Donovan Mitchell, Jazz Agree to 5-Year, $195M Contract Extension

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2020

Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell moves the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)
Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

Donovan Mitchell, as expected, is going to be with the Utah Jazz for a long time.  

The young superstar agreed to a five-year, $195 million contract extension Sunday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Mitchell's extension includes a player option after the fourth season, per Bobby Marks of ESPN.

The deal is a designated rookie max extension.

Mitchell is guaranteed $163 million over the life of the deal, and he could hit $195 million if he meets All-NBA criteria in 2020-21, per Wojnarowski.

While it would have been hard to imagine the Jazz losing Mitchell next offseason as a restricted free agent since they could have matched any offer he received, there were questions about his long-term future with Rudy Gobert in Utah after both tested positive for COVID-19. Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, and the fact that Gobert hadn't seemed to take the situation seriously before his diagnosis didn't help the situation.

Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Tony Jones of The Athletic reported in April that during a March 9 press conference, Gobert was "touching the microphones of media members as he left his press conference after the morning shoot-around. It was a bad move, a practical joke gone wrong that was, in part, poking fun at the league’s new policy of keeping reporters six feet away from players during media interviews at that time."

They also reported that a few days before Gobert tested positive, "teammates noticed him coughing and showing the effects of whatever ailed him. Some of them encouraged him to treat his illness, prodding Gobert to skip the conventional medicines and teas and head straight to the trainers for a coronavirus test, according to sources."

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Gobert initially pushed back on getting tested by the training staff, though he eventually relented. But his relationship with Mitchell instantly came under question.

"It doesn't appear salvageable," a source told Charania, Amick and Jones regarding the relationship between Gobert and Mitchell.

"It took awhile for me to kind of cool off," Mitchell said himself during an interview on Good Morning America in March.

Per Charania, Amick and Jones, Jazz officials tried to stress to Mitchell that there wasn't any way to know if he had contracted the coronavirus from Gobert or vice versa. That created a fissure, but one the two sides appeared to have moved past by the time of the league's restart in the Orlando bubble. 

Mitchell responded by averaging an NBA-best 36.3 points per game in the postseason, although the Jazz were eliminated in Round 1 by the Denver Nuggets

Locking up Mitchell to an extension is excellent news for a Jazz team that appears poised to be a contender for years to come. In his three seasons, Mitchell has emerged as one of the game's bright young stars. He finished 2019-20 averaging 24.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, all of which were career highs, and he earned his first All-Star nod as well.

So long as he remains in Utah, the Jazz should remain a real threat.