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Gobert: ‘My Goal Is To Win A Championship’ In Utah

Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz shoots against Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of a game at the Smoothie King Center on October 11, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Rudy Gobert still doesn’t have a contract extension with the Utah Jazz. The two sides were able to begin negotiations on a new deal when free agency opened on November 18, but now, almost two weeks later, the two sides have yet to come to an agreement.

Despite the negotiation stretching into training camp for the Jazz, Gobert said his goal remains the same — to win a championship in Utah.

“My approach is still the same,” Gobert said on Tuesday, the first day of Jazz training camp. “My goal is to win a championship here. It’s been my goal since I got here and that’s still the same.”

The All-NBA center appeared at ease with the negotiations as camp opened in Utah. Gobert said he was leaving the business side of basketball up to his representation.

“I’m focused on the upcoming season and I’m excited and about the negotiation talk,” Gobert said. “That’s why I have an agent. I can focus on basketball, and let him take care of that.”

Gobert is eligible to sign a supermax extension with the Jazz worth roughly $250 million over a five-year span, though the deal wouldn’t kick in until next offseason. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, Gobert will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021.

Ready For The New Season

Though the contract negotiations are sure to follow Gobert until he and the Jazz reach a conclusion, Gobert said he was excited about the upcoming Jazz season.

The team was eliminated from the postseason in seven games by the Denver Nuggets, but were playing in the bubble without forwarding Bojan Bogdanovic and recently reacquired Derrick Favors.

Gobert played with Favors during the first six seasons of his career in Utah before the Jazz traded his frontcourt partner to the New Orleans Pelicans.

“We missed him last year,” Gobert admitted. “And to be able to have him come back, it’s just great. I know that all of us are excited.”

Gobert is likely to spend less time on the floor with Favors than he had in previous seasons after Bogdanovic’s breakout season last year with the Jazz. The sharpshooting forward averaged 20.2 points 4.1 rebounds and shot 41 percent on more than seven three-point attempts per game.

Bogdanovic missed the NBA restart in Orlando after undergoing wrist surgery in May.

“When you don’t have that guy in a lot of close games in the playoffs, it does make a difference,” Gobert said. “I’m excited to get him back. I think he’s going to be a big plus for us like he’s been all year last year.”

Overall, after a tumultuous season that saw Gobert become the first major professional athlete to test positive for COVID-19 leading to the suspension of professional sports across the country, Gobert said he’s happy to be back on the floor and is excited to get the season underway.

“There’s a lot of unknown about what’s going to happen this year with the virus,” Gobert said. “But at the same time, it’s exciting to just be able to play the game we love and to start a new year. The goal remains the same, and it’s exciting.”

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