by Nico Fiscella | Early Sunday morning, the Jazz locked up their franchise center for the future. Utah and Gobert agreed on a five year, 205 million dollar contract that will keep the Stifle Tower in Utah until the age of 32.
Gobert and the Jazz have now set the record for the largest deal for a center, and he now has the third-largest contract in the NBA, only behind Russell Westbrook and newly extended Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Gobert has been the anchor to Utah’s defense, as he was the back-to-back defensive player of the year for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons. The two-time block champ has a career average of 11.7 points, 11 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game.
Going back to the 2017 NBA draft, Gobert was taken 27th overall by the Nuggets. After some pictures and a quick interview, Gobert was flipped to Utah for the 46th overall pick in the draft, and cash.
It must be difficult for Nuggets fans to watch their team face off against Utah, as the two all-stars on the Jazz were at one point wearing a Denver Nuggets cap.
Five centers were drafted in front of Gobert, including Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel, and Mason Plumlee. The 2013 NBA draft class is seen as a weak class in recent years, as Gobert is one of three all-stars (along with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Victor Oladipo) from this draft.
The Stifle Tower made his NBA debut the following season, in which he did not play often. Gobert averaged nine minutes a night, scoring a mere two points per game.
As his career progressed, Gobert began to emerge as one of the top centers in the league. In his age 24 season, he went from averaging nine points per game the prior season to over 14 points per game.
Not only did Gobert improve his scoring once given the opportunity, but this was the year Gobert solidified himself as one of the top defenders in the league. He averaged almost 13 rebounds a night and led the league in blocks with 2.6.
Gobert went on to record his second defensive player of the year the following season and has continued to progress throughout his career.
In the shortened season last year, Gobert was finally voted into the all-star game. He set a career-high in rebounds that season, as he finished with 13.5 per game. His 10.7 wins shares a night was the fifth highest in the league last year.
After Gobert’s extension was announced, he posted a message on Twitter.
“I’m here to stay, and I’m here to WIN a championship,” Gobert said. “Utah, let’s get it.”
Gobert has never been very outspoken. He does not talk often, and many did not know what was happening behind the scenes with his contract. After seeing long-time Jazz Gordon Hayward leave for Boston, Gobert understood what it means to be loyal to Utah.
“When he talks about our staff and his teammates it’s obviously nice to be included in that,” said head coach Quin Snyder. “There’s a level of loyalty that Rudy has that’s special.
After making minimal moves in the offseason, Utah has now extended their top two assets in Donovan Mitchell and Gobert for the next five years. They are almost guaranteeing Jazz fans great playoff memories in the future.
Gobert and the Jazz will begin their regular season this Wednesday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Featured image courtesy Cameron Brown | Getty Images