Should Utah Offer Rudy Gobert A Supermax Contract?

May 24, 2019, 3:38 PM
Rudy Gobert - Utah Jazz...
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert added another end of the year award to his resume when he was named to the All-NBA third-team.

Earning an All-NBA nod combined with him winning the Defensive Player of the Year award last year puts him in rare company with those who are now eligible for a supermax deal.

Gobert’s accolades would allow for the Jazz to offer him an absurd $247.3 million extension over five years which comes out to be an average of $48.74 million per year, but it could change depending on what the NBA salary cap looks like in a few seasons.

Gobert’s two remaining years on his current contract are for a combined $50.03 million.

Is Gobert Worth It?

While Gobert is putting up solid numbers on offense with a career-high 15.9 points per game and led the NBA in dunks this past season, he is mostly considered a defensive presence.

Looking at the other names that are now eligible for this massive contract are scorers, which include Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo who is an MVP finalist, and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.

Gobert seems like an outlier as a very good defensive NBA player. Typically when one thinks of players worthy of a max contract it is ones that are an offensive threat and not known for being a defensive specialist.

Alex Kirry of KSL Sports is not sure Gobert’s production equals his potential payday.

“It is really weird. Rudy’s worth of a supermax deal is worth $247.3 million over five years, that is a lot of money,” Kirry said on KSL’s Unrivaled. “This means 46, 47 for the first couple of years and then a few 50-plus [million dollars]. Either way, this is a guaranteed $247 million over five years.”

KSL Sports Matthew Baiamonte then goes on to add that the supermax is not a great deal for teams and even the best of the best in the NBA might not even be worth this mega-deal.

“Rudy Gobert is a really nice player he is an All-Star caliber player even though he wasn’t voted an All-Star, but when you are paying someone that kind of money you better be Kevin Durant,” Baiamonte said.

“The way the salary cap is constructed, I don’t know if any player, even Kevin Durant, can make that much money because then you can’t put a good enough team around that player.”

Do The Jazz Extend This Offer?

Gobert is a fan favorite with the Jazz fanbase and he clearly is a really good player. However, the Jazz have a tough decision in roster construction starting with this offseason and need to formulate a plan on how to create the best possible roster for the best value.

“It means the Jazz have a very difficult decision to make if they want to make that extension. Right now, he is making about a fifth of the salary cap and a supermax will double that,” Baiamonte said. “We all assume the Jazz will extend Donovan Mitchell and a foregone conclusion at this point.

“So, if you get a supermax for Rudy and then an extension for Donovan Mitchell, you are looking at more than 50% of the cap. You still have a starting point guard, small forward, power forward and a bench to put along with that. That will be very difficult to do.”

Having two players occupy half of a Utah’s salary cap could be make it hard for the Jazz to build a quality team.

Truly, NBA teams really want to be in a position like the Golden State Warriors are today with Klay Thompson, who did not qualify for a supermax deal by not making an All-NBA team.

Also, it’s possible that Donovan Mitchell is the guy that the Jazz would rather supermax than Gobert. The NBA is an offensive league and Mitchell’s game is more in line with that than Gobert.

How Has The Supermax Impacted Other Teams?

Looking around the NBA, Baiamonte points to the Washington Wizards as a cautionary tale as they are in a tough spot with its salary cap due to having a supermax player on their team.

“Most teams that have actually used the supermax, I think the Wizards are a good example of this,” Baiamonte said. “They have become hostage to the supermax extension. Look at the Wizards, John Wall is making $40 million per year, and now they might have to trade Bradley Beal just to be able to make a decent team.

“They might have to trade a guy who is the 16th best player in the league… just to accommodate a guy on a supermax extension,” said Baiamonte.

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It really might be better off for teams to hope that these star players are just a cusp below an All-NBA selection so that they don’t have to spend over a third of the salary cap on one player and then have to shoe-string a competitive team around that supermax player.

Next summer, the Jazz will have a big decision to make on if they are going to offer Gobert a contract worth nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.

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Should Utah Offer Rudy Gobert A Supermax Contract?