star team.
The 28-year-old wrote a heartfelt letter to fans on social media discussing a “special day” and promoting the values that he felt had helped him to achieve stratospheric success during his seven years in Utah.
Rudy gobert gave the whole nba COVID then got awarded 205 mil, make it make sense pic.twitter.com/vsw56yHDf2
Lot of people dunking on Rudy Gobert today but when you can get a defensive anchor like this for $205 million you just gotta do it. pic.twitter.com/HmKAoHn4hd
Should other people who are struggling get money? Yes. But people on this thread obviously don’t realize that the NBA is a private organization. These are the owners paying these guys ridiculous amounts of money, not the federal government. Convince them to give back
Those sentiments received a mixed response from fans, some of whom were quick to recall his controversy earlier this year when he touched microphones before being diagnosed with Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic.
Others described the deal as “obscene” and “insanity” while pointing to the predicament being faced by many amid widespread unemployment in the US, although Gobert supporters argued that the sums on offer were not his personal responsibility and said that he was being rewarded for his immense talent.
“So there is an extra $205 million lying around to pay someone to chase a ball for profit on TV, but zilch for healthcare for the folks who watch?” asked one, causing another to reply: “What’s wrong with the organization paying its employees?
Dear Utah… pic.twitter.com/S806F4oZ6d
My heart would be broken if u left. The growth u showed since being drafted to best center in the NBA is mind blowing. You’re irreplaceable, a leader, and the big brother of the team. I have even more respect for u not pulling a Hayward. Love u! #Playmaker#Together#GetTheRings
Rudy, I don’t know how anyone can be anything but proud of you. I’m so happy to have you here… thank you for all of the quiet good you do hear in the community and the world. I look forward to cheering for you, and watching you grow as a player and more importantly as a man
“Rudy works hard [and] gives to the communities… I get that wealth needs to be distributed more evenly but if you ask me, a guy like that deserves every penny.”
Gobert donated $500,000 to Covid-19 relief efforts after suffering public shame for his mocking of safety efforts around the virus, which resulted in a public fall-out with Donovan that many fans fear could carry over into their pivotal on-court relationship.
ESPN previously reported that Donovan had also been infuriated by Gobert’s passing decisions.
I‘ve seen Rudy Gobert progress from newborn giraffe to becoming one of the best players in franchise history. Does he deserve 205 mil? I’m not sure.However, I would be ecstatic to see him prove everyone wrong — like he has done plenty of times before. #takenotepic.twitter.com/XOHeE3GzJn
Plays with balls, gets millions. Work with fire and steel, get food stamps.
So there is an extra $205 million lying around to pay someone to chase a ball for profit on TV, but zilch for health care for the folks who watch? What is wrong here?
Donovan echoed his teammate’s words after news of the whopping deal broke by insisting: “After the bubble, I really felt like I could win a championship with Donovan.
“I think we’ve both grown a lot and we’re going to keep growing. I’m really excited that we’re going to be able to continue this journey together.”
Gobert has been selected in the All-NBA team in all but one of the past four seasons, earning the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2018 and 2019.