Jazz lock up Rudy Gobert long term after making an ownership change
December 22, 2020
These have been busy times the last few days for the Utah Jazz. On Friday, it was announced that the Jazz would have a change in ownership, and on Sunday, they locked up their all-star center, Rudy Gobert of Saint-Quentin, France, to a five-year extension worth $205 million. According to Ryan McMahon of ESPN, Gobert becomes the wealthiest center in Jazz history.
Let us begin with the ownership change. Smith, who is 42 years of age, had been in negotiations to buy not only the Jazz, but the Minnesota Timberwolves as well. Smith decided to buy the Jazz from Gail Miller for $1.66 billion. He is required to keep the Jazz in the state of Utah, and as well own the Salt Lake City Stars of the NBA G League, and the Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League. Smith, who like Miller is a billionaire, earned his wealth by being the chief executive officer and co-founder of Qualtrics, a management company based in Provo, Utah.
Now the contract extension of Gobert is rather interesting. The French center had been rumoured to go to other teams in the NBA, but is sticking with Utah for now. In 2019-20, Gobert was an all-star and averaged a double double (15.1 points per game, and a career high 13.5 rebounds per game).
We know Gobert has been an asset for the Jazz on the court. However his off-court behaviour in March generated significant controversy. During a press conference in Utah, he proceeded to touch every microphone, and his actions were criticized for not taking coronavirus seriously. He then was one of the first professional athletes to be diagnosed with the disease. At this time Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell was also affected. Remarkably, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Gobert was also touching Jazz players’ stuff in the Jazz locker room. After Mitchell’s positive diagnosis, there was a reported rift between Gobert and Mitchell. The Jazz have Mitchell under contract through to 2025-26.
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