While the franchise has yet to make an official announcement, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert announced through social media to his fans that he had signed a four-year contract to remain with the team, as reported by ESPN. The belief is that the deal is worth approximately $102 million, which is a little less than the maximum amount that he could have received.
Though they are not legitimate contenders in the Western Conference just yet, the Utah Jazz are hoping to keep their core players together in hopes that they will soon grow together and become threats to make it to the NBA Finals. Rudy Gobert is one of those key pieces for the Jazz. He makes quite a difference on the defensive end because of his dedication to shot blocking and rebounding.
Aside from what Rudy Gobert produces on the court, the Utah Jazz are hoping that the signing convinces their other key players that management is serious about trying to build a winning team that has not been seen in the state since John Stockton and Karl Malone were leading the way. The presence of Gobert might help sway Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors to stick around.
Now that he has been handed a huge contract, the Utah Jazz hope that Rudy Gobert can improve his offensive game to the point where it comes a little bit closer to his superb defensive presence. It is not a major need, especially since Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors can produce offensively for the front line. However, the Jazz become that much more dangerous of a team if Gobert added another element to his game.
At just 24 years of age, Rudy Gobert has already proven that he has the potential to be a big star in the NBA. That is a major reason why the Utah Jazz felt a sense of urgency to get the deal done now before Gobert reaches free agency. There were plenty of teams that would have loved to have scheduled a sit-down interview with someone that has the potential to be a franchise player at the center position.
Long time fans of the Utah Jazz know the value of having a center that can block shots. John Stockton and Karl Malone were solid defenders, but they also benefited greatly from the presence of Mark Eaton. Their 7-foot-4 center was able to erase a lot of mistakes made by Jazz perimeter defenders. Having that luxury on the floor allows the other defenders to take more gambles.
It has been a busy year for the Utah Jazz front office. Management also locked up Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, and Trey Lyles. All three of those players should play key roles in the future of the team.
Knowing that it is really difficult to win with just young players, the Utah Jazz wisely decided to bring in more of a veteran presence over the summer. The team was involved in a trade that brought George Hill to boost the back court. Joe Johnson left the Miami Heat to join an up and coming team. Utah also helped the San Antonio Spurs finalize a deal with Pau Gasol by taking on Boris Diaw, a veteran front court player who brings a load of experience and leadership.
Right now, it appears that the Utah Jazz are paying approximately $102 million for potential. There is some truth to that. However, with some improvements, Rudy Gobert could become a perennial contender to the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. The 24-year-old could also be someone that makes a difference when the team inches closer to being legitimate contenders.
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