Former NBA Champion, No. 2 Overall Pick Darko Milicic Latest To Pan Rudy Gobert Extension

Although he has established himself as one of the NBA’s elite centers and premier defensive players, Rudy Gobert’s recently inked, near-supermax contract extension with the Utah Jazz has drawn criticism from a handful of basketball pundits. This week, a one-time champion and former No. 2 overall pick joined a slew of detractors — which notably includes Hall of Famer turned TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal — in panning the deal.

As reported by Eurohoops on Wednesday, Darko Milicic — a career role player who was famously drafted ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2003 — offered his own criticism of the contract while comparing Gobert’s play to that of Denver Nuggets star and fellow Serbian Nikola Jokic.

Per Milicic, if Gobert is slated to receive $205 million over a five year period beginning next season, Jokic is worth more than double that amount.

“We must be aware that money is the basis of NBA’s existence. If Gobert is worth that much money, then our Jokic should sign a contract for 500,000,000 dollars. That’s how much better he is than Rudy,” Milicic said to 24 Sedam, as relayed by Eurohoops.

The veteran of nine-plus seasons in the association from the 2003-04 campaign to ’12-13 further indicated that the massive salaries being doled out have come as a result of the league’s ascent as an entertainment entity. However, he clearly has a difficult time believing anyone is worthy of that kind of payday, let alone Gobert.

“For them [the NBA], marketing has always been in the first place and for the league to make it a show business as much as possible. Those numbers that are turning around today are simply unreal. Yes a lot is spent and has to come back but to give so much money to someone is totally insane.”

Rudy Gobert celebrates with his Utah Jazz teammates during a 2020 NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Gobert’s extension has drawn major attention as it represents the most lucrative deal for a big man in the association’s 75-year history. However, that is largely a byproduct of the league’s current collective bargaining agreement and basketball-related income, as well as Gobert being supermax-eligible (which was made possible by his All-NBA, All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year selections).

Nevertheless, O’Neal was compelled to lead the charge of those who feel the Jazz center is about to become the most overpaid player in the game.

“I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there,” Shaq said while appearing on the All Things Covered podcast, via Yahoo. “You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get 200 million.”

Since offering his initial commentary, O’Neal has continued to sound off on Gobert.

In January, The Inquisitr reported on a hypothetical trade from Hardwood Houdini that would see Gobert join the Boston Celtics, while Kemba Walker would move from Beantown to Salt Lake City.