It has now been three weeks since the Utah Jazz opened free agency by signing Jordan Clarkson and Derrick Favors. It solidified some of the biggest question marks on the team. Clarkson will hopefully pick up where he left off last season as the Jazz’s 6th man scorer. Favors solidifies the backup center position and, combined with Clarkson, Joe Ingles and Snyder’s choice of either Georges Niang, Shaq Harrison, Miye One, Juwan Morgan or Elijah Hughes, makes the Jazz bench a huge strength.
With all those questions answered, there’s still one big question for the Jazz that remains. What is going on with the Rudy Gobert contract negotiations?
Gobert spoke on Thursday about the future of the Jazz and he spoke in terms of “we”
For those looking to read between the lines re: Rudy Gobert's future with the Jazz. He said this today: "We have a window...this year in the next few years and we have to take advantage of that window and I really feel like we're we're going to have a chance"— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) December 11, 2020
This is definitely the type of quote you want to hear from Gobert if you’re hoping for him to re-sign. Although it’s similar to the same thing he said 10 days ago. I’m sure Gobert is sincere in what he’s saying but it’s also a deflection.
Rudy Gobert, who is eligible for a supermax extension with Jazz: "My goal is to win a championship here. ... I’m focused on the upcoming season, and I’m excited. About the negotiation talk, that’s why I have an agent, so I can focus on basketball and let him take care of that."— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 2, 2020
This quote is also similar to another player who is in supermax contract negotiations.
#Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo on his supermax contract talks: "Right now I'm not focusing on that."— Lily Zhao (@LilySZhao) December 9, 2020
Instead, said his agent and GM Jon Horst are focused on that matter.
The Jazz and the Bucks are in inverse situations. The Bucks would love nothing more than to give Giannis the supermax any day, Utah is doing everything they can to get a contract as far away from the supermax while still keeping Rudy in Utah.
Obviously, the best thing for the Utah Jazz this offseason is to find a way to sign Rudy Gobert. He’s a dominant star in the league and both sides seem genuinely interested in making a deal happen. So why hasn’t it happened yet?
The first thing is to understand what you’re getting into with a supermax.
The super max is all or nothing. Can only be for 5 years and nothing less. https://t.co/XJKEdAyXRk— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) December 2, 2020
Not only is it five years it’s also a quarter of a billion dollars invested in one player. I’m not a cap expert, as you all know, but that is a huge contract to work around in the future.
Gobert is an elite, all-nba force and he deserves a BIG contract but, and it’s a huge but, if Utah gives him that money they are putting a hard ceiling on what the team is now and in the near future. Utah has also designed everything they do around Gobert’s strengths. So if things fall apart with Gobert midway through the contract it’s almost certainly untradable because he won’t fit as seamlessly with other teams. On top of that the center position is one of the most undervalued in the league right now. Considering the chemistry issues last season, these are real concerns.
Now, it could be that the ceiling for the Jazz is the western conference finals, or maybe even beyond. The Jazz will find that out this season.
The problem is they have to make a decision before December 21st. Why? That’s the deadline for Gobert to receive a supermax extension.
Deadline for Gobert is Dec. 21 but the center is still eligible for a four-year $133M extension during the season. https://t.co/4KTYzdBsHt— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) December 2, 2020
So the Jazz have about 10 days to figure this out with Gobert. Do they go all-in with the supermax and commit fully to this team or do they roll the dice after the 21st hoping that they can figure something out after that?
It’s looking like December 21st is a big day for the Jazz. By December 22nd we’ll know if Gobert is going to be on the Jazz for a long while or if the Jazz might be looking for some sort of move. One thing is for sure, going through another Hayward situation is out of the question. This Christmas is going to be a unique one for sure.